Everyday Erinyes #87

 Posted by at 9:32 am  Politics
Aug 122017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

In a week when “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was convicted, if not yet sentenced, of 3 (out of 8) securities fraud charges related to overcharging on pharmaceuticals (to wit, the EpiPen), and we were reminded that the chairman of the board of his company literally said (OK, gestured) “F*** you” to America, it may not come as a surprise that Mylan is not the only corporation  – um – doing that to the American people with pharmaceuticals.  But it may not have made your radar that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government is actively engaged in ensuring that large sums of money not only flow to pharmaceutical dealers, but also flow right out of the country.

Knowledge Ecology International may not be the best known watchdog group in the world, but they seem to have been the only one to have caught on that the National Institutes of Health is proposing to grant the exclusive worldwide license for a new liver cancer drug to Salubris Biotherapeutics, Inc.  Now, Salubris wasn’t always a Chinese holding.  But it was acquired last October by Shenzen Salubris, run by the former mayor of Shenzen, billionaire Ye Chenghai, who with his famil controls 66% of the company.

Maryand’s Lieutenant Governor attended the ribbon cutting cermony of the new headquarters in May.  It’s in Gaithersburg.

According to the Huffington Post, the National Institutes of Health, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, developed the treatment and registered the patents, which means this was done with taxpayers’ money.

 The National Institutes of Health defended its decision in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, arguing “an exclusive license incentivizes companies to invest in the development of early stage … technologies so they can benefit public health.”

“NIH considers carefully when a technology should have an exclusive or non-exclusive license,” a spokesman said in the statement.

But the only one talking about this seems to be Jamie Love, the director of KEI.

“Is anyone in the White House paying any attention to these NIH patent licenses?” Jamie Love, the director of KEI, asked in an email to HuffPost on Tuesday. “The NIH wants to turn this over, life of patent, with zero agreements on the price, to Ye Chenghai, the former mayor of Shenzhen, in total secrecy as regards every important element of the license.”

Love added: “It’s time to hold hearings on the NIH licensing practices, so people have a better understanding of what is going on.”

Unfortunately, the notice filed with the Federal Register provides for just 15 days of public comments, which will neither be published nor made suject to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Almost simultaneously, Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Pete DeFazio in the House proposed

a new rule that would require federal agencies and federally funded nonprofits, such as research universities, to secure a reasonable pricing agreement from a manufacturer before granting it exclusive rights to drugs, vaccines or other health care products. 

Sanders’ proposal aims to stop the Department of Defense from awarding drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur an exclusive license and $173 million in research funding to produce a Zika vaccine developed over the past year by the U.S. Army. Zika virus, a tropical, mosquito-borne disease also spread through sexual transmission, causes devastating birth defects.

The French pharmaceutical giant demanded a license that would prevent other drugmakers from competing to manufacture the vaccine at a lower cost, then refused to agree to sell the vaccine back to taxpayers at a fair price. The company has a history of charging up to eight times more for its drugs in the U.S. than in France or the United Kingdom.

Senator Angus King and Representative Marcy Kaptur are working on budget amendments aimed at stopping the DOD and NIH respectively from commiting this kind of atrocity.  But these Senators and Representatives need all the help they can get.  Not that I am trying to attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity, but Tisiphone, maybe you can halp.

 

In the Mayfair neighborhood of North Philadelphia, apparently the white supremacists can keep their cool if people of color live around the corner, just not on the same street – and they had better not park on the street that aren’t allowed to live on, either.

So we have Cottman Avenue, which, from what I can see on Google maps, is a fairly major road which has some businesses on it, running roughly from northwest to southeast.  One block northeast of it is Teesdale Street – some of the time.  Teesdale Street only runs two or three blocks and is residential.  But six or eight blocks down, Teesdale Street picks up again and runs for another two or three blocks.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Teesdale Street is where the white folks live.  People of color live on Cottman, and parking is kind of tight.

