A Very Selective Blindness

What if a journalist had asked JFK this sort of question in 1960? Or Clinton in 1992?

Of course, none would have. The press pack half a century ago was fully aware of Kennedy’s proclivities; but he allowed them such access to himself, and gave such good interviews that, with a knowing wink, they all went along with it. Then, as now, the overwhelming majority of the fourth estate had long since discovered that its own interests lay very much on one side of the (completely phony) left-right political divide.

How blind the press must believe the American public to be. That they have no idea, none at all, of the magnitude of the hole the United States has dug itself into over the past century. Like Europe, America is careering, with ever-increasing speed, towards its inevitable date with reality. If a leader existed who really could extract the world’s foremost power from this fate, would the voting public really give a damn about his private life? Former House Speaker Newton Gingrich would agree, and his disembowelling of debate moderator John King—an all-too typical product of modern Western journalism—in the clip above, was magisterial.

In any case, I doubt Gingrich has the potential to become that leader. A commensurate Washington insider, he is in essence a business-as-usual guy; while mouthing agreeable platitudes about freeing up business, work ethic and self-reliance, he shows no sign of having a plan to fix the underlying malaise that is dragging America the way of all history’s great empires.

The other two remaining GOP candidates, Romney and Santorum, are no better really. While adopting different focuses (foci?), they are, in my opinion, really just three different brands of the same snake oil. The minor differences between them, while being endlessly pored over by the press, in the end won’t make a tinker’s cuss worth of difference when it counts. A bit like a lot of previous U.S. presidential elections, except this time, the arithmetic is no longer adding up; America in 2011 lost its ability to kick its problems four or more years into the future. The next president, whoever it is, faces a moment of truth that his nation has not had to confront since the American Civil War. Long regarded as mankind’s “last best hope”, the United States may well find some of its most entrenched beliefs challenged well before the 2016 election. So don’t believe any promises you may hear from these three between now and November—they simply won’t be deliverable. And as for the Democratic incumbent…

Ummm… there are only three GOP candidates left, aren’t there? I think my eyesight’s getting blurry.

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34 Responses to A Very Selective Blindness

  1. Kitler says:

    Gingrich ripped John King a new one and the audience went wild.

  2. izen says:

    The American attitude to sex and politicians is as weird and hypocritical as it is everywhere…

    Whatever the personal experience people have there is a social expectation that their leaders will display the paradigm of monogamous pair bonding.
    Gringrich was always vulnerable to attacks on his less than ‘conventional’ personal history. The maths needs checking but it looks like he transgressed the ‘half the age plus seven’ rule for relationships with an age gap. Twice. In both directions.
    Perhaps by having it as the opening question and response there was an intentional tactic to remove this source of attack from the battlefield.
    On the other hand it could have been engineered by his GOP opponents to remove him from the field.

    As always with politics the contradictory conspiracy theories, and the ‘snafu’ explanation can all look equally credible.

    Presumably the GOP is trying to find a candidate with some chance of taking the popular vote. This means ‘choosing’ a candidate with a hope of getting votes from the politically apathetic as well as appeasing the Tea Party fanatical minority.
    Apparently Mit Rommney is the best they can do and he has money.

    But consider the ‘trial by media’ US presidential candidates get, OBama had passages in books written by other people he met or worked with as a young man raised as evidence of his unsuitability.
    What will a hostile media do with a business man who pays less tax on his income than the average American and whose business can probably be shown to have destroyed more jobs than it created.

    Yes I KNOW that is an ‘unfair and partial’ characterization of Rommney, but that and his adherence to a weird religious cult make him vulnerable to such attacks.
    In politics the facts can matter much less than perceptions of credibility. That credibility resides in the eye of the beholder and varies depending on the political views held. A candidate who is credible in the eyes of the GOP faithful can look like a crony-capitalist anti-Christian in the collective social view, while a credible candidate with the majority might look like a crypto-communist islamic non-American to others…

    Obama has done nothing so catastrophically bad that he is vulnerable beyond the usual sniping – mainly by doing nothing.
    But with the ability to point to some good economic news, and an opposition that might be constrained by the contradictions of highlighting the very failures of free enterprise it claims to support, Obama almost certainly gets 4 more years against Rommney.
    Or any other conceivable GOP candidate as far as I can see.

  3. Dr. Dave says:

    Ron Paul is still in it.

    I don’t much care for any of these candidates. Romney is pretty smooth and polished, but he’s been running for President since 2008. RomneyCare in Massachusetts was the blueprint for the deplorable ObamaCare that was rammed down the throat of an unwilling public so I don’t necessarily trust his promise to appeal ObamaCare. Although he’s changed his tune in this campaign, he pandered to the AGW crowd while he was governor. But Mitt is the “chosen One” by the Establishment Republicans who favor squishy RINOs who won’t upset their applecart. But the worst part is that Romney is the candidate Obama most wants to run against. Mitt is stinkin’ rich (hundreds of millions). The Democrat fabricated Occupy movement was designed to give Obama a campaign issue. He can’t run on his record so he will continue to stoke the flames of class warfare and economic inequality. Mitt is the perfect foil. Mitt is also so polite he pass for a Canadian. The 2012 campaign is going to be NASTY and the GOP needs a street fighter.

    Newt Gingrich has turned in excellent performances in pretty much every debate. But Newt has long been cozy with the environmental left and he supports ethanol. Newt also comes loaded with baggage but virtually all of it is yesterday’s news

  4. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    It’s so refreshing to read the informed, keen insights of a British socialist on matters concerning American politics, particularly conservative American politics. The Tea Party movement is hardly a “fanatical minority.” As evidence I would point to the loss of 63 seats and Democrat control of House in 2010. That was the result primarily of two factors: 1) The Tea Party movement and 2) public pushback against the Obama agenda. The Tea Party is often mistakenly characterized as an extreme right wing faction of the Republican Party. This trope has been perpetuated by the MSM who, of course, carry the water for the Obama campaign. In reality the Tea Party movement is HUGE and it consists of (mostly) Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and Democrats. Unlike the fabricated OWS movement, the Tea Party movement is truly grass roots and they have clearly defined objectives: fiscal responsibility, smaller government, reduced entitlements, less government spending, no new taxes. They understand that only the private sector creates wealth in a society. The Democrat majority in the Senate (which will only last less than a year now), the Democrat minority in the House (and yes, it will remain that way) and the Establishment Republicans hate the Tea Party movement but all for different reasons. The Establishment Republicans fear the loss of the dominance of their influence. They don’t want some impudent upstart Tea Party Republican opposing a tax code change that favors one of their long-time cronies. The Democrats hate them because their very presence makes it much more difficult for them to manipulate the Establishment Republicans. It will take several election cycles, deaths and retirements but the Tea Party will clean house in the Congress. In the short term the first house that needs to be cleaned out is the White House.

