City Journal Winter 2016

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Lloyd Billingsley
White Coat Syndrome « Back to Story

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i have white coat syndrome. it scares me when i make a doctors appointment

The number of "trainer researchers" aside, the CIRM's own website touts less than $600M spent toward projects. Between the $3B in bonds and $7.6B in taxes, that's at best less than 20% spent on the Prop's intent and less than 8% spent on it by the taxes raised for it.

If Pfizer or Glaxo or any of the other giant pharmas operated with those numbers, they would be bankrupt within a few years. California isn't immune to that either.

Also, the "good faith and credit of the United States" is a straw-man if ever there was one. If Obama really cared about that, he would have urged the Senate to pass the House's CR unaltered and immediately signed it.
When is a massive swindle not a swindle – when it’s carefully orchestrated and supported by California’s lawmakers – and then it’s perfectly legal. And California isn’t the only state government perpetrating these schemes, other cities and states are just as adept at taking money from hard working taxpayers for the sole benefit of a select and very well-connected few. Recently, City Journal reported on how easily taxpayers within corrupt and currently bankrupt Detroit will see desperately needed tax dollars diverted from vital public services into stadium funding for the benefit of a billionaire pizza empire baron and the usual suspects among Detroit’s greedy public officials.

What California adds is Hollywood pizazz and expert showmanship in hoodwinking the voters – everyone knows it’s your standard government swindle but it’s also a very entertaining show. Prop. 71 backers developed a dramatic script Spielberg would have admired starting with celebrities posing as scientists to connect with the voters on a personal level. Michael J. Fox and Nancy Reagan became the bi-partisan public faces of the Prop. 71 gala. And poor Christopher Reeves who couldn’t stand up to attend to his biological functions did stand up for Prop. 71. Fox knew embryonic stem cells couldn’t cure his Parkinson’s disease, same for Nancy Reagan when it came to curing Alzheimer’s, while Reeves knew he was dying and embryonic stem cells wouldn’t cure his paralysis – yet they leant their celebrity blessing to this massive swindle. The good folks at the Sacramento Bee and the San Jose Mercury News also knew this miracle cure promise had no chance at producing a single therapeutic cure – but they did know exactly what the Prop. 71 backers intended to do with the money.

In California, voters aren’t synonymous with taxpayers which is why these swindles are so easy to pull off. In creating public support for Prop. 71, the media pretended that religious fundamentalists were opposing miracle cures for the downtrodden masses based on silly prejudices rooted in a mistaken interpretation of biblical teachings. Since the majority of California’s voters were never required to contribute a cent toward the $3 billion stem cell ripoff, the media was able to convince these non-taxpaying voters they would be blatantly cheated out of a free miracle cure for practically every disease and chronic illness imaginable.

Most amusing of all was that Prop. 71 never promised a single miracle cure, the Prop. 71 legal language made it plain the money would be given to those well-connected insiders within the bio-engineering fields and to select government officials eager for their turn at the public trough. And even while spelling out their true intentions for the money, the voters took the bait and the swindle was easily perpetrated.

Public universities within California would receive a piece of the $3 billion action to fund their research programs, pay off university professors and provide money for capital improvements. Private industries would see their share of the booty to develop patentable techniques and the best part of the swindle was they got to keep the patent licensing revenue and future fees paid for with the public monies. Government officials and their cronies were appointed to $200,000 per year jobs overseeing the distribution of the loot. In one such case, a politician appointed to the lucrative post on the oversight board distributing funds possessed no background or knowledge of medical or scientific analysis – but he had powerful friends among California’s state government who didn’t seem to mind that minor drawback. And finally, California didn’t have $3 billion in excess funds just lying about, bonds would be issued and Wall Street players would collect hundreds of millions in fees.

Today, not much is said regarding this swindle, the money has been spent, the beneficiaries are content to let sleeping dogs lie. But ask your personal physician how many miracle cures were developed with Prop. 71’s embryonic stem cell efforts – the answer is absolutely zero therapeutic cures. Bernie Madoff cheated his investors and went to jail for it. In California, the favored few and their politician enablers will never see a day behind bars – it was all perfectly legal, an expensive failure doesn’t warrant criminal prosecution, a tame judge ruled that swindling the taxpayers can be excused whenever miracle cures are the goal.
"Prop. 71 promised to deliver life-saving cures and therapies for a host of diseases, but it’s succeeded only in spending money and directing funds to the institute’s founder, Robert Klein, and his cronies."
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That is a lie. Not a mistake, a lie.

This democratically chosen investment has trained hundreds of stem cell researchers and financed research projects with dozens of well-defined therapeutic products in the pipeline. Based on approval timelines, plus what we know from published scientific articles, this is a first-rate medical investment.

Or perhaps this guy Billingsley would have us believe that Alan Trounson is an ignorant stumble bum? And that UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and the rest are populated with quacks?


Next we'll be getting articles here telling us that screwing over the good faith and credit of the United States is the best new idea in a century !!
thanks for information
One could be snarky about Prop 63 providing good paying jobs that can't be shipped overseas by greedy corporations , but I won't do that . Instead , the answer to the collapse of the mental health system is fairly simple: group homes that are appropriately staffed to ensure residents remain on prescribed meds and an involuntary commitment process that serves the safety of the patient and society . However , no one wants those group homes in their neighborhood and the courts use the Imminent threat out as a license to do nothing . So this is the 'system' society wants : jails are the new back wards and the unmedicated roam the streets in the company of their demons . It' s what society wants .