Archive for the ‘On The Take-Take-Take’ Category

via Ecuador Endangered

Ecuador Endangered
Posted By Luther Blissett By John Seed 03/05/18: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/05/ecuador-endangered/ Or: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3569

The tropical Andes of Ecuador are at the top of the world list of biodiversity hotspots in terms of vertebrate species, endemic vertebrates, and endemic plants.

Ecuador has more orchid and hummingbird species than Brazil, which is 32 times larger, and more diversity than the entire USA.

In the last year, the Ecuadorean government has quietly granted mining concessions to over 1.7 million hectares (4.25 million acres) of forest reserves and indigenous territories.

These were awarded to transnational corporations in closed-door deals without public knowledge or consent.

This is in direct violation of Ecuadorean law and international treaties, and will decimate headwater ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots of global significance.

However, Ecuadorean groups think there is little chance of stopping the concessions using the law unless there is a groundswell of opposition from Ecuadorean society and strong expressions of international concern.

The Vice President of Ecuador, who acted as Coordinating Director for the office of ‘Strategic Sectors’, which promoted and negotiated these concessions, was jailed for 6 years for corruption.

However, this has not stopped the huge giveaway of pristine land to mining companies.

From the cloud forests in the Andes to the indigenous territories in the headwaters of the Amazon, the Ecuadorean government has covertly granted these mining concessions to multinational mining companies from China, Australia, Canada, and Chile, amongst others.

The first country in the world to get the rights of Nature or Pachamama written into its constitution is now ignoring that commitment.

They’ve been here before. In the 80’s and 90’s Chevron-Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of crude oil there in the biggest rainforest petroleum spill in history.

This poisoned the water of tens of thousands of people and has done irreparable damage to ecosystems.

Now 14% of the country has been concessioned to mining interests.

This includes a million hectares of indigenous land, half of all the territories of the Shuar in the Amazon and three-quarters of the territory of the Awa in the Andes.

Please sign the petition and contribute to the crowdfund which will help Ecuadorean civil society’s campaign to have these concessions rescinded.

As founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre (RIC), I’ve had a long history of involvement with Ecuador’s rainforests.

Back in the late ‘80’s our volunteers initiated numerous projects in the country and one of these, the creation of the Los Cedros Biological Reserve was helped with a substantial grant from the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID.

Los Cedros lies within the Tropical Andes Hotspot, in the country’s northwest. Los Cedros consists of nearly 7000 hectares of premontane and lower montane wet tropical and cloud forest teeming with rare, endangered and endemic species and is a crucial southern buffer zone for the quarter-million hectare Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve.

Little wonder that scientists from around the world rallied to the defense of Los Cedros.

In 2016 a press release from a Canadian mining company alerted us to the fact that they had somehow acquired a mining concession over Los Cedros!

We hired a couple of Ecuadorean researchers and it slowly dawned on us that Los Cedros was only one of 41 “Bosques Protectores” (protected forests) which had been secretly concessioned.

For example, nearly all of the 311,500 hectare Bosque Protector “Kutuku-Shaimi”, where 5000 Shuar families live, has been concessioned. In November 2017, RIC published a report by Bitty Roy, Professor of Ecology from Oregon State University and her co-workers, mapping the full extent of the horror that is being planned.

Although many of these concessions are for exploration, the mining industry anticipates an eight-fold growth in investment to $8 billion by 2021 due to a “revised regulatory framework” much to the jubilation of the mining companies.

Granting mineral concessions in reserves means that these reserves aren’t actually protected any longer as, if profitable deposits are found, the reserves will be mined and destroyed.

In Ecuador, civil society is mobilising and has asked their recently elected government to prohibit industrial mining “in water sources and water recharge areas, in the national system of protected areas, in special areas for conservation, in protected forests and fragile ecosystems”.

The indigenous peoples have been fighting against mining inside Ecuador for over a decade.

Governments have persecuted more than 200 indigenous activists using the countries anti-terrorism laws to hand out stiff prison sentences to indigenous people who openly speak out against the destruction of their territories.

Fortunately, the new government has signalled an openness to hear indigenous and civil society’s concerns, not expressed by the previous administration.

In December 2017, a large delegation of indigenous people marched on Quito and President Moreno promised no NEW oil and mining concessions, and on 31 January 2018, Ecuador’s Mining Minister resigned a few days after Indigenous and environmental groups demanded he step down during a demonstration.

On 31 January, The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE, announced their support for the platform shared by the rest of civil society involved in the anti-mining work.

Then on 15 February CONAIE called on the government to “declare Ecuador free of industrial metal-mining”, a somewhat more radical demand than that of the rest of civil society.

