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Genocide by Prescription: the ‘Natural History’ of the Declining White Working Class in America
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Introduction: The white working class in the US has been decimated through an epidemic of ‘premature deaths’ – a bland term to cover-up the drop in life expectancy in this historically important demographic. There have been quiet studies and reports peripherally describing this trend – but their conclusions have not yet entered the national consciousness for reasons we will try to explore in this essay.

Indeed this is the first time in the country’s ‘peacetime’ history that its traditional core productive sector has experienced such a dramatic demographic decline – and the epicenter is in the small towns and rural communities of the United States.

The causes for ‘premature death’ (dying before normal life expectancy – usually of preventable conditions) include the sharply increasing incidence of suicide, untreated complications of diabetes and obesity and above all ‘accidental poisoning’ – a euphemism used to describe what are mostly prescription and illegal drug overdoses and toxic drug interactions.

No one knows the total number of deaths of American citizens due to drug overdose and fatal drug interactions over the past 20 years, just as no central body has kept track of the numbers of poor people killed by police nationwide, but let’s start with a conservative round number – 500,000 mostly white working class victims, and challenge the authorities to come up with some real statistics with real definitions. Indeed such a number could be much higher – if they included fatal poly-pharmacy deaths and ‘medication errors’ occurring in the hospital and nursing home setting.

In the last few years, scores of thousands of Americas have died prematurely because of drug overdoses or toxic drug interactions, mostly related to narcotic pain medications prescribed by doctors and other providers. Among those who have increasingly died of illegal opioid, mostly heroin, fentanyl and methadone, overdose, the vast majority first became addicted to the powerful synthetic opioids prescribed by the medical community, supplied by big chain pharmacies and manufactured at incredible profit margins by the leading pharmaceutical companies. In essence, this epidemic has been promoted, subsidized and protected by the government at all levels and reflects the protection of a profit-maximizing private medical-pharmaceutical market gone wild.

This is not seen elsewhere in the world at such a level. For example, despite their proclivity for alcohol, obesity and tobacco – the British patient population has been essentially spared this epidemic because their National Health System is regulated and functions with a different ethic: patient well being is valued over naked profit. This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented.

Faced with the increasing incidence of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans dying from overdose and suicide to prescription opioids and mixed drug reactions, the Armed Forces Surgeon General and medical corps convened ‘emergency’ US Senate Hearings in March 2010 where testimony showed military doctors had written 4 million prescriptions of powerful narcotics in 2009, a 4 fold increase from 2001. Senate members of the hearings, led by Virginia’s Jim Webb, cautioned not casting a negative light on ‘Big Pharma’ among the largest donors to political campaigns.

The 1960’s public image of the heroin-addicted returning Vietnam War soldier that shocked the nation had morphed into the Oxycontin/Xanax dependent veteran of the new millennium, thanks to ‘Big Pharma’s’ enormous contracts with the US Armed Forces and the mass media looked away. Suicides, overdoses and ’sudden deaths’ killed many more soldiers than combat.

No other peaceful population, probably since the 1839 Opium Wars, has been so devastated by a drug epidemic encouraged by a government. In the case of the Opium Wars, the British Empire and its commercial arm, The East India Company, sought a market for their huge South Asian opium crops and used its military and allied Chinese warlord mercenaries to force a massive opium distribution on the Chinese people, seizing Hong Kong in the process as a hub for its imperial opium trade. Alarmed at the destructive effects of addiction on its productive population, the Chinese government tried to ban or regulate narcotic use. Its defeat at British hands marked China’s decline into semi-colonial status for the next century – such are the wider consequences of having an addicted population.

This paper will identify the (1) the nature of the long-term, large-scale drug induced deaths, (2) the dynamics of ‘demographic transition by overdose’, and (3) the political economy of opioid addiction. This paper will not cite numbers or reports – these are widely available. However they are scattered, incomplete and generally lack any theoretical framework to understand, let alone confront, the phenomenon.

We will conclude by discussing whether each ‘death by prescription’ is to be viewed as an individual tragedy, mourned in private, or a corporate crime fueled by greed or even a pattern of ‘Social-Darwinism-writ-large’ by an elite-run decision making apparatus.

Since the advent of major political-economic changes induced by neoliberalism, America’s oligarchic class confronts the problem of a large and potentially restive population of millions of marginalized workers and downwardly mobile members of the middle class made redundant by ‘globalization’ and an armed rural poor sinking ever deeper into squalor. In other words, when finance capital and elite ruling bodies view an increasing ‘useless’ population of white workers, employees and the poor in this geographic context, what ‘peaceful’ measures can be taken to ease and encourage their ‘natural decline’?

A similar pattern emerged n the early ‘AIDS’ crisis where the Reagan Administration deliberately ignored the soaring deaths among young Americans, especially minorities, adopting a moralistic ‘blame the victim’ approach until the influential gay community organized and demanded government action.

The Scale and Scope of Drug Deaths

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In the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of working age Americans have died from drugs. The lack of hard data is a scandal. The scarcity is due to a fragmented, incompetent and deliberately incomplete system of medical records and death certificates – especially from the poorer rural areas and small towns where there is virtually no support for producing and maintaining quality records. This great data void is multi-faceted and hampered by the problems of regionalism and a lack of clear governmental public health direction.

Early in the crisis, medical professionals and coroners were largely in ‘denial’ and under pressure to certify ‘unexpected’ deaths as ‘natural due to pre-existing conditions’ – despite overwhelming evidence that there had been reckless overprescribing by the local medical community. Fifteen to twenty years ago, the victims’ families, isolated in their little towns, may have derived some short-term comfort from seeing the term ‘natural’ attached to their loved-one’s untimely death. Understandably, a diagnosis of ‘death by drug overdose’ would evoke tremendous social and personal shame among the rural and small-town white working class families who had traditionally associated narcotics with the urban minority and criminal populations. They thought themselves immune to such ‘big city’ problem. They trusted ‘their’ doctors who, in turn, trusted ‘Big Pharma’s’ assurances that the new synthetic opioids were not addicting and could be prescribed in large quantities.

Despite the local medical community’s slowly growing awareness of this problem, there was little public attempt to educate the at-risk population and still fewer attempts to rein in the over-prescribing brethren physicians and private ‘pain-clinics’. They, or their nurse practitioners and PA’s, did not counsel patients on the immense dangers of combining opioids and alcohol or tranquilizers. Many, in fact, were not even aware of what their patients were prescribed by other providers. It would not been not unusual to see healthy younger adults with multiple prescriptions from multiple providers.

Through the last few decades under neo-liberalism, rural county heath department budgets were stripped through business-promoted austerity programs. Instead, the federal government has mandated that they implement expensive and absurd plans to confront ‘bio-terrorism’. Often, health departments lacked the necessary budget to pay for the costly forensic toxicology testing required for documenting drug levels in suspect overdose cases among their own population.

Further compounding this lack of quality data, there was no guidance or coordination from the federal and state government or regional DEA regarding systematic documentation and the development of a usable database for analyzing the widespread consequences of overprescribing legal narcotics. The early crisis received minimal attention from these bodies.

