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Cry me a river, so-called "Conservatives".....

This spring will mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the landmark agreement by King John of England at Runnymede ceding certain rights to rebel barons. Liberty will have another chance to shine on Wednesday when the Supreme Court hears a case with momentous implications about another sort of executive power. In this instance, though, it is the rebels who have the royal name: King v. Burwell raises questions about how President Obama has enforced the ObamaCare law—or, more precisely, modified, delayed and suspended it.

This will be the third challenge to the Affordable Care Act to reach the court. But King is different. The law’s constitutionality was challenged in NFIB v. Sebelius, 2012, and the way certain regulations burden particular types of plaintiffs was addressed by Burwell v. Hobby Lobby last year. Now comes King, challenging the administration’s implementation of the law.

Yes, I know.

And yes, I also know the facts on this, since I'm one of the few who claims to be a journalist that actually read the damn bill before it was passed.  Yes, all of it.  Every page.

Here's the problem -- the Roberts court, despite the clear intent in the law and the Congressional Recordheld the mandate and penalty constitutional as a tax.  The problem of course is that the Congressional Record and law itself said it wasn't a tax, specifically because it wasn't legally able to be one as it was a direct tax and that's Unconstitutional unless apportioned.  In other words you can't lay a direct tax that varies by person and circumstance (you can predicated on count, e.g. "per head"); to do so you'd need to amend the Constitution first.

An excise (tax on an activity) can be laid, but there was no way to read that into the refusal to take an action.  So Congress didn't, but then Roberts rewrote the law to make it so.

In doing so he blatantly violated the Constitution -- the highest law in the land.  Not only that, the law he left us with is blatantly unconstitutional.

This isn't the first time the USSC has done such a thing, it's just the latest.  Previous incarnations of this sort of horsecrap are found all the way back to Wickard .v. Filburn, and probably before. The fact of the matter is that such a decision makes no law, it creates no office and it has no force.  The US Supreme Court may be entitled (so it claims) to interpret the Constitution but it cannot rewrite statute on its own initiative.

Yet it did, and we sat for it.  We permitted it.  Those same black-robed bastards sit in that building today, despite having committed an egregious, in-your-face violation of their oath of office and the law.

So now you wish to complain about a mere implementation detail?

Where the hell were you when the original decision came down?  And where have you been since?  You have no argument to make at this point; once you cede to an entity that blatantly, openly and notoriously ignores the law you lose the right to complain about further violations of same.

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These allegationsif true, underline a point I've made for a long time here in these pages: Corporations cannot be effectively "fined" since they can pass through the fine to others.  Only people (and partnerships, where direct liability exists) can be fined.

But Lee said he was mystified when Intuit repeatedly refused to adopt some basic policies that would make it more costly and complicated for fraudsters to abuse the company’s service for tax refund fraud, such as blocking the re-use of the same Social Security number across a certain number of TurboTax accounts, or preventing the same account from filing more than a small number of tax returns.

“If I sign up for an account and file tax refund requests on 100 people who are not me, it’s obviously fraud,” Lee said in an interview with KrebsOnSecurity. “We found literally millions of accounts that were 100 percent used only for fraud. But management explicitly forbade us from either flagging the accounts as fraudulent, or turning off those accounts.”

Here's the basic problem:

If you intend to rob a bank, hail a taxi and when you get into the cab tell the driver "here's a $20; take me to the bank so I can rob it", the cab driver goes to prison as an accessory before (and/or after) the fact to the crime you commit.  The same applies if the driver discerns, through his own internal security processes (e.g. he has a metal detector or camera and detects that you have a gun, and sees your hand-written hold-up note) that you're going to said bank to rob it and he knowingly facilitates your crime.

But -- if you are a corporation, and through your own internal processes detect that someone is nearly-certain to commit a crime, there is no criminal charge leveled even though your acts as a corporation facilitate or even are necessary for said crime to be committed.

We saw this during the financial blow-up.  Banks knowingly gave loans to people who lied about their incomes and they knew they were lying.  A person who claims to have $80,000 a year of income but works as a line cook at McDonalds is either lying or selling crack on the side.  Either way they're breaking the law and the bank that processes the app anyway, knowing this is making money facilitating the crime.  Then they made even more money selling knowingly bogus loans on to third parties.

