Why do Americans spend so much on pharmaceuticals? | PBS NewsHour


Are you wondering if you are one of the many Americans that are struggling to live in the real world?


Here’s a short “reality checklist” that might help.


Answer “yes’ or “no”


* Do you carry a loaded gun to church on Sunday?

* Do you believe the US government is a threat to your freedom?

* Do you consider loud music a threat to your life?

* Is the word Muslim just another word for terrorist?

* Would you kill someone who threatened you with popcorn?

* Do you believe cable news is real news?

* Do you believe reality TV is real?

* Do you believe good people need a gun to defend themselves against bad people?

* Can you tell the difference between good and bad people?

* Do you believe dark skinned people in hoodies are dangerous?

* Do you believe in evolution?

* Do you believe Iraq had WMD?

* Do you believe Obama is a muslim?

* Do you believe school teachers should be armed?

* Do you believe shopping centers are dangerous?

* Do you use medication to fall asleep?

* Do you use medication for anxiety?

* Do you believe every American should own a gun?

* Do you need more than 2 guns for self-defense?


It might be helpful to know that a large number of Americans suffer from at least 3 (if not more) mental illnesses;


1) Neurosis (Anxiety Disorder) 
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.People with the disorder, which is also referred to as GAD, experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. 

2) Psychosis 

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes:
False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

3) Dillusional/paranoia 

Paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Persons with paranoid personality disorder are very suspicious of other people. As a result, they severely limit their social lives. They often feel that they are in danger and look for evidence to support their suspicions. They have trouble seeing that their distrustfulness is out of proportion to their environment.


This is born out by looking at the number of Americans who are prescribed anti psychotic medications,


Anxiety and anxiety related conditions negatively impact individuals, and our society:
40 million people in the U.S. will experience an impairment because of an anxiety condition this year.
Only 4 million will receive treatment, and of those, only 400,000 will receive proper treatment.
Those who experience anxiety and stress have a very high propensity for drug abuse and addictions.

Further statistics show:
65% of North Americans take prescription medications daily, 43% take mood altering prescriptions regularly.
There were over 3.3 Billion prescriptions filled in America in 2002 (12 times the U.S’s population – that’s 12 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. that year).
Paxil and Zoloft (two of the more popular anti-anxiety medications) ranked 7th and 8th in the top ten prescribed medications in the US (these two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002).

1 in 5 Americans on psyhtropic medication

The use of psychotropic drugs by adult Americans increased 22 percent from 2001 to 2010, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychotropic medication, according to industry data. In 2010, Americans spent more than $16 billion on antipsychotics, $11 billion on antidepressants and $7 billion for drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The rapid growth of all three classes of drugs has alarmed some mental health professionals, who are concerned about the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs by elderly nursing home residents and the prescription of stimulants to children who may have been misdiagnosed with ADHD.

Americans live in a sedated state of mind

Americans now spend over $750 million annually on over-the-counter sleep aids, and over $2 billion annually on prescription sleeping pills. This is a 23 percent increase since 2006 and a 60 percent increase since 2000. Medical experts and sociologists wonder if widespread insomnia has become a “cultural benchmark,” the most obvious symptom of an exhausted, anxious society.


Illicit Drug Use

Illicit drug use in America has been increasing. In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 9.2 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer) in the past month. This is up from 8.3 percent in 2002.
If we are to believe that the USA is #1 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious society the world has ever known how can we reconcile that with the reality that we live in constant state of anxiety and fear and spend billions of dollars trying to cope with an imaginary world we believe to be real?
What’s of even greater concern is that we are passing these “crazy-making” beliefs on to the next generation who stand to inherit the worse of what we have to offer as a society. For example, children as young as 3 years old are being trained on the use of assault weapons by their parents. Even Hitler waited a few years longer to brainwash the youth and history shows how that ended.
Unfortunately we live in a culture that values money and profits above almost all else. And, as cultures of old we admire and some would say even worship the people who have become rich, powerful, and to some heroic playing on our fears and weaknesses. The gun industry, the defense industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the cable media industry; all focused on keeping you neurotic, psychotic, and paranoid.
Time to wake up folks!



