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Don midwest

Another reason drugs are so expensive

monopolies in the distribution channel

this happened to me when the generic price from COSTCO was less than the drug plan I had, then one month, WITH the drug plan, the cost of the drug doubled. I was paying about $30 and it went to $60 and the technician showed me the screen that COSTCO cost went up to $160 for a month supply.

Now they have a different distributor or manufacturer and price with insurance is down to about $30 again

The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices
How pharmacy benefit managers morphed from processors to predators

the anti trust laws are in shambles

Benny

Bernie: I Rise to Oppose Judge Gorsuch

Bernie gave his rationale, just about a half hour ago. The link is the speech he gave in the Senate. Most of it has to do with Citizens United, the ruling in which he voted against the truck driver who had to choose between driving an unsafe vehicle or from freezing to death, and Judge Gorsuch refusing to answer questions about Roe v Wade.

https://www.facebook.com/senatorsanders/videos/10155790703677908/

Benny

TYT Network picked up the Nick Kristof story I mentioned yesterday about Trump voters being more vulnerable to the Trump budget because of programs that helped them but now Trump’s “compassionate” (my term would be “draconian”) budget wants to cut. The video clip, about a little over 8 min, is embedded in the tweet.

Benny

Chomsky: With U.S. History of Overthrowing Govts, Outrage over Russian Hacking Claims is Laughable

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest for the hour, Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, institute professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His latest book is Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power. Juan?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I’d like to ask you about something that’s been in the news a lot lately. Obviously, all the cable channels, that’s all they talk about these days, is the whole situation of Russia’s supposed intervention in American elections. For a country that’s intervened in so many governments and so many elections around the world, that’s kind of a strange topic. But I know you’ve referred to this as a joke. Could you give us your view on what’s happening and why there’s so much emphasis on this particular issue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a pretty remarkable fact that—first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn’t just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn’t like, institutes military dictatorships. Simply in the case of Russia alone—it’s the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways. So, this, as I say, it’s considered—it’s turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.

So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump’s programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That’s—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed. Just a couple of days ago, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can’t believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, “Sure, that’s just what they ought to be doing.”

So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary locus of concern and critique, while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, of course, because the Democrats feel that that’s the reason, somehow, that they lost the election. Interesting that James Comey this week said he is investigating Trump campaign collusion with Russia, when it was Comey himself who could have—might well have been partly responsible for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, when he said that he was investigating her, while, we now have learned, at the same time he was investigating Donald Trump, but never actually said that.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you can understand why the Democratic Party managers want to try to find some blame for the fact—for the way they utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win, handed it over to the opposition. But that’s hardly a justification for allowing the Trump policies to slide by quietly, many of them not only harmful to the population, but extremely destructive, like the climate change policies, and meanwhile focus on one thing that could become a step forward, if it was adjusted to move towards serious efforts to reduce growing and dangerous tensions right on the Russian border, where they could blow up. NATO maneuvers are taking place hundreds of yards from the Russian border. The Russian jet planes are buzzing American planes. This—something could get out of hand very easily. Both sides, meanwhile, are building up their military forces, adding—the U.S. is—one thing that the Russians are very much concerned about is the so-called anti-ballistic missile installation that the U.S. is establishing near the Russian border, allegedly to protect Europe from nonexistent Iranian missiles. Nobody seriously believes that. This is understood to be a first strike threat. These are serious issues. People like William Perry, who has a distinguished career and is a nuclear strategist and is no alarmist at all, is saying that we’re back to the—this is one of the worst moments of the Cold War, if not worse. That’s really serious. And efforts to try to calm that down would be very welcome. And we should bear in mind it’s the Russian border. It’s not the Mexican border. There’s no Warsaw Pact maneuvers going on in Mexico. And that’s a border that the Russians are quite reasonably sensitive about. They’ve practically been destroyed several times the last century right through that region.

There’s more here:

jcitybone

Rob Quist’s First TV AD is out Today and it’s GREAT

Rob Quist for Montana is airing the campaign’s first television ad starting today to introduce Rob to even more Montanans and outline his priorities as Montana’s one voice in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 30-second ad, titled “Voice,” shows how Rob is taking the voice he’s used to build a career in music to be a voice for all Montanans.

“There’s nearly 300 millionaires in Congress, but not one Montana folk singer,” Rob says. “After a career using my voice for the Montana we love, I will be a voice for you.”

humphrey

Despite the source it is hard not to agree with the assessment. LOL

polarbear4

LOL!

humphrey

Somehow this just doesn’t seem right. Too much concentration of power.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/04/investing/amazon-stock-900-alltime-high/index.html?sr=twCNN040417amazon-stock-900-alltime-high0735PMVODtopPhoto&linkId=36188353

Shares of the e-commerce king, which is also now a cloud computing giant, connected-home leader, drone company, freight airline, Hollywood studio and even a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, rose above $900 for the first time Tuesday.