    Now on to your other nonsensical point – that Obama is essentially unbeatable. True, it is difficult to unseat an incumbent. But it has happened…and relatively recently, too (e.g. Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush). Had it not been for Ross Perot in 1992 (and again in 1996) serving as a spoiler along with the heavily biased and complicit MSM, Clinton would never have won in ’92 or reelection in ’96. Guess what? Although still a force to be reckoned with, the MSM no longer wields nearly the clout they did even as recently as 2008 (hence we see the big push for SOPA/PIPA and “net neutrality by the Democrats – they want to make that damn internet STFU). Have you seen Obama’s poll numbers? He’s still more popular than Herpes…but not by much. Have you seen the unemployment numbers in the US? They’re grim. In modern memory only FDR won reelection with such dismal numbers. Have you seen the deficit and debt figures for the USA? Obama has racked up $4 trillion in additional debt in just three years. True, G.W. Bush racked up that much, too. But it took him 8 years, 9/11, two wars and the (Democrat caused) housing bubble to burst. Hell, it appears Obama can do even better in his sleep or while on the golf course. Then we have the VERY unpopular ObamaCare bill which was forced through the Congress on razor thin margins with arcane parliamentary tricks that might best be described as shenanigans. Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank bill. Both of these corrupt hacks will be gone after 2012. Dodd already is – he’s a lobbyist for the MPAA and is pushing for passage of SOPA/PIPA. Obama has done NOTHING good for this country and has been quite arguably even worse than Jimmy Carter. The MSM paints him as popular…but he ain’t. Even Democrats are jumping ship! Trouble is that the Establishment Republicans are not all that interested in beating Obama. They want to regain control of the Senate and all the committee chairs (i.e. to control the money).

    Now izen, I KNOW how you absolutely adore Rush Limbaugh. I try to catch the first 30-40 minutes of his show every week day. Once he starts taking calls I get bored and turn the volume down or close the streaming link. I have to stream his show off the internet because, even though a live in a State Capitol, no radio station in a 60 mile radius carries his show. Odd, because he has an audience of about 30 million every day. Then again, I live in a town that is a swirling vortex of mindless liberalism. But there’s one thing Rush does better than anybody else. With uncanny precision he can report a political news story and tell you how the MSM will spin it the nest day. The next day he plays an audio montage of the MSM. The first few times I thought it was pure coincidence. Now, because it’s such a regular feature I find it hilarious. Almost a year ago he predicted the Obama reelection campaign strategy. Damn if he hasn’t been right on the money. Obama can’t run on his his record or any accomplishments so He fabricated a class warfare/class envy scheme and will be running on “economic inequality”. Sit back and watch.

  5. Amanda says:

    I’m rather a contrarian on American politics on this blog. 🙂

    Mr A reminded me of something rather interesting today. We were talking about Thucydides. According to T, one of the dangers inherent in democracy is the mistrust of leaders by the people. Too much mistrust or blanket cynicism or even faux sophistication — in our time, the talk of ‘they all do it’ by citizens that otherwise know nothing of politics — is bad for democracy because it renders the citizens unable to tell good advice, of good and knowledgeable politicians, from bad advice (the self-seeking and unwise politicians).

    According to Thucycides, the genius of Pericles lay in ennobling the Athenian democracy by instructing the citizens in the virtues of politics, and in the truth that some statesmen really can provide good leadership and therefore should be entrusted with power, even as the citizens continue to perform their vigilant role.

    When I hear talk, in general, in the media and among Americans, of how ‘these people are “Establishment Republicans” ‘ and ‘he’s not a real conservative’ or ‘they’re all alike’ or ‘one’s as bad as another’, what I’m hearing is that overskeptical and ultimately unwarranted mistrust. And in fact I have been adamant from the beginning that the GOP nominees are all, to a man, excellent leaders, that I would happy to have any one of them as president, even though as you know Ron Paul is my very least favourite and last choice among the Republicans. But I would take him over any Democrat, any day of the week.

    However, I think it’s going to be Romney for president (though Mr A likes Santorum very much and possibly a bit more than R.). We’ll be voting for Romney in the upcoming Florida primary. We believe that he is a patriot, that he loves America in the ways that he should, and that he would defend her interests — which is to say, our interests, as American citizens — if he became president.

  6. Dr. Dave says:

    Izen,

    Dang it! I forgot to mention something in response to the previous comment thread. You posited that this year the last two digits of your age will be the same as the last two digits of your birth year. You called this “unique”. Actually it is not at all “unique”. I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that you’ll turn 56 this year. This only occurred to be while I was dozing off the other night. I was born in 1957 and I will turn 55 on Monday. My GF is a year older than I am and she’ll turn 56 six days later. She was born in 1956. Actually I was agonizing about what to get her for her birthday (we’re both hard to buy for…but she’s REALLY hard. Cash is usually the answer). For some reason, right before I fell into the arms of Morpheus, I remembered your little puzzle that I had previously ignored. This situation is not at all unique for those born in the early part of centuries but becomes increasingly rare after the midpoint. No one would blink an eye at someone born in 1950 turning 50 in 2000. Will this be just “unique” when someone born in 1960 turns 60 in 2020?

