Monday, December 11, 2017

The H3 N2 Flu - Are We Ready For The Onslaught? What About An Avian (H5 N1) Pandemic?

Electron micrograph of the H3 N2  influenza virus.

My first introduction to the H3 N2 flu virus arrived in December, 1968, after I'd just flown home to Miami from New Orleans for the Christmas holidays.   Within 2 days of my arrival I was hit by one of the nastiest flu viruses,  called "the Hong Kong flu".   A micrograph of the virus is shown below:

I was basically laid up in bed with body aches, chills, severe nausea and fever for 8 days, and could not partake of any Christmas dinner. Since I was unable to do so, my parents decided to visit my younger brother, John, at his Naval Air base in northern Florida.  They asked if I'd be ok alone, and I assured them I could tough it out. There were plenty of cans of chicken noodle soup, as well as bread (for toast) and other assorted stuff - even some slices of spiral ham -  if I was able to consume such later.

Most of my time was spent just watching the tube, and reading - when I could. I was perhaps 90 percent better by the time I returned to New Orleans but within two days had to take extra time off from the oil company I worked at - after a relapse. (At that time, most proper companies gave employees 2 weeks sick leave, unlike the penny pinching, greedy rats today.)

We now know the arrival of the Hong Kong flu in 1968, started with a half million cases in Hong Kong. This was also the first (then known) arrival of the H3 N2 flue virus.   From Wikipedia we learn:

"The Hong Kong Flu was a category 2 flu pandemic caused by a strain of H3N2 descended from H2N2 by antigenic shift, in which genes from multiple subtypes reassorted to form a new virus. This pandemic of 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one million people worldwide"

We also learn:

"Both the H2N2 and H3N2 pandemic flu strains contained genes from avian influenza viruses. The new subtypes arose in pigs coinfected with avian and human viruses and were soon transferred to humans. Swine were considered the original "intermediate host" for influenza, because they supported reassortment of divergent subtypes."


The Hong Kong flu strain shared internal genes and the neuraminidase with the 1957 Asian flu (H2N2). Accumulated antibodies to the neuraminidase or internal proteins may have resulted in much fewer casualties than most pandemics.The Hong Kong flu was the first known outbreak of the H3N2 strain, though there is serologic evidence of H3N? infections in the late 19th century. "

This is useful to know now as the medical gurus are warning of a new onslaught and incarnation of this flu - after it literally tore through Australia during the Aussie winter. Even two months ago, because of our ages - we were warned by our PCP to not miss the flu shots this year. Not long after we each got the  quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, as well as the special   PCV13   pneumonia vaccine. Given severe flu can easily lead to pneumonia (and my dad died from pneumonia in 2009) this was a no brainer.

What we know already is that the the flu vaccine is only about 10 percent effective, and the quadrivalent vaccine may be slightly better. Each year matching the vaccine to the projected influenze virus to emerge is a literal crap shot, because the virus mutates so easily.. So what might have worked 8 or 9 months ago now no longer does.  Like other life forms, viruses adapt as well to external conditions and even to other flu viruses.  As noted earlier, one can have an antigenic shift, in which genes from multiple influenza subtypes reassort to form a new virus.

Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, told the UK Daily Express it is expected to be the oncoming H3 N2 season is expected to be the most serious flu outbreak since the 1968 pandemic that started in Hong Kong and killed more than a million people world wide.

From 2003 to 2013, the three flu seasons that were dominated by H3N2 strains of the flu had the highest mortality rates - causing more deaths on average than other years (excluding the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu).  All this is happening - with the new H3 N2 outbreak almost upon us - as we near the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic. This was estimated to have wiped out nearly ten percent of the global population at the time - or up to 50 million.

Coincidentally, the World Health Organization is closely monitoring a new strain of H7 N9 in China, also known as Avian flu. To be sure this is a cross species form or Avian flu and not anywhere as deadly as the H5 N1 which is keeping researchers like Pardis Sabeti of Harvard up at night.  Why? Because it holds the greatest potential for human annihilation.