So sometimes someone who lives on Cottman can’t find parking there.  A few residents have found places on Teesdale at one time or another, but if they do, something happens.  A note is left on their vehicle, signed KKK, telling them not to do that.  Or their tires are spiked.  The flat tires happened to Bernadette Waites (pictured) and to her mother.  Her next-door neighbor, Lima, received the note.

“I was scared, and I was thinking, maybe they followed me or maybe they know where I live, and I don’t want to fear for my life that somebody would do something to me if I was to park around there again,” she said.

“I just want it to stop,” Lima said. “But that we’ve been living around people who have been preying on us the whole time, it’s really sad.”

So grudging, and so petty.  Megaera, please.

 

In San Diego, there’s a woman who worked for almost ten years at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA.  She was initially hired as a youth pastor, and later was promoted to Minister of Missions and Serving.  But in March of this year, the church called a new Pastor to lead the congregation.

The new pastor, from Texas, pretty much immediately started sexually harassing her.  I won’t go into detail, you’ve heard it all before; women who read this have experienced it all before.  Except the one comment where he compared his body to a “Lamborghini that couldn’t be kept in the garage.”

OK, the comments on this story are priceless.  They have compared his body to everything from a “beat-up Fiat” to, at best, a “Buick.”  Everyone agrees the comparison to a Lamborghini is outrageous.  However, whatever it is compared to, it is not the job of the Minister of Missions to take it out of the garage and ride with it.

But the congregation must have thought otherwise.  She was first placed on administrative leave and then forced to resign.  I think her attorney puts it well:

“Like many of my female clients, Minister Neldon is working in a male-dominated industry that, in many way, is no different than other employers who simply refuse to accept that discrimination is illegal in America,” said Neldon’s attorney Dan Gilleon. “It’s a shame. You’d think a business that claims moral superiority would behave better. Minister Neldon will pay a price for speaking out, as is the case for many women who blow the whistle. But, true to her word, my client is thinking of the other women out there who might benefit once it finally sinks in for employers that civil rights will be enforced in the courtroom.”

I’ve lately been emcouraging as many people as I can to read an article on how, for right wing “Christians,” a hierarchy serves them in lieu of a moral code.  This story fits right in to that.  And it’s, if not as old as time, certainly as old as human history.  Alecto, at the very least perhaps you can give attorney Gilleon some much needed moral support.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

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Is Mad Dog Such a Bad Dog?

 Posted by at 1:47 pm  Politics
Dec 072016
 

I trust that you all know already that the Fuhrer has appointed Mad Dog Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense, and that Mattis has not yet been separated from the military for the seven years required to hold that post.  My gut instinct is to oppose the appointment, but I wonder.  Is Mad Dog such a bad dog?

1207mattis

Several Democratic lawmakers are raising concerns about Congress passing legislation to allow retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be secretary of defense so soon after taking off his military uniform. But President Obama’s former defense secretary Leon Panetta believes Mattis should get the waiver and the job, he told me in an interview.

“It’s important that the Congress in the process of providing that waiver makes sure that Jim Mattis understands that he has to play a role not just on the military side but also on the civilian side. I think he does,” Panetta told me on the sidelines of the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.

Panetta also said the 1947 law mandating that a defense secretary be out of uniform for 10 years — later changed to seven — was “arbitrary” and was crafted in a different era when generals had a singular role as war fighters, whereas today’s generals have more diverse roles…

From <Washington Post>

Both Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow had segments about the appointment.

I agree with Phyllis Bennis about the importance of the principle of civilian control of the media. I agree with Jeremy Bash that Mattis is a well-qualified military manager. He is also opposed to Trump on torture, Syria, and Russia.

If as waiver for Mattis is to be approved, it needs to be approved to be done openly with congressional hearings and debate. Sneaking it through in a continuing resolution is sleazy! In other words, it’s Republican.