  7. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave
    It is clear from the intelligent and insightful comments you make on many issues that you are smart, well informed and capable of understanding by rational means the complexity of the world we live in from its physical basics to the nuances of politics in the worlds most advanced civilisations.
    And yet… you make a statement breathtaking in its naivety like –
    @-“Unlike the fabricated OWS movement, the Tea Party movement is truly grass roots …”

    In passing I would suggest the OWS movement got heavily stamped on the moment it looked like it could be a ‘grass roots’ movement.
    But the idea that in large modern nations there could be a truly ‘grass roots movement is silly. The idea might be possible in small social groups of a few thousands, but is mere metaphor in a post-industrial culture with a mature information base. Largely dominated by private commercial organisations.
    Political movements need money. However ‘grass roots’ the TeaParty may be its original funding and organisational background is well documented. Perhaps you feel the Koch brothers merely ‘enabled’ a grass roots movement.

    @- “… and they have clearly defined objectives: fiscal responsibility, smaller government, reduced entitlements, less government spending, no new taxes.”

    There is a well trodden dynamic to radical groups on either political wing. The bigger they get, the more of the disaffected they attract into their ranks, the less clearly defined become their objectives. Internal dissension emerges about the details of policy like reduced entitlements, splits and disputes arise over the ‘TRUE’ path of the TP, the Birthers view anyone not sharing their suspicions as insufficiently committed to the cause. While anyone rational joining thinks the Birthers are just insufficiently committed…

    @- “They understand that only the private sector creates wealth in a society. ”

    This is only true under very constrained meanings of ‘private sector’ and ‘creates’.
    It imposes a causal simplicity onto the reality of roads, utility infrastructure and enforcement of legal contracts that is unhelpful in understanding how wealth is generated.
    In the field of medicine the ‘private sector’ of the drug industry is effectively subsidised by government funded research. I am sure that you are aware that many, perhaps the majority of the drugs regulary used were developed with public money as part of the finance.

    Private enterprise creates wealth. Governments do not.
    But as I pointed out to FB on a previous thread, that is because governments are not a business. They are the dynamic infrastructure which provides the socio-economic environment for private enterprise to exist. Governments without private enterprise are hopelessly inefficient. Private enterprise without government is … well can you think of any examples?

    The Tea-baggers and perhaps you would advocate – smaller government, reduced entitlements, less government spending, no new taxes – are there any current or perhaps historical examples of such low tax, low spending governments that you would point to as exemplars of the benefits of such a policy ?

  8. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave
    On the money with the birthdate.
    Ozboy was a little more discrete in linking it to the Hungarian uprising! Its odd what ‘notable event’ various years get labeled with – like 63 is the JFK assasination and 2001 will be 9/11.
    I did not mean that the coincidence of age and birth-year is unique to my age, but that it is unique event in a lifetime which I am sure there is a neat mathematical formula to calculate age from the year it occurs but which I couldn’t think of at the time so set the puzzle in part to see if anyone did have the solution other than a simple iterative method.

    If someone is difficult to get presents for and money is a good option…
    Put the money in a small, but beautifully handcrafted container, carved wood, enameled jewel box type of thing – nothing very costly, just a bit individual as a ‘wrapping’ for the present to make it ‘special’ money. -Grin-

    Sigh… if your 2-digit 20th-century birth year is x, then you will reach the age x in the year (1900 + 2x)

    The Melbourne Olympics were held about six weeks after the Soviet invasion of Hungary; notable for being the first Olympic Games in which the USSR participated. My dad was in the audience of the USSR-Hungary water polo match and he reckons the Hungarians went beserk – you could see the blood-red tinge in the water and at half-time, the Soviets refused to go back into the pool – Oz

  9. Amanda says:

    Hi Izen: ‘Discreet’, I think you mean. If as you say the others were right in your guess, then you are only 56 and we should hardly imagined you ravaged by time or however dear lovely Oz put it on the other thread. But then I’m very elastic in what I think is a ‘good age’. I plan to enjoy my own decade, as someone in my 50s, very much. In fact I suspect that many things I have worked for and longed for and dreamed about for decades will come to pass in that era, and I have good reason for thinking that. (It’s not all about what the world gives you, but what you give yourself.)

    Some cheeky so-and-so on a blog recently asked me ‘how old would you like me to be?’ As if I ‘liked’ him to be any age at all! So I said something like: old enough that I wouldn’t have to babysit you and young enough that you’re not an old dog who’s had his day. Anything in between is interesting.

    The 50s are a great time if you are in good health — and that can be said of any age (who would want to be younger with a dread disease?).

    A long-winded Happy Birthday from me, then. May you have many more. 🙂

    P. S. I know of two people in history — Dr Richard Mudd (‘Dr Dick’, whose grandfather aided Abraham Lincoln’s assassin) and the Queen Mother — that had a death age and year of death that are both palindromes: 101 in 2002. Anyone know of any others?

  10. Amanda says:

    my boo-boo: their guess

  11. izen says:

    @-Ozboy
    “Sigh… if your 2-digit 20th-century birth year is x, then you will reach the age x in the year (1900 + 2x) – Oz”

    and to directly calculate the age from the ‘year of coincidence’ –
    So x= (yearc-1900)/2
    Or x= (yearc-2000)/2
    as I share the coincidence this year with six year olds…-grin-

    Forwards, backwards and sideways – Oz

  12. Ozboy says:

    Many happy returns, Dave!

  13. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    I’ll start at the bottom of your comment and then work my way through it randomly. First, one does NOT use the term “teabagger” in polite company. It is a pejorative with an insult factor somewhere between “faggot” and “rat bastard son-of-a-bitch”. It was introduced by a left-wing TV commentator who obviously thought she was being ever so witty and clever (that she knew what it meant alone was telling). It was picked up and adopted by the rest of our mindless liberal media and was even parroted by our jug-eared idiot President. It is far more offensive than calling an AGW skeptic a “denier”. Obama is so utterly tone deaf, out of touch and constantly pandering to his own base that he doesn’t even realize that referring to Tea Party patriots (ordinary tax paying working folks with genuine concerns) as “teabaggers” is just as offensive as someone referring to him as a “nigger”. Actually, in historical context, the latter would be more accurate. So izen, please refrain from using the term “teabagger” . It is vulgar and uncouth. Our left-wing media may have decided it’s a term appropriate for political discourse but I would hope the more intelligent among us would avoid it.

