OxyContin Maker Explored Expansion Into “Attractive” Anti-Addiction Market
Secret portions of a lawsuit allege that Purdue Pharma, controlled by the Sackler family, considered capitalizing on the addiction treatment boom — while going to extreme lengths to boost sales of its controversial opioid.
Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts.
In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the treatment of opioid addiction are “naturally linked” and that the company should expand across “the pain and addiction spectrum,” according to redacted sections of the lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general. A member of the billionaire Sackler family, which founded and controls the privately held company, joined in those discussions and urged staff in an email to give “immediate attention” to this business opportunity, the complaint alleges.
ProPublica reviewed the scores of redacted paragraphs in Massachusetts’ 274-page civil complaint against Purdue, eight Sackler family members, company directors and current and former executives, which alleges that they created the opioid epidemic through illegal deceit. These passages remain blacked out at the company’s request after the rest of the complaint was made public on Jan. 15. A Massachusetts Superior Court judge on Monday ordered that the entire document be released, but the judge gave Purdue until Friday to seek a further stay of the ruling.
Unapologetic Baker Reintroduces ‘Build The Wall’ Cookies, Orders Pour In
Baker Ken Bellingham, who was attacked on social media for selling one Valentine’s cookie with the message “Build the Wall” written upon it, is fighting back the American way. He’s putting them back on sale.
“The ‘phone messages saved’ has like 40-or-50 messages that I can’t even respond to from people all over the country wanting me to ship them cookies,” said Bellingham of Edmonds, Washington, according to KOMO.
After one critic’s Facebook comments launched a social media deluge of criticism aimed at him, Bellingham apologized for what he said was a joke. He said he is now “unapologizing.”
Pentagon sending thousands more troops to southern border
The Pentagon announced on Sunday 3,750 additional U.S. forces will be deployed to the southern border to provide support to Customs and Border Protection. These additional troops, who according to CNN will be deployed for 90 days, will bring the total number of active duty forces supporting CBP at the border to roughly 4,350. The number of troops being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border is slightly up from the 3,500 figure reported last week.
Last month, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the U.S. military's support mission at the southern border had been extended until September at the urging of the Department of Homeland Security. "That support includes a mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019, as well as the emplacement of approximately 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry," the Pentagon statement said Sunday. Troops were initially sent to the southern border ahead of the November midterm elections as a caravan of about 1,000 Central Americans seeking asylum moved through Mexico on the way to San Diego. Nearly 6,000 active duty service members were sent there in November.
The Trump administration has faced heat for not being completely forthcoming with its plans to send troops to the border. Last week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., rebuked the Pentagon for failing to provide “full transparency” to the panel regarding the specifics of the Pentagon’s plans to provide additional support to CBP, including how many troops would be sent. President Trump, who is at loggerheads with Democrats in Congress over his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, tweeted Thursday that more troops were being sent to the border to stem the tide of illegal immigration. "More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!" he said. Trump has threatened to use emergency powers to divert military resources in order to build a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border if Congress can't come to a long-term spending agreement to avert another partial government shutdown by mid-February.
Pentagon to Deploy 3, 750 Additional US Forces to Border With Mexico
According to a US Department of Defense statement, additional forces will be deployed to the nation’s southwest border with Mexico for three months as a means of providing support to customs and border agents.
The move will lead to a rise in the number of active US forces providing support for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, to approximately 4,350, Reuters reported.
In late January 2019, Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan announced that the Pentagon has been preparing to send "several thousand" additional troops to the Mexico-US border, answering a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) call for assistance in monitoring and "laying down more concertina wire".
Earlier, the undersecretary of defense for policy, John Rood, told Congress that US officials are tracking three migrant caravans from Central America allegedly making their way toward the US-Mexican border, the largest of which is said to have over 12,000 would-be immigrants.
Initially the deployment of active-duty US forces was approved by the Pentagon in October 2018 and the decision was embraced by Trump supporters in Congress, according to Reuters.
Pizzagate Arrests Coming? Police Nab VIP Pedophile Connected to Clintons
Jerry Sandusky's adopted son has been arrested for sexually assaulting children. Links between Sandusky and the Clintons are already well-established.
An adopted son of Jerry Sandusky — the infamous Penn state football coach who "groomed" children for sex using his "charity organization", The Second Mile — has been charged with sexually assaulting children.
