Econ 101-Understanding Demand and Supply

It is easy to understand how Republicans and the Oligarchy that controls the USA have confounded the electorate with hair-brained economic ideas when even someone as bright as Thom Hartmann does not understand the basic concepts of supply and demand.

 

On his show last week he blithely stated that Steve Jobs invented demand for the iPhone by creating a new product.  Since smart phones prior to the iPhone were difficult to use at best (Palm for example), sales sky rocketed for an easy to use product.  Therefore we are to understand Steve Jobs “created demand’ where there was none?

 

Thom claimed this supported the Supply Side economics theory and Ronald Reagan’s “idea”.   It was cutting taxes for the wealthy so they could innovate and create new products that caused economic growth.  Thus Jobs and Apple created Supply which was then in Demand and va-va-voom the economy grew, or at least the Chinese economy grew.  However, Thom was wrong on both points that are fundamental to the ridiculous ideas that underpin Supply Side Economics, Greenspanism, Milton Friedmanism, Libertarianism, Ayn Randism or whatever you want to call the crazy theories that support the economic “ideas” that have driven the country to third world status.

 

First the idea that Steve Jobs was motivated by tax cuts, or the tax rate Apple paid, or the tax rate he paid is just silly.  Jobs, like most people, was internally motivated to do what he loved.  After Apple went public he stated he had more money than he could ever spend in his life from just Apple’s IPO.  So money was not his motivation.  He was doing what he wanted.  That is what people do when they are healthy and free.  They do what they love, and what he loved was creating products that were simple and easy to use that unlocked creativity latent in people.

 

Cell phones were in general use throughout the world prior to the invention of the iPhone.   However, every phone company wrote their own software.  Their software was terrible.  Why?  Because consumers had no choice, they had to use Verizon’s software on Verizon’s phones.  Anyone who used those phones had the same experience:  horrible software that was tied to difficult and frustrating to use hardware.  The phones that could reach the internet were slow and designed to take you to a “home page” that tried to separate you  from your money.  The user experience was the last thing Verizon thought about. But consumers had no choice.  If you wanted a phone to carry around in your pocket that was it, you used the software the companies provided.  And it was awful.  I remember reading this report from Nokia about their phones.  Their CEO and management were “shocked” to find cell phone users limited themselves to only 17% of the “features” available.  I was not shocked.  Using the “features” took hours of time and was frustrating at best.  I bought an expensive “feature” phone with a 3.2 megapixel camera.  When I downloaded the pictures to Verizon’s web site, they were postage stamp size, not 3.2 mp but more like 200 pixels.  I asked Verizon how to get the 3.2 mp pictures off the camera and they did not even know.  That was the state of cell phones pre-iPhone.  There was a tremendous, breathtaking Demand for phones that could take pictures, check email, surf the internet and work as a phone easily.

 

Steve Job’s ability to negotiate with AT&T so that Apple could write the software and control the user experience was essential to the success of the iPhone.  In one moment a company that wrote great software was offering an alternative to horrible phones for a small increase in price (to those who could afford it).  Steve Jobs tapped in to a pure gold vein in the mother lode of a gold mine.   There was huge pent up demand for the product.  It would be like if BMW or Porsche came out with an electric car than ran on solar power, never needed charging, had zero fuel cost for its life, and was only 20% more than existing cars.  There is a huge demand for that product.  Inventing that product would not be a case of Supply inventing Demand.  The Demand is there.

 

Just so with the iPhone, the pent up Demand was huge.  So the Demand was there but the Supply was lacking.  All Jobs did was recognize the Demand and chart a path towards that golden vein.  If AT&T and the other phone companies had not allowed Apple to use the iPhone on their networks, Apple would had to buy a network in the USA to get its product to market.  The gold was still there but they would have to approach it from a different angle.

 

So the Demand is there for many new products.  However, the new products are not keeping up with Demand.  The innovator often taps into the zeitgeist of the Demand and thereby creates a product which sells in huge numbers.  It does not mean that the Supply and Demand roles have been reversed and that Supply Side economics has a “grain of truth”.  Demand drives the economy plain and simple.  Innovation is tapping into Demand that exists but like a hidden silver mine is latent and untapped.  The wealth innovation provides comes from the Demand that is already there but is unseen and untapped.

Taking Down First Take: Jim Brown Really?

Taking Down First Take:  Jim Brown Really?

