The world’s eyes and ears have once again turned toward Syria following last week’s chemical weapons attack and U. S. President Donald Trump’s subsequent air strikes on the Assad government. Mainstream media, independent media, and social media platforms are fixing fierce attention on the ongoing developments. These events undoubtedly deserve widespread, ongoing scrutiny. From the United States government’s lack of evidence that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack to the media’s complicity in driving a pro-war narrative and president Trump’s hypocrisy in bombing Syria – after criticizing former president Barack Obama for doing the same thing – further critical analysis of the recent airstrikes is vital. But even as skepticism toward these events should remain heightened, so should awareness of countless other major developments. Here are five to follow: 1. Trump Appoints Pharmaceutical Consultant to Head the FDA – This week, the president appointed Scott Gottlieb, a pharmaceutical industry insider who has served the boards of multiple pharmaceutical companies, to chair the Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb currently still works as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline. He has received $414,000 from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He has also received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Mikart, as well as other corporations – including Goldman Sachs. He has taken several trips through Washington’s revolving door, with brief stints at the FDA mixed in with multiple positions consulting pharmaceutical companies. Trump’s pick follows in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who also appointed a pharmaceutical industry insider to chair the FDA.
“While the idea of admitting that a bureaucracy is necessary, I must also admit that marketers are liars and if left unregulated will rival politicians in their dishonesty when making product claims. Both admissions shake my libertarian sensibilities to the core.” First, a free market eventually corrects for the condition of “marketers are liars,” unlike with politicians. Furthermore, not ALL marketers are liars. Second, what makes you think the FDA, or any government bureaucracy for that matter, doesn’t lie? If one thinks we need an FDA, then one should think that we also need an EPA, FED, NLRB, EEOC, and on, and on, and on … further violating your libertarian sensibilities. The head administrator of the FDA is pretty much a revolving door with Big Pharma: is government regulation always the knee jerk reaction to every ill that affects society? Can you creatively think of some other solutions that don’t violate the Constitution of the United States? Keep reading, and maybe some other ideas will present themselves. More people die every year from legalized drugs than from taking supplements, not to mention the drugs the FDA eventually gets around to recalling, after they’ve already done their damage. In addition, the FDA is continually pushed by vested interests (Big Pharma and lobbied government officials) to cut corners so that drugs can get to market faster. So much for the efficacy of the FDA! So, you want more of the same? lot of medical doctors are in the back pocket of Big Pharma, not to mention the AMA: can go here to find out if your particular doctor is on the take:
This post was published at Gary North on March 25, 2017.
This is a slide used by Bernie Sanders when he proposed making drug imports from Canada to the US legal. The proposal was voted down in the Senate 52-46, with a few key Democrats helping overturn Bernie’s proposed legislation. Among those voting against it was the recipient of big pharma campaign contributions Democratic rising star Cory Booker. Booker used the Big Pharma talking point that ‘the bill did not include provisions requiring the protections of the FDA.’ Oh really? We think that the Canadian government’s regulation of medicine is weaker than in the US? Please, Cory, tell us exactly where they fall down on the job.
If you have forgotten your Gulliver’s Travels, recall that Jonathan Swift described the people of Brobdingnag as being as tall as church steeples and having a ten foot stride. Everything else was in proportion – – with rats the size of mastiffs and the latter the size of four elephants, while flies were ‘as big as a Dunstable lark’ and wasps were the size of partridges. Hence the word for this fictional land has come to mean colossal, enormous, gigantic, huge, immense or, as the urban dictionary puts it, ‘really f*cking big’. That would also describe the $325 billion bubble which comprises Amazon’s market cap. It is at once brobdangnagian and preposterous – – a trick on the casino signifying that the crowd has once again gone stark raving mad. When you have arrived at a condition of extreme ‘irrational exuberance’ there is probably no insult to ordinary valuation metrics that can shock. But for want of doubt consider that AMZN earned the grand sum of $79 million last quarter and $328 million for the LTM period ending in September. That’s right. Its conventional PE multiple is 985X! And, no, its not a biotech start-up in phase 3 FDA trials with a sure fire cancer cure set to be approved any day; its actually been around more than a quarter century, putting it in the oldest quartile of businesses in the US. But according to the loony posse of sell-side apologists who cover the company – – there are 15 buy recommendations – – Amazon is still furiously investing in ‘growth’ after all of these years. So never mind the PE multiple; earnings are being temporarily sacrificed for growth.
