Thursday, December 22, 2016

Common Dreams:
"Sanders Calls for Investigation of Big Pharma Drug Pushers Over Shocking New Report. Drug-pushing, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies should be 'investigated and prosecuted,' declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to revelations that out-of-state drug wholesalers have been pouring highly-addictive and lethal opioids into rural West Virginia towns, reaping profits while countless suffer.

Reporter Eric Eyre with the Charleston Gazette-Mail published a two-part investigative series this weekend exposing what looks like the Big Pharma behemoths profiting off the state's overdose epidemic. According to 'previously confidential drug shipping sales records sent by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office,' and obtained by the Gazette-Mail, 'drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills' over a six-year period. At the same time, '1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers.' "

-- >Big Pharma is a top player in the nation's drug addiction problems. Bernie says it, but the NYT can't bring itself to cover this story so close it its corporate ties.


Guardian UK:
"You report that the government is going to adopt a 'new definition' of antisemitism in order to prevent an 'over-sweeping condemnation of Israel'. The new definition has nothing to do with opposing antisemitism, it is merely designed to silence public debate on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Antisemitic incidents comprise about 2% of all hate crime. Why then the concentration on antisemitism and not on Islamophobia, which is far more widespread? The suspicion must be that the real concern is not with antisemitism but with Britain’s support for Israel.

Israel claims to be 'the only democracy in the Middle East.' Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation are governed by a wholly different set of laws than Jewish settlers. This makes Israel the world’s only apartheid state and thus deserving of strong condemnation and the target of boycott, divestment and sanctions. We agree that it is antisemitic to associate Jews with the actions of the Israeli state. Unfortunately this is precisely what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition will achieve through perpetuating the stereotype that all Jews support the Israeli state.

The IHRA will strengthen not weaken antisemitism. There is a very simple definition of antisemitism from Oxford University’s Brian Klug. Antisemitism is 'a form of hostility towards Jews as Jews.' The IHRA definition smuggles in anti-Zionism, in the guise of antisemitism, as a means of protecting the Israeli state and thus western foreign policy." 

-- >Straight talk from the Guardian UK on new laws are being introduced to alter the meaning of antiSemitism in England. Why can't our newspaper of record, the NYT, offer a similar debate about the "New McCarthyism" being introduced by our own Congress?


"For decades, Vietnam veterans have suspected that the defoliant harmed their children. But the VA hasn’t studied its own data for clues. A new ProPublica analysis has found that the odds of having a child born with birth defects were more than a third higher for veterans exposed to Agent Orange than for those who weren’t. ...

For decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs has collected — and ignored — reams of information that could have helped answer that question, an investigation by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot has found. ...But the birth defect data had never received scrutiny by the VA or anyone else until this year, when ProPublica, working with The Virginian-Pilot, obtained it after submitting a detailed plan describing how it would be used and agreeing to protect patients’ identities. ...

Vietnam vets and their advocates believe a brutal calculation may lie at the heart of why their claims have gone unexamined. Caring for and compensating veterans themselves already costs tens of billions of dollars a year. If a link to their children is proven, it could add billions more." 

-- >Always protective of the Pentagon's foreign wars, the NYT did not cover this story. What tales of sorrow and loss does the use of depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan hold for our current war veterans? You won't be reading that question in the NYT.

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