 

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made it clear he was “deeply offended” by Jim Brown’s comment on TV that he would not have called Kobe Bryant and other top black athletes of today to the superstar group in the 60’s that listened to (and supported) Ali’s reasons about why he would not fight in Viet Nam.  Stephen A. Smith made it clear that he could not question the integrity or political opinions of the best living football player, Jim Brown, though he disagreed with what Jim Brown said.  In ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith’s opinion despite his brands Kobe would have showed.  Stephen A. Smith did make the point that it would be extremely risky for multimillionaire Kobe Bryant to speak out on anything political because of his brands.

 

Brown was never reluctant to speak out for social justice.  He put what was right before his career, before his “brand”.  Yet, Brown still is revered not just as a great football player but respected as a great man.

 

Brown pointed out that the group of athletes (and others) that came together in Cleveland Ohio to support Muhammad Ali  (Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mayor Carl Stokes, Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell, Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton, Willie Davis, Jim Shorter and John Wooten) would not have included many of today’s top black athletes.  These people came together not to support a racial idea or for racial reasons, but to support Ali’s refusal to fight in Viet Nam.

 

Brown just stated the obvious.  Today’s black athletes represent major brands and the money they make from the brands is more important to them than social issues.  Michael Jordan is the king of the brands.  He even refused to support a democrat against noted racist Jesse Helms because:  “Republicans buy tennis shoes too.”

 

Four wars have gone down in the era of the Generation X athletes, the Michael Jordan era in the NBA, and I can’t remember one superstar speaking out against any of the wars.  Even though they are multimillionaires and in reality have nothing at risk because they and their family are financially set for generations they said nothing about the first and second gulf wars, the Afghanistan invasion and proposed 25 year occupation and the Drone War which is an unconstitutional and impeachable war waged largely in Yemen and other mid eastern countries.  Name one athlete who has uttered a word about this?  Or should a say tweeted?  They are a pathetic generation dedicated to themselves.

 

Two days later ESPN in defense of their brands which are the same that support the athletes did another hit piece on Jim Brown.  On the 30 for 30 show “Youngstown Boys” that profiled Maurice Clarett, the Ohio State star who faded away for incomprehensible reasons and never reached his potential as a runner, out of nowhere blamed Jim Brown’s statements about the racial prejudice behind the sordid affair, as the cause of Clarett’s fall from grace and the subsequent loss of his chance at a professional career.  This subtle dig at Brown furthered their agenda to promote today’s brand driven athletes over the political, economic and social justice fighters that were the generation behind them.  By lowering Brown’s status Jordan’s and Kobe’s multimillion dollar ads were wiped clean of the blemish of social irresponsibility and the stains of selfishness that these athlete’s embody.  As the two Americas grow further apart wealthy black athletes (who through their ability can make the leap from the impoverished, invisible part of America to the Goldman Sachs, Barack Obama and Corporate CEO America where you fly on private planes, land in private air terminals, travel by limousine and live in gated communities where never a discouraging word is heard) are now part of the establishment, the military industrial complex, the security state and have little use for the rest of the 99%.  Yes they need them to see their games, and buy their crappy 400 dollar tennis shoes, but speak out for higher taxes, a better schools system, health care for all, a higher minimum wage, never gonna happen.  Very few people can make the leap from poverty to the ruling class like black athletes.  Social climbing in America has stopped.  It is virtually impossible to move up in class.  In the 60’s that leap did not blind them to reality, today with the death of the fairness act and very little actual news anywhere, opinions taking the place of facts and little to no liberal voices on the public stage, it is very easy to hide and “protect my brands” as so many do.  Pathetic.  Also I want to point out that these athletes gathered to support opposition to the Viet Nam war.  The media has done a great job of painting Martin Luther King as a Black rights activist.  Most people today would have no clue that he connected the dots and opposed the Viet Nam war for the same reasons that he fought for social justice.  Today’s superstars probably don’t even know their is a relationship between the two issues.  So good job Stephen A. Smith your brands are safe.

 

Take Down, Rethinking First Take: Football Helmets and Concussions

Taking Down First Take:  Football Helmets and Concussions

20 years ago I saw Webster Slaughter run out-of-bounds.  He was a small wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.  A defensive back hit him out-of-bounds by diving at him.  He just caught the edge of his elbow with the crown of his helmet.  The play was over yet Slaughter received a season ending injury.  Slaughter had his arm broken as a result of the impact of the hard helmet on his elbow.