But we will need a huge international outcry to rescind the existing concessions: many billions of dollars of mining company profits versus some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth and the hundreds of local communities and indigenous peoples who depend on them.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT THEIR DEMANDS: http://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/save_ecuadors_forests_from_mining

From 2006, under the Correa-Glas administration, Ecuador contracted record levels of external debt for highway and hydroelectric dam infrastructure to subsidize mining.

Foreign investments were guaranteed by a corporate friendly international arbitration system, facilitated by the World Bank which had earlier set the stage for the current calamity by funding mineralogical surveys of national parks and other protected areas and advising the administration on dismantling of laws and regulations protecting the environment.

After 2008, when Ecuador defaulted on $3.2 billion worth of its national debt, it borrowed $15 billion from China, to be paid back in the form of oil and mineral exports.

These deals have been fraught with corruption. Underselling, bribery and the laundering of money via offshore accounts are routine practice in the Ecuadorean business class, and the Chinese companies who now hold concessions over vast tracts of Ecuadorean land are no cleaner.

Before leaving office Correa-Glas removed much of the regulation that had been holding the mining industry in check.

And the corruption goes much deeper than mere bribes.

The lure of mining is a deadly mirage.

The impacts of large-scale open pit mining within rainforest watersheds include mass deforestation, erosion, the contamination of water sources by toxins such as lead and arsenic, and desertification.

A lush rainforest transforms into an arid wasteland incapable of sustaining either ecosystems or human beings.

Without a huge outcry both within Ecuador and around the world, the biological gems and pristine rivers and streams will be destroyed.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Civil society needs an open conversation with the state.

Ecuador has enormous potential to develop its economy based on renewable energy and its rich biodiversity can support a large ecotourism industry. In 2010 Costa Rica banned open-pit mining, and today has socioeconomic indicators better than Ecuador’s.

Costa Rica also provides a ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’ to landholders, and through this scheme has actually increased its rainforest area (from 20% to just over 50%).

Ecuador’s society and government must explore how an economy based on the sustainable use of pristine water sources, the country’s incomparable forests, and other natural resources is superior to an economy based on short term extraction leaving behind a despoiled and impoverished landscape.

For example, studies by Earth Economics in the Intag region of Ecuador (where some of the new mining concessions are located) show that ecosystem services and sustainable development would offer a better economic solution let alone ecological and social.

The Rainforest Information Centre is launching a CROWDFUND to support Ecuadorean NGO’s to mobilise and to mount a publicity and education campaign and to help advance a dialogue throughout Ecuador and beyond: ‘Extractivism, economic diversification and prospects for sustainable development in Ecuador’.

We have set the crowdfund target at A$15,000 and Paul Gilding, ex-CEO of Greenpeace International is getting the ball rolling with an offer to match all donations $ for $ so that every $ that you donate will be matched by Paul.

Donations are tax-deductible in Australia and the US.

When you sign the PETITION you will reach not just to the President of Ecuador and his cabinet.

The petition is also addressed to the other actors who have set the stage for this calamity, being:

The World Bank who funded a project which collected geochemical data from 3.6 million hectares of Western Ecuador including seven national protected areas and dozens of forest reserves thus doing the groundwork for the mining industry.

The international governments and NGO’s who funded the creation and upkeep of these Bosques Protectores and indigenous reserves and other protected sites and who now need to persuade Ecuador to prevent their good work from being undone.

The governments of the countries whose mining companies are preparing this devastation.

Australian senator Lee Rhiannon (who was part of helping us create Los Cedros 30 years ago) wrote to the Canadian Environment Minister on our behalf and the Canadian Embassy has expressed concern about the bad name Cornerstone is giving the other Canadian mining projects.

They have asked us for a meeting to discuss the reports of bad business practices by the company.

Likewise, the Chinese government is beginning to develop some guidance which will come into effect in March 2018.

We are lobbying the Australian government to put pressure on BHP, Solgold and other Australian companies preparing to mine protected forests and indigenous reserves in Ecuador.

Visit Ecuador Endangered for more links to the history and causes of Ecuador’s mining crisis: https://ecuadorendangered.com/

There you will find research, detailed reports and news updates.

Contact information can be found for those wanting to be involved in the campaign, which is being run entirely by volunteers.

To let the Ecuadorean Government, World Bank and mining companies know you want them to invest in a sustainable future for all, a petition can be found here: http://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/save_ecuadors_forests_from_mining

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via Globalists weaponize the stock market to control presidents

Globalists Weaponize The Stock Market To Control Presidents-Anatomy Of A Fake Reality By Jon Rappoport 03/04/18: https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/globalists-weaponize-the-stock-market-to-control-presidents/ OR:  https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3566

The economy is on the rise.

