Have a Happy 4th of July!

Whatever annoyance, grievance, or peeve that you have about the current state of the union, the United States of America is the greatest nation in the history of nations. Have a happy fourth of July and Happy Birthday America! This is what your fellow Americans will be eating and doing tomorrow.

chartoftheday_3612_independence_day_by_the_numbers_n

Roy Filly

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Progressivism/statism/atruism. Grade = F.

Why do I rail against progressive/statist/altruists? Because they are mean and nasty people? No, they are not. Because they are uneducated? No. Quite the contrary – many are highly educated. The reason is that the system of government they espouse doesn’t work and especially doesn’t work for those they say they are determined to help! So, how well are the champions of the poor doing?

10 Poorest Cities in America  (How did it happen?)

City, State, % of People below the Poverty Level

1. Detroit, MI 32.5%

2. Buffalo, NY 29.9%

3. Cincinnati, OH 27.8%

4. Cleveland, OH 27.0%

5. Miami, FL 26.9%

5. St. Louis, MO 26.8%

7. El Paso, TX 26.4%

8. Milwaukee, WI 26.2%

9. Philadelphia, PA 25.1%

10. Newark, NJ 24.2%

What do the top ten cities (over 250,000 pop.) with the highest poverty rate all have in common?

Detroit, MI – (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961

Buffalo, NY – (2nd) hasn’t elected one since 1954

Cincinnati, OH – (3rd) not since 1984

Cleveland, OH – (4th) not since 1989

Miami, FL – (5th) has never had a Republican mayor

St. Louis, MO – (6th) not since 1949

El Paso, TX – (7th) has never had a Republican mayor

Milwaukee, WI – (8th) not since 1908

Philadelphia, PA – (9th) not since 1952

Newark, NJ – (10th) not since 1907

Hmm! Could there be a correlation here? And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Democrat-socialism at its finest.

How would you like the financial status of your nation mentioned in the same breath as Somalia or the Sudan? Well, Greece has managed to join that sad, pitiable, pathetic, forlorn and wretched group. As it turns out Margaret Thatcher was correct, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money!”

Greeks no longer come “bearing gifts.” Instead their hand is constantly extended, not in friendship, but looking for handouts. They will accept anything but the admission that social-democracy is a failure. It brought then to a place where a mountain of debt almost twice the size of Greece’s gross domestic product has become reality. “Cradle to grave” government handouts are nothing other than a recipe for dissaster.

Did you know that their government allows one to retire at age 50 years if you are in a dangerous profession? Do you mean test pilots and race car drivers, ask you? No, answer I. “Dangerous” professions include pastry chefs, hairdressers, and masseuses. Go figure! It is no wonder the graph below became reality.

chartoftheday_3603_greece_enters_a_small_and_unenviable_club_n

Roy Filly

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Amtrak. A lesson in Big Government insanity.

Amtrak is coming under well deserved scrutiny these days. The House of Representatives in a bipartisan effort (yes, our Republican leaders participated) passed the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 that subsidizes Amtrak to the tune of $7 billion from 2016 to 2020. Amtrak already has cost the government over $45 billion in subsidies over the last 44 years, allowing it to finance the upkeep of unprofitable routes, over-staffed trains, and the mismanagement of its food services to name just a few of the problems.

Capture_36

Amtrak lost over $900 million from 2003 to 2013 on food services alone. Last year was a “good” year. They only lost $227 million.

Hopefully, the above got your attention, because now I can inform you of the real insanity. Amtrak employs workers from 14 different unions. These workers are covered by 23 separate contracts. This causes some interesting – well, let’s call them “situations.”

In a recent Inspector General’s report it was noted that employees put in for 40-hours of work. The odd thing was that they stated they had worked those 40 hours in A SINGLE DAY! They were paid accordingly.

Also noted by the Inspector General were pay vouchers for weeks of overtime pay. So what, say you. These workers have a right to their overtime pay. Ah, but the problem was that during those weeks the employees DID NOT LOG ANY REGULAR HOURS OF WORK! They were paid accordingly.