Immediately I asked myself why football helmets were made of hard plastic?  Other than looking good, it made no sense.  Hard plastic makes costly injuries inevitable.  Had the helmet been padded on the outside it would not have caused the injury.

The hard helmets caused savvy coaches to teach defensive players to tackle by placing their helmet on the ball.  Since heads tend to be inside helmets, what these coaches were saying was use your head like battering ram to dislodge the ball and bring down the ball carrier.  Once you get the idea to use your head as a battering ram don’t concussions become inevitable?

Skip Bayless remarked that football players know what they are getting into.  So they should not be compensated for their injuries.  That was the implication of his thought.  His view is that the players prior to the studies on football and concussions deserve compensation but not the current players.  This is actually contrary to law.  Football players are employees and subject to the Worker’s Compensation laws in the state that they play football in.  Of course the owner’s are quite willing to out source the costs of managing chronic degenerative brain diseases to either their insurance companies, the player’s union, the families or the states.  However, the law says they are responsible.

According to the law they are completely, that is 100%, responsible for the costs of treatment and disability caused by injuries in their work place.  The football field is where these guys work.  Any injuries are fully compensated by law.  Both disability and treatment are covered.  It is the law Skip.  If the NFL has deceived them they can file law suits for further damages.  The NFL has an obligation to make the work place safe.

So an important question is how these injuries can be prevented.  Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, first a few sensible rules would decrease the amount and severity of head injuries.  Then studying the issue with money supplied by the NFL and major colleges would examine the nature of the injuries, how many blows to the head a brain can take before it shows signs of damage and how much rest is needed when mild to moderate concussions occur.

Then the engineering of the helmet must change.  Helmets are designed to protect the skull.  This is well and good, but the brain is a much more sensitive organ than the bone of the skull.  For those that might not know, the brain floats in a closed bowl (the skull) filled with a fluid.  It moves independently of the skull.  Concussions occur from the counter coup phenomena in football like in whiplash.  The brain has momentum, the skull stops, the brain bangs into one side of the skull and then bounces into the opposite side.  Thus both sides of the brain receive injuries.

Just looking at the helmet I am guessing that 2 inches of padding on the top with a hard surface underneath that disperses force throughout the helmet would be a start.  Shoe companies and car companies have spent lots of time looking at how to disperse stress from impact.  Their technology applied to the helmet with further research might provide a much safer piece of equipment.

Putting the skull in a kind suspension that created a cushion of air or fluid between the hard surface and the skull also seems logical.  This would mirror the construction of the skull and brain.

Obviously this is an area that can be studied and certainly the football teams of major universities generate enough cash to fund lots of research.

The two points I am making here is that first Skip is wrong about players “knowing what they are getting into” and second the current helmet technology is totally inadequate and can be improved.

A few sensible rule changes would be:  no tackling by putting the head on the ball, thus this would end the battering of runners by the defense trying to force a fumble.  Fumbles should only occur in the open field or during the initial hit.  Holding the runner up while other players batter him to force of fumble just encourages injuries, is very boring and cheapens the game.

Current helmets do not prevent concussions.  That seems to be the consensus of researchers.  However, that is because they are designed wrong.  Work on football helmets will benefit bicycling and other sports.  It seems like an idea waiting to hatch.  Finally how about putting sensors inside the helmet to measure the forces involved?  It is not that hard.

Take Down: Rethinking First Take Kidd, Tomlin and Jackson

 

 

Why the Cheating of Jason Kidd and Mike Tomlin Is A Big Deal Not Just Boys Being Boys

 

When Skip Bayless points out that Jason Kidd can’t coach S A Smith responds he is not a coach he is the face of the franchise. So his obvious lack of coaching expertise is inconsequential and he should be given time to learn the job?  But the problem there is the Nets have a one or maybe two-year window to win with a group of aging veterans.  So why would you take time to instruct Jason Kidd to coach if you own the team?  That is something only the owners can answer.

Kidd’s childish spilling of soda pop on the floor to stop the game and his gleeful remark about how he was never good with the ball show his disrespect for not just the game, but all the players on the fringe trying to make it.  And all people in this society who are playing by the rules and getting further behind everyday. That is why this is such a bid deal.  Kidd already has it made.  He probably made more money at Berkeley as a Freshman than most people earn in a lifetime.  He has been making tens of million of dollars for twenty years.  He is wealthy.  And like most wealthy people he now believes that the rules just don’t apply to him.  The 50,000 fine to him is pocket change.  He could drop that at lunch in a poker game and not think twice.