No, it’s sinking.

There are very good indicators.

No, all the signals are catastrophic.

We’ve seen pundits on television hawking their version of the near future.

Many of them represent organizations who have political and financial agendas.

For example, Globalist forces and their mouthpieces would have you believe that laying tariffs on imports will sink the stock market.

However, since the stock market is a rigged game for insiders, here is a proper translation of the above paragraph:

“If tariffs are laid on, Globalist insiders will MAKE the stock market sink, and characterize that as a natural consequence of the new tariffs.”

In turn, then, a diving stock market will be PROMOTED (by the Globalist press) as a sign that the overall economy is in big trouble.

Trump surrounded himself with Goldman Sachs people because they could give him a rising stock market.

This is not an ironclad agreement.

If Goldman decides Trump’s policies are wandering off-track, they can bail on him and send the stock market down.

This is how the economic game is played.

The return of some corporations from overseas, to set up factories in the US again?

Fine. No problem.

But Trump’s statement, several days ago, that he would lay a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum—that’s an anti-Globalist earthquake.

Globalist leaders in foreign countries are lining up to say they’ll retaliate.

They’ll lay tariffs on imports from America.

Bourbon, jeans, motorcycles, orange juice, rice.

But is this the end of the world?

No.

It should be the first step in sorting out unfair and ruinous trade policies that have eaten into the US economy for decades.

The stock market is hyped as the prime indicator that passes judgment on what Trump (or any president) is doing.

If it falls precipitously, that means he’s wrong and very badly wrong.

But in truth, the stock market is a separate giant Vegas casino.

Investment funds’ algorithms move billions in and out of trades, minute by minute.

Individual speculators bet on rises and falls.

Claiming the condition of the entire US economy is reflected in the stock market is like saying the Powerball lottery reveals the financial health or sickness of the US automobile industry.

The stock market and the precious Dow are set up as a very profitable playground for insiders.

That’s the beginning and the end of that story.

Imagine we have a company, X, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Its price is very low, and has been low for quite some time.

It crawls along, doing nothing.

Quietly, insiders are buying up the stock.

When they’re ready, they take the price up.

Then the rubes, seeing the rise, buy the stock, too.

THEN there is a shakeout: the insiders momentarily take the stock price down.

The rubes, frightened, sell—and the insiders scoop up those shares.

Now they’re really ready.

They take the stock for a long ride.

Up.

They make a bundle.

When they’ve had enough, they put out news that company X’s stock is a terrific buy.

The rubes buy in—but this the top.

The insiders unload their shares on the rubes and take stock price down.

The insiders also sell short (bet against a rise) and profit on the way down. It’s a piece a cake, a very handsome piece of cake.

This is the game. It really has nothing at all to do with the condition of the economy.

But—there is another game.

The insiders, through their minions in the press, continue to promote the illusion that the overall condition of the stock market reveals “how the economy is doing.”

Therefore, by being able to control the stock market, the insiders can control THE PERCEPTION of how the economy is doing.

If they decide it’s time to give the impression the economy is in deep trouble—and therefore the economic policies of a president sitting in the White House are disastrous for the country—they take the stock market down.

Every president faces this situation.

He’s at the mercy of forces beyond his control—unless he tries to expose the game and show the American people what’s really going on.

But most presidents are unaware of the overall op.

If they do know the score, they’re reluctant to blow the whistle on it, in part because they believe the public is too ignorant to grasp the mechanics of how the op works.

And the howling press, firmly in the pocket of the insiders, would call the president a conspiracy nutcase in a hundred different ways, day and night, 24/7.

The stock market is a casino.

The economy is the economy.

They are two separate realities.

But shills and operatives and propagandists and sold-out economists and idiot financial reporters forever connect the two realities and make it seem as if they are entangled in an intimate cause-and-effect relationship.

They aren’t.

Many people believe the sale of stock benefits a company.

This is true when a privately held company goes public by issuing stock in what’s called an initial public offering (IPO).

During the limited time period of the IPO, money from the sale of stock does go back to the company issuing it, and that money can used for company growth.

Yes.

Later, the company can issue more stock in what’s called a follow-on offering, and then, too, money from the sale of the stock goes back to the company.

But…by far the greatest amount of activity in the stock market is the simple buying and selling of shares…and none of the ensuing profits and losses accrue to the companies whose shares are being traded.

It’s a pure casino operation.

This casino operation does nothing to benefit the companies in the way of adding cash to their assets.

