The Last Of The Millenniums

Just because it always has been, doesn't mean it always will be

Archive for the day “March 25, 2013”

One Man’s Trash – ‘Bloomberg’s billions to counter NRA muscle in 2014’

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Now I’m a gun owner but if anyone has any common sense, they know that a gun is made for 1 reason – to kill.

So while I am against money corrupting our politics,  and no big fan of Bloomberg, in this case, I may not like it but I won’t fight it.

And I’m guessing that Wayne LaPierre has as hard a time with irony and Sheldon Cooper does with sarcasm.

‘New York Mayor and gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg said that he will fund ad campaigns in 2014 against senators who oppose an assault weapons ban and stronger background checks on firearms purchases’.

“I think my money would be well spent,” he said on “Meet The Press.”

‘NRA president Wayne LaPierre, who appeared on the NBC show after Bloomberg, wasn’t impressed’.

“He can’t spend enough of his $27 billion to impose his will on the American public,” he said’.

“He can’t buy America,” he added, without a trace of irony’.

“Meet The Press” host David Gregory challenged LaPierre on who is actually peddling toxic influence, citing a recent Quinnipiac poll that claimed 91 percent of Americans and 88 percent of gun owners support universal background checks’.

“Are you thwarting the will of the American people?” Gregory asked’.

LaPierre responded that the poll was based on a “dishonest premise.”
From : http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_03/bloombergs_billions_to_counter043763.php

 

Blog Running – ‘Republicans Want To Slash Government Spending, Can’t Name Anything To Cut’

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A fantastic piece over at Addicting Info.

‘The March 22, 2013 Real Time with Bill Maher made a powerful point: self-identified Republicans, including those who call themselves Tea Party, are IMPERATIVELY certain that the answer to America’s woes is to slash government spending. But when you ask them to name specific cuts, they pretty much come up with bupkus’.

This is what happens when people are insulated in the Fox echo chamber. They have had “must cut government spending” as a mantra, repeated hundreds of times a day, and they’ve bought in. But none of these people have any real idea about what to cut, other than “wasteful government spending”.

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‘When we look at TOTAL government spending, the stuff people are willing to cut is 3% of our total spending’.

‘Does ANYONE think that 3¢ out of every dollar is going to do much? Just the interest on America’s current debt is 7% of all government spending’.

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‘Comparing Income to Outgo’

‘In fiscal year 2011, the federal government spent $3.73 trillion. Even if you can’t balance a checkbook, most of us can manage grade school subtraction’:

‘INCOME: $2.9 trillion’
‘OUTGO: -$3.73 trillion’
‘NEGATIVE $830 billion’

‘That 3% spending people are willing to cut? It amounts to $25 billion. Oops! Honey, we are $805 billion overdrawn’!

‘How Do We Solve The Problem’?

‘The answer does not lie in slashing spending, simply because there’s not much room for spending cuts’.

‘There’s certainly no doubt at all that there is government waste that could be cut. We should definitely tighten up on expensive military boondoggles as well as trimming fat everywhere we can. That’s just good management. But there aren’t enough cuts possible to make up $805 billion’.

‘The only possible answer to reduce the deficit is to raise revenues somewhere’.

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‘Why are we, the people, paying half the federal income out of our pockets’?

‘Just consider the top ten corporations that not only didn’t pay taxes, they scored huge tax credits’:

1.’General Motors income tax expense: -$34.83 billion’
2.’Bank of America income tax expense: -$1.12 billion’
3.’Caesars Entertainment (casino) income tax expense: -$871 million’
4.’Ameren (utility holding company) income tax expense: -$680 million’
5.’D.R. Horton (home builder) income tax expense: -$673 million’
6.Verizon Communications income tax expense: -$660 million
7.’Lear (auto parts manufacturing) income tax expense: -$638 million’
8.’AMR (parent of American Airlines) income tax expense: -$569 million’
9.’J.C. Penney income tax expense: -$551 million’
10.’Alpha Natural Resources (metal and coal mining) income tax expense: -$550 million’

‘Worse, by using loopholes and offshoring revenues, a lot of companies are raking in millions while paying a tiny fraction of what they should actually pay in taxes’.

‘Alternet’s Bill Buchheit used that data to compile his list of the biggest corporate tax dodgers’:

•’General Electric: The worst tax record over five years, with $81 billion in profits and a $3 billion refund’.

•’Boeing: In addition to receiving a refund despite $21.5 billion in profits, the company ranked high in job cutting, underfunded pensions, and contractor misconduct’.

•’Exxon Mobil: Made by far the largest profits in the group, but paid less than 1% in U.S. taxes, and yet received oil subsidies along with their tax breaks. Unabashedly reports a 2012 “theoretical tax” of over $27 billion, almost 90% of its total income tax expense. The company was also near the top in contractor misconduct’.

•’Verizon: Second worst tax record, with a refund despite $48 billion in profits’.

•’Kraft Foods: Received a refund from the public despite $13.5 billion in profits. Also a leading job-cutter’.

•’Citigroup: One of the five big banks who are estimated to get a bailout/refund from the American public amounting to three cents from every tax dollar’.

•’Dow Chemical: Received a refund despite almost $10 billion in profits’.

•’IBM: Paid less than 3% in taxes while ranking as one of the leading job cutters, and near the top in contractor misconduct’.

•’Chevron: In addition to a meager 4.3% tax rate and a share of oil subsidies, the company has been the main beneficiary of tax-exempt government bonds’.