In 2003, world-renowned virologist Robert G. Webster published an article titled:  "The world is teetering on the edge of a pandemic that could kill a large fraction of the human population" in American Scientist. He called for adequate resources to fight what he sees as a major world threat to possibly billions of lives. 

On September 29, 2005, David Nabarro, the newly appointed Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, warned the world that an outbreak of avian influenza could kill anywhere between 5 million and 150 million people. The reported mortality rate of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in a human is high; WHO data indicate 60% of cases classified as H5N1 resulted in death. My take, given the H5N1 would incept a "cytokine storm" - similar to what the H1N1 Spanish Flu did, is that at least 500 million would perish, and possibly as many as 1 billion
Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses.jpg
Electron micrograph of H5N1 influenza virus particles. 

Research on genetically restored Spanish flu discloses that death likely arrived via a cytokine storm, i.e. the victim basically "drowns" in their own lung fluids. the current Avian flu cases.  In a number of  documented Asian cases, victims with H5N1 experienced diarrhea followed rapidly by a coma without developing respiratory or flu-like symptom. This shows that one can perish that suddenly, and with no evident breathing problem.  The inflammatory cascade triggered by H5N1 has been called a 'cytokine storm' by some, because of what seems to be a positive feedback process of damage to the body resulting from immune system stimulation. H5N1 induces higher levels of cytokines than the more common flu virus types.

There have been studies of the levels of cytokines in humans infected by the H5N1 flu virus. Of particular concern is elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a protein associated with tissue destruction at sites of infection and increased production of other cytokines. Flu virus-induced increases in the level of cytokines is also associated with flu symptoms, including fever, chills, vomiting and headache.

Genetic sequencing of avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses from human cases in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia shows resistance to the antiviral medications amantadine and rimantadine, two of the medications commonly used for treatment of influenza. This leaves only two remaining antiviral medications (oseltamivir and zanamivir) that should still be effective against currently circulating strains of H5N1 viruses.

Highly pathogenic H5N1 symptoms in people can include:

• Fever and cough

• Acute respiratory distress

• Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

• Abdominal pain

• Diarrhea


• Pneumonia

• Respiratory failure

• Shock

Will next year, the 100th since the Spanish Flu pandemic usher in a killer flu pandemic of its own? We don't know, but as Prof. Pardis Sabeti pointed out on a recent CBS health segment, the virus does keep changing, mutating - adapting. This is why she's kept up at night pondering the consequences if it seized on the right confluence of factors to trigger another deadly pandemic. And the next one - possibly of H5 N1 - may also eliminate 10 percent of humans...or more.  There is little pre-existing natural immunity to H5N1 virus infection in the human population. If H5N1 viruses gain the ability for efficient and sustained transmission among humans, an influenza pandemic could result, with potentially high rates of illness and death worldwide.  Let us hope we dodge that infernal

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Of Course The System Is Rigged - For Trump

Trump manipulating a crowd last night in Pensacola, blustering about a "rigged system"

Last night, in yet another boffo performance of how Trump can manipulate his dumb base, we saw him first stroking their pathetic egos ("You will never be ignored again!") then attacking the Mueller probe and our justice system - Constitution ("We have a rigged system").  None of the puppet crackers in the northern Florida crowd - who kept chanting "Lock her up!"-   had clue one they were the real suckers and the system is rigged in favor of Trump and his wealthy clique of parasites. The same ones who now want to strip health care from 13 million in order for them to grab even larger tax cuts.

Their hopes were partially realized after the Reeptards in the Senate -  by a 51-.49 margin -  passed this offal.  All that remains now is to reconcile this with the House version of the bill, and millions of Trump supporters will be without a healthcare life raft.

This was barely days before Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the one-time leaders of the tax reform conversation, reported in a Washington Post column  that the Republican tax bill  nominally delivers $3.7 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. Some experts in tax policy have warned that it was a "small chunk" of what the current tax code will give away, but it is still more than enough to force draconian spending cuts: to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - not to mention the Children's Health Program (CHIP).