Consider what can happen to a large retirement pension fund.

The fund takes in money from employees.

It will later pay back that money, plus “add-ons.”

How?

The pension fund invests a great deal of the money it is holding in the stock market.

It buys a variety of stocks and sells them and buys them and sells them.

So if those stocks plummet and stay down, and the pension fund isn’t willing to ride out the storm in hopes that the fall will eventually turn into a rise, the pension fund will sell off those stocks and end up losing much money.

It gambled in the casino with other people’s money, and it lost.

But even here, the reason for the loss was an incorrect perception/prediction about what was going to happen in the casino.

It wasn’t about actualities of the economy.

Getting the picture?

Fake reality.

Top to bottom.

via Time To Make Life Hard For The Rich

Time To Make Life Hard For The Rich 03/01/18
Posted By Luther Blissett By Hamilton Nolan: Splinter: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/01/time-to-make-life-hard-for-the-rich/ Or: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3562

It is time for polite, respectable, rational people to start saying what has become painfully obvious: It is time to stop respecting the rich, and start stealing from them. In earnest.

Inequality is eating America alive. It has been growing for decades.

To say that “the American dream is dead” is no longer a poetic exaggeration—it is an accurate description of 40 years of wage stagnation and declining economic mobility that has produced a generation that cannot expect to live better than their parents did.

Not because of devastating war or plague, but because of a very specific set of rules governing a very specific economic system that encourages the accumulation of great wealth among a tiny portion of the population, to the detriment of the vast majority of people.

Our political and business leaders have chosen to embrace a system that favors capital over labor.

A system in which the more you already have, the more you make, and the less you have, the harder it is to build wealth.

It is a system designed to increase inequality.

It is functioning exactly as designed. And now, it is about to get worse.

How long are people supposed to tolerate being smacked in the face?

By the rich?

Who already have more than enough?

It is not as though the fact that inequality is a crisis is a fact that snuck up on anyone.

Economists have seen the trend for decades, and the general public has been well aware of it since at least the financial crisis.

Obama called it “the defining challenge of our time.”

Thomas Piketty became a rock star by writing a very dry book about it.

It’s not an underground thing.

It is well known and well understood by the people in control of the institutions with the power to change it.

The response to this dire situation by the Republican Party, which a wholly owned subsidiary of the American capital-holding class, has been to pass a tax bill that will horribly exacerbate economic inequality in this country.

It is a considered decision to make a bad situation worse.

It is a deliberate choice—during a time when the rich already have too much—to take from the poor in order to give the rich (including members of Congress and the President) more.

That is not a metaphor.

That is the reality.

That is what the Republican party is about to accomplish on behalf of the donor class, calling it “middle class tax relief” in the face of mathematical proof to the contrary.

Even to my cynical ass, the sheer fuck you-ness of this action towards the majority of the country is breathtaking.

This is not just a failure to solve a severe problem; it is the expenditure of vast amounts of political capital to make the severe problem worse so that a tiny handful of people will get wealthier than anyone needs to be.

Ideally, in a democracy, elected leaders reflecting the interests of the people would pass taxes and regulations to reverse the growing inequality here.

For that to happen, we would need to end gerrymandering and reform campaign finance and probably abolish the Senate and the Electoral College, and that’s just for starters.

It is not imminent, in other words.

Our broken political system, which is designed to reward money with political power, is actually moving in the opposite direction of a solution.

Who is suffering because of this?

Most Americans.

Certainly the bottom 50% are acutely suffering—money that would have been in their paychecks has been instead funneled upwards into the pockets of the rich.

Every desperate family that has found themselves coming up short for rent or food or medicine, every American who has downgraded her dreams and aspirations because they became financially implausible, has been directly harmed by the political and economic class war perpetuated by the rich, even if they cannot see the perpetrators with their own eyes.

I think that people have been more than patient in the face of this slow-moving crisis.

In 2009, when the markets crashed and millions were laid off, nobody rioted and kidnapped the financiers and burned their homes.

The outcome of that lack of direct action is the situation we find ourselves in today.

Violence against people is morally wrong and a bad way to solve problems.

But capital is different.

One thing that would help to create the political environment conducive to solving the inequality problem would be to make the cost of accumulating all that capital too high to be worth it.

In other words, to create a downside to being too rich.

I have personally stood in a room full of hedge fund titans and billionaire investors warning one another explicitly that inequality must be addressed lest the U.S. become a place like Latin America, where rich people are forced to live behind walls, surrounded by armed guards, because of the very real risks from the rage of the poor.

Rich people in this country do not want to live like that.

