I could hear “a giant sucking sound,” as H. Ross Perot used to say, as I read about the life-saving drug for cystic fibrosis in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (A Charity’s Investment a prescription for profits for drug maker.) With its insanely outrageous cost borne by taxpayers, clearly this was not about saving lives, but about enriching a very few individuals beyond comprehension.
- $841 a day (for two little pills)
- $25,230 a month
- $307,000 a year for the rest of of their lives (and paid for by all of us, either through Medicare, or through jacked up premiums which all of us will bear.)
In 1992, Perot was referring to the sound of good-paying American jobs being flushed down the drain with the passage of NAFTA.
Next time you hear someone say there’s not enough to pay for health benefits, not enough for food stamps, not enough for schools, not enough, not enough, not enough, remember where this money has gone.
Last month, [Vertex Pharmaceuticals] stock shot up more than 60% again, from $52.87 to $85.60, after positive early data from a clinical trial of Kalydeco and another drug it is developing with funding from the foundation. On April 19, the day after the news was released, the company’s market value jumped by more than $6 billion.
That same day, two company executives sold huge chunks of stock options. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ian Smith alone sold 745,685 shares worth more than $60 million. Most shares were sold at $81.50, with options purchased from $29 to $39.
Enough money to run a small country, drained from taxpayer and donor coffers, now hoarded by a few, is where the money has gone.
The broken promise of NAFTA was that it would be good for America by lowering prices — planting the seeds for more jobs and opportunities. Does anybody disagree, that that this two-decades-long experiment has failed to deliver? What NAFTA planted instead was the seeds of Greed, and today, we reap the harvest: a weak, nearly ruined economy, immigration and drug wars, and concentrations of power unprecedented in American history.
This latest corruption of our charitable system — a non-profit foundation financed the development of this drug and will reap “profits” from it, which they will funnel back into creating more drugs — violates the public trust of taxpayer and donor alike. This latest corruption is yet another shoot off the Choking Vine of Greed.
Our founding fathers are no doubt clucking their tongues, shaking their heads. It is a disgrace.
There should be a huge public outcry over this story. There should be united resolve by officials at all levels to take swift and immediate action to fix the system, for the gross violation of constitutional principles. There should be a bipartisan amendment to the Constitution passing quickly throughout the land, to correct the error of Citizens United which led to this, and to the IRS non-profit debacle. There should be clear resolve to not make the same mistake again, and reject the pending Pacific Rim free trade agreement. There should be resolve to heed the historic warnings of the Founders against consolidation of power, recognizing how it as an invitation to the Vampire of Corruption–which will suck the life out of us.
If public outcry and action by our leaders does not occur, it means one thing: America is lost. It means our pledge of allegiance to the ideal of “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all” is broken. It means we have abdicated our authority as the owners of this country, and sold our Republic to the highest bidder. It means we bought an oligarchy, a Fascist state led by giant corporations, no less bureaucratic and bloated than our old government, but instead beholden to no civil authority, but only profit. It means we have bowed down not to God, but to the almighty dollar.
If this is so, then Lord, help us, and our children.
Is it too late? No, not yet. The corporations have not yet taken away our right to petition the government–although they’re trying. They have not yet stolen our voices–although they’re trying that now, too, at the highest levels, and at the state level. We still have our brains, our hearts, and our minds. But time is short. The time is here to stand up, declare who we are and to whom we pledge allegiance. The time is now, for each of us to make a choice.
Do we blindly succumb to the life-sucking Vampire of Corruption? Do we allow our country to fall to the Choking Vine of Greed? Or do we open our eyes, reach out, clasp hands, cut the vine and renew our commitment to the common good, and resolve to share with one another, and stop the insane drive to hoard it all? Do we continue to congratulate those who excessively accumulate wealth, envy them, strive to be like them? Or do we choose instead to follow the founding father’s historic “prime directive,” the guiding principle of the United States of America which unites by way of cooperation, fairness, sharing, and not by hoarding? Do we at last, as I wrote about previously, Occupy Ourselves, see our own failings, and join a 12-Step Program to recover from our own addictions?