He has led a life of entitlement due to his skill with the basketball.  He went to the best high school in California, one of the best colleges, even though he could not pass the SATs, and walked a way from car accident and likely DUI which would be a felony for anyone else.

So he is entitled to cheat just for laughs.  Same with Mike Tomlin.  One set of rules for the rich and another for the poor.  Trickle down economics and trickle down justice.

 

That is the message that he and Mike Tomlin are sending.  They along with the CEOs from Goldman Sachs, Citibank, the Tobacco and Oil companies (among others) don’t need to play by any rules, those are for the 40% of Americans who have less in total than the 5 Walton’s who own Wal-Mart. And the other 59% of middle class Americans who have seen their incomes decline from thirty years of Reaganomics.  But not for the wealthy 1%.

That is what is so frustrating about Skip and Stephen A.. They just don’t connect the dots.  They are Gen Xers not children of the 60s and don’t see how the dots of injustice connect and how the web of economic injustice spins through all facets of society.  This was a great teaching moment that neither understood.

As far as coaching ability goes why Jason Kidd?  And why Mark Jackson?  Jackson is a pompous blow hard who is always selling.  He was part of the NBA national broadcast crew and is immune from criticism from them.  But the reality is he stumbled into the playoffs last year, and caught a break when David Lee was injured.  Putting Barnes at the 4 gave the Warriors the athleticism to defeat Karl’s collection of NBA role players that he miraculously coached to a home court advantage in the play offs.  If David Lee was not injured the Warriors would have never beaten the Nuggets.  But Jackson was forced to use Barnes at the four at the team blossomed.  They came with a hair of beating San Antonio.  If it weren’t for the horrendous coaching of Mark Jackson they might have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benzodiazepines

Open Letter to Jerry Brown Part II:

Benzodiazepines Are The Most Dangerous

Prescribed Dangerous and the Most Dangerous Drugs Period

“Discharge prescription of benzodiazepine hypnotics should not exceed three days duration and preferably be avoided altogether.”

-Drug and Alcohol Resource Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia.

Hospitals like prisons are overcrowded today.  Many hospital admissions are due to prescribed medicines (as much as 20% according to some studies) just like many prisons are filled because of drugs which are basically self-prescribed medicines.  Wrongly prescribed benzodiazepines result in sickness, death, suicide, drug addiction and insanity.  They are easily the worst set of drugs in the medical pharmacopeia.  And hundreds of ER visits and hospital stays are do to their use.  Yet innocently patients gobble these drugs like candy on the advice of ill-informed medical doctors.  Governor Brown if you want to do something about drug usage and drug abuse start here.  Stop worrying about plants that grow in the garden.  Synthetic chemicals are far more dangerous.

In 2008 one study documents that over 112 million scripts were written for benzodiazepines in the United States.  Recently it was determined that 10 to 20 percent of all people in the Western world get one or more benzodiazepine scripts per year.  It is not clear if this includes the active military, the VA, and or possibly other sources for the drugs.  But at least enough scripts were and are written to boggle the mind.  This is despite the well-known facts that benzodiazepines are horribly addictive, unsuited for treatment of the mentally ill, emotionally unstable and/or those with substance abuse histories.  So that begs the question:  who are these drugs for?  Studies show that after only two weeks patients become addicted and can suffer serious withdrawal symptoms.  Other studies suggest the time period is four weeks or four months.  But there is no doubt that they are addicting and quite quickly create chemical dependency and cause after a short time the symptoms they are supposed to be treat.  Shockingly benzodiazepines along with alcohol cause death when patients stop using them  They are the only two drugs that do this.  Both act on GABA receptors in the brain and cause seizures when patients/addicts stop using them.  Seizures cause death.  Halcyon, triazolam, is believed to cause patients to experience withdrawal symptoms after one dose.  It is banned for that reason and others in many countries but of course not in the USA.  Anything that makes a profit is fine in this country.

Since not a lot of money is spent on looking for reasons why profitable drugs should not be sold, a complete understanding of the harmful effects of the over 3000 variations of the basic benzodiazepine molecule has yet to be achieved.  But it is simple for the non-scientist to understand when you realize that benzodiazepines act on the same receptors as alcohol.  If you observe people, you will note that the same people who unwind by taking a drink, love their Valium and Xanax.  That is because essentially you are getting the same kind of high.  Are these drugs really any more therapeutic than alcohol is?  They may have some limited therapeutic benefit for epilepsy and severe psychosis, but rarely are they prescribed for that purpose.  Most often the are prescribed for normal people who are not sick.  Doctors should not be allowed to prescribe medicines to people who are not sick.  There is no such thing as wellness drugs and really benzodiazepines are not unlike Soma, a drug to mollify an uneasy population.