All of the yokels chanting "Lock her up!" last night were so immersed in that mantra they neglected to ask their little god Dotard about his own taxes, and why he hadn't yet released any tax forms from prior years. If they had, they'd have seen THEY were the ones being played in a rigged tax game as their hero would reap millions in tax cuts - because of estate tax cuts, corporate and others - off THEIR backs. But they didn't because they were too easily manipulated and distracted,  going after election loser Hillary instead. And besides, Dotard stroked their little egos with the "you will never again be ignored" theme. 

Trump claimed that "America" was behind him and his little Reeptard clan, but a look at the latest Pew Research Center poll shows only 32 percent back this asshole. For the other 63 percent it's thumbs down. Of course, for Trump's dummies all negative polls, like actual headlines,  are "fake news".  These losers are even inclined to believe the retarded (Fox n' Friends)  notion that the FBI "created" the Steele Dossier, and Mueller needs to be investigated because a guy on his staff once sent anti-Trump tweets. (No inkling the guy was terminated. But then these turkeys are so desperate to derail any investigation of their hollow hero they'll latch onto anything).

They ought to be more concerned over their own futures - once Reeptard spending cuts are enacted to pay for the tax cuts that Trump is happy to use to flay their hides. Think of distraught seniors facing enormous Medicare cuts or big medical bills that can no longer be written off their medical expenses. Or think of college students having to drop out if the value of their tuition waivers is taxed or if they lose tax exemptions for interest paid on student loans.

Lock Hillary up for that? No, they ought to shouting "Lock TRUMP up!"  Not only for the crimes about to be committed on their financial health, but how this turd has repeatedly lied to them, manipulated them and even insulted them. Bragging earlier in the year - at a Louisiana  rally - how he only needed their votes to get into office.

Perhaps the most odious and depraved aspect of last night's performance was Dotard's backing of an accused child predator, a little cornpone bastard no different from the Roman Catholic pederasts that had their way with thousands of innocents.  But Trump joined the Moore campaign in attacking the credibility of one accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, who said Friday she added an inscription to a high school yearbook signed by the Alabama Republican.

He belched:

Did you see what happened today? You know, the yearbook? Did you see that? There was a little mistake made.  She started writing things in the yearbook.”

No, she didn't write "things" aimlessly. She didn't change Moore's signature or create it. That was there already and as real as an oozing pustule on a sexual predator's dick. What she did is put in "D.A."  to remind herself of Moore's position, and also the date.

But this is what a maggot like Dotard does, This is his shtick. He also went on to attack the credibility of her lawyer, Gloria Allred, yapping. “Any time you see her you know something’s gone wrong.”  Well yeah, Dotard, you know because she has a pustule -ridden pervert like you in her sights, or your degenerate pal, Roy Moore.

This is the sad and sorry state we've arrived at in this country, on the cusp of one admittedly backward state's election of a child molester to the U.S. Senate.  Well, I suppose it wouldn't be too extreme a stretch after already electing a pussy- grabbing, golden shower -loving,  pervert freak. Sen. Franken was absolutely correct he shouldn't have had to resign with this POS still in office. The worst aspect of Franken's loss is that the MN governor plans to make a "primary" pick - installing his Lt. Governor as a caretaker until the primary next year. The last time that was done, in 1992, a Repuke won - the Dem all but hobbled from the primary.

The crowd cheered particularly for Trump’s statement “we believe that every American should have to stand for the national anthem”,   again deflecting their brain cells - assuming they have any. Because they seemed unfazed by the dark forces menacing their tin god, like the Good Germans were unfazed before Hitler's fall. . They instead embraced Trump’s belief “our revolution didn’t end on November 8, it’s just beginning”,

Right, the beginning of the end for us all, unless we get rid of Donnie Dotard.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Selected Questions -Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Nuclear Reactions in Sun's Core)

Question -
I know that nuclear fusion reactions takes place in the core of the Sun
where the temperature and density are highest. But why are high

temperatures and high density needed?

