Best way to “friend” someone in Congress? Give them money!

Want a favor from a member of Congress? Give him money. That was the advice Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and head of the Office of Management and Budget, gave to a group of some 1,300 bankers and lending industry professionals at a conference in Washington, DC.

Mulvaney, a former South Carolina representative, said he would only meet with lobbyists who had donated to his campaign while speaking at the American Bankers Association conference on Tuesday, the New York Times reported. “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney said. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

❝ He did emphasize that at the top of the whom-he’d-talk-to ladder were his constituents — regardless of financial contributions — but lobbyists had to pay up…

EXAMPLE:

❝ The payday lending industry donated more than $60,000 to Mulvaney’s past congressional campaigns.

Since Mulvaney took over at the CFPB, the government’s consumer watchdog, the bureau dropped sanctions against the online payday lender NDG Financial Corp., which was accused of running a “cross-border online payday lending scheme.” It scrapped another lawsuit against four Kansas-based payday lenders that allegedly stole millions of dollars from consumers’ bank accounts to pay debts they didn’t owe. The agency shut down a probe into World Acceptance Corp, which donated at least $4,500 to Mulvaney’s congressional campaigns…

‘Nuff said.

US not capable of handling a flu pandemic


influenza ward, US Naval Hospital, Mare Island, California, December 1918

Despite countless breakthroughs in medicine since the 1918 flu pandemic, one key advance continues to elude researchers.

Without a universal vaccine to combat ever-changing flu strains, another pandemic threatens to overwhelm the U.S. health care system, warns Tom Inglesby, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health…

A 2006 study at the Center for Health Security examined the potential impact of a 1918-type pandemic a century later, based on updated U.S. population figures and the current health care system.

“At the peak of the pandemic in the U.S., we’d have seven times more people in need of ventilation than we have ventilators, and seven times the number of people needing intensive care than we have intensive care beds,” Inglesby said.

The relatively mild pandemics of 1957, 1968 and 2009 killed between 12,000 and 70,000 in the U.S. The severe 1918 pandemic killed up to an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S. Deaths a century ago were primarily attributed to lack of a flu vaccine, lack of antibiotics to treat superimposed bacterial pneumonia, and the absence of basic medical supplies that we take for granted now, like oxygen, IV fluids and mechanical ventilation.

Since then, improvements include effective treatments for pneumonia and emergence of vaccines that can generally be developed for a new flu strain within six months. Studies show that vaccines reduce flu risk from 40 to 60 percent—and scientists constantly seek to make them faster and more effective.

RTFA. It might also be useful to have a Congress with elected officials who care more about healthcare than squeezing out another few buck$ in tax breaks for our biggest corporations, wealthiest denizens of Wall Street.

Of course, that would require more than the 2-Party dead end we get lost in every couple of years.

Trump kisses backwards donors’ butts — tries to stop birth control

Few people were surprised…when the Trump administration issued a rule to make it easier for some religious employers to opt out of offering no-cost prescription birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act.

But a separate regulation issued at the same time raised eyebrows. It creates a new exemption from the requirement that most employers offer contraceptive coverage. This one is for “non-religious organizations with sincerely held moral convictions inconsistent with providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services.”

So what’s the difference between religious beliefs and moral convictions?

The difference is that Trump and the GOP have a couple of serious donor organizations opposing a number of women’s rights accepted for decades – but, they haven’t managed to fill in the blanks for religious exemptions our cowardly government allows.

This is the substitute.

Ain’t likely to make it past the smell test in court. Just waste more time and money. But, this will assure rightwing moneyboys that Uncle Sugar’s favorite populist pimp is doing what he’s paid to do – outside the government payroll, that is.

Taking a knee — Republican Style

Pretty much everyone in the family of my father’s generation worked in some part or other of the gun industry for a spell. Part of growing up in the Arsenal of America. We worked every category from machinist to prototype gunsmith, secretary to plant manager. The industry didn’t rely then on the death and destruction of American citizens. The NRA existed to provide safe hunting, safe shooting. Not like today — as a lobbyist for paranoid households and individuals armed to the teeth to “protect” themselves against damned near every other kind of American out there in the dark.