region:west virginia

  • The Purdue Case Is One in a Wave of Opioid Lawsuits. What Should Their Outcome Be ? | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-purdue-case-is-one-in-a-wave-of-opioid-lawsuits-what-should-their-out

    Two years ago, when I was reporting on the opioid epidemic in one West Virginia county, the exorbitant cost of it—both socially and financially—perpetually astonished me. Narcan, the overdose-reversal drug, yanks people back from the edge of death to live another day and maybe, in time, conquer their addiction. Watching paramedics administer it was like witnessing a miracle over and over again. But Narcan is expensive—it cost Berkeley County, where I was reporting, fifty dollars a dose at the time, and consumed two-thirds of its annual budget for all emergency medications. Since then, the price of naloxone, its generic name, has risen to nearly a hundred and fifty dollars per dose, not because the formula has improved or become costlier to make—the drug has been around since 1961, and off patent since 1985—but because pharmaceutical manufacturers know a profitable market when they see one. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an average of a hundred and thirty people fatally overdose on prescription or illicit opioids every day in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that four hundred thousand Americans, a war’s worth of dead, died between 1999 and 2017.

    In Berkeley County, though, as in so many places across the country, Narcan accounted for just one column on a staggering spreadsheet. Hospitals have had to care for babies born in withdrawal. Foster-care systems have been strained by an influx of children whose families had been turned upside down by addiction. In many communities, the rates of H.I.V. and hepatitis C have climbed, because, once OxyContin pills were reformulated to make them harder to abuse, in 2010, and changes in prescribing practices made them more difficult to obtain, people addicted to them began injecting heroin and fentanyl instead.

    Under the Master Settlement Agreement, the tobacco companies also committed to pay the states two hundred billion dollars over twenty-five years, and to keep paying them sums tied to cigarette sales in each state in perpetuity. But nothing in the M.S.A. specified how that money was to be spent, and, though one might expect that the bulk of it would be dedicated to the goals of the lawsuits—reducing smoking and promoting public health—that has not generally been the case. In many states, much of the money has gone not to anti-smoking efforts, or even to general spending on health, but instead to closing budget shortfalls, lowering taxes, and funding infrastructure. States treated the agreement like what it felt like: a no-strings-attached gift.

    Je ne suis pas vraiment convainc par la conclusion :

    The Oklahoma settlement with Purdue is a reasonable stab at insuring that the money won in opioid lawsuits doesn’t follow a similar route. Yet some public-health advocates I spoke with said that, in the future, they hope more settlement money will go directly to the treatment of addiction. There’s good evidence, for example, that medication-assisted treatment using buprenorphine, naltrexone, or methadone works well for many people trying to get off opioids, but most states don’t have enough of it.

    Diriger les amendes vers la lutte contre les opioides es tune bonne chose, parce qu’elle évite le pire (que l’amende serve à « baisser les impôts »)... mais cela ne peut pas être un projet dans le cadre des procès. Une fois la responsabilité établie, il faut démanteler ces entreprises et ramener les familles qui les possèdent à un niveau de vie normal, car les Sackler ont largement organisé la promotion d’OxyContin. Or les accords à l’amiable doivent être acceptés par les deux parties, et les construire comme une fin en soi, c’est déjà baisser les bras devant la puissance financière (et donc la qualité/quantité des avocats...). Surtout quand une partie de l’amende sera comme en Oklahoma payée « en nature » par des médicaments produits par Purdue Pharma !!!

    #Opioides #Sackler #Procès

  • As Ilhan Omar endures anti-Muslim racism, most lawmakers in Congress remain silent – ThinkProgress
    https://thinkprogress.org/as-ilhan-omar-endures-anti-muslim-racism-most-lawmakers-in-congress-r

    at the time of publication, neither Democratic leaders in the House and Senate — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — had publicly condemned the actions of the West Virginia GOP.

    #lâches #carriéristes #corrompus #médiocres #etats-unis

  • Opioid Lawsuits Are Headed to Trial. Here’s Why the Stakes Are Getting Uglier. - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/health/opioid-lawsuits-settlement-trial.html

    Uncontested: The devastation from prescription opioids has been deadly and inordinately expensive.

    Contested: Who should foot the bill?

    Just over a year ago, opioid lawsuits against makers and distributors of the painkillers were proliferating so rapidly that a judicial panel bundled all the federal cases under the stewardship of a single judge. On a January morning, Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the Northern District of Ohio made his opening remarks to lawyers for nearly 200 municipal governments gathered in his Cleveland courtroom. He wanted the national opioid crisis resolved with a meaningful settlement within a year, proclaiming, “We don’t need briefs and we don’t need trials.”

    That year is up.

    Far from being settled, the litigation has ballooned to 1,548 federal court cases, brought on behalf of cities and counties, 77 tribes, hospitals, union benefit funds, infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and others — in total, millions of people. With a potential payday amounting to tens of billions of dollars, it has become one of the most complicated and gargantuan legal battles in American history.

    With settlement talks sputtering, the judge has signed off on a parallel track involving, yes, briefs, focused on, yes, trial. He will preside over three consolidated Ohio lawsuits in what is known as a “bellwether,” or test case. The array of defendants include Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt PLC, CVS RX Services Inc. and Cardinal Health, Inc. That jury’s verdict could determine whether the parties will then negotiate in earnest or keep fighting.

    The plaintiffs have long said that the companies deliberately looked the other way at the improbable quantities. But the lawyers did not have the hard numbers in hand to bolster their claims.

    Now they do.

    For the time being, the judge will not release the data to the public. But a passage from a congressional report gives a sense of the granular information in the data: during 10 months in 2007, one distributor, McKesson, shipped three million prescription opioids to a single pharmacy in a West Virginia town with 400 residents.

    Typically, patients who sue for medical malpractice or product liability must turn over their own medical records as proof. They forfeit conventional privacy rights.

    Here, the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs are government entities, not individuals. They are seeking to be reimbursed for the accumulated costs of drug addiction and its collateral damage. The defendants want them to produce precise evidence showing how those costs are calculated, including the chain of events — for example, from a drug’s development, to its delivery, to a pharmacy-filled prescription to, eventually, bills from hospitals and others.
    What on Earth Is Going On?

    That means the drug industry is asking for patients’ records and for every prescription the plaintiffs deemed medically “suspicious.” The plaintiffs are pushing back, saying that the depleted municipal budgets for health, social services and law enforcement paint a more telling picture.

    Why drug companies could have an upper hand

    Lawyers on both sides agree: This litigation presents a slew of novel legal issues.

    If the bellwether ends in a victory for plaintiffs, appeals courts, increasingly filled with conservative judges, would be unlikely to uphold all of Judge Polster’s rulings on these untested legal questions, much less a whopping, emotional jury award. Complexity favors the defense.

    And in settlement negotiations, the long game is the defense’s best friend: they can afford to drag this out. Typically, the longer it slogs on, the more the final tab gets driven down.