This could be the start of something big. There are already established connections between Sandusky and the Clintons, as well as other Washington elites:
Interestingly, the Sanduskys and their charities have connections to high-level politicians and their families, both republicans and democrats, as well as some wealthy elite figures.
Mark Madden, who is familiar with the case involving Sandusky, said that his sources were investigating Sandusky for prostituting children to “rich donors.”
He said, “hold on to your stomachs, boys, this is gross, I will use the only language I can — that Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors. That was being investigated by two prominent columnists even as I speak.”
Second Mile is a charity organization that Sandusky worked with.
U.S. President George H. W. Bush praised the group as a “shining example” of charity work in a 1990 letter, one of that president’s much-promoted “Thousand points of light” encouragements to volunteer community organizations. Citing Sandusky’s work with The Second Mile charity to provide care for foster children, then U.S. Senator Rick Santorum honored Sandusky with an Angels in Adoption award in 2002.
Hillary Clinton’s Brother Hugh E Rodham played for Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno, according to reports., and Penn State hired former counsel to Bill Clinton
Iraq to Adopt Bill Ending US, Foreign Adviser Presence in Country - Statement
The Iraqi lawmakers mull designing legislation that would terminate the security agreement with the United States, according to the deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament.
The statement comes amid US President Donald Trump's recent comment on the situation in the country. In particular, the US president said that Washington wants to keep its forces in Iraq so that the US could keep a close eye on Iran "because Iran is a real problem," according to an excerpt from CBS interview with Trump that will be aired later on Sunday.
"One of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem", Trump said in the CBS interview.
On Wednesday, Trump slammed the US intelligence as "extremely passive and naive", claiming that Tehran is destabilizing the Middle East and continuing to test banned missiles. In particular, Trump mentioned an Iran missile test last week and made an oblique reference to Tehran "coming very close to the edge".
The United States reinstated sanctions against Iran following the country's withdrawal from JCPOA in May. The first round of sanctions came into force in August, followed by a second round on 5 November 2018. All other parties to the nuclear deal have disagreed with the US decision.
A December announcement by Trump that all US troops deployed in Syria would be coming home — and reports of plans to cut the US Afghan deployment in half — has prompted effort by Trump's inner circle and Republicans in Congress to delay any withdrawal.
Members of Congress and Trump's White House advisers have attempted to walk back a presidential announcement that some 2,000 US troops in Syria would come home within a month, claiming the Daesh is not yet defeated.
According to CBS interview, Some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to Iraq, where they can monitor any resurgence of Daesh or other militant group and "ultimately some will be coming home", Trump said
The US-led international coalition conducts strikes in Syria against Daesh without the authorization from Damascus or the UN Security Council, while Baghdad has given its consent for operations on Iraqi territory.
New U.S. Experiments Aim To Create Gene-Edited Human Embryos
A scientist in New York is conducting experiments designed to modify DNA in human embryos as a step toward someday preventing inherited diseases, NPR has learned.
For now, the work is confined to a laboratory. But the research, if successful, would mark another step toward turning CRISPR, a powerful form of gene editing, into a tool for medical treatment.
A Chinese scientist sparked international outrage in November when he announced that he had used the same technique to create the world's first gene-edited human babies. He said his goal was to protect them from infection with HIV, a claim that was criticized because there are safe, effective and far less controversial ways of achieving that goal.
Top Elizabeth Warren Donor Profits Off Rising Drug Prices
Warren regularly lambasts drug companies, introduced legislation on rising costs
A firm founded by a top donor to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's action fund, campaign committee, and leadership PAC profits off prescription drugs including those that the Massachusetts senator regularly chastises for hiking prices on consumers.
Warren for years has been outspoken against the drug industry and has had "big pharma in her crosshairs" while simultaneously introducing numerous pieces of legislation in attempts to tackle the rising prices of the industry. "Over the last 10 years, some of the wealthiest drug companies—those that capitalize on government research to generate billions of dollars in revenues through the sale of blockbuster drugs—have found another way to boost profits," Warren said in 2015. "They’ve been caught defrauding Medicare and Medicaid, withholding critical safety information about their drugs, marketing their drugs for uses that aren’t approved, and giving doctors kickbacks for writing prescriptions for their drugs."