    You asked, “…smaller government, reduced entitlements, less government spending, no new taxes – are there any current or perhaps historical examples of such low tax, low spending governments that you would point to as exemplars of the benefits of such a policy?” Yes. The best example I can think of is the USA from its founding up to the FDR administration. Actually one might have to go back to the early 20th century and the Wilson administration (famous for introducing the federal income tax and Prohibition). Many folks don’t know that Wilson, a Progressive Democrat and academic elite, re-introduced segregation to the US military. Wilson was a bigoted, racist SOB yet he is revered by our Progressive left. Wilson did the most damage to the country with the federal income tax. Oddly, this Constitutional amendment that was pushed through was ostensibly to fund our involvement in WWI. The “progressive” income tax battered the wealthy and no one seems to remember the depression of the early 1920s. We got out of it only after Coolidge lowered taxes. So the good ol’ US of A ran pretty damn well right up to the Hoover administration (a Progressive Republican who thought government could/should intervene in the free market). FDR just perpetuated Hoover’s policies and every intervention only deepened the Depression. FDR greatly expanded the federal government and created our first entitlement programs. It has been all downhill ever since. Yet before FDR we had relatively low taxes, a much smaller government, no entitlements, a gold standard and federal government that lived within its means. This is what our Founders envisioned.

    Let see here…oh yeah…governments produce NO wealth. Every dollar given by government to someone else has to be first confiscated from someone in the private sector. If your salary (or benefits) are paid for with taxpayer money you are, by definition, a parasite. I’m not trying to imply that this is necessarily a “bad thing”, but we should be honest enough to call a spade a spade. Public sector employees provide services vital to society (e.g. military, police, fire fighters, public school teachers, a myriad of various and sundry bureaucrats), but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that they produce “wealth”. If taxpayer dollars (or pounds if you prefer) pay their salary, they are effectively “parasites” to the private sector. A lot of this is necessary – absolutely necessary for a fully functional civil society. The problem is that that the natural tendency of bureaucracies is to grow beyond what is necessary to feed the bureaucracy itself. Human nature. In the US we could easily cut 50% of our federal government with no discernible detriment to society as a whole.

    Your example of a lawyer was a very good one. A lawyer working in our Department of (in)Justice is, in fact, a parasite. His salary is paid entirely with taxes confiscated from wealth producing Americans. An equally loathsome attorney in private practice actually produces wealth because his services are paid for by the client (who presumably has a “real job”). Wealth is determined by goods and services for which people freely trade, not by anything government does.

    Lastly I want to point out that virtually ALL drugs developed in the last century were developed by the private sector and NOT with government subsidy. This may be a bitter pill to swallow (pun fully intended) for a European socialist, but it’s the truth. You’re gonna have to trust me on this. Drug development is something I know a LOT about. Governments all around the world haven’t done squat relative to the private sector. Almost ALL medical research and development is funded and performed by the private sector…yeah…the EVIL pharmaceutical industry. Without the free market our lives would be much shorter.

  14. izen says:

    I am sorry if the robust nature of political discourse is offensive to your sensibilities, but it is the currency of politics to use any and all means to denigrate – howevert unjustified and inappropriate. Although teabaggers does capture something of their fetishistic sycophancy….
    You can expect the Newt to be labeled ‘Tricky-Dicky #2’ – I see I am not the only one to have spotted this similarity. It isn’t intelligence that prevents this sort of political dirty fighting – Newt is smart, but has certainly never shrunk from implying the worst whenever he can… Dont be so squeamish – respect for political status is grossly overated.

    You suggest that a good example of a succesful low tax/low spending government would be the US between its founding and FDR or perhaps a little earlier.
    I suspect this sufferes from the rose-tinted ‘golden age’ syndrome.
    For the first century or so the US was still a colonial agrarian system with very little internal coherence as an economy, it was exporting raw agricultural produce from farms at the nearest port, and importing manufactured goods. There was very little internal economy and it was still dependent on slavery. I would presume you would not advocate a return to that economic model!

    When government finance and grants did open up the west and subsidise a national railroad system industrialisation finally took off – and a century of economic panics, depressions and collapses ensured in 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893… along with the odd civil war and empire-building in Mexico, the Carribean and the Phillipines.
    Given the instability of the economy during this time and the influence of war its hard to see this as a exemplar of economic succes and benefit for the majority of Americans.

    I do understand the tendency to patriotically put the best spin on one nations’ history. But for much of the period you are advancing as a paradigm of a low tax and spend government the US was an agricultural post colonial economy with the benefit of expansion into new lands and a rapidly expanding population from immigration Two factors that are not generally available to mature modern nations. A large proportion of its agricultural economy was still based on slave labor which again makes it imcomparable with a modern economy.
    The industrialisation and expansion of the economy in the US during the 19th century was subsidised by government grants to railroad infrastructure and weapons manufacture.
    It was also accompanied by economic callapse and recession every few decades when ordinary Americans could lose everything in bank failures and the collapse of jobs – hardly a recommendation for its economic system. It was to try and end that cycle of instability that FDR who you dislike so much instigated a government led expansion of the basic infrastructure. ALthough the economic stimulus of WW2 had a big effect. Especially as its late entry allowed it to charge the allied powers for the support it gave.
    I remain unconvinced that the early US is a convincing example of a low tax/spend governance without additional factors – expanding boundaries, war and slavery – distorting that economy out of all similarity to present day modern post-industrial societies.

    I remain unconvinced that 18th-19th century America is a good or even particulary attractive economic model of low government intervention.

    I am not sure where you got the reference to government lawyers from. I did not mention them – although I share with Shakespeare a general attitude to the proffession!
    But what I did mention was the role of goverment in providing a social system in which contract law is respected.
    A society in which the nearest aristocrat or local war-lord can ‘appropriate’ the gains of the enterprenier or businessmen can default on contracts is not conducive to stable financial progress. The experience of firms trying to do business in the post-fall Russia when those who could make the biggest bribe, or had the toughest thugs/assasins came out on top illustrates that. There are plenty of places around the world where the abscence of effective commercial law makes economics corrupt and imposes a far more onerous ‘taxation’ than government ever does.

  15. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave
    “Lastly I want to point out that virtually ALL drugs developed in the last century were developed by the private sector and NOT with government subsidy. … You’re gonna have to trust me on this. Drug development is something I know a LOT about.”