In addition, given the Fuhrer’s penchant for ignoring and breaking rules, caving-in to it sets a bad precedent.  On the other hand, while I don’t like Mattis at all, he is the most qualified and least objectionable of all the Fuhrer’s appointees to date.  He would oppose Flynn, aka General Ripper, by representing at least some honor and decency.  If he is rejected, God only knows what the Fuhrer might appoint next.

I’m still undecided on this one, but I hope this helps clarify the issues.

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Dec 022016
 

Once again it’s TGIF day, and I’m ready for a restful weekend.  My shoulder is improving slightly, but I did have to cancel my appointment yesterday with Courtney, my physical terrorist.  There is no way I could have stood up to her loving abuse.  I hope you enjoy one of your last weekends living in a democratic republic.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:21 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Exposed by CMD: Theocracy: She Has Pushed for Vouchers and More to Get Tax Money to Support Christian Schools

DeVos has approached the issue of education as a religious issue for her personally and as an area which she wants to change the law to reflect her personal views. A long-time partisan activist, she got involved in education “reform” in the early 1990s, around the time that her husband ran for a seat on the Michigan state Board of Education.

After he stepped down from that post, in 1993 she and her husband took on the “Education Freedom Fund,” which, she has said, “I would define as ultimately Christian in its nature because in excess of 90% of the parents who receive these scholarships choose Christian schools to go to.” EFF provides private funding for private school tuition, and is supported with significant donations from the DeVos family.

Why did she and here husband choose to get involved in the political battles over public education even though they did not send their kids to public schools and they financially support private Christian schools?

In a joint interview for “The Gathering,” a group focused on advancing Christian ideology through philanthropy, she and her husband said they decided to focus on reforming public education and funding for private education because the “Lord led us there” and “God led us.”

At that meeting, they were asked if it would not have been simpler to fund Christian schools directly rather than fund political efforts like vouchers to get more tax dollars to fund Christian schools, and she replied: “There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education versus what is spent every year on education in this country… So, our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s Kingdom,” adding that they want “to impact our culture [in ways] that may have great Kingdom gain in the long-run by changing the way we approach things.”

Her husband added: “We are working …. to allow for our Christian worldview, which for us comes from a Calvinist tradition, and to provide for a more expanded opportunity someday for all parents to be able to educate their children in a school that reflects their world view and not each day sending their child to a school that may be reflecting a world view that may be quite antithetical to the worldview they hold in their families.”

When asked if they are “against public education,” they have denied that charge while trying to reframe the conversation.

Betsy DeVos responded: “No, we are for good education and for having every child have an opportunity for a good education. And having grown up in families that are in the business world, we both believe that competition and choices make everyone better, and that ultimately if the system that prevails in the United States today had more competition, if there were other choices for people to make freely that all of the schools would become better as a result and that excellence would be sought in every setting. So we are very strong proponents of fundamentally changing the way we approach education … because there are hundreds of thousands and millions of children that are forced to go every day to a school that is not meeting their needs and it’s not right.”

Her husband added that they are for “public education” but that’s not the same as “public schools.” He said public funding for education of all kinds is a “laudable concept” that should not be forced to operate through “government-run schools.”

He also stated: “In my opinion, the Church has sadly retrenched from its central role in our community, to where now as we look at many communities in our country the church which ought to be in our view far more central to the life in our community has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity the center for what goes on the community….”

He added, “it is certainly our hope that churches would continue no matter what the environment whether there is government funding someday through vouchers or tax credits or some other mechanism…that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education. We just can think of no better way to rebuild our families and our communities than to have that circle of church, school, and family much more tightly focused and being built on a consistent world view.”

Betsy DeVos did not disagree with this statement of their shared goals and responded: “If I can just add to that very quickly, I think for many years the church in general has felt that it is important for the children of the congregation to be in the schools to make a difference but in fact I think what has happened in many cases for the last couple of decades is that the schools have impacted the kids more than the kids have impacted the schools. The young children need to have a pretty solid foundation to be able to combat the kind of influences that they are presented with on a daily basis.”