Warren slammed pharma giant Pfizer in November 2018 for hiking prices on prescriptions, saying that Pfizer "‘promised' it wouldn’t raise prices, then turned around and raised them anyway," and added that "we can’t count on drug companies to tackle rising drug costs, so Congress must." The Massachusetts senator sent an earlier letter asking if they planned to raise costs and inquired into if they had lobbied the Trump administration on its proposals. Warren additionally spearheaded the Capping Prescription Costs Act of 2018, which "tackles high drug costs faced by families placing a monthly cap on their out of pocket drug costs." In December 2018, Warren introduced bicameral legislation alongside Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) to address the "skyrocketing" costs of prescription drugs that proposed government manufacturing of generic drugs. As Warren publicly knocked big pharma and pushed legislation against the industry, a firm run by a top donor to her action fund, campaign committee, and leadership PAC quietly profited off rising costs in the industry.
Pablo Legorreta, a former Wall Street investment banker who founded and acts as the chief executive officer of Royalty Pharma LLC, a New York City-based private equity firm, poured $10,800 into the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund. The $10,800 donation was one of the largest to the fund this past election cycle, according to filings. Legorreta's firm has banked off top-selling drugs and the skyrocketing costs of prescriptions, according to reports. Royalty Pharma has amassed an investment portfolio valued north of $15 billion by buying the rights to royalties on future drug sales, the New York Times wrote last year.
The report indicated that Royalty had partial rights in seven of the top 30 selling drugs in the country—including Humira, the highest selling drug, and Remicade, the fourth highest selling drug—and has dodged public scrutiny that other companies could not. Royalty buys royalty rights to drugs from the likes of patent holders or universities after regulators approve them for sales. "In recent years, Royalty Pharma’s deals have grown larger," the Times writes. "In 2014, it agreed to pay $3.3 billion to an affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for rights to the drug Kalydeco and other treatments for cystic fibrosis marketed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Last year, Royalty Pharma paid $1.14 billion to the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-owners of the rights to Xtandi, which treats advanced prostate cancer. This year, it agreed to pay up to $2.85 billion to Perrigo for rights to the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri."
Royalty's portfolio—which the firm calls "unparalleled" in the industry—additionally contains at least partial rights in many drugs that are marketed by Pfizer, who Warren regularly uses in her line of attacks on the drug industry. Those drugs include Lyrica, Ibrance, Xtandi, and Bosulif. An inquiry sent to Royalty Pharma for Legoretta about his contributions to Warren was not returned by press time. Warren's campaign also did not respond to requests for comments on the donations from Legoretta as the senator has chastised rising drug prices in the industry. Warren was not the only Democrat that received money from Legorreta this past election cycle. Legorreta gave a total of $101,200 to Democratic campaigns, funds, PACs, and state parties throughout the cycle.
Pelosi-Affiliated PAC Sent $250,000 to George Soros Effort
Liberal activist campaign targeted infrequent voters and bankrolled primarily by Soros
A political action committee linked to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) pushed a total of $250,000 to an activist campaign that was primarily bankrolled by liberal billionaire George Soros, Federal Election Commission filings show. The House Majority PAC, the Pelosi-affiliated group dedicated to electing Democrats to the House of Representatives, this past election cycle made numerous transfers to the "Win Justice" campaign, which was launched by a handful of liberal activist organizations including Planned Parenthood Votes,Color of Change PAC,Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Center for Community Change. The group would work to push minority, young, and woman voters to the polls in Florida, Michigan, and Nevada.
The network created an affiliated federal PAC—the Win Justice PAC—to fund their efforts. The PAC is operated by Deepak Pateriya, the chief of staff at the Center for Community Change Action, a left-wing Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that is regularly involved in protests and direct action against President Donald Trump and Republicans. Deepak Bhargava, the executive director of the Center for Community Change, is a part of Soros's 12-person advisory board for U.S. Programs at his Open Society Foundations. The Win Justice PAC was given $3.7 million from committees including SEIU Cope, America Votes Action Fund, Civic Innovation, and Planned Parenthood Votes. The Pelosi-linked PAC ultimately sent a total of $250,000 in funds to the Win Justice PAC throughout the cycle, according to filings.
However, the PAC received a majority of its funds from deep-pocketed billionaires. The PAC reported $7.8 million from individuals, $5.2 million of which came from Soros, who was the PACs first and sole donor for some time after its launch. Later donors to the PAC included billionaire financier Donald S. Sussman, Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, Soros's daughter-in-law Andrea Soros, real-estate mogul George Krupp, and Weston Milliken, a secretary at the Democracy Alliance, the left's largest dark money donor network in which Soros is a top member. The Democracy Alliance, founded in 2005, consists of more than 100 liberal donors who have steered more than $600 million to liberal organizations and infrastructure since its inception. Pelosi has appeared alongside Soros at the group's secretive conferences to deliver keynote addresses to the donor network.