What we need is to pass a constitutional amendment correcting Citizens United: we need to say clearly that a corporation is NOT a human being. We need to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement: just as NAFTA did in Central American, it will only wreak costly havoc for many innocent people and concentrate more wealth into the hands of a few. We need to restore, renew and rebuild integrity in our government: reject leaders who point fingers instead of fix systems, and who call for consolidating more power. We need to instead elevate those who stand up for individual sovereignty at the local level. We need to support those who value our government for what it is, a gift from our ancestors which gave you and I the power to make this country what “we the people” want it to be–“of the people, by the people and for the people”–not of, by and for drug lords and corporations. We must, as H. Ross Perot said years ago, stand up and take ownership of the country — not abdicate ownership to those who worship the almighty dollar.
Our system of government — as broken and messed up as it is — is better than any other system on the planet! Don’t destroy the best system on earth– protect it! Restore it, repair it, and keep it safe for our children, as our veterans did for us, for generations.
It’s up to us. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The People…are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
One of my dear church brothers who is in his late 80s, enjoys sending provocative political emails to his long list of friends, including me. He is ultra conservative, and his emails are usually anonymously written forwards, containing strong negative opinion sprinkled with statements of fact, which frequently prove to be erroneous. When extreme, and if I have time, I feel compelled to respond with factual corrections.
Recently we had just such an exchange, in which the anonymous writer asserts that President Obama inserted into the new health care law provisions of Islamic Sharia law, that will in effect exempt Muslims from buying health insurance, while unfairly forcing Christians to buy the insurance or pay a fine. The writer goes on to conclude, very ominously, that the law is part of a conspiracy on the part of Muslims to take over the world.
“Obama Care allows the establishment of Dhimmitude and Sharia Muslim diktat in the United States . Folks, this is exclusively an Islamic concept under Sharia Law. So exclusive they had to make up an English word to define the concept. Why would our government start interjecting Sharia Law concepts into new broad and sweeping legislation like health care that would control the US population? ….Anyone? Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance, and also from the penalty tax for being uninsured. Islam considers insurance to be “gambling”, “risk-taking”, and “usury” and is thus banned. Muslims are specifically granted exemption based on this.
How convenient. So a Christian would have crippling IRS liens placed against all of their assets, including real estate, cattle, and even accounts receivables, and will face hard prison time because they refuse to buy insurance or pay the penalty tax. Meanwhile, Louis Farrakhan and all other US Muslims will have no such penalty and will have 100% of their health needs paid for by the de facto government insurance. Non-Muslims paying a tax to subsidize Muslims. This is Sharia Law definition of… Dhimmitude. This is not a Western Civilization concept.
Dhimmit has two purposes : To enrich Muslims AND to drive conversions to Islam.
I recommend sending this post to your contacts. This is desperately important and people need to know about it — quickly!
This really is happening in your country. A fraction at a time.
Wake up America ! They’re coming in the back door.”
Here is my reply to my friend, Tom:
My dear friend, Tom, et. al:
First, please forgive me for copying you all who were included in this distribution. I know most of you, and a few I do not. Please know I hold all of you in the highest regard and respect. If this communication were to have been made publicly, at a podium, I would have felt just as compelled to walk up to the mic to correct what are clear factual errors. Errors which, if uncorrected, pose a danger to the loving community in which we are all united. So, out of duty I feel bound to grab the mic here. Please forgive me if I offend you by so doing.
This entry at Snopes, which the unidentified/anonymous author of the email uses to confirm the veracity of his claims, in fact contradicts his conclusion and many of the alleged facts. http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/exemptions.asp. Tom, did you actually read it through? It appears that the writer didn’t either, that he simply looked at the quoted copy of contested email, which is found at the top of the article, and without reading past it, construed it to mean that Snopes verified its accuracy.
At least three facts and one claim asserted by the anonymous writer are directly contradicted by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson, authors Snopes article:
1) that the Muslim legal term “dhimmitude” is written into the law. Not true.
2) that Muslims are specifically identified within the law as exempt from the insurance requirement, because Muslims see it as a form of gambling. Also not true, on both counts.