Answer -

Most of our work on Earth, in plasma physics labs, shows that you can't
just have fusion reactions in ordinary physical conditions. You need
temperatures of at least 10 million degrees to start, and you need to
confine your plasma magnetically (to ensure it won't disperse or diffuse).

Right now, the most we can achieve here on Earth ( e.g. in Tokamaks), is a few

One of the inherent physics problems is that atomic nuclei have enormous
energy barriers that must be overcome to allow fusion.

Think of it. You are trying to fuse together, at the most basic initial
level, two protons (hydrogen nuclei) with the SAME electric charge (+). A
powerful Coulomb barrier exists that makes it extremely difficult. (Recall,
unlike charges attract, like charges repel from Gen. Science).

This sort of combining simply can't be accomplished in low density
conditions. You need billions and billions of protons packed into a small
confined volume to:

a) ensure that the protons come close enough to permit what we call
quantum tunneling - through the Coulomb potential barrier, which I have
illustrated below:
No automatic alt text available.

with the "barrier" at height V, so we can visualize the particle of lesser energy
K, moving from the left side of the E-axis "tunneling" through to the right side
where it may have wave function, U(x) ~sin (kx + φ), where φ denotes a phase angle

b) ensure the high temperatures (via kinetic energy proton collisions) to
sustain nuclear reactions.

In respect of (a) researcher Martin Schwarzschild once calculated that the
probability of the Coulomb potential barrier being overcome (by
tunneling) is about 1 in 10 to the 57 power. That's one in 10 followed by
57 zeros.

In temporal terms, we'd expect about one proton-proton fusion ever 14
billion years (or more than the age of the universe) on this basis.

Clearly, an offset is required to reduce the probabilities, since clearly
stars are shining by fusion.

This 'offset' arrives via enormously high density which: i) increases the
probability for (a) enormously, since so many more protons are in
extremely close proximity, and ii) enhances temperatures to the point they
can be sustained, and continue - thereby building up *other* fusion
reactions to finish the initial one.

In the Sun, for example, this leads to the most basic set of three fusion
reactions for the proton-proton cycle, viz.

1H + 1H + e- ®  2 H   + n + 1.44 MeV

2 D   + 1H ®  3 He + g + 5.49 MeV

3 He + 3 He ®  4 He + 1H + 1H  + 12.85 MeV

These reactions are illustrated in the graphic below:

Image result for nuclear reactions on Sun images

In the first, H1 denotes the proton (hydrogen nucleus), e is an electron,
D2 is deuterium - an isotope of hydrogen- and n is the neutrino, and
1.44 MeV of energy given off.

This leads to the next reaction, with deuterium fusing with a proton to
yield the isotope helium 3, a gamma ray and 5.49 MeV energy given off.

Finally, this leads to the end stage reaction, with the helium 3 combining
with another helium 3 nucleus to give helium 4, two more protons (to start
the cycle anew) and energy given off.

Thus we see the key is not merely getting a fusion reaction, but
sustaining it. We need to sustain it so a particular energy cycle can be
completed, in the case above - the fusion of 4 protons effectively
yielding helium, with the differential in mass coming off as radiant
energy. (In an amount defined by  Einstein's famous, E = m c2 )
The critical key to sustaining nuclear fusion reactions, is sustaining the incredibly
high temperatures and density in the core - which initiated the reactions.

If Robots Are Set To Displace Human Workers - We Need To Cut The Population

Again, American (and global) workers are being told two different narratives, only one of which can be true. The first is that there are abundant jobs for those with the necessary talent and who seek to find them. I skewered this balderdash in an earlier post, e.g.

Therein I noted  Lauren Weber's investigation  into why so many companies are having a difficult time filling their openings.  What she found was the "companies are reluctant to raise pay, in part to protect their profit margins".  They also prefer right now to have more money set aside to buy back their own shares if it can help their bottom line, increase share prices.  According to managing director of Aspen Advisors, Andrew Gadomski, that is "holding back hiring".   He notes that when companies lament they can't find workers to fill key openings, that is code for:

"I can find talent, I just don't want to pay them as much as they cost."

