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Member since: Mon Jan 30, 2006, 06:07 PM
Number of posts: 103,185

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The Koch brothers have put out a web video praising Bernie Sanders

for opposing the Export-Import ban. The Koch brothers are posing as populists, and they are using their common ground with Bernie on this issue to draw support for their cause.

The bank gives out many loans to US exporters, including to Seattle-based Boeing to help it compete for airplane sales with European Airbus, which gets similar financing from Europe. AND the Export Import bank returns a PROFIT to the US treasury.

The Koch brothers want to help Airbus, which is now building planes in Alabama -- so they want to make it harder for Airbus's American competitor, Boeing to compete. That's why they're attacking the Export Import bank.

The mystery is why Bernie is. What does he have against Boeing Commercial Airplane company selling planes all over the world and producing tens of thousands of good jobs here?

The Export Import Bank isn't "corporate welfare" -- it gives out loans, not charity. Elizabeth Warren, unlike Bernie, supports the Export Import bank -- which, I repeat, lends out to money to major exporters and makes a PROFIT on its loans.



The group at the center of the Koch brothers' vast political network is praising Bernie Sanders for opposing the Export-Import Bank and for his attacks on corporate welfare.

Freedom Partners put out the web video highlighting its common ground with the Vermont senator ahead of Wednesday night's Democratic debate.

The video features a clip of Sanders responding to a question from the previous debate about why he opposed the Export-Import bank, a favorite punching bag of the Koch brothers. Sanders' stance has put him at odds with many of his fellow Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren.

"I don't want to break the bad news, but Democrats are not always right," Sanders says in the clip. "Democrats have often supported corporate welfare."




Conservatives say the Export-Import Bank amounts to corporate welfare, pointing out that the companies that benefit include major corporations like Boeing, Caterpillar and GE which they say can support themselves without taxpayers’ help.

But supporters of the bank, including groups like the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, point out that most other countries have export credit agencies, in some cases more generous than the U.S. version. Supporters say it will be harder for U.S. companies to compete overseas if their competitors are supported by the government and they aren’t.

The bank says that last year it authorized $20 billion worth of transactions which supported $27.5 billion of U.S. exports and 164,000 U.S. jobs. And it says it has a default rate of less than 1 percent.
Opponents argue that the bank mostly helps big businesses. Of the $20.5 billion in financing and insurance authorized by the bank in 2014, just over $5 billion of that was for small business exporters, according to bank officials. But if the transactions themselves are counted up, more small businesses are helped than big ones. It’s just that the amounts spent on them are smaller.

4. The bank wasn’t a political target until the Tea Party came to power.

In past years the bank was renewed with little or no controversy and sometimes without so much as a roll-call vote. But after a tea party-infused GOP majority retook the House in 2010, conservatives began seizing on the bank as crony capitalism and a federal agency ripe for elimination, making a 2012 reauthorization vote a struggle for the first time.

Outside groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America made it an issue, and this year, with Republicans in control of the Senate and a presidential campaign underway, conservatives have targeted the Export-Import Bank even more assertively.

People who say they don't see race are ignoring racism, not helping solve it.


Race is such an ingrained social construct that even blind people can ‘see’ it. To pretend it doesn’t exist to you erases the experiences of black people

People love to tell me that they often forget that I’m black. They say this with a sort of “a-ha!” look on their faces, as if their dawning ability to see my blackness was a gift to us both.

When I point out that their eyesight had never left them, that my skin has never changed colors, and that they probably did not really forget that I am black, they inevitably get defensive. First, they try to argue that it was a compliment; the smart ones quickly realize that complimenting someone on not being black is actually pretty racist, so they switch gears.

I don’t see race! is usually their next tactic, followed by I am colorblind, though they never give credit to Stephen Colbert. By “colorblind” they don’t actually mean that they can’t see green or red; rather, they are suggesting that they can’t ever be racist, because they don’t register skin color at all.