All official eyes were focused on the ‘war on drugs’ as it was being waged against the poor, urban minority population. The small towns, where over-prescribing doctors formed the pillars of the local churches or country clubs, suffered in silence. The greater public was lulled by media mis-education into thinking that addiction and related deaths were an ‘inner city’ problem, one that required the usual racist response of filling up the prisons with young blacks and Hispanics for petty crimes or drug possession.

But within this vacuum, white working class children were starting to dial ‘911′…because, ‘Mommy won’t wake up…’. Mommy with her ‘prescribed Fentanyl patches’ took just one Xanax too many and devastated an entire family unit. This was a prototype of a raging epidemic. All throughout the country these alarming cases were growing. Some rural counties saw the proportion of addicted infants born to addicted mothers overwhelm their unprepared hospital systems. And the local obituary pages published increasing numbers of young names and faces besides the very elderly -never printing any ’cause’ for the untimely demise while devoting paragraphs a departed octogenarian.

Recent trends demonstrate that drug deaths (both opiate overdose and fatal mixed interactions with other drugs and alcohol) have had a major impact on the composition of the local labor force, families, communities and neighborhoods. This is reflected in the lives of workers, whose personal life and employment has been severely impaired by corporate plant relocations, downsizing, cuts in wages and health benefits. The traditional support systems, which provided aid to workers damaged by these trends, such as trade unions, public social workers and mental health professionals, were either unable or unwilling to intervene before or after the scourge of drug addiction had come into play.

The Dynamic Demography of Drug-Induced Death

Almost all publicized reports ignore the demography and differential class impacts of prescription-related drug deaths. The majority of those killed by illegal drugs were first addicted to legal narcotics prescribed by their providers. Only the overdose deaths of celebrities manage to hit the headlines.

Most of the victims have been low wage, unemployed or under-employed members of the white working class. Their prospects for the future are dismal. Any dream of establishing a healthy family life on one salary in ‘Heartland America’ would be met with laughter. This is a huge national population, which has experienced a steep decline in its living standards because of deindustrialization. The majority of fatal overdose victims are white working age males, but with a large proportion of working class women, often mothers with children. There has been little discussion about the impact of an overdose death of a working age on the extended family. This includes grandmothers in their 50’s. In this demographic, women often provide critical cohesion and stability for several generations at risk.

Apparently the US minority population has so far escaped this epidemic. Black and Hispanic Americans had already been depressed and economically marginalized for a much longer period – and the lower rate of prescription drug deaths among their populations may reflect greater resilience. It certainly reflects their reduced access to the over-prescribing private-sector medical community – a grim paradox where medical ‘neglect’ might indeed have been ‘benign’.

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While there may be few class-based studies looking at comparative trends in ‘overdose deaths’ among urban minorities and rural/small town whites from sociology, public health or minority-studies university departments, anecdotal evidence and personal observation suggest that minority urban populations are more likely to provide assistance to an overdosing neighbor or friend than in the white community where addicts are more likely to be isolated and abandoned by family members ashamed of their ‘weakness’. Even the practice of ‘dumping’ an overdosed friend at the entrance of an emergency department and walking away has saved many lives. Urban minorities have greater access and familiarity with the chaotic big-city emergency rooms where medical personnel are skilled at recognizing and treating overdose. After decades of civil rights struggles, minorities are possibly more sophisticated in asserting their rights regarding use of such public resources. There may even be a relatively stronger culture of solidarity among the marginalized minorities in rendering assistance or an awareness of the consequences of not taking someone’s neighbor to the ER. These urban survival mechanisms have been largely absent in the white rural areas.

Nationwide, US doctors had long been dissuaded from prescribing powerful synthetic opioids to minority patients, even those in significant pain. There are various factors here, but the medical community has not been immune to the stereotype of the Hispanic or black urban addict or dealer. Perhaps, this widespread medical ‘racism’ in the context of the prescription opioid epidemic has had some paradoxical benefit.

Whatever the reason, urban minority addicts, while experiencing overdose in large numbers are more likely to survive an opiate overdose than small town or rural whites, unfamiliar with narcotics and their effects.

In the rural and small-town (deindustrialized) US heartland there has been an enormous breakdown in community and family solidarity. This has followed the destruction of a century-old stable employment base, especially in the manufacturing, mining and productive agricultural sectors. Only post-Soviet Russia experienced a similar pattern of declining life expectancy from ‘poisoning’ (alcohol and drugs) following the nationwide destruction of its socialized full employment system and the breakdown of all social services. Furthermore the loss of the tough Soviet police apparatus and the growth of an oligarch-mafia class saw the tremendous in-flooding of heroin from Afghanistan.

The growth of opioid addiction is not based on ‘personal choice’, nor is it the result of shifts in cultural life styles. While all class and educational levels are included among the victims, the overwhelming majority are younger white working class and the poor. They cover all age groups, including adolescents recovering from sports injuries, as well as the elderly with joint and back pain. The surge of addiction is a result of major shifts in the economy and the social structure. The regions most affected by overdose deaths are those in deep, prolonged and permanent decline, including the former ‘rust belt’ regions, small manufacturing towns of New England, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and the rural South and agricultural, mining and forestry regions of the west.

This is the product of private executive decisions to (1) relocate productive US companies overseas or to distant, non-union regions of the country, (2) force once well-paid employees into lower paid jobs, (3) replace American workers with skilled and unskilled foreign immigrants or poorly paid ‘temps’, (4) eliminate pension and health benefits and (5) introduce new technology – including robots- which cuts the labor force by rendering human workers redundant. These changes in the relationship of capital to labor have created enormous profits for senior executives and investors, while producing a surplus labor force, which puts even greater pressure on young first-time workers and workers with seniority. There have been no effective job protection/ sustainable job creation programs to address the decades of declining well-paid employment. Good jobs have been replaced by minimum wage, service sector ‘MacJobs’ or temporary poorly paid manufacturing jobs with no benefits or protections. All across this devastated heartland, expensively touted programs, such as ‘Start-Up New York’, have failed to bring decent jobs while spending hundreds of millions of public money in free PR for state politicians.

The drug addiction epidemic has been most deadly precisely in those regions of industrial job loss and working wage decline, as well as in the depressed, once protected, agricultural and food processing sectors where union jobs have been replaced by minimum wage immigrants. The loss of stable employment has been accompanied by a slashing of social services and tremendous cuts in benefits – just when such services should have been bolstered.

Precisely because the so-called ‘drug problem’ is linked to major demographic changes resulting from dynamic capitalist shifts, it has never been the focus of elite-run government and corporate foundation grant research – unlike their fixation on the ‘radicalization of Muslims’ or ‘trends in urban crime’. Research tended to focus on ‘minorities’ or merely nibbled at the periphery of the current phenomenon. Good studies and data would have provided the rationale and basis for major public programs aimed at protecting the lives of marginalized white workers and reversing the deadly trends. The decade-long, nation-wide absence of research and data into this phenomenon has justified the glaring absence of an effective governmental response. Here the ‘neglect’ has not been ‘benign’.