Gara LaMarche, the president of the Democracy Alliance who previously worked at Soros's Open Society Foundations, sat on the advisory board of the Center for Community Change, the group whose sister organization operated the Win Justice campaign's federal PAC. The Center for Community Change and Color of Change, another organization involved with Win Justice, are both recommended groups for funding by the Democracy Alliance. In addition to targeting infrequent voters, the Win Justice campaign spent hundreds of thousands backing candidates such as former Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida, who lost his election to Rick Scott, Ellisa Slotkin, who won her race in Michigan's 8th congressional district, and Rep. Jacky Rosen, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in Nevada. The House Majority PAC did not respond to inquiries into the money it gave to the Win Justice effort by press time
Trump Administration Announces U.S. Withdrawal From INF Treaty
The Trump administration announced on Friday that the United States would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty because Russia continues to be in violation of the agreement. The White House released a statement from President Donald Trump in which he calls out Russia for violating the treaty and posing a threat to NATO allies.
For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad. Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in 6 months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment. Our NATO Allies fully support us, because they understand the threat posed by Russia’s violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations. The United States has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions. We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other. We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct. My Administration remains committed to effective arms control that advances United States, allied, and partner security, is verifiable and enforceable, and includes partners that fulfill their obligations. For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations. We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria, and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economic, trade, political, and military levels. This would be a fantastic thing for Russia and the United States, and would also be great for the world.
The Cold War-era treaty, which eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe, was negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The treaty dictated both countries eliminate their short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles. Russia has violated the treaty by developing, testing, and deploying a new ground-launched cruise missile called the SSC-8. Trump announced his intention in December to pull out from the treaty and gave Russia until Feb. 2 to get back in compliance. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on camera Friday to announce the administration's decision.
In an undercover video released Wednesday, a former technician for a tissue-harvesting company details how an aborted baby was kept alive so that its heart could be harvested at a California Planned Parenthood facility, raising more legal questions about the group’s practices.
Holly O’Donnell, a former blood and tissue procurement technician for the biotech startup StemExpress, also said she was asked to harvest an intact brain from the late-term, male fetus whose heart was still beating after the abortion.
District Attorney Kamala Harris didn’t hesitate to go after her opponent for attorney general — Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley — for accepting money from a businessman who would eventually plead guilty in federal court to campaign finance fraud. But it turns out Harris has kept a campaign donation of her own from disgraced contributor Norman Hsu, reports the L.A. Times.
Fed Bombshell: Central Bankers Discussing If QE Should Be Used "More Regularly"
Just a few days after the San Fran Fed, that incubator of profound economic insight and blatantly money-wasting research which recently found that record amounts in student loans, wait for it, prevent young people from buying homes, casually tossed a bomb in academia when it said that negative rates would have accelerated the recovery from the last recession setting up a strawman to use NIRP during the next recession, just dumped another bombshell.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Reuters reports that San Fran Fed President Mary Daly said that US central bankers are currently debating whether it should confine its controversial tool of bond buying to purely emergency situations or if it should turn to that tool more regularly.
“In the financial crisis, in the aftermath of that when we were trying to help the economy, we engaged in these quantitative easing policies, and an important question is, should those always be in the tool kit — should you always have those at your ready — or should you think about those are only tools you use when you really hit the zero lower bound and you have no other things you can do,” Daly said after a talk at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
So how would the Fed decided which "tool" to use when? Well, according to Daly the answer wasn't clear: "you could imagine executing policy with your interest rate as your primary tool and the balance sheet as a secondary tool, but one that you would use more readily,” she added. “That’s not decided yet, but it’s part of what we are discussing now."
So while it remains unclear what "more regularly" means, one proposal which we are confident will be adopted by the Fed is the following:
Exclusive: U.S. in direct contact with Venezuelan military, urging defections - source
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Trump administration expects further military defections from Maduro’s side, the official told Reuters in an interview, despite only a few senior officers having done so since opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president last month, earning the recognition of the United States and dozens of other countries.
“We believe these to be those first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill,” the official said this week, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re still having conversations with members of the former Maduro regime, with military members, although those conversations are very, very limited.”