Yet there were exactly zero criminal charges laid against these banks.  At worst there were "civil settlements" -- fines -- which are worthless as both a punishment and deterrent, since the corporation can simply pass that cost on to shareholders, customers or both.

The individuals who made the decisions were rewarded with bonuses, the officers and directors were not held accountable personally to any degree whatsoever and if and when penalties (which were rare) actually got assessed someone else paid them.

In the older days of partnerships for investment banks this didn't happen because the partners were personally liable for any fines assessed.  It came directly out of their pocket (and such could not be avoided due to the legal structure of the firm) and thus there was a hell of an incentive not to do things like that.  The problems arose immediately and durably as soon as these firms converted to "public" ownership.

But that problem didn't have to arise, just as it doesn't here.  The reason is criminal liability, which can attach not only to corporations but also to individual officers and directors.

Start charging the people responsible with being an accessory to the crime itself and this crap stops immediately.

Why isn't this done?

That's simple: There is no demand by you, as Americans, that it does.

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There's been a big move in the shares of BlackBerry the last couple of days upward on news that they're partnering with Google, much as they did with Samsung, to "secure" Android devices for corporate use.

While this does not necessarily means that the full Google Suite will become available on BB10, it might foreshadow it -- particularly if Google loses their anti-trust cases in a number of countries that are pending due to their forced-agreement structure for Play and its components.

I believe Google is arguably in violation of anti-monopoly statues in this regard in the United States as well, and one of the reasons (indeed, arguably the reason) these agreements with handset makers are kept "secret" is to prevent them from being analyzed on that basis.  The problem with such a clause is that it's unenforceable as soon as someone fires off a subpoena, and that day has both come in other places and probably will come here in the US as well.

Once it does, or if Google simply decides that allowing "Play Store" access without bundling all the other pieces that demand access to your personal data as well (such as Gmail, the contacts and calendar interface, etc) is a good idea the gate will come down.

As it stands right now BlackBerry intentionally prevents you from sideloading the Play components.  There is no technical reason to do this, only a business one -- and since you can't tamper with a BlackBerry BB10 OS and remove or change components (since their load process is actually secure, as far as anyone has been able to determine thus far) that "cock block" has remained effective.

This doesn't prevent people from loading Android apps -- and most of them not only load they do run.  It only prevents you from loading their official store interface, along with the services components (e.g. in-app billing.)

Even if this announcement doesn't lead to official "Play" load capacity for BB10 devices it's a big move forward for BlackBerry, and a tremendous revenue opportunity -- one that certainly merits a nice revaluation of the company (and it's stock) upward.

If, however, that block was to be removed and Play explicitly permitted, which might come about not so much due to negotiation but rather due to Google losing in one or more countries on a world-wide basis, the impact would be utterly tremendous as it would turn the BB10 handsets into the corporate handset of choice at all levels from the least expensive to the super-premium handset (e.g. Passport), bar none.

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I've received a few pieces of push-back on my articles on the medical industry, including the recent one on Coronary Artery DiseaseOne of them, which I didn't publish, included this snippet:

The current prevailing research does support that taking the statins produces a net benefit, regardless if the original intention of cholesterol lowering is the reason why.

But that's not the test, you see, unless you're a greedy ****.

If someone is Type II diabetic and their blood sugar is out of control, prescribing insulin will of course produce a net benefit over not doing so.  However, getting the carbs out of their diet might well effectively reverse their high blood glucose entirely.

But while the latter will do (far) more to help the poor sod with the disease it costs nothing and the medical establishment can't make a lot of money selling insulin to someone who doesn't need it any more.

The medical establishment also won't make any money cutting off the toes of said person over time nor off their eventual need for dialysis, which is virtually always a final-stage thing in that a few years later you're nearly always dead.  In other words your suffering and ultimate demise is very profitable.  Your health, not so much.

I note further that the American Diabetes Association recommends eating carbohydrates!  If there was some essential nutrient that could only be gained by doing so, or was almost-impossible to gain otherwise, I could see the point of the recommendation.  You take the good with the bad because the good is necessary.