It has been two years ago since Edward Snowden released to the world a trove of proof that the NSA, the US’ top spy organization, had been focused as much on spying on its own people as on threats from abroad, in the process crushing countless constitutional civil and personal liberties. For his whistleblowing efforts, he was forced into self-appointed exile in Russia to avoid a lengthy prison sentence in the US. Which is ironic, because on June 2, with the passage of the “Freedom Act” (which actually is an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act), the NSA’s recording of US electronic communications officially ended, in effect validating Snowden’s efforts at halting the US conversion into a totalitarian police state. In reality NSA surveillance did not really end: bulk collection of Americans’ metadata is still allowed by phone companies, which is then accessible by the NSA. According to skeptics this makes intrusion into US private lives even more deliberate as private corporations are not subject to FOIA requests or government intervention: in effect Obama has washed his hands of all supervision over data collection even as the NSA still has full access to everything it could ever ask for (it is unclear why the massive NSA spy facility in Bluffdale, Utah will continue existing if the NSA is no longer allowed to intercept and record data). Still, for Snowden this was a minor, yet massive at the same time, victory. This is what he said in an op-ed in the aftermath of the passage of the Freedom Act:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 06/06/2015.
This Saturday, the third annual March Against Monsanto will be taking place in cities around the globe as people exercise their right to free speech and clean, organic food and really just simply to know what exactly it is they are eating and what effects that food has on their health. Via the official March Against Monsanto website: Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects. In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products. Recently, the U. S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds. For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup. Monsanto’s GMO seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have caused colony collapse among the world’s bee population.
(Nutritional Anarchy.com) It seems the entire food safety system is based around Nietzsche’s dubious assumption of ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’ Maybe that’s decent advice for certain tests and trials of endurance, but it hardly applies to the cumulative effects of chronic exposure to toxins slowly consumed over time. And yet, even a basic look into the crony capitalist world of the FDA, the USDA and the major manufactures of pesticides, crops, food products and other industrial ingredients makes clear that this understanding was not factored in – deliberately – into the food regulatory system. For a brief qualification of that, there’s the creation of the 1958 Delaney Clause – which bans known carcinogens from being in food. Pretty straight forward, good idea, but it shook the foundation of the food establishment. As technology allowed detection of more known toxins and lower levels, the de minimusinterpretation was introduced, exempting the application of this law from applying to most low level contamination even of known carcinogens – despite the fact that studies have shown many of these chemicals, metals and otherwise unholy constituents often can cause cancer or disease even at low levels. So, we have obviously been wary of the many chemical food additives, and laboratory sounding names lurking in boxes and packages of foods throughout the grocery store, at every convenience store… and, of course, restaurants, too, where an ingredients label is not typically offered, and educated guessing or on-the-spot interrogation of underpaid servers must suffice. What is really in the food? Who has tested it, and what did they test?
I’ve reviewed two of Ken Anton’s books: Popsicle Man is a novel form to share real-world history of US oligarchs with Emperor’s New Clothes’ obvious crimes centering in war and money Cancer Vortex provides similar powerful history of the medical oligarchs who block medically and legally proven cancer cures in order to protect industry profits in the annual billions (here, here, here, here). Ken explains more in this article, reprinted with his permission: Medical Industry Profits Pre-empt Healthcare The US healthcare industry is run by a Medical Cartel which explains why it is the most expensive in the world, yet provides less services than other advanced economies. A strict protocol was established for cancer treatment involving just three procedures: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Where innovators outside the tightly controlled Medical Cartel tried to introduce alternative treatments such as herbal formulas, special supplements, foods or complete nutritional programs, the AMA and FDA labeled these procedures quackery, harassing the owners, raiding their clinics and in some cases prosecuting them in the courts; whatever was necessary to shut them down. Why such an aggressive attitude towards natural, non-invasive therapies? Basically, the cartel cannot tolerate competition from low cost, non-patentable therapies even those with scientific proof of actually curing cancer. The cozy relationship between the Food and Drug Administration (the primary government regulator) and Big Pharma is well known, as is the revolving door between the top echelons of each.