Quite the contrast between all the news Brad and Desi had to fit in yesterday, and the relatively quiet developments today; everyone's hitting the road. Except Donald, who's hitting Twitter, and SCOTUS chief John Roberts, who's hitting back.
We start with a round-up of news, including three abortion stories (yes, politicians in Ohio want you dead if you get or give an abortion); three tales of adults adulting, even in DC; and a story out of Saudi Arabia that makes it even more astounding that Trump loves the Crown Prince (and Saudi-tied profits) so dearly. Plus a look at Robert Reich's antitrust take on Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
Then long-time historian/journalist ADAM HOCHSCHILD discusses his book, Lessons from a Dark Time --- a collection of his work from over the decades. (A warning here for those who are sensitive to sexual assault discussions, as that does come up.) We talk about prison reform, redefining gun issues, and how far the Nazi Germany metaphor might play out in the US.
Housing activist and journalist RANDY SHAW has a book, too, and it has an unusual take on the urban housing crisis: it's a generational thing. Generation Priced Out documents his investigations in twelve major US cities, seeking both factors and fixes. In addition to the more universally-recognized culprits, he sees a less-discussed one: Baby Boomer resistance to housing the next generations.
And at the very tail end of the hour, a little something to make you smile --- to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit of gratitude. I'll let you check it out for yourself.
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California's Proposition 61, "the Drug Price Standards Initiative", is simple and straightforward. It mandates that any California state agency that provides funding for prescription drugs may not pay more than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
PhRMA, the powerful drug industry lobbying organization, opposes the measure, and is using blatantly dishonest television ads, such as this one featuring Marine Corps Veteran Lamont Duncan, to claim that the measure will increase the price the VA pays for prescription drugs, harming veterans in the bargain...
The ad leads viewers to the same erroneous assumption presented by the state's Legislative Analyst (emphasis added) --- that "drug manufacturers might choose to raise VA drug prices" in response to passage of Prop 61. Worse, the ad erroneously suggests that veterans themselves could be forced into higher co-pays.
As Senator Bernie Sanders, the former chairman of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Committee, noted in an LA Times op-ed in support of Prop 61, "pharmaceutical companies cannot unilaterally raise the price of drugs it sells to the VA." Those prices, he explains, are fixed by federal law.
Conservative economist Greg D'Angelo, from Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies confirms Sanders point in this explanation published some years ago: "The VA's discounts are mandated by [federal] law." Drug manufacturers lack the power to so much as "negotiate" a higher VA price, according to D'Angelo, let alone unilaterally raise them. And, as Sanders adds, "veterans' drug co-payments are fixed and do not rise even if drug prices go up." In cases where their treatment is for a service-connected condition, veterans "pay no out of pocket costs whatsoever for prescription drugs," the Senator notes.
While Prop 61 is subject to valid concerns, as explained below, under existing federal law, a betrayal of the right for affordable pharmaceuticals to Veterans is not one of them...
We covered the subject of wealth acquisition by the likes of Charles Koch and Mitt Romney in "Wealth vs. Democracy and the 2012 Presidential Campaign" --- "outsourcing, manipulations of the financial markets, of government and our laws" --- not as character flaws but as variants of the behaviors one can anticipate from their class.
As we approach the Fall campaign, we can anticipate a propaganda blitz that is based on variations of a line from the song "If I Were a Rich Man" of Fiddler on the Roof --- "When you're rich, they think you really know."
No doubt we will hear, time and again, that Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney's wealth acquisition is a testament to his business savvy that will equate to jobs creation. Against that backdrop is this short video (below) in which Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, provides a succinct rebuttal to the jobs scam canard...