Oh, well. On to other things. I came across this article at MSNBC. What it lays out shouldn't surprise anyone who has followed big Pharma over the years. The thing that really concerns me is the fact that the FDA relies on the studies done by the pharmaceutical companies when they decide that drugs are safe enough and effective enough to market. But for years those companies have proven that their profits are much more important than the public's health and safety. Yet we (our government, that is) continue to rely on them to provide truthful and accurate information. Why do we keep expecting these leopards to change their spots?
I am so glad to see that someone is finally questioning, seriously, our presence in Afghanistan. Perhaps I should clarify that. Someone is finally asking what the hell our aims there are. We have lost more lives in Afghanistan and Iraq than we did on 9/11 and spent (squandered, really) more money than was lost in the economy from the reactions to 9/11--and for what?? Those who think we are safer have a very low bar for judging our safety, in my opinion. We have managed to alienate most of those who were sympathetic after the event and even made our staunchest allies question our collective sanity. I have thought for some time that we should have gone in with the limited aim of decapitating both the Taliban and al Qaeda and then leaving them to clean up the mess. And we should never have gone into Iraq. Maybe others are coming around to similar positions.
This whole issue of a commission to deal with Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security annoys me as anyone who has read previous posts knows. I call it the height of cowardice. And I really hate the notion that programs I have paid into all my working life and have been repeatedly assured would be there when I came of age to draw on them are in the hands of these dastardly cowards. And I am even more pissed off at the maneuvering involved--attaching an unpalatable provision to a 'must have' piece of legislation--that is extreme cowardice combined with a very nasty slyness. I have read of a number of people who think Social Security is merely a government run ponzi scheme worthy of a Madoff. However, Madoff's victims (those who were really victims) had a choice we don't have with regard to putting money into the scheme--THEY could have rejected the scheme and not invested. Nobody can refuse to pay the taxes supporting Social Security. This whole commission idea is nothing more than a craven means of theft and the thieves are those we have elected.
If anyone really thinks the 'Great Recession' is really on the mend they should read this and think about the implications. California has, of course, been in the media spotlight with its budgetary problems and political gridlock. But the report cited in this article mentions 10 states with one-third of the nation's population and economic output as being in very fragile economic condition. Just because the Dow is looking good now doesn't mean the recession is over and just because we see a point or two uptick in economic activity or a point or two less in foreclosures doesn't mean that the economy is really recovering--not for most of us.
Maureen Dowd has an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times that totally skewers the big banks who are on schedule to pay out bonuses that are larger than those that generated a public howl last year. If there has been a howl this year it hasn't gotten all that much coverage in the mainstream media. I have only seen a few bare bones mention on the national news shows. CNBC has had a running debate this week on the bonuses but with the usual positions already staked out--on the one hand those who think that government should stay out of setting compensation of any sort and that the banks need to pay their top talent exorbitantly to keep them while on the other the heads point out that most of those banks are still 'owned' by the taxpayers who bailed them out last fall and winter. Owners are supposed to have the right to set compensation rules. And as she also points out the originators of the Protestant Work Ethic would join with Adam Smith to express outrage at what is being done in their names. God's Work?? Not unless you believe in a totally perverse god!!