    I think I will take Ronnie Reagan’s advice, although that was in relation to arms reduction – “Trust, but verify”.

    I don’t doubt that you know a LOT about drug development, its just that there is quite a lot of evidence from other people who work in the field that seems to contradict your claim –
    “virtually ALL drugs developed in the last century were developed by the private sector and NOT with government subsidy.”

    For instance –
    http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/econ/ncirole.html
    All Anticancer Drugs That Have Received FDA Approval for Marketing in the United States (As of January 1, 1996)

    Alkylating Agents-12
    Mechlorethamine (Mustargen) (1949)
    TEM (1953)
    Busulfan (Myleran) (1954)
    *Chlorambucil(Leukeran) (1957)
    *Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) (1959)
    *Thiotepa (1959)
    Uracil Mustard (1962)
    *Melphalan (L-PAM, Alkeran) (1959)
    Pipobroman (Vercyte) (1966)
    *Streptozotocin (Zanosar) (1982)
    *Ifosfamide (Ifex) (1988)
    *Melphalan (IV) (1993)

    Antimetabolites-9
    *Mercaptopurine (6-MP) (1953)
    *Methotrexate (1953)
    Fluorouracil (5-FU) (1962)
    *Thioguanine (6-TG) (1966)
    *Cytosine Arabinoside (Ara-C) (1969)
    *FUDR (1970)
    *Fludarabine Phosphate (1991)
    *Pentostatin (1991)
    *Chlorodeoxyadenosine (1992)

    Plant Alkaloids and Antibiotics-15
    Vinblastine (Velban) (1961)
    *Vincristine (Oncovin) (1963)
    *Actinomycin D (Cosmegen) (1964)
    *Mithramycin (Mithracin) (1970)
    *Bleomycin (Blenoxane) (1973)
    *Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) (1974)
    *Mitomycin C (Mutamycin) (1974)
    *L-Asparaginase (Elspar) (1978)
    *Daunomycin (Cerubidine) (1979)
    *VP-16-213 (Etoposide) (1983)
    Idarubicin (Idamycin) (1990)
    *VM-26 (Teniposide) (1992)
    *Taxol (Paclitaxel) (1992)
    Navelibine (1994)
    Doxorubicin Liposome Inj. (Doxil) (1995)

    Synthetics-13
    *Hydroxyurea (Hydrea) (1967)
    *Procarbazine (Matulane) (1969)
    *o-p -DDD (Lysodren, Mitotane) (1970)
    *Dacarbazine (DTIC) (1975)
    *CCNU (Lomustine) (1976)
    *BCNU (Carmustine) (1977)
    *Cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (Cis-platin) (1978)
    *Mitoxantrone (Novantrone) (1988)
    *Carboplatin (Paraplatin) (1989)
    *Levamisole (Ergamisol) (1990)
    *Hexamethylmelamine (Hexalen) (1990)
    *All-trans retinoid Acid (Vessanoid) (1995)
    *Porfimer sodium (Photofrin) (1995)

    Hormones and Steroids-23
    Ethinyl Estradiol (1949)
    *DES (1950)
    Testosterone (1950)
    *Prednisone (1953)
    *Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin) (1958)
    *Dromostanolone (Drolban) (1961)
    *Testolactone (Teslac) (1970)
    Megestrol Acetate (Megace) (1971)
    Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) (1978)
    *Methyl Prednisolone
    Methyltestosterone
    *Prednisolone
    Triamcinolone
    Chlorotrianisene (TACE)
    Hydroxyprogesterone (Delalutin)
    Aminoglutethimide (Cytadren)
    Estramustine (Emcyt)
    Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (Depo-Provera, Provera)
    Leuprolide (Lupron) (1985)
    Flutamide (Eulexin( (1989)
    *Zoladex (1989)
    Bicalutamide (Casodex) (1995)
    Anastrozole (Arimidex) (1995)

    Biologicals-5
    *Alpha Interferon (Intron A, Roferon-A) (1986)
    *BCG (TheraCys, TICE) (1990)
    *G-CSF (1991)
    *GM-CSF (1991)
    *Interleukin-2 (Proleukin) (1992)

    Grand Total-77
    *IND sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (total INDs sponsored by NCI=50)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21306239
    We identified new drugs and vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that were discovered by public-sector research institutions (PSRIs) and classified them according to their therapeutic category and potential therapeutic effect.
    RESULTS:
    We found that during the past 40 years, 153 new FDA-approved drugs, vaccines, or new indications for existing drugs were discovered through research carried out in PSRIs. These drugs included 93 small-molecule drugs, 36 biologic agents, 15 vaccines, 8 in vivo diagnostic materials, and 1 over-the-counter drug. More than half of these drugs have been used in the treatment or prevention of cancer or infectious diseases. PSRI-discovered drugs are expected to have a disproportionately large therapeutic effect.
    ———————
    I would suggest that the history of the well known anti-viral AZT is typical of drug development, the type, family or specific chemical is often discovered/synthesised as part of basic research which is publicly funded. Possible medical uses are investigated as joint public-private funded R&D. The final formulation and clinical testing and application are privately funded exercises to retain patent rights.

    Extraordinary claims that fly in the face of contradictory widespread information requires extraordinary evidence to support it.
    Do you have any ?

    I would regard the claim that all the reports of the significance of public funding for medical development are hoaxes and frauds as extraordinary… but not convincing – conspiracy plots on such a scale fail every test of credibility.

  16. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    You offer up incredibly poor examples to make your point. It might be helpful if you were actually familiar with these drugs, their use and the frequency with which they are employed. Most of the drugs (all 77 of them) you list are oncolytics (but not all of them). Most were approved by the FDA before 1980. Cancer drugs are unique in terms of subsidy. “Curing cancer” has been a political hot button for decades. Still, the drug companies do all the heavy lifting. They take it from “new chemical entity” all the way to Phase III clinical trials. The government comes in at the end and helps fund the Phase III trials. The money for this goes mostly to university based medical centers for human trials. It’s not government grants that funded the actual development of these drugs.