3) that Christians would unfairly singled out to be made to pay a fine or buy the insurance. Not true — the most likely group to be exempted is in fact a Christian sect.
4) the writer asserts that the law will promote the expansion of Islam. Given all of the above, this claim is not substantiated in any way.
The Snopes article says clearly (my emphasis added):
“The fact is the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ (PPACA) legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama does not include language which specifically exempts members of any particular religion from health insurance requirements (nor does it use the word ‘dhimmitude.’) The bill contains a general ‘religious conscience’ provision which establishes guidelines under which religious groups may have established conscientious objections to certain forms of insurance and may seek exemption from health insurance requirements”
and then the article quotes the applicable paragraph from the PPACA, which references for definition of religious sect that would seek exemption to section 1402(g)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, which addresses religious exemptions from paying any kind of tax, including social security.
Bottom line: longstanding IRS code, not PPACA, is what will define who is or is not exempt.
Included in this definition of who might be exempted from the insurance purchase requirement would be the Christian sect Anabaptists (ie Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites) because they are already exempt from paying into or receiving benefits from the Social Security system, because they choose to take care of their own.
Furthermore, the Mikkelsons speculate that Muslims will likely not be exempt under this IRS definition, because they have never qualified for an exemption from paying in to Social Security. This is because, contrary to what the writer said, the Muslim community in general views SSI as a worthy charitable action, of taking care of others who cannot take care of themselves, such as the elderly and disabled, and it involves no risk, no gamble.*
So, to summarize the truth, this provision in “Obamacare”
1) does not use Muslim legal terms from Sharia law,
2) will likely grant special exempt status to some Christian sects
3) will likely not apply to Muslims, and
4) will in fact do nothing to advance the “cause” of Islam, as the writer asserts.
As this portion of the law does not go into effect until 2014, it is not yet known who will apply for exemption, and who will be granted exemption.
Clearly the purpose of this email is to spread fear, misinformation, mistrust, and stir up hatred against our civilly elected president AND the entire class of people in this country who legally practice the faith of Islam.
Tom and friends — I believe Christ was right when he said “the truth shall set you free.” Lies are lies and truth is truth; we, as Christians, have a duty to truth. I would ask you, and by extension, your friends whom I have never met but for whom I hold in the highest regards, to please, please refrain from spreading lies. It does not keep us One Nation Under God.
As I have been studying the lives of the saints and the holy fathers, contemporary and ancient, it is my understanding the God’s grace cannot flow into the lives of people who sin. Sin drives God away; he simply cannot come where sin is, missing the mark of being in line with His will. Its sort of like tuning a dial a radio — if you want to tune in to grace, tune in to the frequency of truth, love, and humility, not sin. Just as we teach our third and fourth graders, always speak truth and for truth; do not lie, for lying is another frequency altogether; what you’ll tune in, instead, is evil.
Again, forgive me if I have offended you in any way by what I have written. Thank you for your time.
With Love in Christ,
*p.s. My personal opinion, regarding Muslims or anyone for that matter, seeing the new health care law as a risk or a gamble: The only gamble these days is to have Republicans in office who are bent on disassembling the safety net of our Social Security by privitizing it. That would most certainly turn it into a risk venture, if all our social security public trust funds were put into the stock market! Can you imagine the shortfall today, if the Bush administration had succeeded in privitizing Social Security, as they tried to do in the early 2000s?
In my experience, our current healthcare system as it has evolved today, a bloated, bureaucratic, profit-driven mess– already constitutes a huge gamble: that coverage will be denied by insurance companies redefining benefits,that employers will be able to afford to buy insurance for you as part of your compensation, that you will be able to get coverage at all. Our current system grows riskier by the year; this healthcare legislation, written not by Obama but by a bi-partisan committee which included the healthcare industry — seeks to minimize the risk, through this provision of requiring everyone to buy into it. Just like automobile insurance is, as a way to lower the risk of having uninsured drivers, this provision has the same aim.
This is just my opinion. Thanks.
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See Good Wolf, Bad Wolf, Part 2 for a follow up to this posting which I received from Tom’s friend, Jim.