In addition most dangerously, most if not all medical doctors are strangely unaware of the contra-indications of these drugs.

Medical literature abounds with unscientific claims about benzodiazepines.  They are “safe” and “non-addictive” with few side effects.  This is the general consensus of medical doctors who prescribe the drugs.  Yet scientists who study them have an entirely different conclusion.  Scientists rightly state that benzodiazepines should not be prescribed to anyone with a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or emotional instability.  So again who are they for?  Valium was given in buckets to the bored house wives of the seventies.  They were given to treat essentially a normal condition to normal people.  People who become frustrated with their lives experience anxiety.  That is not a treatable condition.  That is normal life.  Scientists also state that the therapeutic benefit (if any) benzodiazepine is short lived.  Alprazolam is marketed as being more effective for anxiety and panic disorder than a placebo after four weeks of use.  However, the marketing materials don’t say after eight weeks another test reveals their effectiveness is no different than a placebo.  Nonetheless people take these drugs for years.  If a more thorough study were done it might show a placebo is more effective in the long run.  But no one studies drugs to disappoint the people paying for the study.

Responsible medical doctors educate their patients.  They make it clear these drugs are for short term use only.  In France you won’t get a benzodiazepine for more than a couple weeks.  But here people take them for years.  That is what you should stop.  Forget about weeds or mushrooms, these plants have been used by humans for millenniums.  Our bodies can deal with them.  Benzodiazepines were discovered inadvertently in the 1950’s by a laboratory.  They are completely synthetic and our bodies don’t know how to react to them.  Some have half lives of over 250 hours.  This means they build up in the body and their effects get stronger as time goes on.  This make the very dangerous.

I strongly suggest for the safety of Californians and people in general you stop the “off-labeling” prescription of drugs by physicians.  This means simply that Doctors should only prescribe drugs for which there is a scientific proof of their use.  Currently drug companies can market their drugs as a cure for anything without proof.  They only have to convince Doctors to prescribe them.  By expanding the use of drugs through “off labeling” sales increase dramatically and so do profits.  Psychiatrists are the kings of “off labeling”.  While as much as 20 percent of all drugs prescribed have no science behind them, “off labeling”, psychiatrists give out nearly one third, 33 percent, of their prescriptions based on “personal experience” and intuition.  This is troubling because psychoactive drugs that cross the blood brain barrier are inherently the most dangerous.  They should be the least prescribed on a trial, personal feeling, intuition, discussion with salesman, anecdotes or experimental basis.  Yet they are the least regulated.  And there should be no wellness program that involves prescription drugs.  If you are not sick a doctor should not be prescribing medicine.  Treating normalcy with drugs is the sign of a sick society is it not?

Strikingly, their is no benefit to the mentally or emotionally ill patient by prescribing benzodiazepines that are contraindicated for their conditions by scientists who have researched this molecule.  Further that patient is harmed because they are not getting either the right drug for their problem or being given an opportunity through psychoanalysis or cognitive therapy to explore just what their problem really is.  All they are getting is a drug that has been most successfully marketed for their condition.  Benzodiazepines all effect the brain, spinal column and nervous system the same way.  The only difference is the speed at which they work, the length of time they stay in the body, strength of dosage and speed at which they become addicting.  In essence every benzodiazepine is like a different kind of liquor.  Some are like 4 shots of whisky and others are like a glass of wine.  Emphatically scientists state that using two or more benzodiazepines amplifies the effect of both and is inherently dangerous.  And this should not be done.  Yet millions of people take one benzodiazepine for sleeping, one for anxiety and one for panic attacks.  The panic attacks are inevitable when people are taking that high of doses of benzodiazepines.  If history showed that people are taking more than one benzodiazepine or have other contraindications for the drugs responsible doctors could place their patients in the hospital to get them off benzodiazepines.  Note again that death can result from stopping any benzodiazepine on your own.  I find it stunning that doctors totally ignore the scientific research on these drugs and prescribe them to people who use alcohol, the mentally ill, the emotionally unstable and commonly prescribe more than one benzodiazepine when it is clear that this is a contraindication in and of itself.