Adelson Wooed by Republican Presidential Prospects at Vegas Meet


The order in the air is unmistakable. Even all the way out here on the coast.  It’s not at all surprising given the large number of BS artists who have congregated in LasVegas; aka-Sin City.  Hookers, pimps, and John’s, also known as Republicans, doing what they do best. Laying out the plans on how to screw the American people. 


The list of possibles is not impressive at least in appealing to an educated voter. New Jersey Dough Boy Chris Christy; though a few pounds lighter is definitely still the biggest pile of BS in the frey. Imagine the Interstate system being shut down in Blue states after a Christy win. Or, worse yet challenging a guy like Putin to a nuke duel. That’s the kind of loose canon we’re looking at if, God have mercy on us, one of the full-blown wackos manages to buy their way into the White House.


If we’re lucky, “What goes on in Vegas, will stay in Vegas.”

#Suey Park et al – Get-A-Life!

These tweeters are twits.


They are surrounded with racism. In the south it’s so bad it seeps out of almost every politician and right-wing wackos that reminds me of a bad case of diarrhea.


Suey and the army of twits that have taken on this issue should be ashamed of themselves. Colbert is not the enemy as lily white as he is. In fact he and Stewart do more in their half-hour skits to shine the light on racism than almost any other so-called civil rights organization in the country.


If the twitters want to take on racism there’s plenty of fat targets out there like most Republicans so how about hashtag “cancel Republicans” and “cancel Koch Bros”. Need more? 


I’m reminded of that U-tube character who came to Britney Spears defense when I say;\ #leave Colbert alone! U bastards!


Stephen Colbert vs. the Hashtag Activists

Pope Francis to the 1%; you reap what you sow.

Pope Francis removes ‘bling bishop’ | Al Jazeera America

Looks like Francis is not backing down on using Jesus’s playbook in leading Catholics down the path of salvation. I just wonder how many of the 1% will come along willingly? 

The “money gobblers” are not an easy crowd to play to; even for the Pope. If they get the least bit uncomfortable with this “give till it hurts” approach to living the right life they start to unravel. First come the nuances about  making generous donations for self-serving projects like remodeling a cathedral that usually comes with a nice tax write off and how that might all go somewhere else. Churches are scrambling to scoop up fallen rich Catholics; especially the “prosperity gospel crowd.”

As a Catholic it is indeed refreshing to finally see a Pope walking the talk. Let’s hope some of his genuineness rubs off on politicians like Obama who, for the most part, got the talk down pat but are lousy at doing the walk. 

As for the “special” people who think they are above it all and have been blessed, my guess is they will continue doing whats best for them and to hell with the Pope. Buying the 1st class ticket to heaven is the only hope they have and my guess is 1st class has been converted to coach. 

There is still hope, however, since both Jesus and the Pope are know to be compassionate and forgiving. 

All the 1% need to do to get back in God’s good graces is following the guidelines Pope Francis laid out in;



humpty dumpty fell off the wall and broke

This clown pushes arrogance to new highs.




Takes taxpayer dollars to hire his own attorneys who then exonerate him. OMG! FTF! BSC!




How these people are ever elected to office still remains a mystery to me. Is it that no sane person wants the job? Or is it the power brokers need unstable people because they are easier to manipulate?


Or is it that Americans are so dumbed down (just plain stupid) that they mistake reality with fiction?




Christy is an overstuffed sociopath that makes for great news cycles and great fodder for night show comedians. Putting him in a position that requires trust and common sense? Please!




What we see is what we get. A giant pain in the ass that needs to go away before he does any more damage to a political system that has fast become a breeding ground for full blown wackos.






Chris Christie Says Port Authority Chairman Has Resigned

Army awards general a medal for rape

He sexually assaulted a subordinate and threatened to kill her and her family and the government “dismissed” the charges; the most serious of many charges, in a plea deal.


This comes after a teary eyed (hard to believe) horny old man begged for leniency from another grey haired (probably horny) old man  after copping to a slew of other offenses against subordinate females in his ranks during his reign of terror.


The idea that an over the hill old man with control issues would  terrorize women for sex is not unusual. Hell that’s what the Cialis/Viagra “boner” pill market thrives on. It’s even covered under Medicare!


But what happened to “red lines?”  Assault and threats to kill aren’t exactly  sexually arousing except maybe for sadists and into whips and chains..


So, once again we are given an example of how the “good old boy” club works in the military.  