Big deal, say you. You can’t take a couple isolated items, as idiotic as they may be, and blame the entire system. Ah, but I can. That may sound like the bizarre part of the soliloquy, but au contraire, mon ami! The bizarre part is this:

“… these (requests for payment) MAY WELL BE JUSTIFIED because of the complexity of the union agreements and work rules.” (Inspector General Report)

This Big Government system is so deep in the pockets of unions that the utter nonsense above is actually permissible in one or another of those 23 contracts. Who could possibly run a business under these circumstances.

Big government is bad government. It’s axiomatic!

Roy Filly

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Capitalism at work. But you need to be smart enough to grasp it.

I have said that I am a laissez-faire capitalist many times. But, as a laissez-faire capitalist I must be prepared to follow one of its primary rules: Let the buyer beware.

I think it is safe to say that virtually every American goes to a pharmacy from time to time to buy drugs. Many of us go to pharmacies like Rite Aid or CVS. Why is that? Because we think we are looking out for our own best interests – actually, an even more fundamen- tal rule of laissez-faire capitalism. We believe these large companies sell to us for cheaper prices – largely a true statement, but…

The following “letter” came to me through a reader (thanks, JM). I verified it on Snopes. My response was, Wow!

There are a few things that were ignored with regard to the “evil” drug companies. The average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and it can be as much as $11 billion. It also takes a decade to accomplish all the necessary testing. Despite all this they are sued on a regular basis. Any untoward  drug reaction can trigger a law suit. Nonetheless, the following is eye-opening. However, if you want to understand this you must read the final paragraph!

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America. The data below speaks for itself.

Celebrex: 100 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60

Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg

Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71

Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg

Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88

Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg

Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80

Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14

Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60

Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01

Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec: 20 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97

Cost of general active ingredients $0.52

Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11

Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13

Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20

Percent markup: 51,185%

Xanax: 1 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024

Percent markup: 569,958% (The undisputed champion – RF)

Zestril: 20 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89

Cost of general active ingredients $3.20

Percent markup: 2,809%

Zithromax: 600 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19

Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78

Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg

Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63

Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg

Consumer price: $206.87

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75

Percent markup: 11,821%

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on. It pays to shop around.

This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen’s on every corner. On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. Yes, that’s not a typo: three thousand percent!

So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills. The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are ‘saving’ $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether, or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08. I would like to mention, that although Costco is a ‘membership’ type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in.

Sharon L. Davis

Budget Analyst

U.S. Department of Commerce

How can these pharmacies get away with this, ask you? Because, answer I, the system of payment for all medical services is broken by an insurance system that only got worse with Obamacare. The “consumer price” for Lipitor isn’t $272.37. From your perspective it’s a $25 co-pay. If you “let the pharmacist talk you into the generic,” your co-pay is $10 – a 250% savings, again from your perspective! Your co-pay is the same at Costco – you would only be saving your insurance company some money – AND WHO WOULD DO THAT! Do you care what Rite Aid’s profit is? No! So why would you go to Costco instead of your convenient neighborhood Rite Aid? Again, the first rule of laissez-faire capitalism is look out for our own best interests.

The system is broken because it isn’t driven by CAPITALISM!

Roy Filly

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America, the laughing stock.

The following cartoons are from foreign news outlets. America, under Barack Obama, has become a lesser nation.

And thanks to JM for forwarding these to me.

Roy Filly

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I received an email from a friend.

Roy,

What are the fallacies in this analysis from Bloomberg? http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

Harry (This particular friend has published more scientific papers in the past forty years – nearly 600 – than the overwhelming majority of scientists).

The graph presented in the Bloomberg analysis is quite clever. You’ll need to look at the graphs before reading the following (click on the URL above and then click on the bottom of the page to quickly scroll through the graphs). It won’t take long.