    #Opioides #Procès

  • La #grève des #enseignants de #Los_Angeles pourrait faire boule de neige | JOCELYNE ZABLIT | États-Unis
    https://www.lapresse.ca/international/etats-unis/201901/14/01-5211014-la-greve-des-enseignants-de-los-angeles-pourrait-faire-boule-de-

    « Nous voici en ce jour pluvieux, dans l’un des pays les plus #riches du monde, dans l’un des États les plus riches du pays, un État aussi bleu (couleur du parti démocrate) que possible - et dans une ville qui regorge de millionnaires  ! - avec des enseignants obligés de faire la grève pour obtenir le minimum pour nos élèves », s’est exclamé Alex Caputo-Pearl, président du syndicat des enseignants de Los Angeles (UTLA), lors d’une conférence de presse.

    « Nous défendons l’essence même de l’#éducation_publique. La question est la suivante : est-ce que nous affamons nos écoles publiques de proximité pour aboutir à leur #privatisation  ? Ou bien est-ce que nous investissons dans ces écoles, pour nos élèves et pour une ville en plein développement  ? », a-t-il ajouté.

    #éloquence #etats-unis

    • The Rapid Victory of the West Virginia Teacher Strike Shows What Happens When Progressives Join the Fight Against School Privatization | naked capitalism
      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/03/rapid-victory-west-virginia-teacher-strike-shows-happens-progressiv

      He concedes, however, there are still unresolved issues in how progressives will coalesce on charters elsewhere. His progressive colleagues in states with lots of charters still feel an urge to not totally reject charters because parents whose children attend the schools are often from marginalized communities. And teachers who work in charters are potential targets for labor unions who want to organize the workers.

      But he finds in places such as West Virginia, and neighboring Virginia and Kentucky, where there are very few or no charters, opposition to the schools is about saving public education. Opponents are quick to point to high-profile charter school scandals in Ohioand Pennsylvaniaas examples of what would befall their states. “It’s been 20 years of experimenting,” he says, “and experiments often fail.”

      Frankenberry’s hope is that the solidarity shown by progressive opposition to school privatization in West Virginia can rub off on his colleagues in states where charters are more abundant. “We’re showing that we’re not going to accept these schools,” he says. “Maybe the progressive organizers in places where they already have them can get inspiration from us to rein charters in.”

      Zuckett foresees opposition to charter schools and voucher programs continuing to be more of a point of contention that progressives will push in their policy positions, and not just in West Virginia. “The fight is on,” he says. “Shame on us if it isn’t.”

  • January 10 strike date set for 33,000 Los Angeles teachers - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/laus-d24.html

    Le gouvernement des États Unis est en train de remplacer l’école publique par des charter schools privées. Les enseignants et parents d’élèves mènent un mouvement de résistance contre le démantèlement de l’institution publique.

    Last week, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced that it had set a strike date of January 10 for 33,000 teachers after failing to reach an agreement with the district after more than 18 months of negotiations.

    The announcement came a few days after as many as 50,000 educators and their supporters marched in the nation’s second largest school district to demand increased wages, a reduction in class sizes and the hiring of nurses and other critical staff. Teachers in Oakland, Fremont and other California cities are also pressing for strike action as part of the resumption of teachers’ strikes, which saw statewide walkouts earlier this year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states.

    Virginia teachers plan statewide protest to demand school funding - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/virg-d24.html

    The teachers’ movement that began last February in West Virginia—spreading to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, North and South Carolina and Washington state—is clearly expanding in the face of the continued assault on public education. Charter school teachers have joined the growing number of walkouts as well, with a recent strike against Acero in Chicago.

    Meeting on Oakland school closure expresses hostility to attacks on public education - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/oakl-d24.html

    Last Tuesday, over 150 parents, students, educators and community members attended a public meeting to protest the planned closure of Roots International Academy, a middle school that serves low-income youth in East Oakland, California. After listening to district representatives attempt to justify the closure, numerous attendees spoke out forcefully against it and in favor of expanding public education funding and resources.

    Roots is one of 24 public schools in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) that are slated to be closed or merged with other public schools over the next five years as part of the district’s and state’s savage assault on public education, which includes district budget cuts of $60 million over the next two years. All 24 schools slated for closure or merger are located in the “flatlands” regions of East and West Oakland, where poverty and crime are far more prevalent than in the rest of the city.

    In response to this unprecedented attack on education in Oakland, the city’s working class residents are beginning to mobilize. Among Oakland teachers, who have been working without a contract since July 2017, there is growing sentiment for a statewide teachers strike to unite with Los Angeles teachers, who last week announced that they will begin striking on January 10.

    Two weeks ago, roughly 100 Oakland teachers engaged in a wildcat “sickout” strike, largely out of frustration over the stalled negotiations and lack of initiative from the Oakland Education Association (OEA) teachers union.

    #USA #éducation #privatisation

  • Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Targets #DuPont, #Chemours, #3M, and Other Makers of #PFAS Chemicals
    https://theintercept.com/2018/10/06/dupont-pfas-chemicals-lawsuit

    A CLASS ACTION lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, and Chemours was filed this week on behalf of everyone in the United States who has been exposed to PFAS chemicals. The suit was brought by Kevin Hardwick, an Ohio firefighter, but “seeks relief on behalf of a nationwide class of everyone in the United States who has a detectable level of PFAS chemicals in their blood.” Hardwick is represented by attorney Robert Bilott, who successfully sued DuPont on behalf of people in West Virginia and Ohio who had been exposed to PFOA from a plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

    #toxiques

  • Dolphins Are Helping Us Hunt for Aliens - Facts So Romantic
    http://nautil.us/blog/-dolphins-are-helping-us-hunt-for-aliens

    SETI Institute astronomer Laurance Doyle proposed using information theory to analyze animal communication systems, particularly the whistle repertoire of bottlenose dolphins.Illustration by Victor Habbick Visions When 12 men gathered at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia to discuss the art and science of alien hunting in 1961, the Order of the Dolphin was born. A number of the brightest minds from a range of scientific disciplines, including three Nobel laureates, a young Carl Sagan, and an eccentric neuroscientist named John Lilly—who was best known for trying to talk to dolphins—were in attendance. It was Lilly’s research that inspired the group’s name: If humans couldn’t even communicate with animals that shared most of our evolutionary history, he believed, they were a bit (...)

  • Crossroads and Country Roads: Wildcat West Virginia and the Possibilities of a Working Class Offensive
    https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/crossroads-and-country-roads-wildcat-west-virginia-and-the-possibili

    During the four days I spent in West Virginia, I was repeatedly thanked for coming to support teachers from out of state, though mostly people seemed a bit surprised that I cared. Perhaps it was...

  • Jackson Lears · What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking : #Russiagate · LRB 4 January 2018
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking
    La pensée unique aux États Unis de plus en plus sectaire et pesante

    Jackson Lears

    American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus. For about a week after the election, pundits discussed the possibility of a more capacious Democratic strategy. It appeared that the party might learn something from Clinton’s defeat. Then everything changed.

    A story that had circulated during the campaign without much effect resurfaced: it involved the charge that Russian operatives had hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee, revealing embarrassing emails that damaged Clinton’s chances. With stunning speed, a new centrist-liberal orthodoxy came into being, enveloping the major media and the bipartisan Washington establishment. This secular religion has attracted hordes of converts in the first year of the Trump presidency. In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.

    The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind.