(All quotes above are transcribed from their hour-long interview for “The Gathering,” available here.)

This is just one of five things listed that you need to know about Barf Bag Betsy DeVos, the fascist sycophant Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten has tasked with destroying Public Education in America. Click through for the other four.

From ABC: President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday night that he will "appoint" retired Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis to be his secretary of defense. The two met in Bedminster, New Jersey, in November for an hour, after which Trump called Mattis the “real deal.”

Under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, certain federal positions appointed by the president — including secretary of defense -– require confirmation of the U.S. Senate.

Mattis most recently served as the head of U.S. Central Command. A lifelong bachelor, he is known as the “warrior monk” for his knowledge of ancient and military history.

The four-star general is revered by many for his leadership and also known for his blunt words…

"Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

That quote tells us why the Fuhrer, aka the Rectum of Rage, likes Mad Dog. However, he is forbidden by law to serve as Defense Secretary, until he has been separated from military service for seven years.

From TPM: Some Senate Democrats were harshly critical of Donald Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, the latest in a line of financial elites tapped for his cabinet who they say betrays the President-elect’s promise to “drain the swamp” of insiders.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called Steve Mnuchin “the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis” in a statement Tuesday, referencing Munchin’s two-decade-long tenure at Goldman Sachs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“His selection as Treasury secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit hard by the financial crisis, and is the latest sign that Donald Trump has no intention of draining the swamp and every intention of running Washington to benefit himself and his rich buddies," she said, as quoted by the newspaper.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also took aim at Mnuchin’s time leading the bank OneWest, known for its aggressive foreclosure practices.

“Given Mr. Mnuchin’s history of profiting off the victims of predatory lending, I look forward to asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities," he said in a statement.

Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten is just a Republican that reflects all the hate of the Theocons, Alt-Right Nazis and KKK and all the greed of the Billionaires, Banksters, Corporate Criminals and Vulture Capitalists.

Cartoon:

1202Cartoon

May it survive to see its 50th anniversary.

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Jan 082013
 

I’m still down, and it’s particularly frustrating today, because it’s a prison volunteer day, and I have to stay home.  I’m current with replies.  Maybe tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 4:47).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: Just When You Thought Sexism Was On The Way Out, 2012 Happened

 

The best way must be to end the Republican War on Women by sending the Republican Party the way of the Whigs. Here’s the link to MissRepresentation. (This is the first ‘Daily Share’ I have received in many days.)

From NY Times: Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.

Ed Schultz, Joe Sestak and Richard Wolfe agree.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Since Bought Bitch Mitch, McConJob, and Lindsey Poo all have their panties in a bunch, it must be good for America. While there are times that I have disagreed and will disagree with Hagel. I think Obama made a good choice here.

From Daily Kos: We are seeing a measurable fracture, a two-part breakage to the Republican Party. This results from infiltration of the GOP based on contributions from the same families and sources of money that financed the John Birch Society from the beginning. Birchers in the House are pursuing JBS goals and recycling JBS slogans.

This is the Birch Society, not the populist Tea Party from 2009.

Effectively, based on "Fiscal Cliff" votes and the changeover to 2013, we have three distinct caucuses in the House of Representatives:

— Regular Democrats (now 201 Members)

— Business Republicans (84 Members)

— Birch Society Republicans (150 Members)

Birchers are anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-compromise, and opposed to taxes in all forms and appearances. The Bircher billionaires’ agenda is not the mainstream Republican businessmen’s agenda.

The Koch family helped found the John Birch Society. They have financed Birchers since 1984 and remain the prime backers for these Bircher Republicans. They assure that JBS ideological slogans and xenophobic paranoia define Bircher campaigns.

I have long said that the top-down Birchers were the original source for top-down Teabuggery, because of the many absurd conspiracy theories and propensity for Koch sucking they have in common.

Cartoon:

8Cartoon

The following day the Republican Party declared war on the war on poverty.

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