One of the long-standing goals of the Masonic New World Order seems finally within grasp: its one-world church, in the making for over 150 years, is about to become institutionalized as the United Religions Organization—the UR. Collaborating on the details are Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Communist Gorbachev Foundation/USA, and certain leaders of the Catholic Church, working through the interreligious organization known as the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
Plans for the formation of the UR were first revealed by Bishop Swing at the syncretic service held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. Attending the service in San Francisco's Grace Episcopal Cathedral on June 25, 1995, were representatives of all religions as well as political and spiritual luminaries like Princess Margaret of Britain, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, then President Lech Walesa of Poland and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of his Privacy as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State For Everyone Else
The National Enquirer has engaged in behavior so lowly and unscrupulous that it created a seemingly impossible storyline: the world’s richest billionaire and a notorious labor abuser, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as a sympathetic victim.
On Thursday, Bezos published emails in which the Enquirer’s parent company explicitly threatened to publish intimate photographs of Bezos and his mistress, which were apparently exchanged between the two through their iPhones, unless Bezos agreed to a series of demands involving silence about the company’s conduct.
In a perfect world, none of the sexually salacious material the Enquirer was threatening to release would be incriminating or embarrassing to Bezos: it involves consensual sex between adults that is the business of nobody other than those involved and their spouses. But that’s not the world in which we live: few news events generate moralizing interest like sex scandals, especially among the media.
The prospect of naked selfies of Bezos would obviously generate intense media coverage and all sorts of adolescent giggling and sanctimonious judgments. The Enquirer’s reports of Bezos’ adulterous affair seemed to have already played at least a significant role, if not the primary one, in the recent announcement of Bezos’ divorce from his wife of 25 years.
Beyond the prurient interest in sex scandals, this case entails genuinely newsworthy questions because of its political context. The National Enquirer was so actively devoted to Donald Trump’s election that the chairman of its parent company admitted to helping make hush payments to kill stories of Trump’s affairs, and received immunity for his cooperation in the criminal case of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, while Bezos, as the owner of the steadfastly anti-Trump Washington Post, is viewed by Trump as a political enemy.
All of this raises serious questions, which thus far are limited to pure speculation, about how the National Enquirer obtained the intimate photos exchanged between Bezos and his mistress. Despite a lack of evidence, MSNBC is already doing what it exists to do – implying with no evidence that Trump is to blame (in this case, by abusing the powers of the NSA or FBI to spy on Bezos). But, under the circumstances, those are legitimate questions to be probing (though responsible news agencies would wait for evidence before airing innuendo of that sort).
Sierra Leone's president declares rape a national emergency
The brutal rape of a young girl by her uncle has become a rallying point in Sierra Leone for a campaign that has pushed President Julius Maada Bio to declare the prevalence of sexual violence a national emergency.
The five-year-old girl, whose identity has been kept secret for her own safety, has been paralysed from the waist down since a 28-year-old male relative raped her a year ago, crushing her spine.
"She may never walk again, and I want vengeance for what has happened," her grandmother told the Reuters news agency, sitting next to the girl in her wheelchair in a Freetown medical clinic.
"The man who did this ruined her life and deserves to spend his life in prison."
Following months of campaigning by activists, the president said those convicted of sexual offences against minors would face life sentences.
"Some of our families practise a culture of silence and indifference towards sexual violence, leaving victims even more traumatised," Bio told a crowd at the State House on Thursday.
"We as a nation must stand up and address this scourge," he said.
"With this declaration, I have also directed the following: that all government hospitals must provide free medical treatment and certificate to every victim of rape and sexual abuse," he added.
According to police statistics, reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence nearly doubled last year to over 8,500, a third of which involved a minor.
Activists, including First Lady Fatima Bio, say the actual figures are much higher as most cases are never reported.
Gender-based violence is traditionally seen as a taboo topic in Sierra Leone. Only 12 years ago, its parliament passed the first gender equality laws in 46 years of independence, following efforts by women's rights groups.
In December, the first lady led a demonstration in the capital to raise awareness on the issue, and has since launched her "Hands Off Our Girls" campaign on violence against girls across West Africa.
Dr Olabisi Claudius Cole, head of the Rainbo Initiative that provides free medical and psychosocial services for survivors of gender-based violence, called the president's declaration a landmark in tackling sexual violence in Sierra Leone.
Planned Parenthood Has A Plan To Expand Abortion To 40 Weeks In All 50 States
The nation’s leading abortion providers has a new strategy in creating an even larger profit for itself.