In parallel with the increase in opioid addiction, there has been an astronomical increase in the prescription of psychotropic drugs and anti-depressants to the same population – also highly profitable to ‘Big Pharma’. The pattern of prescribing such powerful, and potentially dangerous, mood altering medications to downwardly mobile Americans to ‘treat’ or numb normal anxieties and reactions to the deterioration in their material condition has had profound consequences. Such individuals, often on unemployment assistance or MEDICAID, may be expected to follow a complex daily regimen of up to nine medications – besides their narcotic pain medications, while trying to cope with their crumbling world.

Where a dignified job with a decent wage would effectively treat a marginalized worker’s despair without unpleasant or dangerous ’side effects’, the medical and mental health community has consistently sent their patients to ‘Big Pharma’. As a result, post-mortem toxicological analyses of show multiple prescribed psychotropic medications and anti-depressants in addition to narcotics in cases of opioid overdose deaths. While this may constitute an abdication of the medical provider’s responsibility to patients, it is also a reflection of the medical community’s utter helplessness in the face of systemic social breakdown – as has occurred in the marginalized communities where drug overdose deaths concentrate.

Demographic studies, at best, identify the victims of drug addiction. But their choice to treat their despair as the ‘individual problem’ occurring in a ’specific, immediate context’ overlooks the greater political and economic structures, which set the stage for premature death.

The Political Economy of Overdose Deaths

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When the remains of a young working class overdose victim is wheeled into a morgue, his or her untimely demise is labelled ’self-inflicted’ or ‘accidental’ opioid overdose and a great cover-up machine is turned on: The sequence leading up to the death is shrouded in mystery, no deeper understanding of the socio-cultural and economic factors are sought. Instead, the victim or his/her culture is blamed for the end-result of a complex chain of elite capitalist economic decisions and political maneuverings in which a worker’s premature death is a mere collateral event. The medial community has merely functioned as the transmission belt in this process, rather than an agent for serving the public.

The vast majority of overdose fatalities are, in reality, victims of decisions and losses far beyond their control. Their addictions have shortened their lives as well as clouded their understanding of events and undermined their capacity to engage in class struggle to reverse this trend. It has been a perfect solution to the predictable demographic problems of brutal neoliberalism in America.

Wall Street and Washington designed the macro-economy that has eliminated decent jobs, cut wages and slashed benefits. As a result millions of marginalized workers and the unemployed are under tremendous tension and resort to pharmacologic solutions to endure their pain because they are not organized. The historical leading role of trade union and community organizations has been eliminated. Instead, redundant workers are ‘charged by Big Pharma’ to dig their own graves and class leaders are nowhere to be found.

Secondly, the workplace has become much more dangerous under the ‘new economic order’. Bosses no longer fear unions and safety regulations: many workers are injured by the acceleration of the pace of work, longer hours, faulty job training and lack of federal supervision of working conditions. Injured workers lacking any judicial, trade union, or public agency protection rightly fear retaliation for reporting their work injury and increasingly resort to prescription narcotics to cope with acute and chronic pain while continuing to work.

When employers allow workers to report their injuries, the low coverage and limited treatments available, encourage providers to over-prescribe narcotics on top of other medications with potentially dangerous interactions. Many pain clinics, contracted by employers, are eager to profit from injured clients while pharmaceutical companies actively promote powerful synthetic narcotics.

A vicious chain is formed: The pharmaceutical industry’s mass production of narcotics has been among its most profitable products. Corporate pharmacy chains fill the prescriptions written by tens of thousands of ‘providers’ (doctors, dentists, nurses and physician assistants) who have only a limited amount of time to actually examine an injured worker. The deteriorating work conditions create the injury and the workers become consumers of Big Pharma’s miracle relief – Oxycontin or its cousins – which a decade of drug salesmen had touted as ‘non-addicting’. A long line of highly educated professionals, including doctors and other providers, pathologists, medical examiners and coroners carefully paper over the real cause, the corporate decision makers, in order to protect themselves from corporate reprisals should they ‘blow the whistle’. Behind the scientific façade there is a Social Darwinism that few are willing to confront.

Only recently, in the face of incredible numbers of hospitalizations and deaths from narcotic overdose, the federal government has started to release funds for research. Academic-medical researchers have started to collect and publicize data on the growing epidemic of opiate deaths; they provide shocking maps of the most affected counties and regions. They join the chorus in urging the federal and state agencies to become more actively involved in usual panacea: ‘education and prevention’. This beehive of activity has come two decades too late into the epidemic and reeks of cynicism.

Funding for research into this phenomenon will not result in any effective long-term programs for confronting these small community-based ‘crises of capitalism’. There is no institution willing to confront the basic cause: the devastation of capitalist– labor relations in post-millennial America, the corrupt nature of state-corporate-pharmaceutical linkages and the chaotic, profit-driven character of our private medical system. Very few writers ever explore how a national, public, single-payer, health system would have clearly prevented with epidemic from the beginning.

Conclusion

Why does the capitalist-state and pharmaceutical elite sustain a socio-economic process, which has led to the large-scale, long-term death of workers and their family members in rural and small town America?

One ready and convincing hypothesis is that the modern dynamic corporate elite profits from the results of ‘demographic change by overdose.’

Corporations gain billions of dollars in profits from the ‘natural decline’ of redundant workers: slashing social and job benefits, such as health plans, pension, vacation, job training programs, allowing employers to increase rates of profits, capital gains, executive bonuses and raises. Public services are eliminated, taxes are reduced and workers, when needed, can be imported – fully formed – from abroad for temporary employment in a ‘free labor market’.

Capitalists profit even more from the technology gains – robots, computerization, etc. – by ensuring that workers do not enjoy reduced hours or increased vacations resulting from their increased productivity. Why share the results of productivity gains with the workers, when the workers can just be eliminated? Dissatisfied workers can turn inward or ‘pop a pill’, but never organize to retake control of their lives and future.

Election experts and political pundits can claim that white American workers reject the major establishment parties because they are ‘angry’ and ‘racist’. These are the workers who now turn to a ‘Donald Trump’. But a deeper analysis would reveal their rational rejection of political leaders who have refused to condemn capitalist exploitation and confront the epidemic of death by overdose.

There is a class basis for this veritable genocide by narcotics raging among white workers and the unemployed in the small towns and rural areas of American: it is the ‘perfect’ corporate solution to a surplus labor force. It is time for American workers and their leaders to wake up to this cruel fact and resist this one-sided class war or continue to mourn more untimely deaths in their own drug-numbed silence.

And it is time for the medical community to demand a ‘patient-first’ publically accountable national health system that rewards service over profit, and responsibility over silent complicity.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. JackOH says:

    ” This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented.”

    America’s unique group health insurance is almost surely a major Ur-causative factor in screwing up American health care. Most folks, including educated elites, believe it to be compensation for work, a sort of wage or salary diverted to the purchase of insurance. Not true. But almost no one wants to publicly say it’s a politically motivated “forced charity” scheme, originally suggested by the American Medical Association to Big Business in the 1940s as a way of blunting “socializing” politics and keeping workers more pliant.

