Re: Hey Zongsmith! Can you tell me how much "Big Pharma" costs us?
Overall healthcare costs here in the USA are flat-out CRIMINAL!
The premium for Medicare Part B is going up from $148.50 to $170.10 next year, an increase of 14.5%. Social Security is only going up 5.9%, and for most people their Medicare Part B premium is deducted from their Social Security. Supplemental and advantage plan premiums are going up also, I would guess in the neighborhood of five to ten percent.
Putin demands the Sudetenland, eh, the Ukraine (and Belarus, everyone forgets Belarus) as a security zone under his direct military control. He promises this ends his military ambitions and promises peace in our time. Pay no attention to the sabres being rattled in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, in the background.
If you're into such things, you can go watch a war about to happen on live TV.
When we rented a house in 1977, I found in the attic a copy of the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times from late August 1939. The leading story at the time was the increasing tensions between Germany and Poland which led to the invasion of Poland on 01 Sep 1939 followed by Poland's allies, the UK and France, declaring war on Germany thus starting WWII. But things hadn't gotten that far at the time of this newspaper.
On the front page, they printed a color map of Europe with the caption (from memory): "Follow the war over the next few months." Which told me that they expected this war to last only a few months whereas it ended up lasting nearly six years in Europe.
As we watch this current situation unfold, we hope it will be brief, but it could last longer.
On page 2 or 3, they posted photos from Europe. In Paris, we saw civilians on the street carrying gas mask bags (including for children), since a big fear left over from the Great War was of chemical warfare. Of course, the Parisian gas mask bags were very fashionably done. In WWII Home Front depictions (eg, in PBS' World on Fire) we see civilians in the UK carrying a little cardboard box with them all the time, usually with it slung over one shoulder with string. That contains their gas mask -- that fact wasn't revealed in that show, but it was in the new Netflix movie Munich – The Edge of War. The only scene I remember from having seen Mrs. Miniver (1942) decades ago was that Mr. Miniver had built an air raid shelter in their back yard which featured an air intake duct with a filter for the poison gas and he was showing her how to use it.
Speaking of gas masks, that metal cylinder that you see hanging from a German infantryman's belt in back contains his gas mask. And they also had special gas masks for their dogs and horses.
One of my tech school instructors tested us by asking for the only drill command that would be completed instantly -- the situation he proposed was that a formation was about to march off a cliff such that the next step would be the last for the first rank; what command would you give to stop them and save everybody? Remember that those commands are given in two parts: the preparatory command and the command of execution: eg, "Company, atten -- ("wait for it, wait for it") HUT!", or Monty Python's "Confuse the -- CAT!". Even then, a "company -- halt!" or "to the rear -- march!" would involve one or two more steps before the command took effect. The only command you could give to stop the entire formation instantly is "GAS!", whereupon every troop stops and dons his gas mask.
Today is the prophesized start of Czar Putin’s drive to the west.
If it happens, this may become just a local purchase bought with a few dead soldiers and a chunk of his economy. The west will withhold economic credits, levee sanctions and send strongly worded official ambassadorial recriminations. The economic hit will be real but it’s just the people being hurt so who gives a fuck. Czars have always expected the people to sacrifice for their glory. This one would expect no less.
Or, could the military industrial complex get its fervent wish and the Ukraine crumble into a western-supplied guerilla force going toe-to-toe with a foreign aggressor? Afghanistan 2 - Ukraine Version
Of course NATO could just say no, not allowed, and tell Vlad if he invades then NATO moves into the Ukraine in force. Bullies usually back down after a bloody nose. But no one expects such resolve here.
If Czar Putin follows centuries-old Russian strategy he will push here and there taking what he can get until he meets a sword he doesn’t want to fight. No one seems to remember what he’s already done in the Crimea.
In the meantime the rest of the Ukraine, once a free democracy on the Czar’s doorstep, is crumbling and may once again belong to the Czars. Thank you, Catherine.
We get to watch, live. This is interesting. I admit. I want to see how this plays out.
One interesting wrinkle to this war is the role of the media, social media, with dis-information alerts and contrary facts pointed out real-time. We are watching the world expose each move of this deception, calling out each pretense, exposed, and spun in the world media. The cyber-attacks were identified and exposed, in process, as were some social-media disinformation campaigns.
Usually, western democracies often feel hindered in their diplomatic efforts by media exposure. And social media is hardly a bastion of pleasant ideologies. But this is the first time I have seen such a deft use of the world media to help with the diplomacy. Internet and social media are playing a very unique role in these proceedings. They are serving as a most excellent instant fact-checking machine. Someone’s playing this well from the west.
Unfortunately, Czar Putin, The Imperially Pissed Off, is not so affected. He said this move was existential for him. He has no choice but to restore the grandeur of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, The Great Russian Empire at it’s zenith. Announcing the new Great Russian Empire v 2.0
So with the great all-seeing eye in focus, we get to watch a war unfold.
I fear you may be correct. This only makes sense as part of a much larger power play. Putin sees that Russia is still a marginalized country. He may be fearing losing his grip on power. He is going to lash out in order to assert Russia as a world power and the fuck the rest of the world. We are close to the end of the world as we know it.
What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens
Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.
If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?