    Several of the drugs you list are still available but are almost never used. Several have very niche applications. Look at ALL the cancer drugs which have been developed since the late 1940s and compare this to your paltry list. The US government is famous for funding drugs for treatment and management of cancer, AIDS and “orphan drugs”. Orphan drugs are those for which there isn’t a significantly large enough market to make them economically viable for a manufacturer (e.g. exotic and incredibly expensive drugs used to manage pulmonary hypertension).

    I can’t fault any drug company for taking “free money from the government” but let’s be open and honest about this. The money is used to fund Phase III clinical trials in humans. It does not fund the development of these drugs. This is done by the private sector pharmaceutical industry. There are a number of drugs I can think of which didn’t even make your list but they pale in comparison to the overwhelming number of agents the private sector has developed all on their own. And again, partial funding funding of Phase III trials does not mean “the government” funded the development of the drug.

    Look at what disease states MOST of drug expenditures are directed – diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, acute bacterial infections, asthma, depression, hormone replacement (e.g. thyroid), oral contraceptives, CHF, COPD, GERD. etc. Where were the government dollars for these drugs? It’s almost non-existent. so izen…what’s your point?

  17. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave
    The most commonly prescribed drug in America was developed, with public funding, by Germany in 1920.

    The second most prescribed drug was a variation on chemicals known to alter the melvalonate metabolism. That metabolic pathway was discovered by public funded basic research in Germany in 1959. Merck were just looking for variation on the family of chemicals which inhibited the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme.

    Do you want to go through the rest of the top ten ?

    I don’t know anything about this issue myself, but I’m enjoying the exchange. Knowing governments as I do, I suspect Dave has the right of it – Oz

  18. Kitler says:

    Well I have a new post…
    http://knottedprop.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/america-is-doomed-its-just-a-matter-of-when/
    I’m trying to argue the imperial hypothesis as it applies to the USA and of course I’m making the doomiest gloomiest warts and all case probably badly but it’s late here and I’m saying it’s doomed as a country my guess is the next three decades probably a lot less and it’s too late to save it.
    I’m sure Dr Dave will agree with me as he always does. Feel free to criticize the bad punctuation.

  19. izen says:

    @- Oz
    “I don’t know anything about this issue myself, but I’m enjoying the exchange. Knowing governments as I do, I suspect Dave has the right of it – Oz”

    Government funding of medical research in the US is about 30% of the total medical R&D spend.
    Thats not counting basic biological research that leads to or enables medical advances.

    I suppose you could argue that the 30% the government spends is wasted or would be better used by private organisations, but much private funded research is into ‘me-too’ drug versions rather than the basic research that generates new types of treatment.
    NIH research is usually regarded as MORE productive per dollar than private research when it comes to generating therapuetically useful pharmecuticals.

  20. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    30%!! Where do you get these numbers? In order to inflate the number up to 30% one would have to count all the money spent on the CDC as “medical R&D” and then throw in the annual flu vaccine. My room mate in college stayed on as faculty after graduation. About 20 years ago he was the Director of Cardiovascular Drug Research for the university. We met up at a conference back then. Virtually every dime they received for research came from the drug companies.

    I have no idea what drug developed in Germany in 1920 that you are referring to but I’m willing to bet it’s not the #1 most frequently prescribed medication in the USA. Then you mention the early work on melvalonate metabolism. Curious that the first FDA approved HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (lovasatin – NOT the #2 most frequently prescribed drug…perhaps you were thinking of atorvastatin). didn’t hit the market until the 1980s. The actual drug development was done by Merck and not by German government funded basic research.

    You can believe that government spending represents 30% of all medical R&D if it helps you sleep but over 90% of the drugs currently on the market today were developed almost solely by the private sector. Government does NOTHING as efficiently as the private sector. If we had to depend entirely on government for drug development we wouldn’t have many fewer drugs available today. The whole world has benefited from the free market American pharmaceutical industry. In fact most of the European pharmaceutical giants have their research facilities in the US (e.g. Glaxo).

    Back in the 80s I attended a conference in Victoria, British Columbia (the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen). One of the presenters discussed drug development. Specifically antimicrobial drug development. He compared Canada to the US in the 60s and then in the 80s. Canada used develop a lot of drugs. Once their socialized medicine was fully implemented, Canada’s drug development all but evaporated.

    Look up the story of levamisole. Levamisole was an old veterinary drug used to treat liver bots in sheep. The NIH performed an exhaustive study on its efficacy in colon cancer in humans. I mean to tell you – the NIH did ALL the research soup to nuts. Janssen (a Swedish pharmaceutical company famous for developing lidocaine) swept in and scooped up the patent. The FDA approved the drug but it was then incredibly expensive. Janssen didn’t spend a nickel on the R&D. Turns out the drug wasn’t all that effective and has since been pulled from the market.

    Let me ask this in more specific terms. Please list the the drugs government funded development have given us in the last 30 years? Then count up all the rest and it will become abundantly obvious that “government” hasn’t developed 30% of the drugs. They might have been able spend 30% of the money, but what do they have to show for it?

    This line cracked me up. “NIH research is usually regarded as MORE productive per dollar than private research when it comes to generating therapuetically useful pharmecuticals [sic].” Yeah? Regarded by whom? I would imagine that, much like the CDC the NIH comes very highly self-recommended. izen, I’m sorry but this is pure horseshit. Government has played (and still does play) a big role in the distribution of vaccines. I’m strongly in favor of this. But government today has little very impact on new drug development but they do shine in a few areas. Do you know what the the #1 killer is on this planet? No, it’s not starvation or war or cancer or heart disease. It’s parasite infection. The countries where these diseases are endemic have no money. No money = very little drug development. But government research has developed a number of anti-parasite drugs. I don’t know if you have a dog (for some reason I rather hope not), but there’s a common (and now generic) drug for the prevention of heartworm in dogs called ivermectin. Ivermectin can be used safely in humans as a once monthly prophylactic against a host of parasitic diseases. Instead of pissing away billions of dollars chasing AGW fairies we might better direct those funds to prevent morbidity and mortality in Africa at a fraction of the cost. I don’t need to treat my dogs because I live at an altitude where we don’t have mosquitoes, but I wouldn’t begrudge a few bucks to save the lives of those on another continent.