    Our local sheriff’s department recently signed a union contract that has entry-level deputies earning about $27,000 a year, and, if they’re enrolled in a so-called family plan, their health insurance will cost about $25,ooo a year. They’ll pay about $4,000 of that. The few remarks in the newspaper were something like: “Oh, my, whatever are we to do.” No one remarks how these numbers are radicalizing and destructive of thought.

    I only had time for a quick eye-scan of this article. Have to get back to it when I have more time.

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
  2. mtn cur says:

    An economic model which insures infantile, sofa tater consumerism which is compliant to the “suggestions” of the kings of the latter days, lest we lose our lolly, and which is likewise ignorant of practical methods of changing habits which cause hurt, is as much the responsibility of citizens of government by the people and for the people as it is culpability of the PR firms who monitor individuals tweets, expenses etc. to the extent of 10,000 parameter casebooks on one citizen in order to target people with whatever delusions they like. See 99 coping skills.

  3. AndrewR says:

    Understandably, a diagnosis of ‘death by drug overdose’ would evoke tremendous social and personal shame among the rural and small-town white working class families who had traditionally associated narcotics with the urban minority and criminal populations.

    So I’m supposed to feel sorry for a segment of the population in denial about its problems due to their own willful bigotry and ignorance?

    I’m good.

    This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented.

    Again, retarded Americans opposing policies in their own interest due to decades of propaganda against “socialism.”

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @The Alarmist
    , @Bill
  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented.

    I don’t know if it would necessarily be better though. Some of the basic incentives to “cut costs” would still be there. It’s just that the nature of the “solutions” would differ. Private sector “solutions” tend to be based on appealing to what people demand, like pleasant feelings from getting high, and then supplying drugs that meet that demand and provide highs, while also ending up “cutting costs” in the process. Socialist “solutions” via a single-payer national health system involve cutting back on supply altogether and thereby “cutting costs” by having people die in lines, waiting lists, death panels, etc.

  5. iffen says:

    Well, at least it helps with the Social Security shortfall.

    • Replies: @Cletus Rothschild
  6. JackOH says:
    @AndrewR

    “Again, retarded Americans opposing policies in their own interest due to decades of propaganda against “socialism.”

    Agree, unhappily. Those “retarded Americans” include upmarket folks. I’ve formally offered to speak to our local university’s trustees about group health insurance and its consequences, noting, “I’m the only citizen-scholar within 300 miles who understands how insurance groups undermine other human collectivities and Western values.” No takers. There are two MDs on the board, a major health insurer is a big sponsor of campus sports–you get the picture.

    Big Business is very equivocal about bankrolling group health insurance these days. It got burned when Medicare super-inflated health care. It’s responded by cost-shifting, outsourcing, off-shoring, replacing full-timers with uninsured part-timers, tactical bankruptcies, etc. GM’s Rick Waggoner’s testimony at the time of GM’s bankruptcy and bailout gives some idea. (Not sure if his testimony is on the Web.)

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Makes you wonder why the government and elites are so anti-smoking when it shaves off about 10 years in life expectancy and would save trillions in health care and entitlement spending:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/23/smoking-cessation-life-expectancy/1858913/

    It also makes people more alert and productive, and would thus make people more productive during their working years.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  8. colm says:

    It is called ‘evolution’.

    Today’s economy favors the smarter people, and those who can’t cope with it are destined for extinction.

  9. @Anonymous

    “Makes you wonder why the government and elites are so anti-smoking when it shaves off about 10 years in life expectancy and would save trillions in health care and entitlement spending:”

    Maybe, but what about the last 15 to 20 years of a smoker’s life in terms of healthcare costs related to COPD, heart disease etc.??

    And costs related to second hand smoke imposed on non-smokers of all ages and all economic values?

    There’s a reason why governments have sought to tax and regulate alcohol, tobacco, sugar, spices and drugs of one sort or another. All can be used as stimulants, sedatives and entertainment for a miserable working class. Spices to make rancid and/or low quality foods “enjoyable”.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  10. AndrewR says:
    @JackOH

    If you have a blog or links to further arguments against group health insurance I would be interested. The American health care system is so complex I barely even begin to understand things.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  11. @colm

    You don’t follow immigration trends much, do you?

  12. Olorin says:

    Related to this topic may I suggest that Prof. Petras and his readers acquaint themselves with the Sackler brothers, Mort, Ray and Arthur.

    In the mid 20th century they laid the groundwork for the mass drugging of the white working class and indeed all mainstream white Americans. They converted this into a multibillion-dollar industry through viciously exploitive ad and physician-payola campaigns for Valium, Librium and OxyContin.

    http://theweek.com/articles/541564/how-american-opiate-epidemic-started-by-pharmaceutical-company

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmorrell/2015/07/01/the-oxycontin-clan-the-14-billion-newcomer-to-forbes-2015-list-of-richest-u-s-families/#f26b5d7c0e2f

    http://www.freedommag.org/issue/201604-pill-pushers/profile/addicted-to-money-sackler-family-creates-deadly-legacy.html

    Arthur Sackler is in the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for having developed enough ways to get Valium into US households that it was the first pharmaceutical to rack up $100 million in revenue. Later $1 billion.

    They were and their families remain part of an international elite of philanthropists and art collectors.

    Many in their circles were also heavily invested in their enterprises and also led other powerful organizations. Example: Guido Goldman, who founded the German Marshall Fund and headed up the First Spring Corporation (a private investment firm in NYC). He is also known for having created the ikat-as-art industry.

    The swath of devastation that their drugs have cut through American society is one of the vast untold stories of the 20th century. If ever there was a family whose wealth should be seized under RICO, this is it. They connived to quash reports of death and harm caused by their products. They reveled triumphally in numbing the American masses and their own rise as “culture leaders.”

    See also Eric Holder’s representation of Purdue Pharma. The Sacklers donate heavily to Democratic candidates, events, and organizations.

    Arthur’s daughter Elizabeth Sackler by I believe with his first wife, Marietta Lutze (another member of global Big Pharma, now with Dr Kade company), is affiliated with the Brooklyn Museum. She is a big Bernie supporter. She founded the BM’s “feminist art” program and established Judy Chicago’s fame. She runs the family foundation (Arthur M. Sackler Foundation).

    Arthur’s granddaughter Denise Marica is in charge of the big-gift program for SF MOMA. Which means a rich person using her contact list to get major donations.

    My point with these two examples being that these drug-pushing billions not only destroyed so many working class lives. They also saturate all manner of “high culture” institutions on both coasts, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian, as well as Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Oxford, Cambridge and more. These are the families that define and determine access to these institutions.

    This clan’s fingerprints are all over the phenomenon you describe. The damage done to Americans’ minds and health is unknown but the Sacklers sit atop their pile of billions and tell the rest of us what to think, how to vote, and how much better they are. Their solidarity is with each other, not with America. Genocide indeed.

  13. @AndrewR

    “So I’m supposed to feel sorry for a segment of the population in denial about its problems due to their own willful bigotry and ignorance?”

    Uh, yeah, if you have a soul. Most advancement and betterment of society starts at the individual level, but goes off the rails when it is institutionalised by “The Government must do something about this” types. If you are in a position to influence a decision like outsourcing or cutting benefits, you’d be well advised to resist it, because once you’ve cut the underlings’ tske, the bigger fish are going to take yours.