In a three-part initiative called "Care for All", Planned Parenthood plans to expand abortion access and lessen restrictions across the country. The plan that first was first proposed last year has vowed to "kick off the 2019 legislative session by doubling down on this work."
Planned Parenthood #Guilty of Selling Baby Body Parts for Profit One Year Later #PPSellsBabyParts
NewsGuard, the establishment-backed “fact checker” that according to one report is approximately twice as likely to rate a conservative news site as “untrustworthy” compared to a non-conservative news site, urged caution to critics of the New York Times’ recent decision to alter a headline about Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitting to wearing blackface without notifying readers.
NewsGuard is an internet browser extension that displays green “trustworthy” or red “untrustworthy” labels next to links to news sites as its users browse the web. Because it offers a blanket rating to news websites rather than a story-by-story rating, this results in green “trustworthy” ticks sitting next to fake news stories from green-rated publications, which risks presenting users with the perception that false or inaccurate stories from green-rated publications (which include BuzzFeed, Rolling Stone, CNN and the New York Times) can be trusted.
The same is true of the recent New York Times story, where editors changed the phrasing of a headline about Herring admitting wearing blackface from “dark makeup” to “blackface” following criticism of the original headline on social media. The New York Times did not update its article to notify readers of the change or explain why the initial headline was deemed to be inaccurate.
New attack on Karl Marx – grave in London ‘damaged beyond repair’ in hammer attack
A memorial to the Father of Communism – Karl Marx – in London has been attacked with a hammer and ‘will never be the same again’, a charity has said.
The marble plaque at Highgate cemetery which carries Marx’s name, along with his wife and grandson, had been chipped by a blunt instrument likely to have been a hammer.
The Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, who run the cemetery in north London, said the monument was hit over in what looked like ‘a deliberate attack on the memory of Karl Marx himself’.
Ian Dungavell, the trust’s chief executive, said: “His name has been singled out, although the person wasn’t particularly coordinated.”
The ‘deliberate and sustained attack‘ on the Grade I-listed monument, which puts it on a par with the most important buildings in the country, was “very upsetting”, he said. “It will never be the same again, and will bear those battle scars for the future.”
The monument is owned by the Marx Grave Trust, which is represented by the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell, which will make any decisions about future repairs, Mr Dungavell said.
But he added that the monument’s Grade I-listing means ‘you don’t rush in to do these things quickly’.
‘We will be seeking specialist advice.’
A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called to reports of criminal damage to a memorial in Highgate Cemetery, N6. No arrests have been made. Initial inquiries have been completed and at this stage the investigation has been closed. If any further information comes to light, this will be investigated accordingly.”
On Thursday night, the Supreme Court blocked a stringent Louisiana abortion law by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals to keep the measure on hold. Roberts’ vote is surprising, but not a total shock: The Louisiana statute is a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and until the court overturns that decision, the Louisiana law cannot take effect. To Roberts, this precedent matters. To Justice Brett Kavanaugh, it does not. Kavanaugh so disagreed with the majority that he wrote a dissent explaining why the Louisiana law should be allowed to move forward—an opinion that should not be taken as anything less than a declaration of war on Roe v. Wade.
The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, should be an easy one. It is a challenge to a Louisiana law that is nearly identical to the Texas statute invalidated in Whole Woman’s Health. Louisiana, like Texas, compelled its abortion providers to obtain surgical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. These privileges are often difficult if not impossible to obtain—hospitals can, and do, deny them because they oppose abortion. More importantly, they provide absolutely no medical benefit to women, as the Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health. Because these measures impose a substantial burden on abortion providers (and their patients) while providing no benefit to women, the court found them to be unconstitutional.
Then, in 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who cast the fifth vote in Whole Woman’s Health, retired. He was replaced by Kavanaugh, who has a history of upholding abortion restrictions while claiming fidelity to Roe. In anticipation of Kavanaugh refusing to apply abortion precedents, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to enforce Whole Woman’s Health. Instead, it asserted (falsely) that the Louisiana law does provide some benefit to women (it does not) and that it doesn’t impose a serious burden. (It does: The law would likely shutter two of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics.) Clearly, the conservative 5th Circuit thought it could overturn Whole Woman’s Health on its own, and trust the Supreme Court to play along.