If they see that they must stop being so greedy in order to enjoy their own freedom, they will stop being so greedy.

Those conditions have to be created by people who want justice.

Our situation is absurd.

Not since the Gilded Age has it been more clear that a few people have too much.

Furthermore, the people with too much are investing in political clout to give themselves more.

It’s just wrong.

If the government won’t help, we have to help ourselves.

Sticking up a billionaire on the street for $100 is not going to do it.

But one can imagine other ways that angry Americans might express their dissatisfaction with our current division of wealth:

A large-scale online attack against the holdings of the very rich; yachts sunk in harbors; unoccupied vacation homes in the Hamptons mysteriously burned to the ground.

Sotheby’s auctions swarmed by vandals, Art Basel attacked by spraypaint-wielding mobs, protests on the doorsteps of right-wing think tanks, venomous words directed at millionaires as they dine in fancy restaurants.

People have a right to life and safety, but property does not.

A life spent screwing the little people so that you can acquire lots of stuff loses its allure when you know that all that stuff will be smashed to pieces by angry little people.

It is not hard to put together a list of those who should be targeted—Forbes publishes it every year.

Likewise, public campaign finance records give us a pretty good idea of exactly who is funding the politicians who are perpetuating this economic war on behalf of the rich.

It is nice to imagine a grand, well-targeted computer hack that would neatly transfer billions of dollars out of the accounts of, say, the Walton family and into a charity account that would disburse the money to the poor in untraceable ways.

That seems far-fetched.

Realistically, what people can do now is to start thinking about ways to make it uncomfortable to be too rich.

Socially uncomfortable and otherwise.

When the accumulation of great wealth ceases to be a praiseworthy endeavor and instead becomes viewed as a sick, greedy pastime whose only reward is the hatred of your fellow citizens and the inability to live comfortably without fear of your excessive property being destroyed, rich people will rethink their goals.

Until then, inequality will keep rising, and everything, for most people, will continue to slowly, slowly get worse.

via Incredible vaccine lies from the Ministry of Truth

Incredible vaccine lies from the Ministry of Truth Feb
By Jon Rappoport 02/18/18 [https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/incredible-vaccine-lies-from-the-ministry-of-truth/] Or[https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3550]

For many years as a reporter covering medical stories, I have taken to task public health agencies, such as WHO and the CDC.

I’m used to their lies.

In that regard, I came across a mind-boggling CDC quote dug up by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, who has done terrific work researching vaccine dangers.

The quote comes from the 6th edition of Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, published by the CDC.

It’s an attempt to squelch debate about the DPaT vaccine, which is given to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Over the years, much has been written about the severe adverse effects of this combination vaccine—e.g., brain damage, seizures, very high fever, death.

The CDC quote asserts that, generally, there is no definable disease “syndrome” caused by vaccines.

It then makes several more astonishing claims.

“There is no distinct syndrome from vaccine administration, and therefore, many temporally associated adverse events probably represent background illness rather than illness caused by the vaccine…

The DTaP may stimulate or precipitate inevitable symptoms of underlying CNS [Central Nervous System] disorder, such as seizures, infantile spasms, epilepsy or SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome].

By chance alone, some of these cases will seem to be temporally related to DPaT.”

Read the quote several times to absorb the full force of its message.

It reminds me of the attempts to shunt aside deaths caused by AZT, the AIDS drug, which viciously attacks the immune system.

In that case, the doctor or researcher will say, “The patient didn’t die from the effects of AZT.

The destructive action of AIDS, by coincidence, simply speeded up after the drug was given.”

The CDC is claiming the DTaP vaccine stimulates a PRE-EXISTING CONDITION in a baby:

The baby already had a life-threatening central nervous system illness.

The illness was temporarily on hold.

The vaccine brought it to light, and then the baby died.

Suddenly—with no evidence offered—vaccines have this magical ability to cause underlying illness to jump into action.

The vaccine isn’t at fault.

The baby was already on the road to brain damage or death.

I’ve seen some pretty wild excuses offered for vaccine-induced destruction, but this one takes the cake.

Whoever cooked it up should receive some sort of medical prize for Bald-Faced Lying.

Then he can be arrested for contributing to negligent homicide.

Generally speaking, the untested medical assumption is this:

“We know vaccines cause no harm.

Therefore, if a vaccine recipient becomes ill or dies, the cause must reside in the patient.”

In the field of logic, this is called assuming what you are trying to prove.

I have written many times about the 100,000 people who die every year, in the US, as a result of correctly administered FDA-approved medicines.