    • Replies: @Epochehusserl
  14. JackOH says:
    @AndrewR

    Try journalist T. R. Reid, Prof. Uwe Reinhardt (Princeton), Prof. Jonathan Oberlander (U. of NC), and journalist Shannon Brownlee for starters. I’m not sure any of them directly looks at group health insurance, but they’re very frank about massive, inordinate amounts of money as one factor that drives American health care. Prof. Reinhardt wrote once that Congress induced the AMA to mute its opposition to Medicare with a payment formula that amounted to a blank check to loot the Treasury.

    Almost all academic literature and feature-length journalism tip-toes around the fact that group health insurance is a dubious product.

    I hesitate to suggest a mind-set, but while you’re looking at group health insurance you may want to step back once in a while and ask yourself: “Is this normal?” Ex: a local university administrator told me it was too expensive to insure adjuncts and part-timers. I replied the university had no problem insuring people who don’t work there at all. She glared at me. Sure, I said, nearly half the folks insured by the university are qualifying dependents, not workers. My point is that the rationale for group health insurance is political, not economic.

    Good luck.

  15. Marcus says:

    It all started with Reagan encouraging CEO’s to maximize profits at all costs, enacting amnesty and “free trade,” and slashing of social programs. This destroyed all bonds of community over time and left us in a dog eat dog competition where the “losers” are left to die.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  16. @Olorin

    It certainly has an air of ethnic cleansing about it. Thanks for the links and the bit on Holder. What a piece of work he is. This even puts the Fast and Furious scandal in a new light as the heroin epidemic across the Mexican border rode in on the legal hillbilly heroin epidemic.

    Interesting bit: Purdue was an early adopter of big data. They knew who was over prescribing. Was it entirely accidental that their worst damage wound up in Appalachia and New England?

    Although Purdue was successfully sued in 2007, the company pled guilty and the top execs admitted to criminal wrong doing, they paid a fine. No one went to jail.

    Sacklers should be RICO’d. Mortimer didn’t even have the decency to pay taxes on his ill-gotten gains, but then philanthropists tend not to.

    • Replies: @Olorin
    , @RadicalCenter
  17. Olorin says:
    @YT Wurlitzer

    When I traveled in professional circles with lots of Sacklers, in NYC, it was rumored that Mortimer also renounced his American citizenship to avoid taxation at the time of one of his divorces. I wasn’t enough of an insider (thank God) to know for sure.

    Piece of work, that last surviving brother of the three:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/finance-obituaries/7640197/Dr-Mortimer-Sackler.html

    Though the other two were horrific as well and their wives and offspring continue the agenda.

    This is why I feel that one of the most erosive and anti-American forces in the US is the private “philanthropy” foundations, so many of which actively agitate against our nation under secrecy, in treasonous ways, like through their “think tanks” and NGOs. They wage open war on mainstream Americans in 100 ways, then propagandize against us with their media and education centers.

    George Soros’s Open Society Institute/Black Lives Matter is well known but there are THOUSANDS of others. This is why they should be heavily taxed, at Eisenhower era rates. All politicians appear to lack the will for this. They all seem to be in the pockets of these billionaires.

    Also to think the Sacklers and their ilk now have so much control over institutions of high culture and social/economic mobility. No wonder these are being driven into the ground, like the Ivy League universities that are now as bad as black community colleges. Dumbed down curricula, grade inflation, affirmative action admissions, education that consists of riots and mob attacks…

    These inbred elites literally decide who will and won’t receive education (schooling) and privilege. No wonder they pick stupider and stupider individuals for that. Tractable morons who will do their bidding in return for a paycheck, not truly intelligent, dissenting minds. Those they punish viciously from the cradle. They are happy to drug and destroy millions of (their main competitors) high IQ white boys. This strikes me as sociobiological in the extreme. What do people call it now, HBD?

    Also sickening to ponder: the Three Sackler Brothers whose offspring continue their work all were shrinks who practiced their witch doctory, we presume mostly on vulnerable whites incarcerated/concentrated in mental health institutions. But Arthur Sackler figured out how to make the mainstream American home, and the family physician, his pusher. This is truly truly evil.

    Jewish megaphones always talk about Nazis, but it seems like our resident evil Frankensteins are not Germanic.

    Three brothers colluding to wage actual literal, geographically and demographically focused, chemical and psychiatric warfare against their host society and people seems pretty blatant to me. There is no question that the victims of valium, librium, and oxycodone addiction (and psychiatry) were overwhelmingly white. As are the majority of today’s heroin addicts.

    Seems obvious as well that the phoney-money Wall Street game, rigged as it is to generate disproportionate returns to already rich insiders, is part of that population genetic strategy. As with the currency speculators in Europe after the Brexit vote, they threaten to bring the whole system down and reduce our lives to starvation and rubble if we don’t go along with their control.

    We’re not allowed to question any of it, because that makes us “anti-Semites” (as though we were criticizing Arabs, Samaritans, Syrians, Assyrians, and Aramaeans as well when we criticize Jews!).

    One last thing. I have long wondered what connections exist between the demonstrated Oxy-Contin/heroin connection and what used to go on in Bill and Hillary’s home state in the ’80s.

    Thank you for giving me the chance to vent all this, for your reply, and for Prof. Petras’s courage. Also his generosity in allowing me to comment at such selfish length.

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @Jacques Sheete
    , @Bill
  18. JackOH says:
    @Olorin

    “This is why I feel that one of the most erosive and anti-American forces in the US is the private “philanthropy” foundations . . .”. An insider-observer of my local state university, I’m just beginning to understand the weird world of foundations, trusts, and other non-profits just in my area. There’s a lot of questionable stuff going on: Cayman Island accounts, do-nothing jobs for buddies, squandered grant moneys, etc. The best of the lot seems to be fairly small and tightly focused foundations whose trustees are unpaid.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    , @Jacques Sheete
  19. Ivy says:
    @JackOH

    Foundations, we put the sin in sinecure.

  20. @colm

    I have an iq of 130 and I am told again and again that intelligence doesn’t exist. The duke vs Griggs power ruling is directly responsible for the deaths of at least some of these people. They are at the bottom of the quota system.

  21. @The Alarmist

    It’s funny how a health practitioner was recently quoted in an article about working class white male deaths that they deserve it. Her job officially is to care about people and here she is gloating the deaths of people.

    • Replies: @RolfDan
  22. […] Genocide by Prescription: The ‘Natural History’ of the Declining White Working Class in … by James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya [added 7/14/2016] […]

  23. @iffen

    “Well, at least it helps with the Social Security shortfall.”

    Does it? The number of deaths pale in comparison to the number of people who continue to live in the cycle, many of whom collect SSDI.

    • Replies: @iffen
  24. JackOH says:

    Excellent article, although Some folks’ll find something to quibble about.

    A few notes: (1) my understanding is that pain management clinics, often under the oversight of anaesthesiologists, sprung up as a response to GPs’ and FPs’ fears they’d be put under DEA scrutiny for opioid prescriptions written for their patients in chronic pain. (2) if memory serves, there was a sort of movement in the 1990s that said pain was undertreated, so the current heroin epidemic may stem in part from folks who’d been adequately treated for pain at that time, then cut off. (I’ve described Prohibition elsewhere as the Mafia Empowerment Act.)