    Like any orthodoxy worth its salt, the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords. Its scriptural foundation is a confused and largely fact-free ‘assessment’ produced last January by a small number of ‘hand-picked’ analysts – as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, described them – from the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. The claims of the last were made with only ‘moderate’ confidence. The label Intelligence Community Assessment creates a misleading impression of unanimity, given that only three of the 16 US intelligence agencies contributed to the report. And indeed the assessment itself contained this crucial admission: ‘Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.’ Yet the assessment has passed into the media imagination as if it were unassailable fact, allowing journalists to assume what has yet to be proved. In doing so they serve as mouthpieces for the intelligence agencies, or at least for those ‘hand-picked’ analysts.

    It is not the first time the intelligence agencies have played this role. When I hear the Intelligence Community Assessment cited as a reliable source, I always recall the part played by the New York Times in legitimating CIA reports of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s putative weapons of mass destruction, not to mention the long history of disinformation (a.k.a. ‘fake news’) as a tactic for advancing one administration or another’s political agenda. Once again, the established press is legitimating pronouncements made by the Church Fathers of the national security state. Clapper is among the most vigorous of these. He perjured himself before Congress in 2013, when he denied that the NSA had ‘wittingly’ spied on Americans – a lie for which he has never been held to account. In May 2017, he told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the Russians were highly likely to have colluded with Trump’s campaign because they are ‘almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favour, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique’. The current orthodoxy exempts the Church Fathers from standards imposed on ordinary people, and condemns Russians – above all Putin – as uniquely, ‘almost genetically’ diabolical.

    It’s hard for me to understand how the Democratic Party, which once felt scepticism towards the intelligence agencies, can now embrace the CIA and the FBI as sources of incontrovertible truth. One possible explanation is that Trump’s election has created a permanent emergency in the liberal imagination, based on the belief that the threat he poses is unique and unprecedented. It’s true that Trump’s menace is viscerally real. But the menace posed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was equally real. The damage done by Bush and Cheney – who ravaged the Middle East, legitimated torture and expanded unconstitutional executive power – was truly unprecedented, and probably permanent. Trump does pose an unprecedented threat to undocumented immigrants and Muslim travellers, whose protection is urgent and necessary. But on most issues he is a standard issue Republican. He is perfectly at home with Paul Ryan’s austerity agenda, which involves enormous transfers of wealth to the most privileged Americans. He is as committed as any other Republican to repealing Obama’s Affordable Care Act. During the campaign he posed as an apostate on free trade and an opponent of overseas military intervention, but now that he is in office his free trade views are shifting unpredictably and his foreign policy team is composed of generals with impeccable interventionist credentials.

    Trump is committed to continuing his predecessors’ lavish funding of the already bloated Defence Department, and his Fortress America is a blustering, undisciplined version of Madeleine Albright’s ‘indispensable nation’. Both Trump and Albright assume that the United States should be able to do as it pleases in the international arena: Trump because it’s the greatest country in the world, Albright because it’s an exceptional force for global good. Nor is there anything unprecedented about Trump’s desire for détente with Russia, which until at least 2012 was the official position of the Democratic Party. What is unprecedented about Trump is his offensive style: contemptuous, bullying, inarticulate, and yet perfectly pitched to appeal to the anger and anxiety of his target audience. His excess has licensed overt racism and proud misogyny among some of his supporters. This is cause for denunciation, but I am less persuaded that it justifies the anti-Russian mania.

    Besides Trump’s supposed uniqueness, there are two other assumptions behind the furore in Washington: the first is that the Russian hack unquestionably occurred, and the second is that the Russians are our implacable enemies. The second provides the emotional charge for the first. Both seem to me problematic. With respect to the first, the hacking charges are unproved and may well remain so. Edward Snowden and others familiar with the NSA say that if long-distance hacking had taken place the agency would have monitored it and could detail its existence without compromising their secret sources and methods. In September, Snowden told Der Spiegel that the NSA ‘probably knows quite well who the invaders were’. And yet ‘it has not presented any evidence, although I suspect it exists. The question is: why not? … I suspect it discovered other attackers in the systems, maybe there were six or seven groups at work.’ He also said in July 2016 that ‘even if the attackers try to obfuscate origin, ‪#XKEYSCORE makes following exfiltrated data easy. I did this personally against Chinese ops.’ The NSA’s capacity to follow hacking to its source is a matter of public record. When the agency investigated pervasive and successful Chinese hacking into US military and defence industry installations, it was able to trace the hacks to the building where they originated, a People’s Liberation Army facility in Shanghai. That information was published in the New York Times, but, this time, the NSA’s failure to provide evidence has gone curiously unremarked. When The Intercept published a story about the NSA’s alleged discovery that Russian military intelligence had attempted to hack into US state and local election systems, the agency’s undocumented assertions about the Russian origins of the hack were allowed to stand as unchallenged fact and quickly became treated as such in the mainstream media.

    Meanwhile, there has been a blizzard of ancillary accusations, including much broader and vaguer charges of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It remains possible that Robert Mueller, a former FBI director who has been appointed to investigate these allegations, may turn up some compelling evidence of contacts between Trump’s people and various Russians. It would be surprising if an experienced prosecutor empowered to cast a dragnet came up empty-handed, and the arrests have already begun. But what is striking about them is that the charges have nothing to do with Russian interference in the election. There has been much talk about the possibility that the accused may provide damaging evidence against Trump in exchange for lighter sentences, but this is merely speculation. Paul Manafort, at one point Trump’s campaign manager, has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to register his public relations firm as a foreign agent for the Ukrainian government and concealing his millions of dollars in fees. But all this occurred before the 2016 campaign. George Papadopolous, a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his bungling efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump’s people and the Russian government – an opportunity the Trump campaign declined. Mueller’s most recent arrestee, Michael Flynn, the unhinged Islamophobe who was briefly Trump’s national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about meeting the Russian ambassador in December – weeks after the election. This is the sort of backchannel diplomacy that routinely occurs during the interim between one administration and the next. It is not a sign of collusion.

    So far, after months of ‘bombshells’ that turn out to be duds, there is still no actual evidence for the claim that the Kremlin ordered interference in the American election. Meanwhile serious doubts have surfaced about the technical basis for the hacking claims. Independent observers have argued it is more likely that the emails were leaked from inside, not hacked from outside. On this front, the most persuasive case was made by a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, former employees of the US intelligence agencies who distinguished themselves in 2003 by debunking Colin Powell’s claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, hours after Powell had presented his pseudo-evidence at the UN. (There are members of VIPS who dissent from the VIPS report’s conclusions, but their arguments are in turn contested by the authors of the report.) The VIPS findings received no attention in major media outlets, except Fox News – which from the centre-left perspective is worse than no attention at all. Mainstream media have dismissed the VIPS report as a conspiracy theory (apparently the Russian hacking story does not count as one). The crucial issue here and elsewhere is the exclusion from public discussion of any critical perspectives on the orthodox narrative, even the perspectives of people with professional credentials and a solid track record.

    Both the DNC hacking story and the one involving the emails of John Podesta, a Clinton campaign operative, involve a shadowy bunch of putatively Russian hackers called Fancy Bear – also known among the technically inclined as APT28. The name Fancy Bear was introduced by Dimitri Alperovitch, the chief technology officer of Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to investigate the theft of their emails. Alperovitch is also a fellow at the Atlantic Council, an anti-Russian Washington think tank. In its report Crowdstrike puts forward close to zero evidence for its claim that those responsible were Russian, let alone for its assertion that they were affiliated with Russian military intelligence. And yet, from this point on, the assumption that this was a Russian cyber operation was unquestioned. When the FBI arrived on the scene, the Bureau either did not request or was refused access to the DNC servers; instead it depended entirely on the Crowdstrike analysis. Crowdstrike, meanwhile, was being forced to retract another claim, that the Russians had successfully hacked the guidance systems of the Ukrainian artillery. The Ukrainian military and the British International Institute for Strategic Studies both contradicted this claim, and Crowdstrike backed down. But its DNC analysis was allowed to stand and even become the basis for the January Intelligence Community Assessment.