Perhaps the CDC or the National Institutes of Health could issue a statement blaming all these deaths on underlying, pre-existing illness that was stimulated by these drugs.

Surgical errors could be accounted for in this way, too.

“Yes, we did remove the patient’s testicles while we were doing the appendectomy.

But you see, we knew he had testicular cancer, so we needed to take care of that while we were in the area.

What’s that?

How did we know he had testicular cancer?

Well, we would never remove his testicles by mistake.

Therefore, we must have known we had a legitimate reason to take them off.

Can’t you see that?”

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin pills, gave $4.7 million to advocacy groups that have promoted the medications’ use, according to a new report from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Toby Talbot/AP

The Senator’s report cites Center for Public Integrity/AP series on how drug companies relied on allied patient advocacy groups to help fight state opioid limits

By Matthew Perrone & Geoff Mulvihill  02/13/18  https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/02/12/21567/opioid-makers-paid-millions-advocacy-groups-promoted-their-painkillers-amid Or https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3543

Companies selling some of the most lucrative prescription painkillers funneled millions of dollars to advocacy groups that in turn promoted the medications’ use, according to a report released Monday by a U.S. senator.

The investigation by Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill sheds light on the opioid industry’s ability to shape public opinion and raises questions about its role in an overdose epidemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives.

Representatives of some of the drugmakers named in the report said they did not set conditions on how the money was to be spent or force the groups to advocate for their painkillers.

The report from McCaskill, ranking Democrat on the Senate’s homeland security committee, examines advocacy funding by the makers of the top five opioid painkillers by worldwide sales in 2015.

Financial information the companies provided to Senate staff shows they spent more than $10 million between 2012 and 2017 to support 14 advocacy groups and affiliated doctors.

The report did not include some of the largest and most politically active manufacturers of the drugs.

A report from Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill outlined $10 million paid to advocacy groups by five major opioid makers.

The findings follow a similar investigation launched in 2012 by a bipartisan pair of senators.

That effort eventually was shelved and no findings were ever released.

While the new report provides only a snapshot of company activities, experts said it gives insight into how industry-funded groups fueled demand for drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin, addictive medications that generated billions in sales despite research showing they are largely ineffective for chronic pain.

“It looks pretty damning when these groups were pushing the message about how wonderful opioids are and they were being heavily funded, in the millions of dollars, by the manufacturers of those drugs,” said Lewis Nelson, a Rutgers University doctor and opioid expert.

The findings could bolster hundreds of lawsuits that are aimed at holding opioid drugmakers responsible for helping fuel an epidemic blamed for the deaths of more than 340,000 Americans since 2000.

McCaskill’s staff asked drugmakers to turn over records of payments they made to groups and affiliated physicians, part of a broader investigation by the senator into the opioid crisis.

The request was sent last year to five companies: Purdue Pharma; Insys Therapeutics; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owned by Johnson & Johnson; Mylan; and Depomed.

Fourteen nonprofit groups, mostly representing pain patients and specialists, received nearly $9 million from the drugmakers, according to investigators. Doctors affiliated with those groups received another $1.6 million.

Most of the groups included in the probe took industry-friendly positions.

That included issuing medical guidelines promoting opioids for chronic pain, lobbying to defeat or include exceptions to state limits on opioid prescribing, and criticizing landmark prescribing guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Doctors and the public have no way of knowing the true source of this information and that’s why we have to take steps to provide transparency,” said McCaskill in an interview with The Associated Press.

The senator plans to introduce legislation requiring increased disclosure about the financial relationships between drugmakers and certain advocacy groups.

A 2016 investigation by the AP and the Center for Public Integrity revealed how painkiller manufacturers used hundreds of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions to fight state and federal measures aimed at stemming the tide of prescription opioids, often enlisting help from advocacy organizations.

Bob Twillman, executive director of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, said most of the $1.3 million his group received from the five companies went to a state policy advocacy operation.

But Twillman said the organization has called for non-opioid pain treatments while also asking state lawmakers for exceptions to restrictions on the length of opioid prescriptions for certain patients.

“We really don’t take direction from them about what we advocate for,” Twillman said of the industry.

The tactics highlighted in Monday’s report are at the heart of lawsuits filed by hundreds of state and local governments against the opioid industry.

The suits allege that drugmakers misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioids by enlisting “front groups” and “key opinion leaders” who oversold the drugs’ benefits and encouraged over-prescribing.

In the legal claims, the governments seek money and changes to how the industry operates, including an end to the use of outside groups to push their drugs.