    Some time ago you decided to engage Tucci. I warned you about fighting above your weight class. Once again I shall caution you. When it comes to drugs, if you’re debating me you’re fighting way above your weight class.

  21. Amanda says:

    Not much point in my posting, really, was there?

  22. Kitler says:

    amanda not really it seems Izen and DrDave are in a whose is bigger competition with this time it being legal drugs. Personally I shall defer to the doctor on the matter.

  23. Dr. Dave says:

    Amanda, Kitler and Ozboy,

    I wish to offer my sincere apologies for apparently hijacking this comment thread. We all have our passions. Turns out I’m a bugs n’ drugs guy and pharmaceutical development happens to be something I’m well versed in. This thread went WAY off topic and I can easily see how it could be incredibly boring to a lot of readers. I am sorry. My GF reminds me almost daily when my rhetoric becomes boring (nice of her, huh?). It’s interesting though…when she wants the answer to something medical or pharmaceutical I suddenly become intensely interesting. But all this talk of drugs and drug development is way off topic and rather esoteric and for that I apologize.

    Oh, Kitler…thanks for the vote of confidence and I’m sure mine is bigger than his. But then again, at our age it hardly matters.

  24. izen says:

    @- Dr Dave
    It may be a thread diversion from the GOP candidate circus…
    http://newtcantwin.com/
    Again you post a long appeal to authority (your own!) of drug development and funding and claim it exceeds mine.
    Something I dont dispute, but it would be more convincing if evidence for your claims was not conspicuous by its absence. You have explained at length how your knowledge and authority on this subject is vastly superior to mine as if that is sufficient for me to accept your claims.
    It isn’t.

    I’m sticking with – ‘Trust but Verify’.

    If you dispute my figure of ~30% of medical research is publically funded in the US provide some evidence that refutes my sources (WHO, NAO). I suspect the best you will be able to come up with is a bit of polemic from a right-wing think-tank like the Heritage foundtion…

    Take a look at the top ten prescribed drugs in America –

    Hydrocodone — 131.2 million prescriptions
    Simvastatin — 94.1 million prescriptions
    Lisinopril — 87.4 million prescriptions
    levothyroxine sodium– 70.5 million prescriptions
    amlodipine besylate — 57.2 million prescriptions
    omeprazole — 53.4 million prescriptions (does not include over-the-counter sales)
    Azithromycin — 52.6 million prescriptions
    Amoxicillin — 52.3 million prescriptions
    metformin — 48.3 million prescriptions
    Hydrochlorothiazide — 47.8 million prescriptions.

    Are you really able and prepared to claim that ‘Virtually all’ were developed without public funding ?!
    You have already acknowledged that most get funding for stage III clinical trials; they also benefit from publically funded research that refines and improves the application and dosage administration after they hit the market.

    However many, if not most of the drugs on the list above had the ‘heavy lifting’ the biochemical research into metabolism and phisiology that underlies the development of the drug, done by publically funded bodies. Synthesis of many of the compounds was also originally done by publicly funded research. Often it was German or other European reseach in the 1920s and 50s-60s. The ‘golden age ‘ of biochemical development.

    There is of course a whole ‘nother issue around WHAT drugs get prescribed for what conditions and the differences between the list of top 10 prescriptions and top 10 earning drugs…
    It appears that America does not only embrace the ‘opium of the people’ in religion far more than most modern societies. It also embraces the opioid of the people.
    -grin-

  25. Ozboy says:

    Dave, Izen,

    Digressions are all par for the course here at LibertyGibbert. So no apologies required. As I mentioned earlier, I’m finding this interesting.

    New (brief) thread out tomorrow, but do carry on here…

    Update 27 Jan 12 06:17 Been off work but will hopefully get something out over the weekend.

  26. izen says:

    For Ozboy, and any other poster/lurker who is still interested in the economics of biomedical research, and while I wait for Dr Dave to offer some credible evidence (not anecdotal!) that supports his contention that ‘virtually none’ of the drugs we use received significant public funding, here is my source for the 30% government funding in the US claim –

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/303/2/137.full

    Data on the discovery, synthesis and development of specific drugs, like the top ten prescribed, comes from a variety of sources. But the moment you start to investigate it becomes apparent that quite a number of the basic medicines originated from government funded biochemical research in Germany between 1900 and 1960. There was a decade or so when they didn’t do much, government funding was directed to other goals for a while…

    Secondly, for a drug to be developed there has to be a biological theory and a chemical pathway. The biology needs to be understood enough for a means of affecting the aspect of medical interest to be identified. And a means of synthesising, extracting or modifying the chemical hypothesised to cause the desired effect.

    This makes identifying the specific source of a medical treatment difficult unless you are prepared to narrow and constrain the definition of ‘source’ to a single unique event of invention that was subsequently enshrined in a patent.
    But something like synthetic thyroxine, the 4th most prescribed drug in the US, is just the final link in a chain of discovery, extraction and synthesis of the role of hormones and the thyroid gland going back many decades and involving different researchers in different nations. Much of this research was publicly funded and the eventual pharmaceutical now prescribed cannot be divorced from the history of progressive collective development without inflicting severe abuse on the concept of the ‘source’ of a drug treatment.

    [And it seems that while Dr Dave may surpass me in knowledge of this issue, I can compete when it comes to flogging a topic of personal interest well past the point of mortality to the uninterested observer… -Grin-]
    Third time of trying to post this… is the problem my end or yaws….

    Sorry about the delay Izen; not sure why this one was held up in the spam queue – Oz

  27. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    You’re right and I was wrong. I never would have guessed that hydrocodone containing medications are the #1 most frequently prescribed drugs in the US…but they are (I checked). Of course you have to realize the hydrocodone combination products probably represent about two dozen individual products. Still, I’m surprised.

    OK, I’ll risk boring everybody to tears. The opium poppy produces morphine, codeine, thebain and papaverine as major alkaloids. Morphine and codeine are the clinically useful alkaloids. Most of the morphine and codeine analogues were synthesized and characterized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, heroin and host of others too numerous to list here. These are very old drugs. Hydrocodone is rather interesting. In the US it is a C-III controlled substance when in combination with aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen (just like codeine). In the 1970s there were only a few hydrocodone products on the market and they weren’t very popular. .In the late 80s, early 90s the number of hydrocodone products exploded. They effectively supplanted most of the codeine combinations.