Here was my response:

Fallacies:

1. They make the graph during the most favorable period to look good for their argument. They do not include the Medieval Warm Period.

lambh23

2. The scale of the graph covers up the “pause” – 18 years where the temperature has remained stable despite continuing increases in atmospheric CO2.

GlobalT-Decade-300x164

3. The graph, if on a large enough scale, would show that the preponderance of CO2 rise FOLLOWS (not PRECEDES) warming periods (i.e., warming yields increased plant growth which results in increased CO2 emissions). The main evidence proving that CO2 does not control the climate, but at most can play a second fiddle by just amplifying the variations already present, is that of lags. In all cases where there is a good enough resolution, one finds that the CO2 lags behind the temperature by typically several hundred to a thousand years. Namely, the basic climate driver which controls the temperature cannot be that of CO2. Such an example is found in the figure below. 

CO2TCorr

4. The graph fails to show enough time scale to document that the Earth is warming after the “Little Ice Age.” The “Little Ice Age” peaked around the time of Valley Forge (late 1700s). That is why it was one of the most devastating winters in recorded history. So if one takes into consideration the Medieval Warm Period and the “Little Ice Age” we should just about stop “global warming” right about now – AND WE HAVE!

borehole

5. So let’s look at “graphs.” The Medieval Warm Period was one of the most productive (in terms of food supply) in the history of the world. During the peak of the Little Ice Age, our great nation was born. Did the ocean rise destroy all the coastal cities of Europe during the Medieval Warm Period? No. Were the storms so horrific that poems were written about them? No. 

6. The graphs above show that a swing in global temperatures of as much as 3.5C was just part of the history that got us to today (without manmade CO2). The alarmists are fretting about a 0.8C temperature increase.

Roy Filly

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A walk down memory lane with Hillary.

When it comes to baggage, Hillary needs a small army of porters to carry hers to the curb. By comparison virtually all of the other candidates have a “carry-on” (e.g., Rubio had traffic citations). I remember most of these events. The material below came in an “email blast.” The best attribution I could find was Hillary Hopes You’ve Forgotten – Have You? by Diane Rigali.

And thanks to HP for sending it onto me.

When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over health care reform legislation. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn’t even get a vote in a democrat-controlled congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million in cost for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood – both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration. Next she chose Janet Reno – husband Bill described her selection as “my worst mistake.” Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier’s radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department. Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Many younger voters will have no knowledge of “Travelgate.” Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson – and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours

Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, suddenly Hillary and the president denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House. Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.

She accepted the traditional First Lady’s role of decorator of the White House at Christmas, but in a unique Hillary way. In 1994, for example, The First Lady’s Tree in the Blue Room (the focal point each year) was decorated with drug paraphernalia, sex toys, and pornographic ornaments, all personally approved by Hillary as the invited artists’ depictions of the theme, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” 

Later she wrote “It Takes a Village,” demonstrating her socialist viewpoint. 

Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton, Hillary was put in charge of the “bimbo eruption” and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were:

• She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones. (Clinton settled for $850,000, was fined $90,000 for lying under oath, and lost his law license. Does that sound like a settlement you would make to silence a false allegation? Remember, the Clinton’s were “broke” according to Hillary -RF).

• She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor. After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr’s investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affair.

• Hillary’s devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for lying under oath to a grand jury and then his subsequent impeachment by the House of Representatives.

• Hillary avoided indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Starr investigation by repeating, “I do not recall,” “I have no recollection,” and “I don’t know” a total of 56 times while under oath.

After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $200,000 in White House furniture, china, and artwork that she had decided were hers!

Now we are exposed to: the destruction of possibly incriminating emails while Hillary was Secretary of State and the “pay to play” schemes of the Clinton Foundation – we have no idea what shoe will fall next. But to her loyal fans – “what difference does it make?”

It is going to be fun watching her dodge and weave on the campaign trial. All of these debacles will be brought up during the campaign.

Roy Filly

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Do you know what? She is right and thank God for it!