Benzodiazepines are essentially alcohol in pill form.  That is why so many people get addicted, have to go through withdrawal, and take them when they don’t need them.  Taking a benzodiazepines is like having a drink of wine, spirits or grain alcohol.

Please take steps to aid all Californians and protect them from the pharmaceutical industry.  The industry sells and persuades.  It does not cure.  I suggest to begin a California for All health care system, you place records of all patients on databases so doctors can access all medical records when needed.  This way they will stop prescribing benzodiazepines to people who are sick.  Scientists state clearly that these drugs are not to be given to anyone who is emotionally ill, addicted to any substance, currently using alcohol (which would be a large percentage of society), that have a history of using alcohol or substance abuse, mental instability and or a history of emotional problems.  If databases were available to all doctors to see all prescriptions and the history of a patient they would know quickly when these dangerous drugs should not be used.

Please read the chapter on benzodiazepines in the book “Concepts of Chemical Dependency” by Harold E. Doweiko.  This will give you a realistic view of benzodiazepines.

Thanks for your consideration.

The Folly of Modern Medicine’s Zealous Supporters

The Folly of Modern Medicine’s Zealous Supporters

 

Recently Thom Hartmann had a guest on who was selling his book about Faith Healers.  His premise was that they were threatening the lives of children.  Therefore the government should intervene and take the kids away from the parents.  Treat them “appropriately” and then return them to their parents either dead or healed.

 

On another day, 11/14/13, Thom had a caller who was all upset about herbal medicine and homeopathy.

 

Both of these gentleman have built their houses on sand not rock.  First, faith healing is part of religious culture.  It is an interesting argument about when and if the government (usually hated by the right wing) can do the ultimate crime (in their eyes) of taking custody of a well-meaning parent’s child.  That is something that stirs the passions of many people.  Abortion is a very similar issue so to speak.

 

The problems with the hysteria about faith healing are two fold.  First the number of deaths alleged to be a result of “failed” faith healings is in the hundreds per decade.  All though all life is precious in the scheme of things, not a large number.

 

Nonetheless, most rationale people find it hard to understand that if a cure or treatment for a disease might save a life, why not try it?

Well from the point of view of the religions that don’t take drugs, etc., often children and adults as well die from the medicines and surgical procedures.  They die from faulty diagnosis as well as bad treatment, side effects of drugs and overdose either intentional or not.  Kids die and become very ill from immunizations also.

 

What makes this philosophical debate so puzzling is the obvious fact that different people or children die in both these circumstances.  If your kid does not get the MMR vaccine chances are he will be fine.  The Chinese believe that childhood disease actually tests and strengthens the immune system.  Although supports of the drug industry and modern medicine love to point out how much longer people in first world countries live the reality is that in Afghanistan you see plenty of old people despite the harsh conditions.  The reality is once immunity is established to the childhood diseases, intestinal microbes and various viruses and bacteria that show up in different years, the adult is immune from most disease that come from contact or are air born.  So they live long and just as long as the people here.  It looks like they have shorter lives because on average many kids die young.

 

So by avoiding immunizations and various treatments a different set of children survive and prosper.  Some of the otherwise healthy kids would have died from reactions to the immunizations.  So there is your moral dilemma.

 

By immunizing and medicating children a different set survives than if you would have left them alone to fight off or die the bugs that infect them and disease that come from other causes.

 

Herbs, chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathy are not amenable to double blind testing.  Therefore using the modern protocol to evaluate their effectiveness does not work.

 

Hence either you can “prescribe” the herbs based on many years of “folk” remedies, some science, or through other means like muscle testing or you can dismiss them altogether and say it is up to the Red Clover Lobby to prove Red Clover works so if they can’t then it does not work.  Of course there is no Red Clover Lobby.  It is a plant that grows almost anywhere.  Not patentable (until Monsanto changes the laws).  So no incentive to do research.  To sell more drugs Big Pharma can scream that herbs are unscientific.  It is hard to argue because until money is spent researching herbs, there is no research on them.

 

But at the same time Big Pharma has no problem promoting “off label” use of medicines which are totally unscientific.  The law is simple.  MDs can prescribe any drug for any cause.  They can prescribe based on information from salesman, personal experience, intuition, information from other Doctors, aka hearsay, and virtually any rationale to sell the drug you can think up.  But suggesting an herb that has a thousand year history of treating a certain condition is considered unscientific.