This ideology is very popular – like a racial utopic version of the Golden Rule – but it’s actually quite racist. “Colorblindness” doesn’t acknowledge the very real ways in which racism has existed and continues to exist, both in individuals and systemically. By professing not to see race, you’re just ignoring racism, not solving it.

Still, the idea of “colorblindness” is incredibly popular, especially with young people who believe racism is a problem for the older generation and will soon die out. . . .


How Big Pharma sells us drugs we don't need or that don't work.


One evening in the late summer of 2015, Lisa Schwartz was watching television at her Vermont home when an ad for a sleeping pill called Belsomra appeared on the screen. Schwartz, a longtime professor at Dartmouth Medical College, usually muted commercials, but she watched this one closely: a 90-second spot featuring a young woman and two slightly cute, slightly creepy fuzzy animals in the shape of the words “sleep” and “wake.”

Schwartz had a reason to be curious about this particular ad. Two years earlier, she had been a member of the advisory panel that reviewed Belsomra for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—and the process had not gone well for the manufacturer, Merck. The company saw its new drug as a major innovation, emphasizing that the medication acted on an entirely different mechanism within the brain than the previous generation of insomnia medicines like Ambien and Lunesta. During the drug’s development, Merck had suggested that it could treat insomnia more effectively and produce fewer side effects than existing medications. In 2012, one Merck scientist described the science underlying Belsomra as a “sea change.”

But when Schwartz and her colleagues scrutinized data from the company’s own large-scale clinical trials, what they found was a lot less impressive. People taking Belsomra fell asleep, on average, only six minutes sooner than people taking a placebo and stayed asleep for a mere 16 minutes longer. Some test subjects experienced worrying side effects, like next-day drowsiness and temporary paralysis upon waking. For a number of people, these effects were so severe that the researchers halted their driving tests, fearing someone would get into an accident. Because of these safety concerns, the FDA ended up approving the drug at a lower starting dosage than the company had requested—a dosage so low that a Merck scientist admitted it was “ineffective.”

So when Schwartz saw the Belsomra ad, she was struck by how smoothly it sidestepped the drug’s limitations. A soothing voiceover hypes the science, giving a sophisticated explanation of how Belsomra targets a neurotransmitter called orexin to turn down the brain’s “wake messages.” “Only Belsomra works this way,” the voice continues. The ad ends with the young woman curling up with the “sleep” animal and falling into a peaceful slumber. “You have no idea watching that ad that we’re talking about falling asleep 6 minutes faster and staying that way an extra 16 minutes—and that’s at higher doses,” Schwartz said. “We really don't have a great idea of how well it works at the lower dose FDA actually recommends for people starting the medication.”

In the United States, commercials like these are simply part of the cultural wallpaper. But just because drug ads are ubiquitous here doesn’t mean they’re a normal way of informing consumers about their medical options. In fact, the U.S. is one of only two developed countries in the world that allow drug companies to advertise their products on television. . . .


"Muslims and Christians will share their bodies tonight."

After the horrors of the park, Muslims and Christians joined in grieving and in acts of love.


A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban called Jamaat-e-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 72 people, including dozens of children, and injured hundreds. The group said the target of its suicide bomber was the Christian minority, celebrating Easter. But when the city’s hospitals counted the dead, they found that more Muslims than Christians had been killed.

That terrible night, thousands thronged the corridors of four city hospitals seeking to donate blood to the victims. Some taxi services announced free rides for those who wanted to give blood, and a blood bank in Karachi offered to ship its supplies without charge. Anthony Permal, a Pakistani Christian blogger and marketing professional based in Dubai, tweeted: “Every drop of blood donated will mix with the blood of the injured. Muslims and Christians will share their bodies tonight.”

As grieving families walked to the Christian cemetery, Gora Kabristan, on Monday, bystanders stood in reverential silence. The general sentiment was that this was not an attack on Christians alone, but on all the residents of Lahore.
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