Also noted was that what employers often viewed as a labor shortage is in reality a retention problem, according to Gadomski. If you are losing workers - chasing better pay or benefits - you have to replace them. 

In the case of Colorado, the so-called job "boom" has largely been exposed as a myth. In last Sunday's Denver Post (p. 1A) we saw and read of the new exodus out of this state because once people arrived to take the promised jobs,  they found they didn't pay enough to allow them to live here. This has forced many talented people - many Millennials - to rent tiny bedrooms as opposed to full apartments. Others have just given up, packed and left to return to their home states.  The other aspect, a nasty one, is the explosion of housing costs in the West (for example) has increased the nation's homeless population to over 534,000. And there's no indication this will lessen anytime soon.

The other narrative is that nearly all repetitive jobs will be replaced very soon. E.g. 
Thus, according to a WSJ  report ('Firms Leave The Bean Counting To The Robots') in the Business and Investing section (p, B5, Oct. 23) AI -based robots will soon be taking over CFO and accounting work across the land, as well as the jobs of "accountants, bank loan officers, and insurance claims adjustors.  Even FORBES now uses an AI system called  'Quill" to pen its articles, so less need for journalists.

Reinforcing the latter narrative is the new finding by McKinsey Global Institute that over the next 13 years 70 million workers in the U.S. will have to find another way to make money. In addition, "technology could replace up to 375 million employees worldwide by 2030". (Denver Post Business, p. 1K, Dec. 3).  Again, we're informed all the jobs at risk involve repetitive tasks -  and the robots at work can already "scan Tylenol bottles and lip balm at the drugstore"   as well as "build pickups and take your grilled cheese orders at Panera Bread." McKinsey estimates that "half the duties workers handle globally could be automated."

What this means, when you boil it down, is there won't be enough paid labor for humans to do given the magnitude of worker displacement via automation. And we know that another third narrative is also false, i.e. that corporations fear regulations more than labor costs. That trope has been exploded so many times it's a wonder it still emerges in debates.   But this could be on account of too many spending excessive time on smartphones as opposed to reading newspapers, or books.

This is also what blows the mega hole into Greg Ip's arguments about "needing more humans to support older workers"  in the aging nations of the world. It also skewers the typical Neolib meme that low birth rates are undermining the global economy.

Here's the real skinny: Ip and his Neolib cohort know damned well the problem can't be solved by more human workers -  because AI systems and robots are already going to take over their jobs by the freaking millions.  There won't be support for social safety nets because you don't pay an AI system or robot. So there is no way to build up any equity or monetary resources to support the aging population - OR the growing workless population

This is exactly why - in the 1973 conspiracy thriller 'Executive Action' (based on the novel by Donald Freed and Mark Lane that exposed the real conspirators in the JFK assassination) the featured cabal-   based in Vienna, VA -  wanted to use chemical -based genocide to "reduce a large part of the global populace."  At one point one of the  lead conspirators ("Robert Foster")  puts it to Burt Lancaster's character ("James Farrington") that: "With proper planning we can reduce the population to 500 million by the end of the century. The techniques used there can be used to reduce our own excess population, blacks, poverty prone whites".  See e.g. the clip: 

"Foster's" concern was that the "overflow" mainly in Asia and Africa - had to be eliminated  - or they'd flood into the developed regions of North America and Europe.  Could such a crass and inhuman plan actually transpire? We don't know but the  human numbers projected  by 2030 and then 2050 do not allow much optimism that such a draconian solution might be under consideration by some global elites.   By 2050 we are talking about adding an equivalent population to that inhabiting all of Europe - plus all of sub-Saharan Africa.

Where will the jobs come to occupy all those beings? Where will the food come from to supply all those mouths-bellies? No one has a clue, not really. The so-called "green revolution" is itself basically over on account of the ongoing dilution of the soil.  And climate change will exacerbate all existing agricultural problems and shortages into a permanent nightmare. That's even if the planet can escape the monster fires we've beheld in California.

