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No Charge For Carrion Luggage
We been gulled
Links are at the end, feeling invisible.
Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
“The new work suggests that psychedelics may enable the brain to bypass or minimize the need for the hippocampus”
That’s from a Neuroscience News article talking about new research into the effect of psychedelics on various human functions. I didn’t understand a lick of it, but the general tone seems selectively optimistic.1
It’s important to note that the $842 billion proposed price tag for the Pentagon next year will only be the beginning of what taxpayers will be asked to shell out in the name of “defense.”
I’m a proponent of reverting to the original name of the war department, which was the department of war. The department of defense was created after World War II to integrate the departments of war and the navy. Audits of the combined department have been only rarely attempted, and have all ended with auditors retiring from the field in defeat.
This Counterpunch story, entitled “Congress Has Been Captured by the Arms Industry,” notes that Congress have added $70 billion to the most recent Pentagon budget requests, a pot which successive administrations had themselves sweetened.2
Much of the additional money is directed toward retaining or expanding weapons programs that the various armed services say they don’t need and don’t want, like keeping afloat the most useless warships ever devised. These were the Swiss army knife of ships, if you picture a Swiss army knife with attachments that don’t work.
The lobbying effort to prevent the Navy from retiring those problem-plagued ships is a case study of all that’s wrong with the Pentagon budget process as it works its way through Congress. As the New York Times noted in a detailed analysis of the checkered history of the LCS (Littoral Combat Ships), it was originally imagined as a multi-mission vessel capable of detecting submarines, destroying anti-ship mines, and doing battle with the kinds of small craft used by countries like Iran. Once produced, however, it proved inept at every one of those tasks, while experiencing repeated engine problems that made it hard even to deploy. Add to that the Navy’s view that the LCS would be useless in a potential naval clash with China and it was decided to retire nine of them, even though some had only served four to six years of a potential 25-year lifetime.
The culprits are the elected representatives from the districts in which work on the ships is conducted, as is the case with the additional F-35 fighters the Air Force didn’t want, and various other weapons.
Saying that weapons makers have captured Congress is fair, but they're only one of the body’s many captors. The NRA, obviously; oil companies; financial giants, including the relative handful of hedge fund operators who carved out their own tax break; and of course insurance companies, which we found most recently objecting strenuously to an attempt by Medicare officials to rein in the endemic fraud in Medicare Advantage plans.3
Medicare seemed to have the edge in that contest, with very little opposition to the new rules from legislators, but as usually happens, the health insurance companies mounted a comeback: the changes Medicare wanted have been adulterated and will now phase in across three years rather than taking immediate effect.4
In the short term, private health plans will still be able to receive payments that Medicare officials do not consider appropriate. The system will eventually eliminate extra funds the insurers receive for covering patients under 2,000 diagnoses, including 75 that appear to be the subject of widespread manipulation.
The three year phase-in gives insurance companies a breather to figure out new ways to game the system and make up some of the revenue they might lose to the fraud-prevention measures. It also offers hope that the next president, should they not be a Democrat, could roll back the rules.
Sometimes I feel foolish for cataloguing atrocities like the war budget, and all that that entails, and the galloping privatization of Medicare and Medicaid, in light of our determined attempts to make the planet inhabitable for humans, but palliative care is important, and we should do whatever we can to ease the lot of our fellow humans in the meanwhile.
Neoni’s music can be described as a very good example of what it is, of which I’m not certain. Heartworms are similar. I very much liked Dilettante, and would like to share their description of themselves.
Dilettante is an art-rock collective led by multi-instrumentalist Francesca Pidgeon and is based in Northern England. Primarily a guitarist and singer but, owing to a lack of social skills, she taught herself clarinet, saxophone, piano, bass and trumpet and bought a loop pedal in an attempt to avoid human contact. However, this proved difficult and she soon enlisted the aid of Aaron Collins-Wood (bass) Jack Mee (drums).
Good stuff, according to me.
And that, Comrades, is all there is
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Be well, take care.