One of the headlines in today’s Washington Post – Pravda on the Potomac – read: Hillary Clinton attacks Republicans as ‘party of the past!’ The outburst, coupled with the apparent glee of the left-wing journalist, made me think back to my very first post as The Rugged Individualist. That was more than one thousand posts ago.

In it I tried to describe my hopes for the future and how politics influenced those hopes. I wrote, “I will state that I vote Republican, but only because I believe that the Republican party is our last best hope to turn America around.” So, yes Hillary. I want our nation to “turn around” and go backward – back to a past where the Constitution meant something and was not rewritten on a daily basis by the Supreme Court, back to a past where individual property rights were not stomped upon by governmental agencies who act with impunity, back to a past when our government did not spend trillions of dollars it did not have every year, back to a past when the government did not forcibly set those who were well off against those who were not, back to a past when owning a business and employing fellow Americans did not make one a vulture preying on the carcasses of the less fortunate. I want America to turn away from a political class whose answer to every failed policy is, “we didn’t spend enough to make it successful.” I want America to turn away from a Party stupid enough to utter the phrase, “the science is settled.” (Footnote)

So, again I say, “YES, Hillary!” I belong to the “party of the past.” I can only hope that my Party can restore what progressive/statist/altruists like yourself have defiled, debased, tarnished, degraded, polluted and dishonored.

Roy Filly

Validity of Research

Science is NEVER settled! – RF

Though it is often assumed that a study’s results are valid or conclusive just because the study is scientific, unfortunately, this is not the case. Researchers who conduct scientific studies are often motivated by external factors, such as the desire to get published, advance their careers, receive funding, or seek certain results. As a consequence, a significant number of scientific studies are biased and unreliable. Dr. Ioannidis, a meta-researcher who is one of the world’s experts on the credibility of research, found that the studies that tend to get published are those with eye-catching findings, which when studied rigorously collapse under the weight of contradictory data.

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Republican Presidents suck at appointing Chief Justices.

The Republican Party and its presidents deserve what’s happened. If we look at the past half century of Chief Justices we see Earl Warren, Warren Burger, William Rehnquist and John Roberts. Warren was appointed by Eisenhower. Burger was appointed by Nixon. Rehnquist was appointed by Reagan and Roberts was appointed by George W. Bush.

Warren gave us “one man, one vote.” That sounds good but it destroyed the concepts of our Founders. The US Senate was formed so that large states could not overwhelm small states. In state constitutions virtually all followed suit (i.e., their senates treated each county equally). In 1962 the Court, under Warren, agreed that questions regarding malapportionment in state legislatures were not outside the Court’s purview (i.e., he flushed “state’s rights” down the toilet). For years rural areas had an equal voice in the state legislatures. In the California Senate, for example, Los Angeles County had only one state senator just like Siskiyou County. Now Los Angeles County has 13 Senators and Siskiyou County has one. After the decision, Los Angeles dominated the Senate. Thus conservative parts of California became politically meaningless outposts. Warren also eradicated school prayer and his “due process” decisions went too far and hamstrung police.

In Roe v. Wade (1973), the Burger Court extended the right to privacy to abortion. I am a prochoice Republican, but I wish the Roe v Wade decision never happened. After Roe v Wade politicians were elected to both sides of the isle based on whether they were “for” or “against” Roe v Wade. This led to the election of a large number of MORONS to lead our great nation. The “abortion issue” was front and center in innumerable elections, the qualifications of the candidate were nowhere to be found in the discussions.

Rehnquist admittedly was a true conservative, but two other appointments by Republican presidents, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy subverted all attempts to reverse prior decisions.

And now we have Chief Justice Roberts who has enshrined Obamacare, possibly the worst piece of legislation in the history of legislation. In order to do it, he needed to throw out the dictionary: “penalty” now means “tax;” “state” exchange now means “federal” exchange.

My friends, conservatives are down six to three and it’s the ninth inning.

Roy Filly

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