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At the almost assured risk of pissing off a quarter of a million (251,695 — same-sex married couples in the United States in 2013, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey) same-sex couples, I’d like to put in a word for those of us who refer to ourselves as ‘straight.’

Forty-two percent of us support allowing marriage for same-sex couples.    (http://www.statisticbrain.com/gay-marriage-statistics/)

NONE OF US, by my unscientific survey, enjoys hearing you refer to your spouses as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.

How about, from now on,  you refer to your significant other as your spouse.

We don’t care who is on top!

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List Price Too High, Oh My!

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new-logo25Dan Martin

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(Full disclosure) Nearly all the useful math I know was learned during the first eleven years of my education (guess which grade I skipped) from my Father. This was polished by a U.S. Navy lieutenant (jg) teaching at the Prep School in Bainbridge, MD, when I was 20.

(More full disclosure) I know less about law than most (but not all) lawyers.

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With that, let me invite each of you to shed a tear for ‘Big Pharma’. Whoa – just one; one humungous crocodile tear.

Think of all the money, time, and energy they’ve expended over the past three days on the conniption fit about drug list prices, discounts, and rebates.

This is made necessary because they do not dare address the real facts behind obscene list prices for life-saving drugs.

The problem is nearly as old as commerce: Fictitious list prices.

They know exactly why their list prices are going through the roof, but to admit it means they know they are guilty of defrauding the U.S. Government.

If you can get someone to pay list price, then an unrealistically high list price constitutes a fraud, an essential part of a despicable scam.

Enter the U.S. Government, prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices.

On 01/06/2015, S.31 – Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2015 was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

This is a Bill To amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries

As of August 26, 2016 the Bill has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

I found no evidence of any further action on the Bill.

Discuss this with your senators and representatives.

If their eyes glaze over, you’ve committed the cardinal sin of Too Many Numbers (to paraphrase Emperor Joseph II’s remarks on Mozart’s work: “Too many notes.”)

If you detect a knowing look, they have been aware of the scam from the beginning.

Has the Line Been Crossed?

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new-logo25Dan Martin

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A question for all members of our Federal Legislative Branch:

At what point is the insanity currently playing out in the House of Representatives more correctly defined as sedition?

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Happy Days Are Here Again?

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new-logo25Dan Martin

PPJ Staff Writer

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“Dow hits record high as markets are undaunted by tepid economic growth, political gridlock” (The Washington Post, March 5, 2013)

This is just an example of the headlines appearing in virtually every newspaper and on every newscast in001-1008100157-economy5 the country.

Feel better now?

Well, I hate to burst your bubble (that’s one of those highly technical economic terms bandied about by the talking heads), but let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

The common thread here is that all of these headlines trumpet a mindset that is pure horse (manure). (Editor’s note: The writer actually used a stronger epithet and, while we do not pretend to be rated G, there is always the outside chance the PPJG will be left lying about where a nine-year-old might find it.)

Anyone who respects the ‘time value of money’, also known as ‘inflation / deflation’, is conditioned to immediately suspect comparisons of dollar amounts between different time frames, and treat them with a huge dollop of skepticism.

THE REAL NUMBERS

The closing numbers for today (March 5, 2013) were $14,253.77 for the Dow and $3,224.13 for the NASDAQ.

The average annual inflation rate from 2000 to 2013 is 2.24%. The rate from 2007 to 2013 is 1.945% (see InflationData.com.)

Adjusted for inflation, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is $1,479.47, or 9.403% short of its all time high of $14,164.53 on October 9, 2007 ($15,733.24 in today’s dollar.)

The NASDAQ is even more woefully behind its March 10, 2000, record close of $5,048.62; ($6,751.24 after adjusting for inflation.) That would be $3,527.11 – short 52.244%.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!

Inflation is a basic characteristic of our economy. Those who wield some influence over these things strive to maintain the inflation rate between 0.5 and 1.5 percent as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures (the PCE price index).

Deflation is considered a problem in a modern economy because of the potential of a deflationary spiral and its association with the Great Depression.

The fact of inflation must be taken into account whenever and for whatever reason we are comparing the cost of things between two different time periods.

Obviously, we have a way to go.

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Dan Martin: procentral@mainstreetcom.com A semi-retired estate planner and tax preparer, determined to help people understand how numbers affect every day of their lives. Comments, questions, or clarifications are welcomed.

About That 9/11 Terrorist Attack . . .

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September 11, 2012 – It is not even noon and I am already so full of ‘tributes’ and ‘remembrance’ of “9/11” that I could vomit.

Someone on the news took it upon themselves to point out the importance of teaching this load of crap to the younger generation.

Crap?!  Yes!

