By late April, 2019, more Americans shot dead than total Allied soldiers killed in D-Day invasion


Sean Gallup/Getty

❝ On Thursday, Americans remembered those killed on D-Day, 75 years back. It was a day of enormous heroism that was critical in turning back Nazi Germany’s attempt to conquer Europe. Thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians and soldiers from other countries were part of the largest amphibious invasion force in history.

❝ Some 2,501 Americans gave their lives that day, according to historic estimates. Another 1,913 soldiers from other Allied countries also died, bringing the total death toll from the immediate invasion to 4,414.

It took until late April before the number of people killed by guns in the United States in 2019 topped that number, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive…

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Fossil fuel subsidies even greater than military industrial complex


The US Capitol power plant burns coalJim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Shutterstock

❝ The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.

❝ Oil, gas and coal companies — and their stooges in public office — have long argued that making consumers pay for the full impacts of fossil fuel use would cripple the economy. The IMF experts call bullshit on this idea, revealing that the world would, in fact, be more prosperous. Eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels would have created global “net economic welfare gains” in 2015 of “more than $1.3 trillion, or 1.7 percent of global GDP…”

Between stooging for corporations killing us with fossil fuels and the military-industrial complex pouring money down the death and destruction rathole, that’s well over a trillion dollar$ a year in wasted money. Funds that could have been spent on healthcare, improved public education, any number of programs designed to benefit the working folks of America.

Pharma pimps say: Everyone/No one is raising insulin prices

❝ A casual observer of April’s House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing might think insulin prices just go up by themselves.

After all, the key industry executives filed opening statements to the congressional panel outlining patient-assistance programs, coupons and discounts — a range of price reductions that might make one think this life-or-death diabetes medication is easily affordable to the patients who need it….

❝ In fact, the price of insulin nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016 alone, triggering national headlines about the resulting hardships — sometimes deadly — suffered by people with the Type I-version of the condition who are left to ration insulin because it is too expensive for them to use as prescribed.

❝ The three drug manufacturers that make insulin — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — joined three pharmacy benefit managers — CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx — to testify before the Oversight and Investigations panel at its second hearing probing the corporate maneuvers behind the skyrocketing costs.

They disagreed a lot. All that counted was whose lies were the most believable. For years, no one has owned more members of Congress than Big Pharma. Giving a minimum of $15,000 a year to anyone elected to Congress. House or Senate. Big enough player? You get more. A lot more.

“In 2009, PhRMA spent about $25 million lobbying the government, Bloomberg said.

The trade association spent $6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 and $10 million in the third, as it lobbied the Trump administration and federal government over a myriad of policies…”

“CNN said the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector spent $194 million lobbying the government in 2018. That amount does not include the lobbying efforts of PhRMA…”

Facebook discovers Washington, DC – not the other way round


Feliciotti

From Om Malik’s April 28th weekly newsletter

❝ Bloomberg Technology host Emily Chang asked me where I think Facebook will be in a year. My answer: Pretty much where it is now. It will be unchanged or even emboldened, thanks in part to its new strategy of buying protection in Washington. Like many other industries — for example, tobacco and oil — Facebook has figured out that it can help write regulations that will allow it to exist blissfully and put its competitors at a disadvantage.

To tame Washington, you must have the right people. So, the company has begun hiring individuals that will help achieve this goal. These are seemingly innocuous moves in what is a long game…

❝ Neither advertisers nor Wall Street — the two constituents that matter more to the company than the people — don’t seem to care about the regulations and the stream of outrage news. Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter put it best when, in a note to his clients he pointed out that, if you “take away all the headlines, the controversies, the regulations, and what you are left with” is a company with lots of users on its platforms that “advertisers will pay to reach.”

The operative verb being “PAY”. Advertisers paying Facebook. Facebook paying lobbyists. Facebook paying new hires with experience at balancing the whole quasi-payola mechanism.