    (3) I’ve known one guy who was in chronic, genuine pain (a non-malingerer), who struggled with his fairly light night watchman’s job because the group health insurance he was enrolled in was the only way he could afford doctor visits and pain meds. His supervisor accommodated him, but he feared discharge from employment for medical unfitness. That would leave him without an income, and without the means to keep his chronic pain in check, which meant even more diminished job prospects.

    (4) “And it is time for the medical community to demand a ‘patient-first’ publically accountable national health system . . .”. The AMA, of course, opposes national health care to preserve fee-for-service and autonomy of practice. There’s Physicians for a National Health Program. Wonderful people, but, as most are practicing physicians, they have a hard time seeing how godawfully rotten group health insurance really is.

    Thanks again for an excellent article.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  25. AndyBoy says:

    Did someone put White and Genocide in the same thought stream. Why, that could make a catchy meme!

  26. JackOH says:
    @JackOH

    Apologies for typos above.

    Point (4) ought to have added to it at the right places. “The AMA pays no political price for its obstinacy.”

    Also: “Physicians for a National Health Program talks a lot about declining reimbursements, onerous paperwork, and rightly so, but there’s a much stronger critique of group health insurance available, namely, that its mere existence is disruptive.”

  27. Rehmat says:

    There is another major factor in the decline of White race in the US and Europe – the LGBT community supported by the Organized Jewry. According to LGBT sources – there are close to 28 million LGBT living in United States alone.

    Another factor – a 2009 study, entitled ‘The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness’, conducted by professors Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (University of Pennsylvania) for the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) – concludes that though American women are better off economically since 1970s – socially they feel more miserable than before….. The women who have been to a women shelter (there are 300 of those in Canada as compared to none for the men) – will tell you how callously they are treated by the hags employed there. Distressed women are pressured to end their marriages and are offered help and resources to do so. Feminists are not interested in the welfare of women. They rely on domestic violence for their cushy jobs and to emasculate men – by portraying them as abusers….”

    https://rehmat1.com/2009/10/17/study-american-women-are-not-happy/

  28. @Olorin

    I am not one bit surprised at what you’e describing. I am shocked, however, that the info has seen the light of day. Thanks!

    Don’t ya just love it when scumbags come off looking like “philanthropists?”

    Why do certain names keep popping up in association with our screwed up system?

    “Flexner was John D. Rockefeller’s “stool pigeon” in setting up the takeover of the entire medical school industry by Carnegie Foundation, which was a Rockefeller Foundation subsidiary at that time…”The Flexner Report”…changed the medical schools of the United States… to a school of medicine which depended on the heavy use of drugs, radical surgery, and long hospital stays.”

    -Eustace Mullins

    http://www.whale.to/b/flexner_report.html

  29. “Historically important demographic”? How about “Core of the American Nation”?

  30. @Olorin

    OMG!!!

    Your comments make better reading than most articles!!!

    Please comment more.

    These inbred elites literally decide who will and won’t receive education (schooling) and privilege. No wonder they pick stupider and stupider individuals for that.

    I can confirm that both as an insider myself, and as a “consumer” of health “care.” I am shocked at who gets passed over and who gets accepted for training, and what the results are.

    I’ve had quite a bit of contact as a consumer with various levels of health care providers over the last year, and it the ignorance and insouciance of the newbies is appalling. Most of them are good for nothing except ordering expensive tests and prescribing expensive medicine. Just yesterday I was offered a herpes vaccine even tho I have no need for it. A week ago my wife fell and sustained a head injury. The medic at the scene pushed her to take a sedative (not a smart thing to do) but she refused as well. We both pity medically unsavvy folks.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  31. iffen says:
    @Cletus Rothschild

    many of whom collect SSDI

    Good point. SSDI is just one more problem that is on the horizon, if fact, I think it already has to “borrow” from the regular SS trust fund.

  32. Americans are fat, stupid and lazy. A diet of GMO corn dogs, Lipitor, acid blockers, sugar, donuts, pain killers. And the men can’t get Willie up without more drugs. A nation with no self-discipline, whining and aching its way to the 7-11.

    The U.S. military has 100,000 ‘undeployable’ personnel meaning they’re too fat to serve overseas. The Marines complain they can’t find fit recruits. The U.S. could not sustain a draft or sustain a serious war effort or national emergency. Look at all the tubby cops on TV.

    Russia has banned GMOs and is going organic on a national level. The health stats there are headed up, in the U.S. down everywhere. And the U.S. has an unsustainable 20% GNP wasted on junk medicine and food.

    A lot of historic chickens are coming home to roost. The world will be better off if the U.S. just keeps on as it is, which is headed into the toilet. Let ’em howl! We’ll see soon enough who’s right.

  33. @JackOH

    There’s a lot of questionable stuff going on:

    You can say that again. A relative of mine worked for a “nonprofit” museum and it was a total scam. It sucked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government grants and millions in donations from rich, but naive suckers all for the greater wealth and glory of the shyster that ran it. Why the board of directors went along with it, no one will ever know, but the chicanery and corruption were beyond belief.

    From what I hear, a lot of the trendy new businesses such as all those cutesy micro-breweries owe a good portion of their existence to government grants given to people who are aware and smart enough to obtain those “grants.” I’m sure that I’m aware of and am reporting only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

    “It’s a great big clique, and you [and I] ain’t in it.”

    – George Carlin

    • Replies: @mtn cur
  34. Stogumber says:

    I see the problem with Group Health Insurance. I don’t see the problem with doctors and parmaceutical enterprises. They at least tend to apply to the wishes and feelings of the patient – which a state bureaucracy normally doesn’t need to do.
    For example, here in Germany, state medicine meant that doctors would apply to the needs of the state (the need for workforce) more than to the needs of the patient. Which is why in the Nazi years and for a whole generation of doctors, pain was undertreated. I’m really grateful that opioid painkillers are prescribed more easily now.
    As for tranquillizers and anti-depressants I admit that they wouldn’t be necessary in a perfect society. Only, you must not forget that discontent and reactive depression don’t depend on the objective life situation, but on the gap between ambitions/expectancies and life situation. Which can only be closed by reduction of ambitions/expectancies.

    Then there is a difference between short time and long time interests. Short-time orientation is often seen as stupid. But: Would it really be better for white working class people to avoid contentedness/happiness (alcohol, painkillers and tranqillizers) today, in order to prolongate their unhappy/discontent lifespan? Aren’t they actually smarter than Mr. Petras?
    I’m okay with the idea that they white working class should organize and look for collective advancements, even by state help. But, as Mr.Petras admitted, state programs “failed to bring decent jobs while spending hundreds of millions of public money in free PR for state politicians”. I wonder if Mr. Petras has a program which wouldn’t finish with just the same results.

  35. Today’s economy favors the smarter people, and those who can’t cope with it are destined for extinction.

    Any evidence to support that claim?

    In fact, ask yourself whether the slave-master wants intelligent slaves and whether schools were really created to create well educated people capable of thinking and acting for themselves and their families.

