Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Epipen Epilogue

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on Epipen alternative

After the hue and cry last week over accusations of price gouging over EpiPens, the manufacturer Mylan Pharmaceuticals announced that it would begin supplying a generic anti-anaphalaxis medical device that will be half the current $600 price of EpiPens for a two pack.  Mylar noted that the EpiPen brand will also be available for those who are weary of taking generics.

Investors rewarded Mylar at this announcement with a 2% increased valuation in stock. But the public will have lingering suspicions that Heather Bresch sought to inject crony capitalism into EpiPen price gouging

Hillary Clinton on Children and the State

Hillary Clinton on the State and Children

Friday, August 26, 2016

Outrage Over EpiPen Exploitation

Outrage of EpiPen Exploitation

As the school year is beginning and students with allergies are adjusting to new environs and routines, it has come to light that the cost of EpiPens, a life saving medical device to treat anaphylaxis from food allergies and bee stings, has skyrocketed.

The price of an EpiPen has gone from $57 to over $400 a unit.  This dramatic price increase prompted one exasperated mother to concede that she is no longer putting away money for her kid's college fund but in order to save for EpiPens.

While Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPens, has declined to indicate the reasons for the price spike, pharmaceutical manufacturers typically impose significant price in the waning years of a monopoly before generic alternatives are allowed on the market.  However, in this case, the FDA has unexpectedly rejected a generic anaphalaxis alternative from Teva, requiring "more data".  And dosing problems prompted Sanofi pharmaceuticals to pull Auvi-Q (a non-generic treatment) from the market.  So EpiPens has a virtual monopoly on anaphylactic remedies as Mylan was seeking to suck every last cent of profit from EpiPens.

It may raise eyebrows that as Mylan acquired its virtual monopoly for EpiPens, Mylan's CEO Heather Bresch saw a 671% increase in  salary and compensation, going from $2.4 Million to a reported $18.9 Million. And it is an inconvenient truth that Ms. Bresch is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) who has donated $60,750 from 2011 to 2015. Between the generous financial support and filial ties,  it raises the specter of crony capitalism and possible nepotism. 

While Senator Manchin does not directly sit on heath committees and has voiced public concern over the incredible cost increases for EpiPens, his daughter might not be grilled harshly by his colleagues.  And it is unclear how the FDA decided that they needed more data for the generic.  With accusations of State Department concierge service associated with the Clinton Foundation and the politicization of Executive Branch Agencies (EPA, Energy, Agriculture etc..) and supposedly Independent Agencies (e.g. FCC on net neutrality), family ties may expedite an advantageous environment.  Or perhaps it's just another isolated incident of corporate serendipity .

The public was outraged by the EpiPen exploitation.  Sarah Jessica Parker, whose son suffers from anaphylactic shock, agreed to be the celebrity spokeman for EpiPens.  When this controversy arose, Sarah Jessica Parker went on social media to end her association with Mylan, thus walking away from a lucrative endorsement contract.

Mylan sought to mitigate the public relations mess about EpiPens by announcing that a family of four making $97,000 would pay nothing out of pocket for the prescription. That sounds nice but the inflated costs are just passed along to insurers and employers. With Obamacare on the precipice of a financial death spiral in 2017 and insurers pulling out of health exchange markets, this solution is a mere chimera. 

John Bolton: Vote for Hillary--Not Indicted Yet!

UN Ambassador John Bolton suggests Hillary Clinton campaign slogan


Fanfare for the Crazy Life

The crazy life of Allan Sherman

American satirist Allan Sherman tried to teach Peter Noonan of Herman's Hermits on Fanfare how to go crazy with lyrics by "translating them" from American to British.

Friday, August 19, 2016

On Socialist Meat Puppets

James Wood on Barack Obama as a Socialist Meat Puppet

UK MEP Daniel Hannan: "Mr. Trump, You're No Mr. Brexit"

British MEP Daniel Hannan on Donald Trump's claim of being Mr. Brexit

British Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan (South East England-Tory) is known across the Atlantic as being a staunch critic of anthropogenic climate change.  Hannan also is a renowned Euroskeptic who had an iconic personal campaign for the Brexit referendum: Vote Me Out of a Job!

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R-NY) recently crowned himself "Mr. Brexit", perhaps trying to associate himself with a triumphant underdog image.  This parallel did not settle well with MEP Daniel Hannan, who used social media to distinguish between the Brexit campaign and Mr. Trump's electoral efforts. 

To be fair, Hannan has long been a Euro equivalent of a Never Trump-er.  However, Trump's attempt to attach unto the Brexit Leave victory goes right into Hannan's wheelhouse. It will be interesting to see if Trump continues to bask himself in Brexit's glory or if he will concoct another conceit for his comeback against Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Donald Trump as Mr. Brexit?

Donald Trump Claims the moniker of Mr. Brexit

During an interview on Fox and Friends, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R-NY) claimed the moniker "Mr. Brexit". 

It is unclear if Trump pushes the parallel that the polls are dramatically wrong or if it is a wedge issues between elites and common folks, or maybe emblemizing the rise of nationalism. Possibly all of the above.

Carl Jung on Life

Carl Jung on Life

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When the "Turd Tornado" Joins the Fan

Ben Shapiro has not minced words about his old boss Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon.  Shapiro had been Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News for nearly four years but he left when Breitbart News under the direction of Steve Bannon gave lukewarm support to their reporter Michelle Fields after she alleged an assault by then Trump Campaign Manager Cory Lewandowski.

Ex Editor in Chief Ben Shapiro analyzes how Steve Bannon ruined Breitbart News

Now that Steve Bannon has been named the Trump Campaign's CEO over Paul Manafort, Shapiro offered colorful commentary on CNN of Steve Bannon's character:  a turd tornado.