    The chatter surrounding the hack would never have acquired such urgency were it not for the accompanying assumption: Russia is a uniquely dangerous adversary, with which we should avoid all contact. Without that belief, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Russians in September 2016 would become routine discussions between a senator and foreign officials. Flynn’s post-election conversations with the Russian ambassador would appear unremarkable. Trump’s cronies’ attempts to do business in Russia would become merely sleazy. Donald Trump Jr’s meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya would be transformed from a melodrama of shady intrigue to a comedy of errors – with the candidate’s son expecting to receive information to use against Clinton but discovering Veselnitskaya only wanted to talk about repealing sanctions and restarting the flow of Russian orphans to the United States. And Putin himself would become just another autocrat, with whom democracies could engage without endorsing.

    Sceptical voices, such as those of the VIPS, have been drowned out by a din of disinformation. Flagrantly false stories, like the Washington Post report that the Russians had hacked into the Vermont electrical grid, are published, then retracted 24 hours later. Sometimes – like the stories about Russian interference in the French and German elections – they are not retracted even after they have been discredited. These stories have been thoroughly debunked by French and German intelligence services but continue to hover, poisoning the atmosphere, confusing debate. The claim that the Russians hacked local and state voting systems in the US was refuted by California and Wisconsin election officials, but their comments generated a mere whisper compared with the uproar created by the original story. The rush to publish without sufficient attention to accuracy has become the new normal in journalism. Retraction or correction is almost beside the point: the false accusation has done its work.

    The consequence is a spreading confusion that envelops everything. Epistemological nihilism looms, but some people and institutions have more power than others to define what constitutes an agreed-on reality. To say this is to risk dismissal as the ultimate wing-nut in the lexicon of contemporary Washington: the conspiracy theorist. Still, the fact remains: sometimes powerful people arrange to promote ideas that benefit their common interests. Whether we call this hegemony, conspiracy or merely special privilege hardly matters. What does matter is the power to create what Gramsci called the ‘common sense’ of an entire society. Even if much of that society is indifferent to or suspicious of the official common sense, it still becomes embedded among the tacit assumptions that set the boundaries of ‘responsible opinion’. So the Democratic establishment (along with a few Republicans) and the major media outlets have made ‘Russian meddling’ the common sense of the current moment. What kind of cultural work does this common sense do? What are the consequences of the spectacle the media call (with characteristic originality) ‘Russiagate’?

    The most immediate consequence is that, by finding foreign demons who can be blamed for Trump’s ascendancy, the Democratic leadership have shifted the blame for their defeat away from their own policies without questioning any of their core assumptions. Amid the general recoil from Trump, they can even style themselves dissenters – ‘#the resistance’ was the label Clintonites appropriated within a few days of the election. Mainstream Democrats have begun to use the word ‘progressive’ to apply to a platform that amounts to little more than preserving Obamacare, gesturing towards greater income equality and protecting minorities. This agenda is timid. It has nothing to say about challenging the influence of concentrated capital on policy, reducing the inflated defence budget or withdrawing from overextended foreign commitments; yet without those initiatives, even the mildest egalitarian policies face insuperable obstacles. More genuine insurgencies are in the making, which confront corporate power and connect domestic with foreign policy, but they face an uphill battle against the entrenched money and power of the Democratic leadership – the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and the DNC. Russiagate offers Democratic elites a way to promote party unity against Trump-Putin, while the DNC purges Sanders’s supporters.

    For the DNC, the great value of the Russian hack story is that it focuses attention away from what was actually in their emails. The documents revealed a deeply corrupt organisation, whose pose of impartiality was a sham. Even the reliably pro-Clinton Washington Post has admitted that ‘many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.’ Further evidence of collusion between the Clinton machine and the DNC surfaced recently in a memoir by Donna Brazile, who became interim chair of the DNC after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of the email revelations. Brazile describes discovering an agreement dated 26 August 2015, which specified (she writes)

    that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics and mailings.

    Before the primaries had even begun, the supposedly neutral DNC – which had been close to insolvency – had been bought by the Clinton campaign.

    Another recent revelation of DNC tactics concerns the origins of the inquiry into Trump’s supposed links to Putin. The story began in April 2016, when the DNC hired a Washington research firm called Fusion GPS to unearth any connections between Trump and Russia. The assignment involved the payment of ‘cash for trash’, as the Clinton campaign liked to say. Fusion GPS eventually produced the trash, a lurid account written by the former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele, based on hearsay purchased from anonymous Russian sources. Amid prostitutes and golden showers, a story emerged: the Russian government had been blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump for years, on the assumption that he would become president some day and serve the Kremlin’s interests. In this fantastic tale, Putin becomes a preternaturally prescient schemer. Like other accusations of collusion, this one has become vaguer over time, adding to the murky atmosphere without ever providing any evidence. The Clinton campaign tried to persuade established media outlets to publicise the Steele dossier, but with uncharacteristic circumspection, they declined to promote what was plainly political trash rather than reliable reporting. Yet the FBI apparently took the Steele dossier seriously enough to include a summary of it in a secret appendix to the Intelligence Community Assessment. Two weeks before the inauguration, James Comey, the director of the FBI, described the dossier to Trump. After Comey’s briefing was leaked to the press, the website Buzzfeed published the dossier in full, producing hilarity and hysteria in the Washington establishment.

    The Steele dossier inhabits a shadowy realm where ideology and intelligence, disinformation and revelation overlap. It is the antechamber to the wider system of epistemological nihilism created by various rival factions in the intelligence community: the ‘tree of smoke’ that, for the novelist Denis Johnson, symbolised CIA operations in Vietnam. I inhaled that smoke myself in 1969-70, when I was a cryptographer with a Top Secret clearance on a US navy ship that carried missiles armed with nuclear warheads – the existence of which the navy denied. I was stripped of my clearance and later honourably discharged when I refused to join the Sealed Authenticator System, which would have authorised the launch of those allegedly non-existent nuclear weapons. The tree of smoke has only grown more complex and elusive since then. Yet the Democratic Party has now embarked on a full-scale rehabilitation of the intelligence community – or at least the part of it that supports the notion of Russian hacking. (We can be sure there is disagreement behind the scenes.) And it is not only the Democratic establishment that is embracing the deep state. Some of the party’s base, believing Trump and Putin to be joined at the hip, has taken to ranting about ‘treason’ like a reconstituted John Birch Society.