    George had it right; maybe it’s time to show yer smarts and catch up.

    • Replies: @colm
  36. JackOH says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    Agree about health care.. I’ve heard sketchy but not unpersuasive anecdotes over the last decade or so that British and Continental physicians routinely deliver correct diagnoses as well or better than American physicians despite America’s edge in high-priced diagnostic equipment. The “trick” for UK/Continental physicians seems to be to ask a lot of questions about the new patient’s lifestyle, occupation, exercise habits, social adjustment, and all that to ascertain if the patient actually has a complaint worth exploring in greater (and more costly) detail. The American physician is purportedly more likely to “fish” for diagnoses using MRIs and a battery of tests–because that’s where the money is.

    One American woman who’d lived in England told me something to the effect that: “British doctors know that most people are mostly healthy most of the time most of their lives. NHS doesn’t restrain them. Their actual knowledge of disease and people teaches them restraint.”

    I was treated once in a European ER. I had a constellation of symptoms I couldn’t understand. I felt damned sick. The medical guy who saw me, who I don’t even was a physician, peppered me with me questions while he palpated and percussed me into a goddamned pulp. Then he gave me a medication that I recognized as an inexpensive OTC med and said I’d be better soon. I was confused. How could a cheap med resolve the problems I was having? After a day or so I was cured. I shudder to think how an American ER these days would handle the same situation.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  37. Bill says:
    @AndrewR

    So I’m supposed to feel sorry for a segment of the population in denial about its problems due to their own willful bigotry and ignorance?

    So if you someday have a stupid child, that’s going to be your attitude towards her? Stupid people don’t have “willful ignorance and bigotry,” because, uh, they’re stupid. It’s not their fault that their betters lie to them 24/7.

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
    • Replies: @epochehusserl
  38. Bill says:
    @colm

    Yes, that’s the attitude exactly. Build a world in which only the very bright have any chance of success, hypocritically blither about economic inequality, and then laugh at the morons stumbling around in their own filth. It’s about an inch below the surface in limousine liberal circles. Where is Pol Pot when you need him?

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    , @colm
  39. Bill says:
    @Olorin

    I echo Jacues Sheete. Please comment more.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  40. Willem says:

    There is good data available that confirms that Middle class white Americans increasingly often die from ‘poisoning’ and suicide See: http://m.pnas.org/content/112/49/15078.long?view=long&pmid=26575631

    Figure 2 summarizes the authors’ point quite accurately:

    http://m.pnas.org/powerpoint/112/49/15078/F2

  41. @JackOH

    The same goes for Asian doctors in my experience. In general, they are far superior in both diagnostics without the fancy tools and much better trained in surgical skills.

    About asking questions, my wife and I are appalled at how little questioning we received, and how superficial the “exams” were here in the US.

  42. Travis says:
    @colm

    those with an IQ of 125 or higher are exponentially more likely to use drugs. This may be why it effects whites more than Blacks. Why do intelligent people use more drugs and alcohol ?
    they are more likely to engage in evolutionarily novel behavior.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201010/why-intelligent-people-use-more-drugs

    most of the rise in deaths observed is occurring with males over the age of 40 , thus has little to no effect on evolution, as they would have already had children before becoming victims of drugs.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  43. Olorin says:
    @colm

    So we can conclude that fortunately you are destined for extinction, as you lack the intelligence to comprehend natural selection’s little strategy called “regression to the [group] mean.”

    Shut up about evolution. You don’t understand it.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  44. @Olorin

    Shut up about evolution. You don’t understand it.

    Amen to that.

    In a similar fashion, the vast majority of people who run around braying about IQ don’t understand it either. The field of IQ testing is still hardly better than pop science and is so crude and liable to misinterpretation and misapplication that it’s worse than joke.

    Anyway, in comment #35 I asked him to provide evidence to support his claim yet all I hear is crickets.

    • Replies: @Olorin
    , @epochehusserl
  45. JackOH says:

    Endgame for America’s group health insurance? I’ve speculated that extraordinary retiree health care legacy costs for declining municipalities (think Detroit) and declining corporations (think GM) will be one driver of group health insurance’s abolition.

    Another scenario is that employers will finally understand that group health insurance works as an excise tax on labor that permanently depresses corporate stock prices. They may quietly look to the President for a deal whereby the Federal government temporarily assumes the burden of funding group health insurance until its beneficiaries are compelled to pay premiums under some sort of progressive taxation scheme. The quid pro quo would be obvious: “Mr. President, we’re going to help you make America great again by building new Stateside factories and hiring more Americans. Help us do that by getting the group health insurance monkey off our backs.”

  46. Help us do that by getting the group health insurance monkey off our backs.”

    But don’t forget to continue the wars, our subsidies, bailouts, and fat gubbermint contracts. We’re creatin jobz, ya know.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  47. Olorin says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    With all due respect, you don’t understand psychometrics.

    Here’s a start:

    http://personality-project.org/revelle/syllabi/405.syllabus.html

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  48. JackOH says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    Yeah, I suppose there’ve already been informal approaches made to government officials on how a takeover of group health insurance might be achieved without risking a huge political crack-up. I don’t have a shred of real evidence for that, except that the problem of group health insurance is too obvious for me to not believe that.

    One way, maybe, might be for the President to offer to “buy” the “right” to bankroll group health insurance by offering Big Business the opportunity to repatriate its overseas profits at a 0% tax rate. At the same time a joint select committee of Congress will announce its investigation into the origins and consequences of group health insurance, etc. In other words, Big Business will want assurances that the transfer of health insurance funding from business to government will be a bounded transaction, and not an open door to more government meddling in the private sector.

    But, yeah, it may be hard for either government or Big Business to avoid some sort of blank-check support for projects and adventures that are way beyond the scope of health care.

  49. mtn cur says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    Joe Bageant remarks on the poisonous effects of nonprofits in his book, “Deer hunting with Jesus.”

  50. @Olorin

    With all due respect, you are too gullible.

    Just because some schmuck slaps the label, “science” on something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t slop.

    • Replies: @Olorin
  51. @Jacques Sheete

    If iq doesn’t exist then why does the social security administration use the results when determining eligibility for benefits? Either it exists or it does not. The supreme court outlaws iq tests when employers use them but not when legal defense team uses them for avoiding the death penalty.

  52. JackOH says:

    Just an afterthought. If those darned statistics are to be believed, maybe a half-million or so Americans have died prematurely for want of timely and effective health care since the 1970s, when physicians began screening out the new cash patient for the convenience of practice. Maybe 20 million Americans in the same period have been bankrupted by health care costs. Then there are depressed stock prices, “job lock” that stunts home-grown innovation, etc. Then there’s the “moral disequilibrium” of medically insured folks who don’t want to know how that health insurance card in their sweaty palms has undone their capacity for thought and feeling.

    Is it too much to ask whether getting health care for sick people is a good thing? Is it that difficult?

  53. jay says:

    ”It all started with Reagan encouraging CEO’s to maximize profits at all costs, enacting amnesty and “free trade,” and slashing of social programs.”