In the lead-up to this week’s decision, Roberts’ vote was an open question. I wrote last week that his “vote on this emergency appeal will reveal how aggressively the chief justice wants to attack abortion access—and whether he’s willing to sacrifice the rule of law to nullify Roe as fast as possible.” On Thursday, we got our answer. While the chief justice dissented from Whole Woman’s Health, he does not seem disposed to let a lower court simply ignore it.
Kavanaugh feels quite differently. In his dissent, he focused on the fact that, according to the 5th Circuit, Louisiana’s abortion providers did not try hard enough to obtain surgical privileges. That should not matter, because Whole Woman’s Health says the requirement that doctors get privileges in order to perform abortions is unconstitutional, as it bestows no benefit onto patients. Kavanaugh, though, disregarded that conclusion and wrote that the doctors should work harder to get these pointless privileges.
The most astounding aspect of Kavanaugh’s dissent is its credulous belief in Louisiana’s ostensible benevolence toward abortion clinics. He noted that, if the law takes effect, “there will be a 45-day regulatory transition” before it is applied. He also says that Louisiana promised not to “move aggressively to enforce the challenged law” during this period. Kavanaugh accepted the state’s pinky promise not to swiftly close the clinics—even though it has spent months fighting for the ability to do precisely that. At the end of 45 days, the justice wrote, if the doctors still can’t obtain the privileges, they can go back to district court and start the fight anew.
This is classic Kavanaugh. On the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh had a penchant for pretending to apply Roe while finding arbitrary reasons to uphold abortion restrictions. Kavanaugh let the Trump administration prevent an undocumented minor from terminating her pregnancy, on the laughable theory that she could find a sponsor who would remove her from government custody, where she could reassert control over her body. It was a pseudo-moderate procedural solution that had the effect of denying the undocumented minor abortion access altogether. Here, Kavanaugh made the same play, pretending like he’d found a reasonable middle ground that, in reality, serves to rubber-stamp unconstitutional abortion laws.
Many services only exist by selling advertising or to put it another way, they only make money if you click on their content.
When you are on social media or even some aggregate sites you will only be exposed to content these algorithms know you are going to click on.
With this simple scenario you have just incentivized automation to write articles that express a view that you will engage with. The same algorithms will not show you content that you wont click on AKA an opposite point of view.
This is why getting news from social media is the poorest way of informing yourself. Its also why you see people getting worked up over certain stories all at once.
Kuwait and Indonesia urged the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 6 to call for protection of Palestinians following Israel’s decision to suspend an international observer mission in Hebron, where hundreds of hard-line Jewish settlers live alongside more than 200,000 Palestinians, but diplomats said the United States objected.
The two predominantly Muslim nations on the council called closed-door discussions on the Israeli announcement and then circulated a draft press statement that would recognize the mission’s “efforts to foster calm in a highly sensitive area and fragile situation on the ground.” But the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, rejected the proposed statement, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations were private.
The Temporary International Presence in Hebron was established in 1994 following Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city that triggered riots across Palestinian areas. The mosque is located at the site that is also revered by Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Indonesia’s U.N. ambassador, Dian Djani, told reporters that he and Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi brought up Israel’s action because they don’t want to see a repetition of the 1994 incident and want “to make sure the situation that is already fragile and tense … is not going to worsen.”
A Security Council resolution adopted in March 1994 strongly condemned the Hebron massacre and called for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians, which led to the monitoring mission. In its latest form, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey provided unarmed observers and funded the mission in Hebron.
Al-Otaibi said there was “overwhelming support” for an expression of concern that Israel’s action might exacerbate the situation on the ground, saying the mission “was like a preventative tool.”
Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, the current council president, signaled differences among council members immediately after the meeting, where the U.S. reportedly said Israel had a right not to renew the temporary mission.
Ndong Mba said he had been authorized to inform the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors about the meeting and to discuss a proposed Security Council visit to the territory that the Palestinians claim for a future independent state.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador at the U.N., stressed that “it is the duty of the Security Council on the basis of the resolutions” to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians and said he looked forward to meeting with Ndong Mba “as quickly as possible.”
He said the Palestinians will react to a Security Council visit “in the most positive way.”
But Al-Otaibi told reporters that council visits require approval by all 15 members as well as the countries involved, so the U.S. and Israel would have to give a green light.
Mansour said it was premature to say whether the trip would go ahead.
“The positive thing is that there is an agreement, an authorization to the president of the Security Council to begin the process of consultation on that issue,” he said. “Let us give it time, with a positive expectation that it might happen.”