Sinclair, 51, one of only a few generals to face court-martial in the last 60 years, pleaded guilty Monday to

* twice misusing his government charge card to pursue the affair, 
* disobeying an order not to contact his mistress, and 
* making derogatory and sexist comments about other female officers.

A week earlier, Sinclair pleaded guilty to 

* impeding an investigation by deleting sexually explicit emails and photos from a civilian woman, 
* possessing pornography in a war zone, 
* conducting inappropriate relationships with two other female officers and 
* asking the lieutenant for a date.
Serious charges, right? I’m kidding, of course. Pornography in a war zone? WTF?
Only a full blown idiot would impose such a ban on a bunch of testosterone cranked corn fed kids with raging hormones. A sure fire way to create an atmosphere where suicides and rapes are rampant. Idiotic!
So, our recalcitrant general drenched in tears of remorse, throws himself at the mercy of the court, begging for leniency; which on it’s face is absurd, but what’s even crazier is this;
Under a plea agreement, the Army dismissed charges that Sinclair sexually assaulted the captain and threatened to kill her and her family if she exposed the affair. Also dropped were charges that the general had engaged in “open and notorious” sex in a parked car in Germany and on a hotel balcony in Arizona. If convicted on the most serious charges, Sinclair would have faced life in prison and registration as a sex offender. 
That is comparable to awarding medals for rape and sends a clear message to women in the military; nothings changed.



More Evidence that Half of America is In or Near Poverty


In the Great Depression, it was common for people down on their luck to panhandle and or beg for money from the more fortunate. Most of these people were the labourers who built railroads, skyscrapers, roads and the like. Now that those were done, they didn’t have jobs, and to make matters worse, the Stock Market crashed and those same people lost what other paper reserves they had. A protest song was written and became a hit at the time when my grandparents were young and raising their families. So “Brother can you spare a dime” became a slogan for lashing out at governments for not fostering economic growth and wealth of a country. 

Fast forward today;

The bottom half of America own just 1.1 percent of the country’s wealth, or about $793 billion, which is the same amount owned by the 30 richest Americans. ZERO wealth is owned by approximately the bottom 47 percent.

This nonexistent net worth is due in great part to the overwhelming burden of debt for Americans, which now includes college graduates entering the work force. The average student loan balance has risen 91 percent in the past ten years.

 This is based on the Census Department’s Relative Poverty Measure (Table 4), which is “most commonly used in developed countries to measure poverty.” The Economic Policy Institute uses the term “economically vulnerable.” With this standard, 18 percent of Americans are below the poverty threshold and 32 percent are below twice the threshold, putting them in the low-income category.

The official poverty rate increased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2011. Seniors and children feel the greatest impact, with 55 percent of the elderly and almost 60 percent of children classified as poor or low-income under the relative poverty measure. Wider Opportunities for Women reports that “60 percent of women age 65 and older who live alone or live with a spouse have incomes insufficient to cover basic, daily expenses.”

U.S. troops may be massing to invade N Korea

Well! Why not? They have more troops there than the Russians do on the Ukraine border. and unlike Russia, there’s a whole lot of shootin goin on!

Any “spin” doctor worth their salt can convince anyone about anything.  Most of it is about as far from the truth as one can get without crossing over into insanity. 

Take Iraq, for example. The spin was; 

United States Invades Iraq!  Prevents Saddam from using WMD’s on US. “The Iraqis will see as as liberators” for liberating them from an evil despot who is worse than Hitler. Peace and freedom will prevail. Mission Accomplished! UH!? 

One quick fact check on the situation in Iraq will quickly bring you back to reality; I should note this is almost a daily occurrence and unheard of when the evil Hitler-like despot was in charge. 

Just yesterday; 

In Baghdad, a radio station executive is fatally shot near the president’s compound.

BAGHDAD — A series of attacks across Iraq killed 16 civilians and members of the security forces Saturday, officials said.

Separately, a Kurdish officer in the Iraqi president’s guard is accused of killing the head of a radio station during a quarrel near the leader’s east Baghdad residence , police said.

Mohammed Bedwei was shot at a checkpoint by a lieutenant in the mostly Kurdish security detail for Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, police said.The suspect was handed over to Iraqi security forces, police and state television said.

Meanwhile a series of blasts struck across the country. Police said the wave began with a roadside bomb in the northern city of Tikrit. Minutes later, a car bomb struck policemen arriving at the scene.

