Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cancer victims, pharmaceutical companies, and the old malevolent fortune teller trick

“I am dying. What can I do?”

“I see in my crystal ball that someone with the Evil Eye has put a curse on all your possessions. On your money. On your jewelry. On every valuable thing you own. That is why you are dying.”

“But what can I do?”

“Bring all your money and jewelry to me. I will put them all in a velvet bag with magic herbs. There is no trickery here. I will return the bag to you. Just keep it sealed for three months and a few days. Then you can open the bag. And you will have a chance to live longer. Abra cadabra!”

By the time the victim opens the bag, the fortune teller has vanished to another city. And so has your money. Abra cadabra!

Above, a scam used to rob a few vulnerable people every year. Below, a scam used to deprive vulnerable cancer victims of billions.

What Bristol-Myers Squibb hasn’t let out of the bag, except in a tiny footnote that you might have missed, is that lung cancer patients who took Opdivo on average lived an extra 3.2 months

They weren’t  cured. They still might have been gasping for air, stumbling to walk, or in pain from their metastasized disease. And then there are all the people who will die, or fall even more gravely ill, from the side effects of the medicine.

But they got 3.2 months. On average.

Uh, another small catch. The cost of the drug is $13,200 a month. A month! That comes to over $39,000 per patient, on average. If your medical insurance doesn’t cover all or most of that, you may well have to take all your money and your jewelry and  sell it to cover the cost — the equivalent of putting it in a magic bag. 

Or if your insurance company covers the cost, don’t be surprised when the rates you pay go through the roof. And then you may need to put your possessions into a magic bag and sell them to pay the insurance premiums.

Abra cadabra!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thanks to Donald Trump's antics, a Republican candidate for Congress who says she met with extra-terrestrials can't even be a laughingstock

Republican Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera is running
for Congress in Florida. She says she went aboard
an extraterrestrial space ship and learned some 
really,really interesting stuff.
You know this country has gone off the deep end when late night network comedians can't even be bothered (at least so far) to joke about a political candidate who says visitors from outer space taught her about skulls, the earth's energy center, and an ancient Egyptian pyramid located in South Miami-Dade — all while she was aboard their space ship.

Well hey, it's understandable. After all, we've got Trump in the White House. You know, the mad president who says Barack Obama is tapping his wires? The brain-dead president who doesn't seem to know that his presidency extends to the Virgin Islands (not to mention Puerto Rico?) The president with the mentality, maturity, and modesty of an unbalanced six-year-old?

So no wonder his party has no problem putting forward Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, a candidate who, according to the Miami Herald and other newspapers, boarded a Martian space ship and learned from the aliens that:
 There are 30,000 skulls — “different from humans” — in a cave in the Mediterranean island of Malta. 
 The world’s “energy center” is in Africa 
 The Coral Castle, a limestone tourist attraction South Miami-Dade, is actually an ancient Egyptian pyramid. 
 “God is a universal energy.” 
She also said that the aliens had mentioned Isis, though she didn’t clarify if they meant the terrorist organization or the ancient Egyptian goddess.
Hey, compared to Trump, Rodriguez Aguilera is as sound as a....well anyway, she's not nearly as dangerous or crazy.

Rodriguez Aguilera is running to replace outgoing Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. If she pulls it off, I'm going to ask President Trump to extend his Mexican wall around the entire border of the United States— South, West, North and East. 

That'll be the only way to keep all of us safely penned up in this asylum.

Friday, October 06, 2017

A MODEST PROPOSAL for Supporting Ye 2nd Amendment Gun Rights Whilst Simultaneously Doing Something about Ye Scourge of Abortion

No, not this modest proposal, but you're getting warm
And so, with the recent events in Las Vegas, the gun death toll continues mounting in what may be the most violent, bloodthirsty, and self-destructive nation in history. I’m talking about the United States of America, of course. 