    I thought of these ironies when I visited the Tate Modern exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, which featured the work of black American artists from the 1960s and 1970s, when intelligence agencies (and agents provocateurs) were spearheading a government crackdown on black militants, draft resisters, deserters and antiwar activists. Amid the paintings, collages and assemblages there was a single Confederate flag, accompanied by grim reminders of the Jim Crow past – a Klansman in full regalia, a black body dangling from a tree. There were also at least half a dozen US flags, juxtaposed in whole or in part with images of contemporary racial oppression that could have occurred anywhere in America: dead black men carted off on stretchers by skeletons in police uniform; a black prisoner tied to a chair, awaiting torture. The point was to contrast the pretensions of ‘the land of the free’ with the practices of the national security state and local police forces. The black artists of that era knew their enemy: black people were not being killed and imprisoned by some nebulous foreign adversary, but by the FBI, the CIA and the police.

    The Democratic Party has now developed a new outlook on the world, a more ambitious partnership between liberal humanitarian interventionists and neoconservative militarists than existed under the cautious Obama. This may be the most disastrous consequence for the Democratic Party of the new anti-Russian orthodoxy: the loss of the opportunity to formulate a more humane and coherent foreign policy. The obsession with Putin has erased any possibility of complexity from the Democratic world picture, creating a void quickly filled by the monochrome fantasies of Hillary Clinton and her exceptionalist allies. For people like Max Boot and Robert Kagan, war is a desirable state of affairs, especially when viewed from the comfort of their keyboards, and the rest of the world – apart from a few bad guys – is filled with populations who want to build societies just like ours: pluralistic, democratic and open for business. This view is difficult to challenge when it cloaks itself in humanitarian sentiment. There is horrific suffering in the world; the US has abundant resources to help relieve it; the moral imperative is clear. There are endless forms of international engagement that do not involve military intervention. But it is the path taken by US policy often enough that one may suspect humanitarian rhetoric is nothing more than window-dressing for a more mundane geopolitics – one that defines the national interest as global and virtually limitless.

    Having come of age during the Vietnam War, a calamitous consequence of that inflated definition of national interest, I have always been attracted to the realist critique of globalism. Realism is a label forever besmirched by association with Henry Kissinger, who used it as a rationale for intervening covertly and overtly in other nations’ affairs. Yet there is a more humane realist tradition, the tradition of George Kennan and William Fulbright, which emphasises the limits of military might, counselling that great power requires great restraint. This tradition challenges the doctrine of regime change under the guise of democracy promotion, which – despite its abysmal failures in Iraq and Libya – retains a baffling legitimacy in official Washington. Russiagate has extended its shelf life.

    We can gauge the corrosive impact of the Democrats’ fixation on Russia by asking what they aren’t talking about when they talk about Russian hacking. For a start, they aren’t talking about interference of other sorts in the election, such as the Republican Party’s many means of disenfranchising minority voters. Nor are they talking about the trillion dollar defence budget that pre-empts the possibility of single-payer healthcare and other urgently needed social programmes; nor about the modernisation of the American nuclear arsenal which Obama began and Trump plans to accelerate, and which raises the risk of the ultimate environmental calamity, nuclear war – a threat made more serious than it has been in decades by America’s combative stance towards Russia. The prospect of impeaching Trump and removing him from office by convicting him of collusion with Russia has created an atmosphere of almost giddy anticipation among leading Democrats, allowing them to forget that the rest of the Republican Party is composed of many politicians far more skilful in Washington’s ways than their president will ever be.

    It is not the Democratic Party that is leading the search for alternatives to the wreckage created by Republican policies: a tax plan that will soak the poor and middle class to benefit the rich; a heedless pursuit of fossil fuels that is already resulting in the contamination of the water supply of the Dakota people; and continued support for police policies of militarisation and mass incarceration. It is local populations that are threatened by oil spills and police beatings, and that is where humane populism survives. A multitude of insurgent groups have begun to use the outrage against Trump as a lever to move the party in egalitarian directions: Justice Democrats, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, as well as a host of local and regional organisations. They recognise that there are far more urgent – and genuine – reasons to oppose Trump than vague allegations of collusion with Russia. They are posing an overdue challenge to the long con of neoliberalism, and the technocratic arrogance that led to Clinton’s defeat in Rust Belt states. Recognising that the current leadership will not bring about significant change, they are seeking funding from outside the DNC. This is the real resistance, as opposed to ‘#theresistance’.

    On certain important issues – such as broadening support for single-payer healthcare, promoting a higher minimum wage or protecting undocumented immigrants from the most flagrant forms of exploitation – these insurgents are winning wide support. Candidates like Paula Jean Swearengin, a coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia who is running in the Democratic primary for nomination to the US Senate, are challenging establishment Democrats who stand cheek by jowl with Republicans in their service to concentrated capital. Swearengin’s opponent is Joe Manchin, whom the Los Angeles Times has compared to Doug Jones, another ‘very conservative’ Democrat who recently won election to the US Senate in Alabama, narrowly defeating a Republican disgraced by accusations of sexual misconduct with 14-year-old girls. I can feel relieved at that result without joining in the collective Democratic ecstasy, which reveals the party’s persistent commitment to politics as usual. Democrat leaders have persuaded themselves (and much of their base) that all the republic needs is a restoration of the status quo ante Trump. They remain oblivious to popular impatience with familiar formulas. Jess King – a Mennonite woman, Bard College MBA and founder of a local non-profit who is running for Congress as a Justice Democrat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – put it this way: ‘We see a changing political landscape right now that isn’t measured by traditional left to right politics anymore, but bottom to top. In Pennsylvania and many other places around the country we see a grassroots economic populism on the rise, pushing against the political establishment and status quo that have failed so many in our country.’

    Democratic insurgents are also developing a populist critique of the imperial hubris that has sponsored multiple failed crusades, extorted disproportionate sacrifice from the working class and provoked support for Trump, who presented himself (however misleadingly) as an opponent of open-ended interventionism. On foreign policy, the insurgents face an even more entrenched opposition than on domestic policy: a bipartisan consensus aflame with outrage at the threat to democracy supposedly posed by Russian hacking. Still, they may have found a tactical way forward, by focusing on the unequal burden borne by the poor and working class in the promotion and maintenance of American empire.

    This approach animates Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis, a 33-page document whose authors include Norman Solomon, founder of the web-based insurgent lobby RootsAction.org. ‘The Democratic Party’s claims of fighting for “working families” have been undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling Trump to masquerade as a champion of the people,’ Autopsy announces. But what sets this apart from most progressive critiques is the cogent connection it makes between domestic class politics and foreign policy. For those in the Rust Belt, military service has often seemed the only escape from the shambles created by neoliberal policies; yet the price of escape has been high. As Autopsy notes, ‘the wisdom of continual war’ – what Clinton calls ‘global leadership’ –

    was far clearer to the party’s standard bearer [in 2016] than it was to people in the US communities bearing the brunt of combat deaths, injuries and psychological traumas. After a decade and a half of non-stop warfare, research data from voting patterns suggest that the Clinton campaign’s hawkish stance was a political detriment in working-class communities hard-hit by American casualties from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota and Douglas Kriner of Boston University analysed election results in three key states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – and found that ‘even controlling in a statistical model for many other alternative explanations, we find that there is a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.’ Clinton’s record of uncritical commitment to military intervention allowed Trump to have it both ways, playing to jingoist resentment while posing as an opponent of protracted and pointless war. Kriner and Shen conclude that Democrats may want to ‘re-examine their foreign policy posture if they hope to erase Trump’s electoral gains among constituencies exhausted and alienated by 15 years of war’. If the insurgent movements within the Democratic Party begin to formulate an intelligent foreign policy critique, a re-examination may finally occur. And the world may come into sharper focus as a place where American power, like American virtue, is limited. For this Democrat, that is an outcome devoutly to be wished. It’s a long shot, but there is something happening out there.