•’FedEx: The company paid less than 5% in federal taxes while relying on the publicly-funded Post Office to deliver thirty percent of its ground packages’.

•’Honeywell: Less than 6% in taxes, a leading job cutter, near the top in instances of contractor misconduct, and run by the “Fix the Debt” CEO with the largest pension fund’.

•’Apple: Where to begin? Avoiding federal taxes, avoiding state taxes, hiding overseas earnings, engaging in intellectual property schemes, using the “Double Irish” to transfer profits from Europe to Bermuda, and underpaying its store workers despite conducting most of its product and research development in the United States’.

•’Pfizer: One of the leaders in stockpiling untaxed profits overseas, and right behind Merck in contractor misconduct dollars’.

•’Google: A master at the “Double Irish” revenue shift to Bermuda tax havens, while using tax loopholes to bring a lot of the money back to the U.S. without paying taxes on it. Recognized as one of the world’s biggest tax avoiders’.

•’Microsoft: Named as one of the biggest offshore hoarders while using tax strategies to bring much of their untaxed money back to the U.S., where it also avoids state taxes’.

‘Big corporations and the ultra rich need to pay more taxes. It’s time that these businesses and wealthy individuals starting contributing their share to the country that made them great’.
From : http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/24/republicans-want-to-slash-government-spending-cant-name-anything-to-cut-video/

The Hippocratic Oath in the US – “First….Make Lots of Money” – ‘Supreme Court Hears ‘Pay To Delay’ Pharmaceutical Case’

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This is one of those things that almost no one pays any attention to. Even in June or July when the Supreme Court makes their decision, it will be a 2 paragraph story buried on page 16.

Yet this is one of the reasons our health care costs so much in the US.

‘The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Monday in a case worth billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and American consumers’.

‘The issue is whether brand name drug manufacturers may pay generic drug manufacturers to keep generics off the market. These payments — a form of settlement in patent litigation — began to blossom about a decade ago when the courts, for the first time, appeared to bless them’.

‘Consumer advocates, health care organizations and retail outlets call these payments “pay to delay.”

‘The drug makers hate that term and have a different name. They call the payments “reverse settlements.”

‘Challenging the payments is the Federal Trade Commission, which sees these monetary arrangements as collusion, a way to stop competition in the marketplace and a violation of the nation’s antitrust laws’.

“These deals are unheard of in any other area of the law for a really simple reason,” says lawyer Tom Goldstein. “Nobody believes that if you’re the only company in the market and a competitor comes along, you can say to them, I’ll pay you 10, 20, 50, or 100 million dollars to just stay out of the market. That’s the opposite of competition.” These payments extend monopolies and “it hurts customers who would benefit from lower drug prices.”

‘The Federal Trade Commission is leading the charge against the payments in Monday’s Supreme Court case’.

‘It appealed to the high court after a federal appeals court upheld the Solvay payments’.

‘The agency is telling the justices that once a generic enters the market and competes with the brand name drug, prices drop 85 percent’.

‘The payments are not settlements, but “old-fashioned, naked” agreements not to compete, said U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli at Georgetown Law School earlier this month’.
From : http://www.npr.org/2013/03/25/175043758/supreme-court-hears-pay-to-delay-pharmaceutical-case?ft=1&f=1001

 

What is wrong with the Republican Party – ‘Religious Beliefs Would Kill Patients’ Rights In New Michigan Bill’

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Imagine a World where health care providers can determine who they will treat and who they won’t based on their religious convictions to your health issue and it’s treatment.

Oh it’s not a fantasy World.

It’s already here………..

‘Republicans, as usual, are claiming that the bill is about protecting religious freedom without interfering with patient care’.

‘But if this bill is so great for health care, why is it opposed by so many health and medical organizations’?

‘In addition to Planned Parenthood, other groups opposing the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Michigan Psychiatric Association, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, and the Michigan Disability Rights Association’.

‘The Detroit News reports that the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee passed a “medical conscience” bill on Thursday “allowing health care workers to opt out of treatments that violate their personal beliefs and employers to bypass the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.”

‘The bill allows doctors and nurses to refuse “prescribing medical marijuana, dispensing the “morning-after” pill to prevent pregnancy or complying with a family’s decision to disconnect equipment that’s keeping alive a terminally ill patient.”

‘But that’s not all’.

‘Planned Parenthood told the Detroit News that “the bill would allow employers, health care facilities and insurance companies to deny access to abortion as well as any health care service including birth control, HIV/AIDS treatment and vaccines.”

‘It gets worse’.

‘If the Michigan Catholic Conference has its way, the bill will also allow employers and insurance companies to deny women contraception coverage’.

‘The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, mandates contraception coverage for women. The Supreme Court has already ruled the landmark health care law constitutional. The Michigan bill would be a direct challenge to the law and the ruling, both of which are opposed by the Conference’.

‘Michigan isn’t the only state trying to legalize religious discrimination against patients’.

‘Tennessee is considering a bill that would allow counselors to refuse counseling services for religious reasons’.

‘Kansas has already passed a bill allowing pharmacists and doctors to deny women contraception’.

‘And a Missouri law that allowed employers to deny women contraception was recently struck down by a federal judge’.

‘These ‘conscience clause’ bills are a serious threat to doctor-patient relationships, medicine, privacy, and the religious liberty of the patients’.

‘They legalize discrimination and allow employers and health professionals to hide behind their Bibles instead of doing what is right for employee and patients’.
From : http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/24/religious-beliefs-would-kill-patients-rights-in-new-michigan-bill/

 

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