Billionaires Do the Two-Step into Space While Most Americans Try to Stay Afloat

Making Money

Eleven people in the world die every minute — most from preventable causes like hunger. That doesn’t seem to faze three billionaires who could afford to right the world’s ship solely on the rise in their net worth during the pandemic. Instead, these unspeakably greedy billionaires, chief among them Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, are off to the wild blue yonder to turn space into a capitalist profit center via a sub-orbital tourist business. But the vast bulk of Americans need not apply. For the first trip, the Bezos entourage held a lottery. The winning bid? $28 million. We need to build a road to space so that our children can build the future.” [Jeff Bezos] Considering that in order to snag a seat on Bezos’ next flight, a ticket will cost $300,000 or more, the universe of space travelers and their “kids” is miniscule. Only about two million people in a U.S. population of 333 million could afford a seat on the next joyride. [Vertical Research Partners] Remember this is the guy who could give all Amazon’s U.S. workers (one million+) a one-time $105,000 bonus and still be as filthy rich as he was before the pandemic. What he did instead as the pandemic was raging: eliminated the $2-an-hour pay boost intended to reward frontline workers for continuing to come into work. While he was cheating his workers, he was hard at work building a half billion-dollar yacht. Think that’s as obscene as it gets? Check out “Billionaires Doing the Two-Step in Space While Most Americans Try to Stay Afloat” and you may wind up wishing he stays in space permanently.

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Promises Made, Promises Broken: All in a Days’ Work for U.S. Presidents — Part 2

The Two Faces of Biden

In Part 2 of this chronicle of backpedals, flip flops and downright lies of the current President, we dig more deeply into how his domestic agenda has been cannibalized by his fealty to his major donors in healthcare, corporate America, the executive suites of big pharma, and among the political class hoping to expand the reach of imperial America. His debt to voters who were the actual king makers isn’t on his radar crowded out by the demands of the only people who count in Washington — major donors. That’s why there will be no $15 minimum wage, no public option in Obamacare, no legislation to lower drug prices or allow overburdened consumers to import their drugs from Canada. On the contrary, the Biden administration is actively working to subvert efforts to reduce (minimally) student loan balances and to relax the bankruptcy rules for needy debtors. Candidate Biden’s high-minded rhetoric on making rich Americans pay for infrastructure repairs bit the dust soon after he became president. We end with a little dark humor. His fiery rhetoric extolling the virtuous behavior of imperial America and his equally fiery denunciation of those “sneaky” Russians. It’s a true Biden moment you won’t want to miss. Tune into “Promises Made, Promises Broken: All in a Day’ Work for U.S. Presidents, Part 2.

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Promises Made, Promises Broken: All in a Day’s Work for U.S. Presidents, Part 1

Last Four Presidential Liars

While running for office, U.S. presidents promise the moon to voters. Once they’re elected, it’s green cheese all around. Call it the essence of American democracy. The current president, Joe Biden, is not one to scoff at tradition. His list of promises made during his run and broken in short order after the election would fill an encyclopedia if one still existed. He bragged that the moment his hand left the sacred bible he would “start by reversing the tax cuts for the super-rich and corporations.” Then he directed his new Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellin, to let the people who really count —Wall Street crooks and corporate robber barons — know he was just kidding. She speedily set the record straight — “And probably tax increases to pay for at least part of it [infrastructure spending] would probably phase in slowly over time.” Come to think of it, what right-minded politician who has spent five decades sucking up to big money would consider a promise made in the heat of battle to be set in stone? Mary Poppins called them piecrust promises —quickly made and easily broken. In “Promises Made, Promises Broken: All in a Day’s Work for U.S. Presidents, Part 1,” you may discover why it’s time for a third party.