But Shapiro notes that the appointment of Steve Bannon makes sense as Trump will hear what he wants and will go down swinging.

Bannon is the third effective Trump Campaign Lead in three months (Lewandowski, Manafort and Bannon). All have been brawlers. Time will tell if the new Trump management can keep the candidate on message and expanding the base of potential voters rather than continuing to alienate groups, banish the base and squander campaign opportunities by going off-message.

The announcement of Bannon formally joining the Trump team (his website colloquially had been tagged Trump-Bart for months) overshadowed Trump's "major" law and order speech in West Bend, Wisconsin. 

This continues the pattern of the Trump campaign stepping on their message, as Mr. Trump famously used his post GOP convention presser to revive crazy conspiracy theories about Senator Ted Cruz's father being implicated in the JFK assassination rather than focus on the general election campaign. 

Hannah Arendt on Evil

Hannah Arendt on Evil

Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump Tries Blazing New Trail to Reach Voters Thru Glenn Beck

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R-NY) has made a sport of mocking media with whom he has a tiff.  This includes Glenn Beck, a conservative oriented libertarian who was a partisan of Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries and who has announced that he can not vote for Donald Trump in Election 2016, 

Trump played upon Glenn's emotive nature in deriding Beck and the Blaze comparing him to the outsted House Crier, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

Now Trump seems so desperate that he will blaze new trails by advertising with Glenn Beck.

So rather than be interviewed by Beck and answer some hard questions, Trump arranged to place paid media through the Blaze.  So Trump is effectively renting Beck's mailing list to get consideration for 10 million voters who he previously dismissed.

But this paid placement did not come without some caveats. Beck spent a whole segment on his nationally syndicated radio show explaining to his listeners why there was this turnabout.  Beck mused that unless a politician was a Klan person, Beck was open to take their money and allow the free flow of ideas.

Because Donald Trump now has his misgivings about the New York Times, the Trump campaign is now considering banning NYT reporters from events on the hustings. Wonder how much print ads are in the Old Grey Lady, after all Trump may think that the Empire State is in play. 

Frederic Bastiat on Philanthropy

Frederic Bastiat on Philanthropy

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fledgling Independent Presidential Candidate Evan McMullin on Donald Trump

Independent Presidential Candidate Evan McMullin on Republican nominee Donald Trump

Newly announced independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin had some sharp words towards Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R-NY).

McMullin has previously worked for the majority staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee so he may actually care about conservatism rather than just rely on their votes to be anyone but Hillary.  McMullin also served for ten years for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Due to McMullin's late launch, it will be impossible for McMullin to get ballot access throughout the 50 states.  With a concerted effort, McMullin's campaign might be able to get ballot access in 1/3rd of the states.  

It is unclear if McMullin's campaign is intended to be a quixotic Never Trump initiative or if it is intended to indicate that conservatives need not submit to the GOP Trump Party.   It is possible that McMullin, due to his Mormon background and rock solid conservative credentials, might be able to swing a couple of Mountain States (namely Utah and Idaho), which would never have voted for Democrats in a normal cycle but are toss ups with Trump.  

Theoretically, if Trump is not trounced in the Electoral College, McMullin might garner enough Electoral College votes to throw the 2016 election into the House of Representatives. That's highly unlikely, but in this election cycle nothing seems out of the question.

Many Conservative Republicans have groused about the Grand Old Party's populist nationalist nominee but no one else dared to do something about it. If Evan McMullin proves to be the real deal, many principled conservatives may consider voting their conscience in November.

Gary Johnson: Religious Liberty is a Black Hole

Gary Johnson on Religious Liberty

If one wonders why Libertarian Presidential candidate labeled Religious Liberty issues as a black hole in the Washington Examiner, consider the colloquy in the Libertarian debate with Austin Peterson.

Not knowing the law, the constitution nor respecting religious freedom of believers to act in accords to their conscience may make Johnson's words a black hole for votes in November.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lula da Silva on the Rio Olympics

Ex Brazilian President Lula da Silva on the Rio Summer Olympics

Considering the cost overruns and concerns about terrorism, President Barack Obama's  most felicitous "accomplishment" may have been the elimination of Chicago for the 2016 Summer Olympics, despite a full court lobbying press by the President 

Cheers to a Toasted Candidate

And with Coke's help, they could make Cuba Libre!

But if such a campaign became drunk on power then it might be like the Pogue Mahone.

Nota Bene for all the cunning linguists out there:  I am aware that the Gaelic is póg mo thóin but most American readers would remember the original title of the traditional folk Irish punk band by their bastardized name "Pog mo hone" before they had to change it to get on Top of the Pops.

Michael Bloomberg on Donald Trump

Ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump

Explaining Away the Trump Intervention

Rudy Giuliani explains away Donald Trump campaign intervention

With the dramatic drop of Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (R-NY) in the post convention polls, there has been murmuring in establishment GOP circles that there ought to be an "intervention" to prevent an election day disaster.  There have even been reports that the RNC has been studying Rule 9, which establishes the procedure of replacing a national Republican candidate.

While the drop in the polls may fuel such speculation, it is typical talk during an election cycles "Silly Season" when the electorate is not focused on the campaign (with vacations, the Olympics) nor are there big events (such as the conventions or debates) looming.

A strong Trump surrogate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fanned the flames of this Trump intervention talk with his honest analysis of how Trump 2.0 (if it ever comes to fruition) must evolve for the general election. To do damage control, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NYC) tried to explain away the characterization of a Trump "intervention".

Is The Trump Show Celebrity Campaigning?

Ben Howe compares GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump with celebutard Paris Hilton