    Before welfare and social programs. The civil society provided those things. What happened to Charities,churches and the like to provide such services?

  54. jay says:

    Ah the conspiracy theory of capitalism. I mean all voluntary exchange even lemonade stands are capitalist yet they all contribute to the oppression of the workers.

    At least opponents of socialism ascribe screwed up incentives as well evil agents.

    But somehow Capitalism the all powerful conspiracy manages to to all this, ban lemonade stands for being capitalist.

  55. @Bill

    It’s funny that compassion can be extended to refugees who have never paid anything into the system, the aids infected who engage in fecal play, baby boomers who have voted themselves several times more benefits than they paid into the system but never to working class whites who wer e born here. Politicized compassion is a weapon. What bigotry and ignorance do whites suffer from? That’s a red herring to disguise their hatred of whites.

  56. A similar pattern emerged n the early ‘AIDS’ crisis where the Reagan Administration deliberately ignored the soaring deaths among young Americans, especially minorities, adopting a moralistic ‘blame the victim’ approach until the influential gay community organized and demanded government action…

    …and complete exoneration for their own role in this so-called epidemic. Which they got!

    If people’s sex (and drug) lives are not the government’s business, why would the medical results of those sex (and drug) lives be? Reagan, schooled by the libertine culture of 1970’s California, made the right call– only when it hits the general population is it his job. (The blood-supply issue was taken care of rather quickly.)

    • Replies: @Ivy
  57. @Marcus

    This destroyed all bonds of community over time and left us in a dog eat dog competition where the “losers” are left to die.

    Reagan– and for that matter, Nixon– was elected because the bonds of community had already been shattered. (Assuming they were that strong to begin with in already-multicultural America.)

    Your timeline is off.

    • Replies: @Marcus
  58. This arguably would not have developed in the US if a single-payer national health system had been implemented

    And who will this “single payer” be? Why, the very same entity that has already declared war on its own people! One more benefit for them to buy to buy us off with!

    Single-payer advocates show their lack of imagination here. Or their duplicity.

    I suggest the single payer be the Church, as in the Middle Ages. That they want to stop your daughter from aborting your grandchild suggests that at some level they do care about your family and its future.

    • Replies: @Njguy73
    , @RadicalCenter
  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    During the same 20 years there were 60,000,000 other deaths. So the “decimation” was more like a one percentimation. This needs no government positive action , they just need to stop doing the most egregiously unproductive current subsidies.

    There are other areas that deserve more outrage and indignation.

  60. Alden says:
    @colm

    Although the economy may need the very intelligent, unfortunately government mandated and ferociously enforced affirmative action forces employers to hire and promote the stupidest and most incompetent

  61. Njguy73 says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Here’s something you may agree with. It’s from a website devoted to homeschooling:

    http://www.home-school.com/Articles/how-to-fix-the-health-care-system.php

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  62. Marcus says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Not really. Inner cities were out of control already, but “middle America” was still cohesive before Reagan sold everything out to the plutocrats http://exiledonline.com/the-abominable-chimp-fucker-is-dead-an-exile-tribute-to-ronald-reagan-part-2/

  63. Ivy says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Those ’80s AIDS activists had some clever publicists. How else would they get people to ignore the rampant self-destructive promiscuity and other pathetically indulgent behavior that led to and exacerbated their condition? Such reckless, nihilistic acts and they had the nerve to blame people for not indulging them.

  64. @Njguy73

    Mary Pride had Jewish grandparents? Never knew that. The things you learn here.

  65. Olorin says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    Come back when you have 10 years of graduate study in this, a Ph.D., and three decades of doing it, on top of the prior 70 in the field.

    Then we’ll talk.

  66. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Are people in America using spices to cover up rancid food? What the fuck are you talking about?

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    , @Wade
  67. @YT Wurlitzer

    The Sacklers should be executed after a trial, and all their property distributed to actual Americans.

  68. @Bill

    I have worked for two limousine liberals — women who had a net worth of probably ten million-plus dollars each.

    Both lived in heavily guarded buildings and had extensive security at work. Both supported “gun control”, mocked “gun nuts” had never lived in anything but a good to very god neighborhood, and had zero understanding of how the rest of us live and survive.

  69. @Travis

    Probably right overall. But I was 41 when first child was born, 42 when the second was born, 44 when the third was born, and will try for one more.

  70. @Reg Cæsar

    I don’t want the government or the Catholic church running my healthcare or my life. No “single payer” would be trustworthy.

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @Reg Cæsar
  71. @RadicalCenter

    Go see your sawbones and get RXed for some big pharma chill pills dude. Most stupid Americans are oblivious to the amount of salt in most grocery store RTE and ARTE convenience foods and doubly so when talking about most restaurants. Restaurants are a salt mine and its mostly about covering up inferior/rotten ingredients, extending storage life for left overs and/or covering up food prep incompetence. Spices and nitrates/nitrites also figure into this.

  72. JackOH says:
    @RadicalCenter

    RadicalCenter, thanks. Government buys health care. Insurance groups–a sort of corporate-financed health care collective– buy health care. (For insurance groups, see the number, letter, or alphanumeric code on your insurance card.) Those are the entities that count in health care debate.

    No offense intended buddy, but if you’re enrolled in either taxpayer-financed health care or corporate-financed health care, your thoughts are captive of one or the other. Who’d want to see any sort of re-ordering of American health care if he were getting group health insurance enrollment at a dime on a dollar, or $2500 ER visits at $75 a pop?

  73. @RadicalCenter

    I don’t think the Church should run the entire health care system either, but if I was forced to pick a “single payer”, that’s the one I’d insist on. The state is amoral. That’s my counter to progressives.

    Note that in the UK and Scandinavia, health care and religion are two arms of the same beast. That’s not as crazy as it may sound; body and soul go together.

  74. colm says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    And tech developments have made the slaves unnecessary.

    Since we don’t need the slaves who just eat up things, the solution is obvious.

    We do need intelligent slaves in some cases. Someone has to fix the dirty machines.

  75. colm says:
    @Bill

    Pol Pot is too stupid to fight against the elites. His tactics only worked in low-IQ Cambodia.

    The morons are at the evolutionary dead end – the smarties will take their land.

  76. Dishonesty and anti-intellectualism is the modus operandi of modern US keeping in mind that it is the multinational corporations who dictate policy induced by their friends in the US Congress to make stuff legal despite their immoral, unethical or illegal origins or background. The by products of this lack of opportunities (jobs going overseas to cheaper workzones) become adverse events as it were, of this drug induced societal prescriptive culture aided by the cultural/societal direction of immediate gratification.
    Get high, it solves everything………..

    We not only refuse to acknowledge and work out the problem but we medicate (legally or illegally) while creating a self destructive Alt Meth Industrial Complex that destroys peoples communities. Deceitful Public Policy is also part and parcel of deep seated animosity where the war on drugs (marijuana, in this case) necessitates jail but the War on Other Drugs (meth, we know who their target audiences are!) necessitates more monies to help them out. Yes, it is a deep seated root problem.

    Until these behaviours and habits are solved, we will be continuously be reliving them ad nauseum until we are blinded and incapable of solution. Then the Chaos begins…….

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