 A far better solution, in my opinion, is to begin immediately to reduce our human numbers by widespread, artificial birth control. o not let those numbers explode into a jobless, destitute future that might trigger the response of madmen and elitist thugs like "Robert Foster". A fictional character in a novel, true. But if you don't believe there aren't actual elites that exist right now with that conspiratorial mentality, you definitely have been spending too much time watching boxing kitties on Youtube.

Apart from the worst case scenario of a planned genocide, people need to grasp that by reproducing to appease a warped economic system they are merely perpetuating gross economic inequality by helping to sustain a vast pool of surplus labor. As Marx showed (and anyone with a brain can figure out- except perhaps the Catholic birth control dogmatists) surplus labor translates into lowest common denominator conditions and endless scarcity. It can never be  a recipe for upliftment, societal  improvement or even balancing the needs of an existing, aging populace.

The other solution, of course, would be to implement a universal basic income (UBI) - which would entail laying away trillions for that purpose starting now.  But the bugbear there is that the nations that might be able to afford it are saddled with monstrous debt.   For example, U.S. debt - set to reach over 20 trillion by the time the new spending bill is agreed on, is nearly 77 percent of GDP. 

Meanwhile, Europe is printing euros like there's no tomorrow, and debt - especially in nations like Spain, Portugal and Greece, piling up to unprecedented levels.  Then there is the Bank of Japan which has printed over 13.3  trillion yen   The Fed in the U.S. has done its own form of printing money by way of "quantitative easing", purchasing over $4 trillion in the bond market.
All of these signals in tandem show the instability of the global debt crisis and no one who looks into these can remain complacent.

It also shows that the solution of a UBI to help workers displaced by robots is a pure pipedream. It will never come to pass, especially with a preponderance of deficit hawks skulking around right now - who are just rubbing their mitts together and drooling waiting for the deficits to explode with this Reeptard tax bill.  Then they can go full throttle to suck every last remaining drop of blood from the social safety net. 

The solution is clear: our global population needs to be cut- and radically by 2030. If not,  either in Isaac Asimov's immortal words  "nature will cut it for us" (say by an Avian flu  pandemic or airborne Ebola) or the hidden powers that be might consider doing so - as portrayed in the Executive Action movie, and seen in the clip.

See also:


"Capitalists crave to replace workers with an automated labor force. The parasitic breed has always viewed workers as flesh machines, of whom, they were inconvenienced by having to pay wages. Capitalism is, by its very nature, dehumanizing. From the advent of the industrial/capitalist epoch, the system has inflicted mass alienation, societal atomization, and anomie. Moreover, the vast wealth inequity inherent to the system allows the capitalist elite to own the political class — a mindless clutch of flunkies who might as well be robots programmed by the capitalist order to serve their agendas."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

If I (As An Atheist) Were Running A Cake Baking Biz.....You'd Get What U Want - For A Price!

Image result for Confederate birthday cake image
The Confederate flag birthday cake some bloggers don't believe I'd make for them. They're wrong. I'd do it for $400 a cake!

It appears some Reich wing bloggers are thoroughly exercised over the Colorado case now before the Supreme Court.  The case involves a religious Colorado baker who refused to do work for a gay couple who were getting married.  At issue is whether Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, had the legal right to turn away fiancés Charlie Craig and David Mullins when they asked him to bake a wedding cake in 2012.  Phillips, a strict religionist,  contended his cakes were art and that doing a "gay cake"  would defile that art and so  violate his Christian values

The blogger to whom I refer was incensed that the Supremes might allow that Jack Phillips was in the wrong when he refused to "perform his service for the two homos".  I suspect our friend is not aware that one doesn't use that pejorative these days, but anyway....

He made the further rash claim that he'd never expect the ACLU to defend him if he was turned down by an Atheist cake maker - say to make a cake extolling the Ten Commandments. He's flat wrong as the ACLU has always taken such cases, acknowledging that citizen rights can be trampled on the Left or Right side of the national divide.

Further, he doubted that if he went to an atheist or liberal cake maker he'd be able to get a Confederate battle flag cake made. In that he is again making an erroneous assumption. No atheist I know (including yours truly - if I was into making cakes) would turn down his request.