Five policemen and two civilians were killed and 18 people were wounded in the bombings.

Hours later, police said, a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a security checkpoint near the town of Adeim, north of Baghdad. Three civilians and three police were killed.

Also, a roadside bomb hit a military checkpoint near the northern city of Mosul, killing two soldiers and wounding three, police said.

In the southern city of Basra, gunmen killed police Col. Madhi Ashour, the head of the crime investigation department in the city, as he was walking near his house, police said.

Please tell me that after more than a decade of occupation and an investment of trillions of dollars that this is a model of a free and democratic society?  Am I missing something?


If you bought into that spin we now fast forward to today and you probably are buying into this one too;


Russian troops may be massing to invade Ukraine, says White House


Here again, nothing is further from the truth. Russia has not fired one shot or killed anyone which is unusual way to invade a country. No “shock and awe” here folks. Still, the western news media fills the air with hysterical claims based on talking points churned out by spin doctors.


I continue to wonder how it is that Americans remain indifferent or supportive of this kind behavior from a country that boast being the biggest and the best in the world. Champion of everything good and protector against everything bad. 


What I’ve concluded so far is that anyone who buys into this kind of nonsense is either;


a) Heavily invested in the defense industry; it makes sense if your shares are going up.


b) Is employed in the defense industry; a sure fired way to create job security.


c) Is unable to discern real from fiction as a result of a mental disability or abuse of narcotics or alcohol; of         which there is a lot of both in this country. 


In the first two instances I’d just say; be up front about it rather that talk crazy nonsense. In the third instance I’d say; get some help. Now that Affordable Healthcare is available to anyone it should not be a problem.

If you encounter Buddha on the road; best to ignore him.


Chances are it’s another snake oil salesperson in disguise trying to sell something in order to make a few bucks and will tell you anything you want to hear in order to do it. People in the health community are probably the best at it because they can really play on your biggest fear; mortality.


Then there’s the  “security” industry who are expert at conjuring up the worst of worse case scenarios to lather you in paranoia to have you convinced that there is “something” out there that’s coming for you. What it is depends on what they are trying to sell you; whatever works. Fear is a great motivator.


Then there’s the marketeers and psychologists (there’s a lot of them in the industry) who; for a few bucks, a seminar or retreat or two, can give you the key to whatever it is your looking for. Success, wealth, beauty, muscles; anything on your bucket list will do.


It’s all about getting you to behave in a certain way in order for them to achieve certain results which usually translates into profits.


Do this takes a lot of talent because it can be tricky at times.


For example, Koreans eat dogs. Here we love them like our children. Who’s behaving the best of the two? Behavior is a matter of conditioning which cause me concern when I look around today and wonder if this is not just a trailer for Idiocracy.


Point is the “norm” is not necessarily healthy and being outside the box (a social reject) might just be the better path.  A tried and true concept of mental health has yet to be formed. The best psychology has been able to do is define the unhealthy conditions after the fact and intervene. That’s not prevention, and much like our present medical model, serves another agenda; dare I say, making money. A cure for cancer? Not going to happen. Why? No money in it. Same goes with mental health.  Psychologists would wither and die in a healthy society. For example, if people would come to the realization that concepts like love, happiness, sadness, etc. are just made up by people who need a way to market something. The realization that there is no such thing as love, happiness, blah, blah, blah would put a whole lot of people out of work.  Still. as Fritz P once said, “there’s no anxiety in the present” and it seems that the present is nothing more than an ongoing stream of experiences that; if interrupted, cause anxiety and transforms a bunch of folks into neurotics trying to figure out something that doesn’t need figuring out. 12 step folks refer to it as “letting go and letting god” rather than trying to harness and can a specific experience, putting a label on it, and selling it as something one lacks or is deficient in.


Someone on this thread mentioned Gnostic’s and got me to thinking about why they were banned from the Christian community. All they preached was a simple solution to all your ills; want to find God? Look within!  


Why was that a dangerous message then and now? Simply put it cut out the “middle man”, the broker, the banker, the priest, who without would leave you poor, lonely and destitute. Without the guy with the “keys” you were doomed. In religious terms it was the keys to heaven while in psychology (which is a religion of sorts; lot’s of guru’s) it was the keys to happiness, love, and a slew of other emotional elixirs that could not be had without a prescription.