    #USA #cuture #politique

  • The Opioid Plague’s Youngest Victims : Children in Foster Care - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/opinion/opioid-crisis-children-foster-care.html?_r=0

    Les conséquences de la crise des opioides vont bien au delà des overdoses, mais touchent les enfants délaissés par leurs parents. Merci la Sackler family.

    As more Americans struggle with opioid addiction and find themselves unable to perform their duties as parents, children are pouring into state and county foster care systems. In Montana, the number of children in foster care has doubled since 2010. In Georgia, it has increased by 80 percent, and in West Virginia, by 45 percent. Altogether, nearly 440,000 kids are spending this holiday season in foster care, compared with 400,000 in 2011.

    The data points to drug abuse as a primary reason, and experts have identified opioids in particular. Neglect remains the main reason children enter foster care. But from 2015 to 2016, the increase in the number of children who came into foster care as a result of parental drug abuse was far greater than the increases in the 14 other categories, like housing instability, according to data from the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.

    Child welfare agencies across the country are doing heroic work, but they simply cannot find enough foster families to meet the growing demand. In some places, kids in foster care are sleeping in social workers’ offices. Many children are shipped off to prisonlike institutions where they languish for months, even years, without loving families. And many more bounce among multiple foster homes, deepening their feelings of abandonment, disrupting their education and severing their relationships with relatives, teachers and friends just when they need them most.

    The consequences for these kids, and our country, are alarming. Children who have been in foster care are five times more likely to abuse drugs. As many as 70 percent of youths in the juvenile justice system have spent time in the child welfare system. One-third of homeless young adults were previously in foster care. Black children are twice as likely as white children to wind up in foster care and face its devastating effects, a symptom of our country’s disparate treatment of black and white families who experience similar challenges..

    #Opioides #Enfants #USA

  • Finding a Fix – Mother Jones
    http://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2017/12/opioids-users-dealers-police-1

    Opioids started seeping into the surrounding counties in the mid-’90s, when Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin and dramatically underplayed its addictive qualities. Thanks to pharmaceutical lobbying, years of liberal painkiller prescribing—the United States consumes more than 70 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers—planted the seeds for widespread addiction to both painkillers and heroin, which is chemically similar to the prescription pills but far cheaper and more potent.

    As the demand for opioids grew in suburban areas, capillaries sprang up from the main drug trafficking artery of Interstate 95, which runs from Florida to Maine, bringing opioids to small towns like Bel Air and Aberdeen. But the turning point in Harford—and much of the country—came in 2015 after fentanyl, an opioid up to 50 times more powerful than heroin that is typically manufactured in illicit labs in China, started making its way into the heroin supply. Complicating matters is the fact that, by the time drugs get to Baltimore or Harford County, they have likely changed hands so many times—and mixed with fentanyl and other additives along the way—that dealers often don’t know what they are dealing. Indeed, the customary drug in Baltimore is “scramble”: an amalgamation of heroin and other drugs, sold in gel capsules. “We knew [fentanyl] was coming; we were trying to brace for it,” said Dunbar. He recruited officers to do nothing but heroin investigations, because “we knew we were gonna see this surge.”

    Of course, the epidemic is much bigger than Harford. In Ohio, coroners’ offices use refrigerated trucks to store bodies. In Connecticut, medical examiners’ autopsy caseloads have quadrupled in one year. In West Virginia, 1 in 20 infants are born in withdrawal from opioids. And in Maryland, two-thirds of people in jail have a diagnosed substance abuse disorder, according to a 2016 analysis by the governor’s office. Harford County Sheriff’s Office cops are no longer allowed to test seized drugs suspected to contain opioids on the spot, because of reports that interacting with some variants of fentanyl can be deadly. When the drugs are sent to DEA labs, “while one person is testing, another person is ready to treat them with [the overdose reversal drug] naloxone in case they fall while they’re testing,” says Hedrick, the DEA supervisor.

    As the wave of fatal overdoses hit Harford in early 2015, county officials sprang into action. Police officers are now equipped with naloxone and trained that addiction is a disease. Cops on the Narcotics Task Force rarely charge users for drug possession in quantities that seem intended for personal use. After every overdose, cops give victims a “help card” with addiction treatment resources. “We’re not going to solve the problem by putting addicts in jail,” said Underhill. “If they’re not going to get effective treatment, it’s not going to change anything.”

    Another part of Harford’s response is aggressively tracking down dealers. In 2016 alone, the county arrested and charged 240 people with felony drug offenses. As Dunbar sums up the strategy, “We need to lock up the bad guys—the dealers and traffickers putting out stuff on the street—but we also play a role in getting the victims help.”

    It’s not that Harford cops don’t empathize with user-dealers. The guy who gets in a car accident is prescribed painkillers, becomes addicted, and then starts selling to support his own habit—“I’ve seen that story 150 times,” Underhill told me. But where do you draw the line? “They’re selling just enough to get theirs,” he said of user-dealers, “but they’re killing people with what they’re bringing back.” He gets most worked up when he talks about the kids: the toddlers strapped in car seats as he pulls parents over for drugs, the children he terrifies when breaking open front doors with Halligan bars in predawn raids, the teens who come home from school to find that cops have gone through their bedrooms looking for drugs.

    When it comes to reforming user-dealers, evidence strongly suggests that prison time isn’t very effective. Instead, stable housing, support services, and employment have been shown to promote long-term recovery. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, a Seattle program that has been replicated in dozens of jurisdictions across the country, demonstrates the research in action: Rather than jailing people for low-level drug crimes, police divert them to programs offering treatment, housing, and job training. Participants are nearly 60 percent less likely to be rearrested.

    #Opioides #USA

  • About Us - WindPax
    http://windpax.com/about-us

    WindPax is a small scale wind turbine company that specializes in portable collapsing power generating/power storage wind turbine devices. Stemming from a rich history of research and development in wind turbine technologies, WindPax was started at West Virginia University to provide access to wind power for everyone. We here at WindPax are looking to reach out and provide wind power to those with no grid access. This is a bottom up approach and can be used to help energy poverty in developing areas where it is too costly to implement standard energy grids.

    Our mission is to provide innovative portable wind turbine technologies as renewable energy sources/storage devices to relieve the energy need in remote locations around the world.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justinchambers/windpax-portable-wind-turbines

    WindPax: Portable Wind Turbines > ENGINEERING.com
    https://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/7594/WindPax-Portable-Wind-Turbines.aspx?e_src=relart

    WindPax is a vertical turbine with three collapsible fins that use an internal generator to produce power. A battery stick inside the device can be removed to allow users to plug in their USB and mini-USB devices. Devices can also be charged straight from the turbine.

    #camping #électricité

  • When a black fighter won ‘the fight of the century,’ race riots erupted across America
    https://timeline.com/when-a-black-fighter-won-the-fight-of-the-century-race-riots-erupted-acros

    On Independence Day, 1910, race riots ignited across America. Jack Johnson, a black boxer, had defeated the white Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight fight in the middle of the Reno desert. Cities around the nation, including Houston, New York, St. Louis, Omaha, New Orleans, Little Rock, and Los Angeles, erupted with the anger and vindication of a racially divided country.