U.S. deaths linked to opioids have quadrupled since 2000 to roughly 42,000 in 2016. Although initially driven by prescription drugs, most opioid deaths now involve illicit drugs, including heroin and fentanyl.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, contributed the most to the groups, funneling $4.7 million to organizations and physicians from 2012 through last year.

In a statement, the company did not address whether it was trying to influence the positions of the groups it supported, but said it does help organizations “that are interested in helping patients receive appropriate care.” On Friday, Purdue announced it would no longer market OxyContin to doctors.

Insys Therapeutics, a company recently targeted by federal prosecutors, provided more than $3.5 million to interest groups and physicians, according to McCaskill’s report.

Last year, the company’s founder was indicted for allegedly offering bribes to doctors to write prescriptions for the company’s spray-based fentanyl medication.

A company spokesman declined to comment.

Insys contributed $2.5 million last year to a U.S. Pain Foundation program to pay for pain drugs for cancer patients.

“The question was: Do we make these people suffer, or do we work with this company that has a terrible name?” said U.S. Pain founder Paul Gileno, explaining why his organization sought the money.

Depomed, Janssen and Mylan contributed $1.4 million, $650,000 and $26,000 in payments, respectively. Janssen and Mylan told the AP they acted responsibly, while calls and emails to Depomed were not returned.

Perrone and Mulvihill report for The Associated Press.

via Corporate giant Unilever demands crackdown on oppositional Internet content

Corporate Giant Unilever Demands Crackdown On Oppositional Internet Content
Posted 02/15/18 By Luther Blissett By Will Morrow: WSWS.org [https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/02/15/corporate-giant-unilever-demands-crackdown-on-oppositional-internet-content/; https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3541%5D

The drive to censor the Internet took another step this week with a public statement by Keith Weed, the chief marketing officer for the London-based multinational Unilever, threatening to withdraw advertising from social media platforms if they fail to suppress “toxic content.”

Weed reportedly told an annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau in Palm Desert, California that the company “will not invest in platforms or environments” that “create divisions in society, and promote anger or hate.”

He added, “We will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.”

Excerpts of Weed’s remarks—the most explicit of their kind from a major corporate executive—were leaked to several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian.

They were immediately featured on NBC News and other major American news outlets on Sunday.

The Journal’s report was accompanied by an interview with Weed.

The coordinated release was designed to escalate the propaganda offensive by the Democratic Party and US intelligence agencies, together with the corporate media, for Internet censorship.

The fraudulent premise for this assault on freedom of speech, both in the US and across Europe, is the claim that political opposition and social tensions are the product not of poverty, inequality and policies of austerity and militarism, but of “fake news” spread by Russia through social media.

Weed’s statements preceded yesterday’s US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, which witnessed a series of hysterical denunciations of Russia by politicians and intelligence agents.

The Democratic vice-chairman of the committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, declared that Russia “utilized our social media platforms to push and spread misinformation at an unprecedented scale.”

Facebook responded to Weed’s threats by declaring, “We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them.”

The Journal stated that Unilever “has already held discussions” with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snap and Amazon “to share ideas about what each can do to improve.”

Weed absurdly framed his demand for censorship, made on behalf of a multibillion-dollar global corporation, as the expression of popular anger over the supposed spread of “fake news.”

He referred to research showing a decline in trust in social media and a “perceived lack of focus” in the form of “illegal, unethical and extremist behavior and material on” social media platforms.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he claimed to be articulating the concerns of consumers over “fake news” and “Russians influencing the US election.”

In reality, the intervention by Unilever—a consumer products behemoth with a market capitalization of $157 billion and annual revenues of $65 billion, more than the gross domestic product of many countries—only highlights the economic and political forces driving the censorship campaign: an alliance of the military/intelligence apparatus, giant technology firms and the corporate-financial oligarchy.

Unilever’s annual marketing outlays of nearly $9 billion place it in the top five companies in that category globally.

It owns dozens of brands used by some 2.5 billion people around the world, including Dove soap, Rexona deodorant and food products Cornetto, Magnum and Lipton.

Weed’s statements amount to a declaration that Unilever will use this economic power to filter what the world’s population can and cannot read online.

This is in line with a long and reactionary tradition.

Large advertisers played a significant role in enforcing the McCarthyite witch hunt of socialist and left-wing figures in the US during the late 1940s and 1950s. General Motors, DuPont, Reynolds Tobacco and other major companies were backers of the notorious anticommunist periodical Counterattack, which published names of suspected communist sympathizers and forced the removal of targeted performers and critical content from programs they sponsored.

In one of many such cases, the blacklisted Jean Muir was dropped from the television show “The Aldrich Family” after General Foods, the program’s sponsor, told NBC it would not sponsor programs featuring “controversial persons.”