But this is not true; there is no essential nutritional value found in carbohydrates that cannot be had without them and if you eliminate them you also largely eliminate variable insulin demand making it entirely possible for a Type II diabetic to either greatly reduce or even eliminate their requirement for medication!

So how does the medical establishment in any form justify the current recommendations?  I don't think they can, and in fact there is little argument for them other than "it's easier -- and more profitable -- to sell someone a pill (or injection) than explain to them how their biochemistry works and further explain that while drugs are an option statistically speaking they are dramatically less-likely to be both sustainable over the remainder of your life and produce as good of an outcome as getting rid of the carbs in your diet will."

Diabetes is by far the only circumstance where this is the case. Indeed, when it comes to chronic disease and disorder, particularly obesity and all of its related ills, virtually all follow the same script in this regard.  Never mind so-called "mood disorders" and the various drugs prescribed therefor (Prozac, anyone?)  I've written repeatedly about the fact that even if they so-called "work" they also appear produce rage monsters in a small percentage of people.  We have pointedly refused to have the debate about whether that cost to society is worth the benefit for those who cannot be, either due to circumstance or refusal to comply, closely monitored to detect this problem before it becomes emergent but boy, those drugs are sure as hell profitable to have people chowing down on like candy corns.

I'm really just playing devil's advocate at this point because it is rather fatiguing to see your posts be so one sided and then see some of the community of the site just jump on it as if the medical industry and doctors are all out to get each and every one of you.

Well what the hell do you call it when an "industry" appears to have manufactured disease and death and has massively profited from it, doing all of the following:

  • Gone from ~3% of GDP to ~18% over the last 40 years and that's on hard costs; it's nearly certain to be over 1 dollar in five today.  The cost of having a baby in 1963, in today's dollars including a three-night stay in the hospital, was under $1,000.  Today it typically runs eight times that much for an uncomplicated birth and involves a stay of only hours.  This is flat-out financial rape.

  • Taken obesity from a somewhat common and troublesome problem to an outright epidemicmore than doubling since the 1970s.  More than 2/3rds of adults in America are either overweight or obese and 82% of black women are in this category!  This has coincided with doctors recommending a meat-restricted, high-carbohydrate and high processed-plant-oil based diet over the same 40 years.  It is a fact that this set of "recommendations" has done nothing but coincide with the largest explosion of waistlines in the history of the planet yet physicians almost to an individual continue to beat the same drum on "diet and exercise" that led us here and worse, profit tremendously from the pain, suffering, morbidity (hip and knee replacements anyone?) and ultimately mortality that come from it.

  • Presents knowing falsehoods to the public on a literal daily basis, including those related to meat, diagrams of coronary artery disease that are factually wrong, continued presentation of disproved hypothesis (e.g. The Lipid Hypothesis, claims that coronary artery disease proceeds from direct absorption of cholesterol out of the blood despite knowledge to the contrary) and worse, when a hypothesis is under active questioning this is never presented to patients in an honest fashion with the clear statement that said "expert" doesn't actually know what is going on but instead is guessing.  This results in people having various treatments literally shoved down their throat (in the form of pills, operations or both) when there is no clear proof that this is the best option available and without any frank discussion of the risks and potential rewards of the alternatives.  

  • Rank profiteering and cost-driving is not only part and parcel of the profession it provides a tremendous motivation for doctors to not discuss the various alternatives openly and honestly. While there are certainly medical conditions for which there is no realistic alternative than the one propounded upon (e.g. if your arm is broken you need to have it set) in many if not most cases there are multiple alternative options and all have both risks and potential rewards.  Because cost is not only almost-never brought into the equation the fact that there is a profit margin on various treatment modalities means that the physician and his friends all make the most money from the most-expensive treatment whether it's the one you would choose on a risk:reward basis or not!

