Articles

Martha Rosenberg – 7 Drugs That Big Pharma Withdrew and Hopes You’ve Forgotten About

June 27, 2016

Do you remember the drugs Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Raxar and Redux? Pharma hopes not. How about Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Prexige, phenacetin, Oraflex, Omniflox, Posicor, Serzone and Duract? After deaths and serious side effects surfaced, these meds went from wonder drugs to wonder-why-they-were-approved drugs and were withdrawn. In some cases, there is little evidence the drugs were ever used or widely marketed or that anyone was injured. In certain cases, the withdrawn drugs were on the market for less than a year before things went “terribly wrong.” In other cases, the drugs were in wide use for decades despite well-recognized risks and pleas from public health figures to pull them. In almost all cases, Pharma companies maintained the drugs were safe and stuck to their story for as long as they could—not just to protect the company image and stock price but also to avoid adding fuel to injury lawsuits. (“The drug was so unsafe it was pulled” does not look great in court.) When it comes to drug approvals, there is a basic tension between Pharma and regulators. The quicker a drug is approved, the more dangerous a drug potentially is but also the more quickly Pharma

MARK MAZZETTI and ALI YOUNES – C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say

June 27, 2016

AMMAN, Jordan — Weapons shipped into Jordan by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia intended for Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials. Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, F.B.I. officials believe after months of investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the investigation. The existence of the weapons theft, which ended only months ago after complaints by the American and Saudi governments, is being reported for the first time after a joint investigation by The New York Times and Al Jazeera. The theft, involving millions of dollars of weapons, highlights the messy, unplanned consequences of programs to arm and train rebels — the kind of program the C.I.A. and Pentagon have conducted for decades — even after the Obama administration had hoped to keep the training program in Jordan under tight control. Read

Brian Chappatta – The $100 Trillion Bond Market’s Got Bigger Concerns Than Brexit

June 27, 2016

In some ways, it really didn’t matter to Steven Major whether the U.K. voted to stay or to leave. Sure, as a Brit, Major followed the U.K.’s surprising decision to break with the European Union. And, of course, the 51-year-old Londoner voted (though he politely declined to say whether he was in the “Remain” or “Leave” camp). But when it comes to his long view on interest rates, bond yields and the economy, Major, who’s proven to be something of a savant as HSBC Holdings Plc’s head of fixed-income research, says Brexit is ultimately little more than a sideshow. Long after the din from the U.K. vote subsides (and regardless of what happens in the U.S. presidential election), Major says issues that, at times, have been decades in the making will conspire to depress global growth and keep rates at rock-bottom levels for years to come. Read

David Michael Green – How The West Was Lost and Other Joys of Greedy Sociopathy

June 27, 2016

So Britain is out. Woo-hoo!  Doesn’t that feel good? Well, in fact, for some folks it does.  In particular, if you’re an unempowered bloke, lacking much personal sense of agency, and you’ve watched your world get whittled down bit by bit over the last several decades, the sense of doing something, anything – the sheer joy of authoring some real wreckage – is tasty.  And all the more so because of its rarity.  It’s been so long since you got to poke some joker in the eye, who cares who it is or what comes next, eh?  Just do it. Whatever the motivation, this is a milestone.  The direct consequences of the British referendum vote are likely to be substantial, if not profound.  But it is the indirect consequences, and the symbolic import, that are most significant.  For this is, make no mistake, the first but likely not the last major manifestation of a long-brewing discontent that threatens nothing less than the unraveling of a post-war world order of (mostly) peace and prosperity. Read

Chris Hedges – 2008 All Over Again

June 27, 2016

Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has wiped out many bankers and global speculators. They will turn, as they did in 2008, to governments to rescue them from default. Most governments, including ours, will probably comply. Will the American public passively permit another massive bailout of the banks? Will it accept more punishing programs of austerity to pay for this bailout? Will a viable socialism rise out of the economic chaos to halt further looting of the U.S. Treasury and the continued reconfiguration of the economy into neofeudalism? Or will a right-wing populism, with heavy undertones of fascism, ascend to power because of a failure on the part of the left to defend a population once again betrayed? Whatever happens next will be chaotic. Global financial markets, which lost heavily on derivatives, are already in free fall. The value of the British pound has dropped by over 9 percent and British bank stock prices by over 25 percent. This decline has wiped out the net worth of many Wall Street brokerage houses and banks, leaving them with negative equity. The Brexit voteseverely cripples and perhaps kills the eurozone and, happily, stymies trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It

BRAD REED – Republican civil war officially declared: GOP delegates openly plot to overthrow Trump at convention

June 21, 2016

With Donald Trump’s poll numbers sinking into a death spiral, dozens of Republican delegates are now openly plotting a coup to overthrow him at this year’s Republican National Convention. The Washington Post has scored an interview with GOP delegates who are leading the effort to allow delegates to vote their consciences at this year’s RNC so they can choose someone other than Trump. The rule change would allow delegates to unbind themselves based on “personal or religious conscience.” Kendal Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado, says that their plan is to stop Trump from becoming the nominee first and then hoping the delegates can then pick a consensus non-Trump candidate afterward. “This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” he told the Post. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.” Read

German foreign minister accuses Nato of ‘warmongering’ against Russia

June 21, 2016

The German foreign minister has broken ranks with Nato allies, accusing the alliance of “warmongering” against Russia. Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out against recent Nato military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, describing them as “sabre-rattling”. “The one thing we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation with loud sabre-rattling and warmongering,” the minister told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Anyone who thinks a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is wrong,” he said in excerpts released ahead of a longer interview to be published on Sunday. “We would be well advised not to provide a pretext to renew an old confrontation.” Read

GARY LEUPP – On “Islamic” and “Islamist Terrorism”

June 21, 2016

Donald Trump declares that the Orlando nightclub massacre shows that he “was right on Islamic terrorism” all along, once again chiding Obama for avoiding that label. Hillary Clinton for the first time uses a similar term in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC New’s Today Show. She says, “To me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’d be happy to say either.” The news media has treated this as a major shift; and Trump was quick to take credit. Actually, there is a subtle difference in terminology. “Islamic” used by Trump is a synonym for “Muslim” when used as an adjective; but it has a somewhat broader application. One is more likely to talk about Islamic rather than Muslim civilization, art, science, etc. But it mainly refers to traditional religion-based activity. Read

ROBERT HUNZIKER – Epicenter of Obliteration – Arctic Ice

June 21, 2016

“Obliteration” is intentionally Machiavellian, and over-reaching, but the hard truth is that obliteration (extinction) could really, truly happen, assuming certain things happen, or not, depending…. In such case, in order to gain a full understanding of Arctic ice loss as it relates to obliteration, query the world’s foremost Arctic expert, Peter Wadhams, professor of Ocean Physics, University of Cambridge. All of which brings to fore a fascinating fact: How many people have traveled under the ice of the North Pole? Read
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