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Three Bogeymen of the Apocalypse: Why the $4 trillion U.S. Healthcare Industry Blew the Pandemic

Covid Death

How to explain the pickle the U.S. is in? The world’s most powerful and richest nation with only 4% of the world’s population has managed to infect 33 million Americans. Almost 600,00 have died. The country that annually spends $4 trillion on healthcare, most of it going into the pockets of healthcare executives, was helpless to stop the widespread carnage. Victims died in nursing homes from shoddy care, in hospitals from a “just in time” supply chain that did not stockpile vital equipment and supplies and at home because their privatized insurance put the cost of an ambulance ride out of reach. There’s lots of blame to go around, but three bogeymen, Bourla, Biden and Fauci, are especially culpable. From uneven vaccine distribution by profit-hungry vaccine makers (Bourla), to the failure of U.S. political leaders to bring the drug companies to heel (Biden) and last but far from least, to the medical advice of the U.S. infectious disease expert (Fauci) whose constantly shifting opinions on mask-wearing, waiving patent protection for vaccines, sourcing the COVID virus, and reaching herd immunity have led many Americans to wonder whose side he’s on. It’s a mess and if you wonder how big, check out “Three bogeymen of the Apocalypse: Why the $4 Trillion U.S. Healthcare Industry Blew the Pandemic.

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Millions Die as Drug Companies Use Monopoly Medicine To Rake in the Dough

Drug Profiteering

How does it come to pass that we have bought the lie that corporate big wigs and billionaires are fonts of wisdom, with no personal or professional axe to grind, solely dedicated to ensuring that everyone gets a fair shake? Bill Gates, billionaire founder of Microsoft is one example of the breed. He thinks opening up vaccine distribution to the whole world is “a bad idea.” Guess what? The world’s high-income countries who are spending billions to corner the market on doses agree with him, as do the CEOs of drug companies who have amassed fabulous wealth from the world’s misery. It’s a race to the bottom. How about candidate Biden who promised to support lifting the drug companies’ hold on vaccine technology? “Absolutely, positively. This is the only humane thing in the world to do…The answer is Yes. Yes, yes, yes.” When he became president, Biden waited over 100 days to live up to that promise albeit with a decided lack of enthusiasm and many conditions. Is it time to pull the plug on Big Pharma’s stranglehold over the manufacture and distribution of COVID vaccines? Does their profit come first in the middle of a pandemic? Check out “Millions Die as Drug Companies Use Monopoly Medicine to Rake in the Dough“ for a possible answer.

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Profiting off the COVID Vaccine: Big Pharma Hauls in Big Dollars from the World’s Pandemic Misery

Stop Greed

You gotta hand it to them. A united front in pharma-land to keep the profits rolling in. When the outcry over the rising cost of prescription drugs erupted — 30% of patients cannot afford to take their prescribed doses — drug company flacks tut-tutted and came up with a refrain they repeat over and over: “[Increased prices are] necessary to support investments that allow us to continue to discover new medicines and deliver those breakthroughs to the patients who need them.” Balderdash! Even a committee of the bought and paid for House of Representatives was forced to admit: “…prices have skyrocketed over the last few decades… these same companies’ have dedicated more and more of their funds to enrich shareholders or to purchase other companies to eliminate competition.” Now pharma has come up with a new wrinkle. The CEO of the world eighth largest drug company, Pfizer, one of three vaccine makers, — revenues of over $42 billion in 2020 — took it upon himself to announce that every American would need at least one booster shot and a COVID vaccination ever year. That announcement more than quadrupled projections for Pfizer’s future revenues from the vaccine. Is the CEO of any drug company particularly one with such an obvious conflict of interest competent to make healthcare decisions affecting every American? Before you decide, check out “Profiting off the COVID Vaccine: Big Pharma Hauls in Big Dollars from the World’s Pandemic Misery

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Vaccines Developed by a Profit-Driven Healthcare System May Not Stop the Next Pandemic

For Profit Hospitals

it’s very nice that the G20 [20 of the world’s largest economies] see Covid-19 immunization ‘as a global public good,’ but the reality is that G20 countries have privatized the medical knowledge behind Covid vaccines … preventing most of the world producing the vaccines we so desperately need. They should have taken this moment to commit to putting the health of people across the world ahead of Big Pharma’s profits,” [Daniel Willis, U.K advocacy group Global Justice]

The role of the U.S. in this shameful conspiracy is appalling. Like his predecessor, President Biden has continued to block India and South Africa’s proposal for an emergency lifting of the world-wide agreement that enforces patent protection allowing drug companies to hoard the formula’s for the vaccine. Monopoly control by the drug companies persists even though a lot of taxpayer money went into the development of their vaccines. Would you believe the drug companies have already bamboozled the U.S. out of $12 billion of taxpayer money?