If you want to find out how to be in the world look no further than the animal kingdom. Watching a mother with her cubs or the father defending the turf, or building a nest and gathering nuts for the winter. It’s a lean, mean, and highly efficient way to live in balance with the plane. No elaborate Ron L Hubbard schematics or a library packed with how-to books. No lectures, seminars or weekend retreats. And most important it’s free and available to all.


Amazing how animals not only figured it out but have been following the same playbook since the beginning and pass it on  by example from generation to generation. They stay in the present and it doesn’t get complicated which is something humans have managed to completely corrupt and distort; all in the name of progress. One look around and it’s easy to see how far that got us. The human garbage is piled so high it’s literally killing the planet and, of course, everything on it. The solution for those that can afford it, is to start the search for another inhabitable planet to begin the process all over again and to hell with everyone else. I call it survival of the dumbest.


To get back to keys; I’d just say, quit getting all uptight, anxious, stressed out about not being happy. While you’re doing that you just missed out on being happy in that moment.

Happiness, sadness, pain, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, pleasure is all there inside of each of us along side God (if you want to go there) and is in a continuous state of flux. There’s no grabbing on to one lest you end up in the same trap a cocaine addict falls into in chasing the ever elusive perpetual high.


The only thing that stops most of us from living a “present” life is fear. Fear of the unknown and in following ourselves in believing that if we do this, or that, or this and that, we can take control. It’s no wonder that almost, if not, everyone on the planet is neurotic given that the reality is that nothing is “known” in any finite sense. Not even death. Ask a Buddhist.


On that frightening note I’ll remove myself from the soapbox and go about the business of living my life as best I can with what I have. Good luck to the rest of you.



Before entering into a dialog about good guys and bad guys, and all those evil empires we’re surrounded by it might help to first clarify who they are. 


This short quiz on invasions and occupations might help.


1) What country recently launched a full scale illegal (by international law) invasion and occupation of another country?


a) Japan


b) Russia


c) USA


d) EU


e) China


f) N. Korea


See the correct answer here: Hawk admits invasion was illegal


2) What countries in recent history have been invaded and occupied (legally or illegally) by another country?


a) Vietnam


b) Korea


c) Ukraine


d) Iraq


e) Libya


f) Pakistan


g) Afghanistan


See the correct answer here;


3) Who holds the world record (in modern times) for the greatest number of invasions and occupations?


a) USA


b) China


c) Russia


d) Germany


e) Japan


Find the correct answer here;  A CENTURY OF MILITARY INTERVENTIONS


Now compare these facts to the US/EU hype about the Ukraine and the Crimea and it’s easy to see that it is nothing more than a whole lot of “tail wagging the dog” Bush/Cheney style.




It seems that President Obama has caved in to the neo-cons who love nothing more than to stir the pot when it comes to looking for a war to start; which is by the way a cash cow to these clowns who are heavily invested in the Military Industrial Complex. 


The timing is not coincidental but perfectly synced with talk of cutting defense spending and trimming the fat from a morbidly obese military that has become almost obsolete in today’s conflicts.


A military larger than all other countries combined. (Obsolete)


A navy larger than all of the world powers combined. (Obsolete)


Unless….of course……..if you can conjure up the “cold war boogeyman” and salt the population with paranoia; both of which has worked well in this already gun crazed paranoid country where people are even afraid of their own government.


So, before going gung-ho on flag waving and chest thumping and stomping off to WWIII Americans might want to take a look at the Ukraine/Crimea conflict and the role Russia is playing in it; 


Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea


Ukraine’s statement at the UN that ‘16,000 Russian soldiers had been deployed’ across Crimea sparked a MSM feeding frenzy that steadfastly ignored any hard facts that got in their way.

Especially unwelcome is the fact that the so-called ‘invasion force’ has been there for 15 years already.

The media many trust described in hysterical tones how the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was under a full-scale Russian invasion with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea”, “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia’s invasion of Crimea?”.

Facts, and ardent statements by top Russian diplomats were totally ignored by the western ‘war press’.

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pointed to the longstanding 25,000 troop allowance while FM Sergey Lavrov stressed the Russian military “strictly executes the agreements which stipulate the Russian fleet’s presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well.”