Why I hate capitalism

December 21, 2015

The Los Angeles Times reports,

he hunt for a deadly superbug that sickened 22 patients at a Dutch hospital began just before noon on a spring day in 2012.

Inside a lab in the tiny hamlet of Zoeterwoude, a technician carefully peeled back the tip of a state-of-the art medical scope. Watching him intently was a small group of hospital officials and executives from Olympus Corp., the maker of the device.
A 2012 inspection by Olympus and Dutch hospital officials revealed a brown film inside a duodenoscope. (Arjo Loeve / Delft University of Technology)

The Olympus technician found trouble right away. He spotted a brown, grimy film inside parts of the flexible, snake-like scope — parts that were supposed to be sealed. A rubber ring designed to keep bacteria out was cracked and worn. The same bacteria that had sickened the patients were found on the scope.

An investigator hired by Olympus and the hospital concluded that the scope’s design could allow blood and tissue to become trapped, spreading bacteria from one patient to another. In his report, he called on Olympus to conduct a worldwide investigation and recall all its scopes if similar problems turned up.

Over the next three years, 21 people died and at least two dozen more became ill from infections related to scopes in Pittsburgh, Seattle and Los Angeles. An unknown number of other patients have been infected. The Food and Drug Administration has identified 10 outbreaks, seven of which involve Olympus scopes.

Instead of acting responsibly, Olympus concealed the truth and killed people.


I love the smell of capitalism burning in the morning

May 2, 2015

Ray Schultz, the former police chief of the embattled Albuquerque Police Department that the DOJ is investigating, has been accused of improperly accepting perks and consulting work from Taser International in return for assisting the company to be awarded a lucrative $1.95 million no-bid contract to supply the department with body cameras. His accuser is the New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller who recently completed an audit of the department. Keller says Schultz started working as a consultant for Taser International when he was still employed and being paid as the police chief.

Amy Connolly of the UPI reports,

The state auditor’s office found Schultz and others in the police department received a number of perks from Taser as they helped secure the contract, including tickets to a party at a San Diego nightclub, an all-expenses paid trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., for training and speaking engagements in Texas.

“The contracts between the city and Taser circumvented the competitive process, or, in former APD Chief Raymond Shultz’s own words, the process was ‘greased.’ The taxpayers are not well served when the process is gamed by our leaders,” Keller said.

Schultz denies wrongdoing.

I love the smell of capitalism burning in the morning.


Gilead Sciences (GILD): A drug manufacturer willing to kill the sick in order to profit

April 4, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Good afternoon:

Behold: The invisible hand of the market commits murder.

Neoliberals insist that the free market (i.e., unregulated) is the only way to go. They assure us that the “invisible hand” of greed will encourage competition and promote efficiency resulting in better and cheaper products.

Instead, it produces monopolies that can kill.

CBS is reporting today:

Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C treatment, can cure up to 90 percent of patients within three months. There’s just one problem: The drug costs $1,000 a day. That price tag has thrown the biotechnology world into turmoil, as lawmakers and insurance companies complain that Sovaldi’s maker is trying to milk desperate patients.

Doctors are understandably finding it hard to pass over a drug that is so effective. As a result, Sovaldi’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences (GILD), is raking in the dough, while its shares have soared 53 percent over the last year. Sovaldi, in fact, may generate the biggest sales ever for a drug’s first year. It could bring in a jaw-dropping $7 billion to $10 billion in sales this year alone, analysts say.

Hepatitis C can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. With the exception of Sovaldi, there is no cure.

Approximately three million Americans suffer from Hepatitis C. Many of them were infected by intravenous drug use. Many are poor. More than half are veterans, prisoners, uninsured or on Medicaid, according to the New York Times.

The price of Sovaldi has nothing to do with the cost to produce it.

Gilead, which manufactures Sovaldi, charges what it believes the market will bear. For example, it sells it at a 99% discounted price in Egypt.

If someone dies because they cannot afford to pay $1,000 per day, so what?

Gilead could obviously care less.

CBS reports:

Gilead wants to tier its pricing based on a country’s per-capita income. So patients in the U.K would pay about $57,000, Reuters reports, while Germans would pay $66,000 and Americans are paying $84,000.

Ain’t capitalism wonderful.

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Fred


Slavery and environmental destruction are capitalism’s fatal flaws

August 10, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Good afternoon to all of our friends:

Greed or the search for ever higher profits is the engine that drives free market capitalism.

Labor unions and government regulation of corporations are widely regarded by Republicans and Democrats as unacceptable restrictions to free market capitalism. Incredibly, they believe the free market will regulate itself via the so-called “invisible hand” of greed.

This bizarre idea is the foundation of neoliberal economics and you can read all about it in Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.

Greed is God in the United States today and that is why we have seen so many corporations relocate and/or outsource millions of jobs to foreign countries where labor and taxes are cheap and there are no environmental regulations. The result: our economy is in ruins and nothing is being done to fix it.

The invisible hand of greed cannot regulate a free market since it neither restricts the exploitation of the environment to seize natural resources nor the enslavement of labor with which to produce products for sale with those resources.

I wrote yesterday about the mind boggling high rate of incarceration in this country despite low rates of violent crime to warn people that our criminal justice system is being used to enslave our brothers and sisters so that others might profit from their free labor.

Today’s article completes the larger picture.

Capitalism cannot regulate itself. Therefore, the government must regulate capitalism. Should it fail to do so, slavery and unlimited environmental destruction will necessarily result.

If there be a Satan, his name is Greed.

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Please keep those donations coming. Although our situation is not as desperate, we are not out of the woods yet.


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