There’s lots more to indict the U.S., including a profit-driven healthcare system that was so totally unprepared for the pandemic that the U.S. finds itself in the unenviable position of being 5% of the world’s population but first in COVID cases and deaths. How does the U.S. lack of a national health care system make vaccines only a temporary solution? You may find the answer in “Vaccines Developed by a Profit-Driven Healthcare System May Not Stop the Next Pandemic

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Biden’s American Rescue Plan — Much Less Than Meets the Eye

Who is Biden?

Talk about a pig in a poke. The American Rescue Plan was hailed as a “Big win both policy and politics…major achievement for the President (John King, CNN, 3/9). Biden himself was over the moon with his handiwork— “What we did get … is a bill to address the crises facing the American people not the wealthy and large corporations...the most significant…legislation to benefit the working class.” Progressive activists didn’t buy it —“No one will be more excited …than my old friends in the corporate insurance industry…funneling $48 billion taxpayer dollars to them…[Wendell Potter] Not one word about taxing wealthy Americans to give the rest the full and unqualified relief they need. In a country where “for a few hundred billionaires … pandemic profits are so immense that America’s billionaires could pay for a major COVID relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches.” What this bill does contain is a bunch of temporary and miserly half-measures. Not a path to address soaring income inequality nor a way back from the hell into which millions of Americans were plunged. Don’t believe the lies and evasions coming from the mainstream media stenography pool and a few progressive outlets and check out “Biden’s American Rescue Plan — Much Less Than Meets the Eye” for the real story.

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Having It Their Way: Drug Companies Raking in the Dough While Americans Get Sicker and Poorer

Pharma Swooping

As drug prices continue to sky rocket and Americans get sicker and poorer, the pandemic reveals the shocking truth about the true extent of Pharma’s greed. Those life-saving vaccines the U.S. government is providing. Think they’re free? They’re not. The government may be handling the sale but it’s your tax dollars that pay for every dose. The hitch is that unlike the rest of the developed world, the U.S. is reported to be paying an up-charge of 60¢ for every vaccine dose. For the first 200 million doses, the U.S. was ripped off an extra $120 million. It doesn’t end there. Between the vaccination scam, the outrageous prices of both new and old drugs, the prohibition against Medicare (seniors account for over one-third of prescription drug use) negotiating prices — is it any wonder that Pharma is the most profitable sector of the healthcare industry? Sure, it takes a few billions of “walking around” money to pay off the politicians, hire a gaggle of lobbyists, grease the palms of doctors who write the prescriptions and entice consumers via direct consumer advertising. But it’s worth it. In 2019, the drug industry made $1.3 trillion worldwide. 48% of it was made in the U.S. As the outrages mount, the extent of Pharma’s criminality is eye popping. You’ll see why in “Having it their way: Drug Companies Awash in Dough, While Americans get Sicker and Poorer.

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The Media In the Tank for the Democrats

Disappearing Trump

Business as usual. The media lionizing Joe Biden, trashing Donald Trump. Well-deserved on both counts? You decide. But is picking winners the job of the media in a democracy? Once the media prided itself on its impartiality. Now profits are king and objective reporting is the archetype of a forgotten era. The media is giving the incoming Biden administration a free pass. The love fest began on January 20 transforming what most progressives regarded as an unremarkable, cliché-ridden inaugural speech into the second coming of the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s one particularly egregious example of the media bending the knee to the administration — “He is the better angel president. Joe Biden is eternally optimistic, he’s not cynical. … He still thinks the better angels exist.” [Chuck Todd, stenographer-in-chief NBC] How long before Biden snares a Nobel? Hard to tell but while you’re waiting check out “The Media In the Tank for the Democrats.

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