 

That is the ludicrous world we have created.  Psychiatrists, by the way, the one profession that should not mess aimlessly with peoples minds prescribes off label 30 percent of the time to 25% for the general MD population.  Think about that.

 

So if you are offended by faith healing and herbs take a hard look at what passes for science in the Medical world.  You might be surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Obama’s Generation X Assumptions About Reality Undid His Presidency A BabyBoomer’s Lament

Why Obama’s Generation X Assumptions About Reality Undid His Presidency-A BabyBoomer’s Lament

 

My best friend was never fooled by Barrack Obama.  She always saw a man who was letting liberals think he was a liberal.  He never was a liberal.  And she knew it.  She was a Gen-Xer and knew how the people of her generation were fooled and schooled by propaganda.  She was not fooled by Obama or the relentless propaganda of the Right Wing.  But most of her generation were and the liberals from mine as well.

 

For the Baby Boomers, most of us were blinded by Hope, our own.  Our own hope for an RFK, a second FDR, or an LBJ without the Albatross of the Viet Nam war, clouded our judgement.  We heard “Hope”, believed it was 1966 all over again and ignored the subtle and not so subtle warning signals.

 

Obama has proved to have liberal sensitivities only on issues of Civil Rights.  While this is good and better than the Romney or McCain alternatives, it is in a word, pathetic.  Obama is only liberal on issues that have directly impacted him or his family.  This means  his ability to empathize is limited.  That explains his love affair with drone warfare and Reaganomics.  No one who is empathetic can send drones to kill someone and call dead kids “collateral damage”.  That’s Cheney-Bush stuff.  Long term it is a failed policy, anyone who can reason can see that a whole generation will grow up hating the USA as drones circle their country and kill random people.  Defenders say the deaths are not random, but terrorists who are somehow threatening the USA?  Do you really expect people living in a foreign country to buy that?  It does not take a lot of thought to see that droning people to death will not win hearts and minds.  Yet, reports are that Obama reviews the kill list daily and delights in choosing targets himself.  This is very weird.  And certainly not indicative of a man with a liberal bent.  It is indicative a man who has bought the entire Neo-Conservative rap.  Obama is like a Black Truman not a second FDR.

 

The warning signs were there when he spoke off the cuff during the campaign.  Mysteriously the supposed intellectual from Harvard stated that Republicans had all the new ideas-meaning Reaganomics, perpetual war, empire building and fervent anti-socialism.  No one asked him what he was talking about.  But clearly he embraces the supply side economics of that party, their believe that government is needed by the rich and powerful to protect their interests and not by the poor who should just look after themselves, the belief that the United States has an obligation to the international financial community and multi-national corporations to keep the established order safe for commerce, the fatuous belief that “out sourcing” saves money and the Reagan doctrine that the “government is the problem not the solution”.  He got these ideas from watching television and reading newspapers.  They were part of the zeitgeist of the Generation X.  A brainwashing that was so thorough that by the time most of them were 30 they believed Social Security was a problem not a miraculous social contract.  As the greedy wealthy licked their wounds from the beating they took from FDR they first undid the continued implementation of the New Deal by derailing the great Henry Wallace’s ascendancy to the presidency.  As FDR’s health waned they removed Wallace from the Vice Presidential nomination despite his enormous popularity and inserted neo-con Harry Truman, a small man with small ideas.  The New Deal in America never took another step forward and the wealthy rallied their forces determined to spend decades undoing all of FDR’s programs.  While the social democracies of Europe flowered in the post WWII environment thanks to leadership from the liberals of America, the US sunk into the malaise of the 50’s with the CIA obtaining enormous power and fervent anti-communism became the new rallying cry.  No more calls for economic equality or justice were heard.  IKE led America into a blind alley.  Then the fruits of FDR’s policies flowered into the sixties.  A whole generation which dared to question the established order.

 

But rich and powerful of this country were driven crazy by the culture of the sixties or rather the counter-culture.  And ruthlessly they made sure that the generation that followed the Boomers would be a generation of the Zombies which ironically they so love in the theaters and on TV.  They destroyed the schools, out priced college education, founded and funded economic courses which taught that Keynesian economics which had propelled the country to prosperity from the Great Depression to the Seventies was a bad idea, a theory at best, and that new ideas of Trickle Down, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and fervent anti-communism and anti-socialism were the beliefs that held the country together.  The Lies that Bind.  Obama complained about 60’s music being played when he spoke.   Taste?  Or a disregard of the counter culture and revolutionary spirit that the music represented?  Now we know.