    Still, these drugs had to be brought to the US market and that is no mean task. It’s almost immaterial that some German chemist synthesized and isolated hydrocodone in 1920. A private sector drug company had to characterize its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile. They had to study all side effects, drug-drug interactions, food-drug interactions, teratogenisity, secretion in breast milk, comparisons to other comparable medications, as well as safety and efficacy. The private sector does this (or funds this).

    I looked over your Top 10 list. Every single one of them are generics. In fact, I remember almost every one of them back when they were “new”. It is far more meaningful if you group drugs pharmacologically or by disease state. Instead of just listing metformin, for example, group all oral hypoglycemics, insulins and blood glucose testing products together and I’ll bet you’d have a new #1. Once you start looking at all SSRI antidepressants, all proton pump inhibitors and H2RAs together you have a very different list. Group ALL oral antimicrobials together. Group all the lipid lowering drugs together. Look at all the ACEIs and ARBs as a group. I’d be willing to bet that hydrocodone (and codeine, morphine, oxycodone, etc.) would fall way down on the list. Hell, just group all the OCP pills together with the HRT drugs and you’ll eclipse hydrocodone products.

    I take exception to you putting words in my mouth. I never said that “most” drugs are subsidized with government (i.e. taxpayer) money for Phase III trials. SOME drug research gets government funding for Phase III clinical trials. These are usually cancer drugs and usually cancers that are difficult to research and require the involvement of a LOT of medical centers (e.g. renal cell carcinoma). Lots of folks have hypothyroidism, hypertension, PUD and hypertension so these studies are much easier to perform…and are typically funded entirely by the private sector. Perhaps I do propose an appeal to authority…my own. As it turns out I actually AM an authority. I have experience in drug studies, I’m published in peer reviewed literature and I serve as a reviewer for a couple of prominent journals. Yep…I actually know my shit. It’s part of what I do for a living. Drug research is very interesting but for me there ain’t no money in it. The rest of the stuff is actually pretty boring…but it pays the bills.

    Look at the average age expectancy over the century. Most of the incredible increase is a function of the availability of potable water, modern sanitation, vaccines and drugs. I’ll always defend the pharmaceutical industry even though I often attack it for various reasons.

    MOST of the pharmaceutical industry has been funded by the private sector. Government funding exists but it’s almost inconsequential. So izen, prove to me that other 9 drugs on your Top 10 list were developed with government fund. Don’t dare me to prove a negative.

  28. izen says:

    Here is my source for the 30% government funding in the US claim –

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/303/2/137.full

    Data on the discovery, synthesis and development of specific drugs, like the top ten prescribed, comes from a variety of sources. But the moment you start to investigate it becomes apparent that quite a number of the basic medicines originated from government funded biochemical research in Germany between 1900 and 1960. There was a decade or so when they didn’t do much, government funding was directed to other goals for a while…

    Secondly, for a drug to be developed there has to be a biological theory and a chemical pathway. The biology needs to be understood enough for a means of affecting the aspect of medical interest to be identified. And a means of synthesising, extracting or modifying the chemical hypothesised to cause the desired effect.

    This makes identifying the specific source of a medical treatment difficult unless you are prepared to narrow and constrain the definition of ‘source’ to a single unique event of invention that was subsequently enshrined in a patent.
    But something like synthetic thyroxine, the 4th most prescribed drug in the US, is just the final link in a chain of discovery, extraction and synthesis of the role of hormones and the thyroid gland going back many decades and involving different researchers in different nations. Much of this research was publicly funded and the eventual pharmaceutical now prescribed cannot be divorced from the history of progressive collective development without inflicting severe abuse on the concept of the ‘source’ of a drug treatment.

    Your original claim was –
    “virtually ALL drugs developed in the last century were developed by the private sector and NOT with government subsidy.”
    It would be more accurate to state that virtually ALL drugs developed in the last century were developed with government subsidy. Where the research is carried out by private drug companies is often dependent on the level and type of subsidy that the drug industry can obtain in a country. Heavy public funding of university research provides a source of information and skilled researchers, tax breaks on money put into R&D has also been a crucial motivator for drug companies to move the research from country to country.

    None of this is unique to the drug business, the military industry and many others are often ‘shaped’ as much by the degree of government support or subsidy they can obtain as they are reactive to the ‘free’ market. The idea that governments are NOT intimately involved in wealth creation is a bit of political dogma.

  29. fenbeagleblog says:

    hi Oz. Somebody knows how to protest in Australia. Even if the issues are different.

    I’m writing something about it now – Oz

  30. Kitler says:

    Test if this was a real comment it would be unbelievably awesome.

  31. Dr. Dave says:

    Are y’all talkin’ about Ms. Julia being ushered out by her security personnel? You realize that this would NEVER happen with a modern day US President. The US Secret Service has kind of a “thing” about that stuff. Over the years I’ve been interviewed by local, county and state cops, the FBI and the Secret Service. I’m pretty sure the home lobotomy kit worked for the gal from the FBI (she was interviewing me for my wife’s Q clearance when she worked at the nuclear bomb factory). But she was like a stand-up comedian compared to the guy from the Secret Service. Damn! Those guys are ALL business and no fun. This is an interesting story but I think I’ll save it until I’ve a nice night’s sleep. Geez…I’m exhausted for some reason. I want to read for about 20 minutes and then slip into a coma.

  32. Ozboy says:

    Still working on my next thread. Sorry about the delay everyone, but illness keeps hampering me.

  33. meltemian says:

    Oz, Don’t knock yourself out. We’ll wait until you’re OK.
    Just take it easy and don’t worry about anything except getting well again.

    Appreciate it Mel… thanks – Oz

  34. Amanda says:

    Meltemian is right.

    Lots of rest, Oz, as much as you can get. I really believe in that, and of course I’m a world-renowned health expert ; )

    Thanks Amanda. As a matter of fact, I have actually managed to squeeze out a new thread today – Oz

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