    The day after, newspapers set on the difficult task of tallying the aftermath. “One man was shot in Arkansas, two negroes were killed at Lake Providence, La.; one negro was killed at Mounds, Ill., and a negro fatally wounded in Roundeye, Va.,” reported one local newspaper, explaining that “the tension that existed everywhere vented itself out chiefly in street shuffles.”

    A report from Houston read, “Charles Williams, a negro fight enthusiast, had his throat slashed from ear to ear on a streetcar by a white man, having announced too vociferously his appreciation of Jack Johnson’s victory in Reno.”

    In Manhattan’s San Juan Hill neighborhood, a mob set fire to a black tenement, while blocking the doorway to prevent the occupants’ escape. In St. Louis, a black crowd marched the streets, pushing No one knows how many died in the wake of Johnson-Jeffries fight, but records show between 11 and 26 were killed. Likely hundreds were assaulted or beaten. To quell the disturbance, cities barred the fight video from being shown in theaters, and Congress tried to pass a bill to ban the screening of all boxing films.

    William Pickens, president of the all-black Talladega College, was heartened by the symbolic victory, acknowledging it came at a great cost. “It was a good deal better for Johnson to win and a few negroes to be killed in body for it,” he said, “than for Johnson to have lost and negroes to have been killed in spirit by the preachments of inferiority from the combined white press.”

    As Johnson biographer Geoffrey C. Ward pointed out, “No event yielded such widespread racial violence until the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fifty-eight years later.”whites off the sidewalk and harassing them, before being clubbed and dispersed by police.

    In Washington, two white men were fatally stabbed by black men, with 236 people arrested in that city alone. And in Omaha, a black man was smothered to death in a barber’s chair, while in Wheeling, West Virginia, a black man driving an expensive car — just as the playboyish Jack Johnson was famous for — was beset by a mob and hanged.

  • Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress - CBS News
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ex-dea-agent-opioid-crisis-fueled-by-drug-industry-and-congress

    Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi says drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities — knowing that people were dying — and says industry lobbyists and Congress derailed the DEA’s efforts to stop it

    Joe Rannazzisi is a tough, blunt former DEA deputy assistant administrator with a law degree, a pharmacy degree and a smoldering rage at the unrelenting death toll from opioids. His greatest ire is reserved for the distributors — some of them multibillion dollar, Fortune 500 companies. They are the middlemen that ship the pain pills from manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson to drug stores all over the country. Rannazzisi accuses the distributors of fueling the opioid epidemic by turning a blind eye to pain pills being diverted to illicit use.

    BILL WHITAKER: Had you ever seen anything like that before?

    JOE RANNAZZISI: Never. In fact— it was my opinion that this made the whole crack epidemic look like nothing.

    JOE RANNAZZISI These weren’t kids slinging crack on the corner. These were professionals who were doing it. They were just drug dealers in lab coats.

    A distributor’s representative told us the problem is not distributors but doctors who overprescribe pain medication, but the distributors know exactly how many pills go to every drug store they supply. And they are required under the Controlled Substances Act to report and stop what the DEA calls “suspicious orders” — such as unusually large or frequent shipments of opioids. But DEA investigators say many distributors ignored that requirement.

    JIM GELDHOF: They had a business plan. Their plan was to sell a lotta pills and make a lot of money. And they did both of those very well.

    In 2008, the DEA slapped McKesson, the country’s largest drug distributor, with a $13.2 million dollar fine. That same year, Cardinal Health paid a $34 million fine. Both companies were penalized by the DEA for filling hundreds of suspicious orders — millions of pills.

    Over the last seven years, distributors’ fines have totaled more than $341 million. The companies cried foul and complained to Congress that DEA regulations were vague and the agency was treating them like a foreign drug cartel. In a letter, the healthcare distribution alliance, which represents distributors, told us they wanted to work with the DEA. Effective enforcement, they wrote, “must be a two-way street.”

    Jim Geldhof says his investigations were getting bogged down too. He was looking into one mid-sized distributor that had shipped more than 28 million pain pills to pharmacies in West Virginia over five years. About 11 million of those pills wound up in Mingo County, population 25,000. Suddenly, he said, he ran into roadblocks from one of attorney Jonathan Novak’s bosses.

    JIM GELDHOF: “I spent a year working on this case. I sent it down there and it’s never good enough. Every time I talked to this guy he wants something else. And I get it for ’em and that’s still not good enough.” You know? And this goes on and on and on. When this— these roadblocks keep— get thrown up in your face, at that point you know they just don’t want the case.

    He said one big reason for the slowdown: DC’s notorious revolving door. Novak said he saw a parade of DEA lawyers switch sides and jump to high-paying jobs defending the drug industry. Once they’d made the leap, they lobbied their former colleagues, novak’s bosses, and argued the dea’s cases were weak and ultimately would lose in court. It had a chilling effect on dea litigators.

    JONATHAN NOVAK: Some of the best and the brightest former DEA attorneys are now on the other side and know all of the — the — the weak points. Their fingerprints are on, memos and policy and — and — and emails going out where you see this concoction of what they might argue in the future.

    The bill, introduced in the House by Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, was promoted as a way to ensure that patients had access to the pain medication they needed.

    Jonathan Novak, who worked in the DEA’s legal office, says what the bill really did was strip the agency of its ability to immediately freeze suspicious shipments of prescription narcotics to keep drugs off U.S. streets — what the DEA calls diversion.

    JONATHAN NOVAK: You’re not gonna be able to hold anyone higher up the food chain accountable.

    BILL WHITAKER: Because of this law?

    JONATHAN NOVAK: Because of this law

    Tom Marino a été proposé par Trump pour devenir le “drug czar” de la la Maison Blanche... mais il a du se retirer suite à cette émission.

    Who drafted the legislation that would have such a dire effect? The answer came in another internal Justice Department email released to 60 Minutes and The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act: “Linden Barber used to work for the DEA. He wrote the Marino bill.”

    Ad: Hi, My name is Linden Barber. I’m the director of the DEA litigation and compliance practice at Quarles and Brady’s Health Law Group.

    Barber went through the revolving door. He left his job as associate chief counsel of the DEA and within a month joined a law firm where he lobbied Congress on behalf of drug companies and wrote legislation. He advertised what he could offer a client facing DEA scrutiny.

    Ad continued: If you have a DEA compliance issue, or you’re facing a government investigation, or you’re having administrative or civil litigation involving the Controlled Substances Act, I’d be happy to hear from you.

    JONATHAN NOVAK: It’s not surprising that this bill, that has intimate knowledge of the way that DEA, you know, regulations are enforced, the way that those laws work, was written by someone who spent a lot of time there, charged a lot of cases there.

    #Opioids #Big_pharma #Lobbies #Pantouflage

  • Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/21/flints-lead-poisoned-water-had-a-horrifyingly-large-effect-on-fetal-

    The fertility rate in Flint, Mich., dropped precipitously after the city decided to switch to lead-poisoned Flint River water in 2014, according to a new working paper.

    That decline was primarily driven by what the authors call a “culling of the least healthy fetuses” resulting in a “horrifyingly large” increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages. The paper estimates that among the babies conceived from November 2013 through March 2015, “between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water,” write health economists Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of Kansas University.