After eleven years, why do we see no credible explanation of how the towers collapsed, at 8:46 and 9:03, into their own footprints? When did temperatures from the burning jet fuel (500-599 °F) reach high enough to melt steel (2,070 °F)?

At 9:37 Flight 77 (or something) crashes into the western side of the Pentagon at 530 mph and starts a violent fire. Why has no picture of the wreckage of this airliner ever been published?

At 10:03 United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers and passengers at 583 mph, due to fighting in the cockpit 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania LEAVING A DEBRIS TRAIL MORE THAN A MILE LONG.

Oh, and what caused Building 7 to fall at 5:20 p.m. INTO ITS OWN FOOTPRINT.
Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family were urgently evacuated from the United States in the first days following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Even though American airspace had been shut down, a commercial airliner was allowed to fly around the US picking up family members from 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and Houston.”

On 9/11 the world’s only military superpower was apparently oblivious to the location of rogue airliners in its airspace for over an hour, and military commanders were left perplexed on how to deal with the situation of hijackers using these planes as flying bombs.  This confusion resulted in fighter jets flying around aimlessly whilst the hierarchy fully assessed what was going on, and this total lack of cohesion ultimately led to the loss of nearly 3000 lives.  All that was required to overcome America’s military might on 9/11 were 19 hijackers on 4 airliners.  Does this sound plausible to you?  It is what you are expected to believe.
There is, believe it or not, a limit to how far my credulity can be stretched.

Let’s define what is probably going on. False flag (also known as black flag) operations are covert operations designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is: flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations and can be used during peace-time.

Have you ever read a single word about the Holocaust without a mention of Adolph Hitler’s government, then in power?

Can you “Remember the Maine” without the second part of that slogan “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!”

The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the U.S. National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead may have involved “Tonkin Ghosts”[6] (false radar images) and not actual North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boat attacks.  In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded[7] that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4.  The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which served as President Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

Before we take it upon ourselves to pass along all of this ‘lore’ to our children, why don’t we hear from those closest to the carnage and devastation we commemorate today – who know what really happened on September 11, 2001.

An Open Letter To My Congressional Representatives

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The court jesters on the Potomac have outdone themselves.

In my 52 years as a voting progressive activist, things have never been this embarrassing in the District of Criminals.

The challenge is to convey my disgust without incurring the wrath of the F.C.C., or whatever other alphabet agency is monitoring my communications today. (They take turns.)

What the f*** is the matter with you a**ho**s!!!

In a saying that goes back to my high school days, “You people would screw up a wet dream!”

On your failure to put together a payroll tax holiday and keep some unemployment benefits flowing, I guess you think that $19.25 a week and $450 – $500 a week is not that big a deal.

The unemployment compensation, proceeds from an insurance plan funded by employer and employee alike, helps someone pay the bills until you jerks figure out how to get our country back to work.

$19.25 a week at the grocery store is the difference between hamburger and peanut butter.

I’m not sure I’d even like to meet the nine people out of a hundred that approve what you are up to. I cannot stand the thought of sharing air with that many more idiots in my life.

What If War Was Outlawed?

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Dan Martin (c) copyright 2011

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Did you know that war is against the law? All should become familiar with the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

“(A) Treaty between the United States and other Powers providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. Signed at Paris, August 27, 1928; ratification advised by the Senate, January 16, 1929; ratified by the President, January 17, 1929; instruments of ratification deposited at Washington by the United States of America, Australia, Dominion of Canada, Czechoslovkia, Germany, Great Britain, India, Irish Free State, Italy, New Zealand, and Union of South Africa, March 2, 1929: By Poland, March 26, 1929; by Belgium, March 27 1929; by France, April 22, 1929; by Japan, July 24, 1929; proclaimed, July 24, 1929.”

Following is from a story by the CBC:

“There was no “Mission Accomplished” banner. No victory parade down the center of this capital scarred and rearranged by nearly nine years of war. No crowds of cheering Iraqis grateful for liberation from Saddam Hussein.

“Instead, the U.S. military officially declared an end to its mission in Iraq on Thursday with a businesslike closing ceremony behind blast walls in a fortified compound at Baghdad airport. The flag used by U.S. forces in Iraq was lowered and boxed up in a 45-minute ceremony. No senior Iraqi political figures attended.

“With that, and brief words from top American officials who flew in under tight security still necessary because of the ongoing violence in Iraq, the U.S. drew the curtain on a war that left 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis dead.

“The conflict also left another 32,000 Americans and far more Iraqis wounded, drained more than $800 billion US from America’s treasury and soured a majority of Americans on a war many initially supported as a just extension of the fight against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks.”

(citation) (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/12/15/iraq-war-last-day.html)

Oh, go ahead, celebrate – at least a little bit! It IS a step in the right direction.

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