As a result, Amazon is worth more than $430 billion. That’s nearly twice the market value of its rival Walmart (WMT), which has a market cap of a mere $220 billion.
Only Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30) and Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) are worth more than Amazon. The Jeff Bezos-led company is now more valuable than Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB).

polarbear4

iirc, Bezos has controlling shares in WaPo, too. And CBS looks forward to Trump being good for business. Sorta tells you what great patriots own our MSM. And yet many still hear them as God’s word.

humphrey

Expect Goons to be knocking on doors soon!

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/327253-irs-starting-private-debt-collection-program-this-week

The IRS said Tuesday that it is beginning its private debt collection program this week.

The program is being started as a result of a law that Congress passed in 2015. Typically, taxpayers whose accounts will be given to private collectors are people who the IRS has contacted multiple times in the past several years and still have unpaid taxes, IRS officials said.

The agency this week will start sending letters to a few hundred people informing them that their accounts are being transferred to private debt-collection agencies. The program will grow over time, and the IRS expects to send several thousand letters a week by the end of the summer, said Mary Beth Murphy, commissioner of the IRS’s small business and self-employed division.

humphrey

I wonder if the significance of this will really sink in?

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/us/1984-theater-protest-trnd/index.html?sr=twCNN0404171984-theater-protest-trnd0755PMVODtopPhoto&linkId=36189444

Roughly 200 art-house movie theaters across the country are protesting President Donald Trump by screening the ’80s version of the film “1984” on Tuesday.

While a theater protest on a Tuesday may seem random, the date April 4 has significance. It was April 4, 1984, when Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” began writing in his forbidden diary.

polarbear4

well this is awful news. more outsourcing means more frack ups, higher costs, more harassment in dire times.

i’m paying back taxes and even though I have a payment plan, had to sign a certified letter the other day and my credit score went down again. i wonder if it’s been outsourced. Never had to do this before.

humphrey

This is a pleasant surprise!

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/327266-maryland-governor-signs-fracking-ban-into-law

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday signed a bill establishing a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state.

Hogan’s signature comes after the state’s Legislature passed the fracking ban last week. Maryland is now only the second in the country to ban fracking, after New York established a similar ban in 2015.

Hogan’s signature is a victory for groups that fought for a fracking ban in Maryland.

Benny

I’m glad he did this, but this is more about NIMBY which happens to be conveniently to be “a good thing.” I expect other mid-Atlantic States to follow suit.

jcitybone

From Robert Reich: A “mafia enterprise”

https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf

The flagrancy of the Trump family’s looting of America is even bigger than I’d imagined. Consider:

1.Yesterday, ProPublica, the investigative news site, reported the terms of the trust Trump established before he entered the White House — which controls the four hundred or so businesses that Trump owns — was recently changed.

A new clause says that its trustees—Trump’s two sons, Eric and Don, Jr., and a family lawyer, Allen Weisselberg—“shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request, as the Trustees deem necessary for his maintenance, support or uninsured medical expenses, or as the Trustees otherwise deem appropriate.”

In other words, as John Cassidy notes below, Trump can extract as much money as he wants from his businesses while he’s still in the White House — with no public disclosure. The trustees could sell a Trump-owned asset anywhere in the world and forward the proceeds to Trump’s bank account without informing anybody.

Even before this change, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., called Trump’s “ethics” arrangements “wholly inadequate,” saying that they failed to “meet the standards that … every President in the last four decades have met.”

2.The disclosure forms released Friday show that Jared Kushner, who until recently ran his family’s business and is now a top Trump adviser, has secured lines of credit through ten big banks, including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, and Citigroup. These give him a clear interest in the fate of financial regulations.

Worse yet, the senior ethics lawyers in the Bush and Obama administrations point out that “Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have so many potential conflicts of interest that if they abide by ethics laws and past White House practices, they won’t be able to advise the president on three of his top priorities: Trade, tax reform and Wall Street deregulation.”

The family business now run out of the Oval Office mixes public power with private gain just like any kleptocracy, oligarchy, or mafia enterprise.

It’s only been 10 weeks, folks. How much longer can this go on?

wi58

Approximately 198 weeks unless he does something so bad impeachment happens,looks like he’s well on his way to adding a billion or two to his net worth at the end of his first term as I predicted a while back.

humphrey

Senator Jeff Merkley is slowing down the Senate.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/327339-dem-senator-pledges-to-hold-the-floor-over-supreme-court-fight

351

Sen. Jeff Merkley is holding the Senate floor in protest of Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination.

The Oregon Democrat, whose speech was already in its second hour, was expected to “hold the floor and refuse to yield for as long as he is able to continue speaking,” according to his office.

Merkley, who is a member of Democratic leadership, blasted Senate Republicans on Tuesday night, accusing of them trying to choke off debate over Gorsuch’s nomination.

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