Heck, he could have a Confederate cake such as depicted above for a mere 400 bucks. Same thing with ANY wedding cake he'd want, including one featuring the Ten Commandments.

Now, as you will note, there is likely NO way in hell that our friend would pay that much for a cake - even a Rebel cake or highly religious one. But that is precisely my point as it pertains to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Phillips could have avoided all the kerfuffle and loss of business after  the state Civil Rights Commission declared Phillips' business practices discriminatory by simply charging more for the cake.  Say, $500.  This might break down along the lines of: $150 (cake, decorations, including creative design) and $350 (mental strain during creation. i.e. from going against one's pet beliefs).

The point being there's a  rational basis for the higher price which would be difficult to refute or invalidate in a law court (see end notes from Markham Law). After all, the guy IS performing the service- and selling, just at a somewhat higher cost to make it worth his mental-emotional investment.

It would then redound to them to go to seek a more economic cake choice elsewhere. The business -commercial law sphere would have remained intact, and also the "free speech" - rights issue, now expressed in terms of setting a higher price for the creative "self expression." That may be intangible but he (as an artist) has as much right to put his own price on it as a paint artist does his portrait.

This is no different, imho, in our currently getting bids (from Task Easy) to do a fall cleanup - which we can no longer do because of health (back) issues. While Task Easy claims $120 for a "package" deal - the first (and only) contractor who arrived wanted double that!  We said absolutely not. That was OUR choice, and HIS choice was to move on and look elsewhere for paid contract work.

Thus, the "freedom" issue is easily resolved and in a businesslike as opposed to ideological way.  The key is that creators or contractors can charge whatever they want for a service, but the customer is also at liberty to turn them down - if the price isn't right.

Our  conservative blogger friend also tried to use the argument that Phillips was perfectly willing to "bake the homos any other cake" e.g. birthday or what not. But he still misses the point. Once you enter into the for profit commercial trade domain you agree to provide the services - the same services - you provide to all other customers. Hence, if you bake other customers wedding cakes you cannot make an exception for "homos". It's quite simple.

The argument might be made that if I or anyone jacked up the cost of a cake for an ideology or person we don't fancy that is "discriminatory pricing".  Well, tell that to the contractor who wanted to charge $240 to clear some leaves out of our yard! I simply don't buy it would hold that much legal water, certainly not to the level of the federal case Masterpiece Cakeshop faces now.

In other words, I'd take a "discriminatory" pricing case any day before having to deal with an outright, refusal of service,  discrimination of civil rights case.

From Markham Law P.C.  website;

Price Discrimination Is Often Lawful. Presumptively, a seller is entitled to set prices as he chooses when dealing with his different customers. Most sellers would resent any effort to restrict their discretion to set and vary their prices for different sales. In market economies such as our own, firms decide for themselves what to charge for their products and to whom they wish to make sales. It is contrary to the fundamental principles of market economics to regulate what sellers charge for their products or impose a rule that they cannot vary their prices for the same goods when selling them to different customers.

Unlawful Price Discrimination, Defined. Stated as a rule, price discrimination becomes unlawful under federal antitrust law only when it threatens to undermine competitive processes in an affected market and otherwise meets the specific criteria of the federal price discrimination statutes (viz., the simultaneous, ongoing sale of the same or similar products to commercial customers at different prices in transactions that implicate interstate commerce).

This harm is said to occur within the meaning of the federal price-discrimination statutes when the following circumstances are present: (1) the seller makes sales of goods in interstate commerce to commercial customers; (2) the seller sells the same goods in the same quantities at around the same times to different commercial customers, offering lower prices only to one or some of these customers; (3) this price discrimination persists over a substantial period of time; and (4) at least one favored customer and one disfavored customer use these goods in order to compete against one another to sell their own offerings, or a favored customer so competes against one or more customers of the disfavored customer. If a disfavored customer can make these showings, it can bring suit under the Robinson-Patman Act .