 

Obama even embraced the New Right’s second amendment mantra:  “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.”  No, Mr. Obama, it does not and you know it.  However, this is a wide spread belief among the right wing, a mantra, the 11th commandment.  It is a simple easily understood devisive rallying cry and fear tactic that meshes nicely with the Right’s political agenda and needs.  Never mind it has no basis in fact.  Right wing companies like Walmart make billions off of gun sales and want to make sure nothing stands in the way of a potential sale.  No rules, no regulations, the second amendment is a holy doctrine because it stops the regulation of sales from Walmart’s point of view.  Tell people it is about freedom and they buy into it.  But when have the multi-national companies ever cared about freedom for the common man, freedom for them to make a profit.  That is their concern.  Just repeat that:  “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.” 100,000 times and lots of people will believe it.  Obama shamefully stated that he too believed that the constitution was intended to support an individual’s right to arm himself or herself even though he had to have been familiar with reality.

 

Chief Justice Warren Burger, when asked for his opinion on the Second Amendment, said it was “…one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen in my life time. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies–the militias–[preamble] would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment [referring to the preamble] refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”

Justice Ginsburg  agrees.  She continues, “The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia…Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.”

But, Justice Ginsburg explains, “When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So…the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”

Strangely as the New Right tries to turn America into their version of the old west they conveniently forget that in the old west the sheriff routinely checked in the guns of all visitors to the town.  They got their guns back when they left.  Gun control?

But nowhere has the brainwashing of Gen-X been so complete as on the issue of out sourcing.  People have bought hook, line and sinker the idea that “the government can’t do anything right”.  Rand Paul, the second generation champion of faux Libertarianism crows:  “We know government is inept, but ObamaCare is bringing it to a whole other level of incompetence.”  It is now assumed that the government is inept by an entire generation told this over and over.  The same government that ended the first Republican Great Depression, brought 30 years of continued prosperity and upward mobility to the Baby Boomers, Korean War generation and Tweeners like Obama.  The same government that put a man on the moon.  The same government that built the Hoover dam.  Inept.  Hardly.

But if that is your core belief than out sourcing is the unchallenged solution.

So the way to solve a problem is to hire an outside contractor?  Now think about this for a moment.  If you own a house, a building or a car and you can repair the thing that is wrong with your car, house or building yourself, will you get it done better or cheaper by hiring a contractor?  Maybe quicker, rarely better, never cheaper and at least half the time you will be in for a major hassle and lots of times a trip to small claims or another court if its a big job.  Contractors are rip off artists.  Everyone who has ever remodeled a bath or kitchen or garage knows this.  You can’t trust them. The city you live in assumes they are crooks and makes them apply for a permit for everything they do and checks the work afterword.  So do you if you are smart.  Now if you can do the repair or remodel yourself without outsourcing to a contractor you save tons of money and aggravation.  In fact in real estate, the main way to make money on a small apartment building or office building is to do the work yourself.  Outsourcing costs money, it does not save money.

The same is true through all levels of government.  Medicare can run health care for 3% overhead but private insurance takes as much as half the dollar for salaries and bonuses.  Privatization breeds millionaires and profits.  It does not lower costs.  Companies learn rapidly they can make huge profits on government contracts and in turn donate huge sums to politicians who give them even bigger contracts.  That is the effect of out sourcing.  You create a culture of companies that are really good at selling their service to decision makers, bribing them and ripping off the general public.  Their skill is to get the contract, that is all.

That is why the discussion about why the ObamaCare web site is bad should really be about why Obama thought out sourcing would save money?  Gen-X brainwashing.  Reagan sold the idea that the Government was the problem, and a lot of people bought it.  So much so that the tragedy of New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane was considered no big deal, the government was at fault so privatize FEMA.  One solution to every problem.

Sadly Obama stumbles along giving the Right Wing everything they want.  If he had hired a team of 20 good programmers for 100,000 a year or whatever the appropriate federal salary is, he would have had an excellent team for the rest of our life time for the 200 million dollars already spent.  But they would have been federal employees with good jobs, not rich owners who would be donating major bucks back to the candidates.  Those kind of simple things are what have made Obama a right wing democrat who just does not understand how the real world works.  Because of this the 1% have gotten fabulously wealthy because of him and the 99% are treading water.