In another development, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet), told a Code Media conference in Los Angeles that Facebook “should get back to baby pictures and sharing.”

The statement is a reference to Facebook’s announcement last month that it is deprioritizing news content on its News Feed in favor of “personal moments.”

The change is one of a number of recent measures to prevent Facebook users from accessing news and analysis outside of officially sanctioned corporate outlets.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday released a government-developed application that uses machine-learning algorithms to automatically detect ISIS-related content in videos so that it can be censored.

The BBC wrote that the tool was seen by the government as a way to demonstrate that its “demand for a clampdown on extremist activity was not unreasonable.”

Rudd stated, “The technology is there. There are tools out there that can do exactly what we’re asking for,” i.e., identifying and censoring video content. The new application will be provided free of charge to smaller video hosting companies, and the government will consider making its use legally mandatory.

The Washington Post, which along with the New York Times has been at the forefront of the censorship campaign, linked the UK government’s announcement to the intervention of Unilever, writing that it came “amid mounting pressure on social media companies to do more to remove extremist content from their platforms.”

via The mandate to overthrow mainstream news

The Mandate To Overthrow Mainstream News
By Jon Rappoport 0/12/18 https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/the-mandate-to-overthrow-mainstream-news/

Pick just one global issue—vaccination.

There is an elite movement underway to install universal shots for everyone, and the voices of major media are relentless and brutal in demanding this, while attacking those who know something is terribly wrong and harmful in the program.

The media are voices of, yes, anti-science.

They do what they do best—fake it.

On a grand scale.

They are the lunatics, leading generations to their toxic doom.

They are urging humankind over a cliff.

They are the Final Solution to health—as in: destroying it.

Take the issue of expanding the number of shots given in a short period of time.

NO proper studies have been done to assess the safety/danger of injecting children and adults with multiple toxins, such as aluminum, mercury, and formaldehyde.

Any reasonable human would insist that such studies be done, prior to increasing the toxic load on the body.

The media conveniently overlook and ignore this obvious necessity.

At what point does their blindness pass from being depraved indifference to active participation in a universal crime?

We are long past that point.

And still, the media pretend they are “the friends of humanity.”

That attitude has always been the tactic of tyrants.

“Take this poison. It is life-affirming and life-giving.”

That pose is sufficient to warrant a mandate: overthrow mainstream news.

Expose it, gut it, shine a light on its liars and fakers.

Don’t let up.

Don’t give up.

Media leaders and apparatchiks have sold their souls to the vaccine cartel.

They are the faceless bureaucrats of a death machine.

Recognize them for who they are.

Depict them for who they are.

Men and women with blood on their hands.

No amount of posturing and primping and claims of authority will change that.

The media say—“experts at the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization assure us…”

More posturing.

The experts are trained liars.

They are no more qualified to offer advice than monkeys living in trees.

You could say the entire explosion of independent media is based on one insight: why should we believe the so-called experts?

From that flow thousands of discoveries.

In my 35 years of working as a reporter, I’ve seen the faces of mainstream journalists who have left the fold.

I’ve seen those ugly and self-entitled faces riven with decay come back to life.

I’ve seen the deep guilt and grief lift in a new dawn.

I’ve seen those men and women pick up the sword of truth, finally, and turn into heralds of a new era.

You want magic?

This is magic.

This is the turning of the tide.

—No longer playing defense. Instead, going on the attack—

For several of these reporters, the turning point was the 14-year smallpox eradication campaign waged in Africa, with a highly dangerous and destructive vaccine even “the experts” were nervous about.

The experts knew the vaccine, given to people whose immune systems were already compromised, would cause smallpox and death—and they knew many of the 100 million vaccinations in Africa were given to people whose immune systems were, in fact, already teetering on the edge of oblivion.

The reporters also knew that, after the World Health Organization celebrated the eradication of smallpox in Africa, the searing truth came out in a secret meeting in Geneva.

The vaccine must never be used again.

It was causing smallpox.

One reporter told me, “There was no coming back from that. Once I found out what happened, I had to get out of the news business.”

He “went independent.”

Some years ago, a reporter told me no amount of “negative information” would ever convince him to stop defending vaccination.

I wrote to him:

“Someday, up the line, it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks.

You’re going to listen to the people who really know—the mothers who watch their health happy babies fold up and leave the world after getting a shot.

You’re going to experience something you never thought possible.

And yet, in contrast to the mothers, it will be nothing.

You’ll feel like a fish yanked out of the water and forced to breathe air.

One thing will save you.

The truth.

Pick it up.

Use it…”

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