This nation’s soil is now drenched not only with the blood of our dead adult citizens but (lest ye forget) also our dead children. Especially notable among these are the deaths of  twenty small school children (plus six adults) in Sandy Hook, and most recently, at least as I write this, the fifty dead of all ages in Las Vegas, plus the Dylan Roof church murders…and on, and on, and on, and on it goes.

Yet the Republican Congress and Senate continue refusing to do anything significant to stop the gun violence. Having a ruminative chat about bump stocks is not doing something significant. 

But why should our law makers do anything that would put an end to the slaughter? Many of them collect millions — millions of dollars per Senator or per Congressional representative — to make sure that any nut, any lunatic, any violence-minded psychopathic sonofabitch who wants to shoot people to death, may have all the guns, all the armor-piercing ammo, all the high capacity ammunition magazines, all the silenced firepower he can lay his hands on.

By both their actions and their inaction, Republican lawmakers have proved that they are nothing more than a sludge pit of gun sluts, a submissive troop of political whores who would get down on their knees and fellate a rifle barrel if the NRA put another few million dollars in their pockets and told them to suck it. 

Read the list of the biggest money-grubbing harlots and the sums they pocket — and make no mistake about it, depraved whores who value money over basic morality and the lives of their fellow Americans, is exactly what they are. See Merriam-Webster’s third definition of a whore, here.

Yet it is this festering pit of whores — or are they giving prostitution a bad name? — will go all pious on you when the matter of abortion comes up. Do so much as scrape a hollow ball of cells, a blastula, from the uterus of a desperate pregant woman, who may have arrived at her pregnancy by being a rape victim, or simply by becoming a victim of a thoughtlessly passionate moment, and they’ll accuse you of “murdering babies.” 

Most abortions no more kill a living, self-aware baby than the act of wiping the ejaculate off a jerkoff Republican Congressman with a piece of snotty Kleenex. But I digress. The sad, or perhaps infuriating fact is, once a baby is born, it ceases to be of value to Republicans, who seek to prevent nearly anything that will keep helpless children who are already born alive and thriving — by refusing to fund anything ranging from a good education, to a doctor’s visit, to adequate nutrition.

To these Republican hypocrites, fetal life, if you can call it that, is sacred. But once born, the poor little babies, who at long last are inarguably sentient and self-aware individuals, can drop dead. I quote a recent article in the New York Times:
“These are little boys and little girls waiting to be born,” said Representative Mike Kelly, Republican of Pennsylvania, in a speech in the House defending the abortion ban. “If we do not stand for them, who will stand for them? If we are not the first responders, who will be the first responders?” 
Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, was incredulous. 
"There is this absolute silence on the deaths that have been created through guns and irresponsible gun ownership and yet here we are somehow talking about the sanctity of life when it relates to abortions,” she said. 
Representative Louise Slaughter, a Democrat of New York, put in bluntly. “I don’t know anything else to call it but pure hypocrisy,” she said. “We love it until it’s born and then it’s somebody else’s problem.”
And so, on to my Modest Proposal, designed to bring Peace and Tranquility to the Land by means of Both Sides Working Together.

I herewith propose that Congress and the Senate enact, and that our kindly President Trump ratify, an “Unborn Fetus Protection and Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which shall state:
Any and all abortions, for any and all reasons, anywhere within the borders of the United States, its possessions or its overseas military bases anywhere in the world are herewith and forevermore prohibited. However…. 
Once an American child is born, one or both of its parents, or either parent’s duly appointed agent or representative, shall have the absolute Second Amendment right to shoot the newborn baby dead, on the justification that such shooting is a means of protecting said parent or parents, and the child itself, from the life-endangering threat of hunger and poverty, and that permitting such baby to live shall induce one or more of its parents to fear for their lives.  
Parents who choose not to shoot their babies themselves may, at their own discretion, donate said babies to a duly licensed firing range, to be used for patriotic target practice.

There! That’s the kind of compromise we can have if both sides of the aisle work together. It will make everybody on both sides of the aisle happy, not to mention the lobbying pimps who shovel money into their purses.