  • Flash - US communities crumbling under an evolving addiction crisis - France 24
    http://www.france24.com/en/20170319-us-communities-crumbling-under-evolving-addiction-crisis

    Of the 2,900 babies born last year in Cabell County, West Virginia, 500 had to be weaned off of opioid dependence.

    In Ohio, counties are renting refrigerated trailers to store the mounting number of bodies of drug overdose victims.

    In New Hampshire, hospitals have so many overdose patients they have to treat them in operating rooms and neonatal nurseries.

    And in Palm Beach County, Florida, where President Donald Trump spends his weekends, 10 people died of overdoses on Friday alone, likely from a batch of heroin tainted by #fentanyl, a powerful, synthetic opioid pain medication.

    le rôle des #pharma :

    How prescription opioid producers and distributors fed the crisis is made clear by previously unreleased US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) data reported in December by the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail.

    It showed that from 2007 to 2012, those companies sold 780 million opioid painkillers in West Virginia, 421 extremely addictive pills for every man, woman and child in the poor eastern state.

    Every state is feeling the impact.

    #drogues #États-Unis #pharma #addiction

  • The Strange Blissfulness of Storms - Issue 46: Balance
    http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/the-strange-blissfulness-of-storms-rp

    I felt pretty sure something was wrong when the deer began running toward me. I knew something was wrong when a pine branch flew by my head. The air went dark and a noise like a train barreled through the forest, the actual wind coming after the sound of itself. The trees all swayed in the same direction, and then came the slap of thunder. I felt more than saw the huge shelf cloud, a wall of black striped with electricity, surge forward over the ridge of the Allegheny Mountains overlooking Green Bank, West Virginia. A sharp line against the blue sky, it looked less like weather and more like a Rothko. I lived in this remote town, and I was on my usual afternoon run, picking my way across the trails that led from my house to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where I worked. (...)

  • ’Healthcare Is a Right’: Bernie Sanders Finds Common Ground in Trump Country
    http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/healthcare-is-a-right-bernie-sanders-finds-common-ground-in-trump-co

    In a town hall in rural McDowell County, West Virginia, on Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told a crowd filled with supporters of President Donald Trump that “healthcare is a right”—and was...

  • Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhansen/2016/02/09/unless-it-changes-capitalism-will-starve-humanity-by-2050

    Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.

    • Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years (see Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School).

    • Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia (see the 2010 assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN).

    • Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20% (see U.S. Census).

    • The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 (see United Nations’ projections).

    #capitalisme #exterminateur

  • This drug dealer’s heroin was so powerful that it led to 26 overdoses in a single day - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/01/12/this-drug-dealers-heroin-was-so-powerful-that-it-led-to-26-overdoses

    Bruce Lamar Griggs, 22, pleaded guilty on Monday to distribution of heroin, about six months after 26 people overdosed in Huntington, a city in the southwest corner of West Virginia. The 911 calls came within hours of one another, the majority of which concerned overdoses in and around one apartment complex.

    Federal prosecutors say Griggs, known as “Benz” or “Ben,” admitted supplying heroin to all 26 people, who overdosed immediately after taking the drugs. Laboratory tests of blood and urine samples showed traces not only of heroin, but also of #fentanyl and #carfentanil

  • Drug Companies Poured 780 Million Painkiller Pills Into West Virginia : HEALTH : Tech Times
    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/189377/20161220/drug-companies-poured-780-million-painkiller-pills-into-west-virginia.htm

    Drug companies have sold 782 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills in West Virginia throughout six years, from 2007 to 2012, shows new report. Additionally, the state is also one of the most problematic across the United States when it comes to fighting the opioid addiction epidemic.

    In 2015, West Virginia scored the highest death rate caused by drug overdose, and since 1999 opioid overdoses have quadrupled here.

    Only between 2007 and 2012, while the investigation lasted, 1,728 people already died from overdose in West Virginia, caused by consumption of either hydrocodone or oxycodone.

    Charleston Gazette-Mail, the newspaper who conducted this investigation, managed to obtain the sales record sent by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to the office of the West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. However, this was a very difficult thing to do, as the companies made efforts to keep the sales numbers secret.

    To put this into a more accurate picture, West Virginia has a number of 1.84 million residents; the number of pills shipped into the stated throughout this period totals 433 pills for every person in the state, be it man, woman or child.
    […]
    The situation is all the more odd, as a town with no more than 392 people received a number of almost 9 million hydrocodone pills in two years, through a single pharmacy. It would be close to impossible for a locally owned business to sell so many pills in such a short period of time, especially as the town is really small.

  • The vegan movement split, and now the disruptor has the meat industry on high alert, by Chase Purdy — Quartz
    http://qz.com/829956/how-the-vegan-movement-broke-out-of-its-echo-chamber-and-finally-started-disrupt
    https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/pigs.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=1600

    A 2001 schism splintered the vegan community into two camps: absolutists who tout veganism as an all-or-nothing moral imperative, and pragmatists who quietly advocate for incremental change. The vegan movement’s brain finally outgrew its heart, and in less than two decades the pragmatic vein of the movement has morphed into one of the biggest disruptors of the American food system.

    (...) Fast-forward 16 years and that small group of pragmatists have built the movement they imagined. Friedrich leads The Good Food Institute, a lobbying shop in DC that represents the interests of meat-alternative food products; Shapiro helped mastermind a cage-free ballot initiative in Massachusetts that will reshape how food animals are produced across the country; Prescott has made inroads into major investment banks; Meier leads undercover investigation efforts to expose the poor living conditions of many farm animals; and Tetrick, who as a college student would travel from West Virginia to DC to hang out with the pragmatists, was a founder of Hampton Creek, the well-known eggless condiments company.

    (...) Voters who empathize with farm animals were much more likely to buy into Shapiro’s measure. That’s where Erica Meier and Compassion Over Killing comes in: By leading undercover investigation of factory farms, Meier’s team gathers the opposition research needed to make a compelling case to the public. And if sales data show consumers care about animal welfare, Matthew Prescott can use—and has used—it to convince investment banks to pressure companies, such as McDonald’s, to change their practices.

    Meanwhile, companies such as Perfect Day (cow-free milk), Beyond Meat (plant-based meat), and Hampton Creek (eggless condiments) are developing meat and dairy products marketed as better for the environment and the animals. And to ease those new products into the marketplace, people such as Bruce Friedrich work to shape federal regulations that dictate how those new products can be marketed.
    Despite the broad reach and proven efficacy of the vegan pragmatism, not everyone in the larger vegan movement is impressed.

    #militer dans le #capitalisme

  • The Strange Blissfulness of Storms - Issue 37: Currents
    http://nautil.us/issue/37/currents/the-strange-blissfulness-of-storms

    I felt pretty sure something was wrong when the deer began running toward me. I knew something was wrong when a pine branch flew by my head. The air went dark and a noise like a train barreled through the forest, the actual wind coming after the sound of itself. The trees all swayed in the same direction, and then came the slap of thunder. I felt more than saw the huge shelf cloud,
 a wall of black striped with electricity, surge forward over the ridge of the Allegheny Mountains overlooking Green Bank, West Virginia. A sharp line against the blue sky, it 
looked less like weather and more like a Rothko. I lived in this remote town, and I was on my usual afternoon run, picking my way across the trails that led from my house to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where I worked. (...)