  • Monopoly and "captive customer" practices are not an exception, they're the rule.  Doctors performing a "drive by" consultation in the hospital, for example (e.g. sticking their head in the room, saying "hi" and then billing for a "consult") constitutes an epidemicStates with "CON" laws have their review boards staffed by doctors and administrators who usually own the competing businesses.  Laws requiring prescriptions to obtain utterly-ordinary things (such as having virtually any minimally or non-invasive test done, as is the case for virtually any blood-draw related test) drive costs to the moon and serve to prevent people from monitoring their own health without paying someone their hourly rate.  Not one physician in 100 will recommend, for example, that you check your own fasting blood sugar level despite the fact that you can buy a meter that is calibrated and known accurate (after all, diabetics need such a device) and "starter" test strips to do so and check it in 30 seconds any morning upon awakening you wish at almost any pharmacy in the country over-the-counter for about $20; exactly where in this nation can you get an office visit for such a purpose for $20, say much less the test?  Why is it that I can't walk into any diagnostic center, plunk down $20 and have a CBC, for example, done with the results given to me and only me -- on demand?

  • Have and do, on a daily basis, collude together and act in a means intended to reduce competition and monopolize markets.  Whether it's arguing for and supporting "prescription" requirements to limiting the number of MRI machines in an area to outright price-fixing and refusing to quote a price for a procedure in advance, doctors and other parts of the medical establishment engage in such actions daily.  Anti-competitive behavior and collusion is a felony in this country generally under the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts; exactly why should I trust someone with my life that has chosen to affirmatively act and profit from geting laws passed to excuse them from behavior that for anyone else would land them in prison for a decade or more?  Every one of the persons involved in any such act should be doing life in prison -- the penalty is 10 years for each act.

  • If it's my body why are not my medical records my property - - exclusively so?  Medical providers, down to dentists, routinely refuse to see anyone who won't give them personally-identifying information and allow them to keep all of it. In the world of paper records this might not have been that big of a deal but it sure is in the world of electronic records, where you no longer have any control over what happens to that data once it's collected.  While HIPPA allegedly protects this on a legal basis the fact is that no medical provider or related firm has ever been held criminally or civilly accountable to any material degree for breaches -- including Anthem which was just hacked and likely had the records of millions of people stolen including children.  Simply put it's none of anyone's damned business what my health records look like except me and, perhaps, those who I contract with to pay for my treatment.  If I fail to disclose something to my doctor then it's on me if I get a bad outcome as a result, not on him or her.  In short is that doctor interested in my health or my data?

I say that the so-called "medical establishment" is out to get each and every one of us.  Maybe they don't want to shove all of us in the hole, but they sure do want all of our money.  Virtually all of the medical personnel in civilian medicine engage in practices that in nearly any other line of business would be considered felonious when it comes to long-standing law on competition and restraint of trade.  How in the hell can anyone in this line of work argue that I should respect them when they engage in, aid and abet acts that, were I to have done so when running my ISP, would have landed me in federal prison?

Being a physician used to be a decent middle-class job; now it's a treadmill deal where gross and net income are grotesquely misaligned and yet doctors whine about the cost of things like malpractice insurance and similar when it is in fact their own actions that led them to being where they are in the market today.

And don't give me this crap about how there aren't choices or alternatives. That's the same defense that Nazis used at Nuremberg, and it didn't work for them.  It won't work for you in the end either and as long as I can grab my Passport, head to the airport, fly to Narita in Japan, get an MRI done there and fly back home for less than the "billed price" for the same service in the exact same device made by the same company a mile up the road from my house you can all take that outright lie and shove it, along with the AMA, your closest hospital and the pharmaceutical industry where the sun doesn't shine.

This crap -- all of it -- must stop not only because it has not produced any net improvement in these chronic diseases in terms of prevalence among the public but also because trees cannot grow to the sky and the continued financial******of the public is both unacceptable and unsustainable.  It will destroy this nation if it is not halted; arithmetic cannot be argued with or bargained over.  Those in the medical or pharmaceutical profession who refuse to cut this crap out must be imprisoned.

If there are persons in the medical field that recognize any of this they're a tiny minority.  Silent acquiescence is consent folks, and I refuse to give anyone who consents to this crap in the so-called "industry" a pass.  Rather, they deserve to be shunned, prosecuted and their various interactions with others subjected to the same sort of rapacious pricing they inflict on all of us -- and that's being kind.

I'll stop ripping on doctors and the medical establishment when, and not before, they stop trying to financially screw me and every other American in the ass, then shovel my dead -- and dead-broke -- butt in the hole.

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