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Sliding doors

The publication of Prozac Nation was a societal inflection point that ushered in multiple pharmacological disasters

By Toby Rogers | October 5, 2022

I. The Promise

In the late 1980s/early 1990s my parents spent a small fortune to send me to what was, at the time, the top-ranked small liberal arts college in the country. While the Ivies train up the future ruling class, small private liberal arts colleges offered something far more alluring.

Hanging in the air at these small private colleges was a promise that went something like this: the social sciences, particularly psychology and sociology, have figured things out. If we just follow their wise teachings, we will emerge in a utopian society where there is depth and meaning, people are decent and real with each other, differences are worked out (through “I” statements and “position switching” amongst other tools), and above all people are happy.

I imagine it began with Freud and Jung, accelerated with Foucault and Butler, but it was also present in the pragmatic psychologists including Barry Schwartz and the later happiness researchers.

The promise co-opted the central notion of many 20th century revolutions — that a new man and new woman were being born from the ashes of the old system and that we would find better ways of relating to each other than any society heretofore.

This promise was EVERYWHERE — from the new student orientation to the mandatory date rape prevention workshops to resident advisor trainings to student clubs and late-night conversations in the common areas of the dorms. A better world was possible and we were the ones to usher it in. The promise was going to radiate out to the rest of society like a pebble dropped into a pond.

It’s heartbreaking to reflect on this now because: 1.) the promise was never fulfilled (perhaps because it was always just a fantasy); and, 2.) to the extent that this vision soldiers on in some form it has taken an incredibly dark turn and now resembles fascism more than anything else.

II. An inflection point

Elizabeth Wurtzel was a fierce talent. Yes, she went to Harvard but she was the embodiment of the promise. A third wave feminist, she was unabashed in her celebration of sexuality and pleasure. As a writer she was a sorceress — able to pull magic, truth, and wisdom out of thin air.

Ms. Wurtzel popularized the Pain & Suffering Memoir genre with the publication of her book Prozac Nation in 1994. The book was raw, confessional, and witty. It felt like she had discovered capital T Truth. She went inside, as the psychologists (and Buddhists) had trained us to do, explored her emotional pain with all of its searing intensity, and redeemed it by giving it meaning. Ms. Wurtzel modeled how to be vulnerable, ironic, and strong. By the end of the book she was our friend and shrink. She had gone through the dark night of the soul and had come out on the other side, victorious.

I loved Prozac Nation and I’m devastated by what has transpired since.

III. The misuse of a once-in-a-generation talent

There was always a strange sleight of hand involved in Prozac Nation. In spite of the extraordinary psychological heavy lifting for over three hundred pages — the remedy in the end was a magic little pill.

In retrospect, Elizabeth Wurtzel and all of us got played by the most corrupt industry in the history of the world.

The success of Prozac Nation was not an accident. For a while, the book was everywhere — on magazine covers, on all of the chatty morning shows, and in doctors’ waiting rooms. It was part of a wave of books including Listening to Prozac that assured the public that the scientists have it figured out and this magic little pill will make all of your troubles go away. I am almost certain that behind the scenes Pharma spent millions of dollars to promote this book and turn Ms. Wurtzel into a household name.

With the success of Prozac Nation an entire generation abandoned the century-long promise of the social sciences and said, “just write me that script doc.”

The tragedy of Elizabeth Wurtzel is that Pharma took a spectacularly talented thinker and writer and used her to betray her whole generation. The end result has been the gradual enslavement of Generation X (and the rest of society) to the cartel.

IV. The demise of Elizabeth Wurtzel

Things did not turn out well for Ms. Wurtzel. Her next book was Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. Apparently, the Prozac had stopped working so she resorted to snorting upwards of 40 crushed Ritalin tablets a day — and when that didn’t work she turned to cocaine. That led to rehab and another memoir — this time about dealing with addiction (More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction). By this point she had lost the plot to her own story. She managed a brief reset by going to Yale Law School (always the best) and working for super lawyer David Boies for a few years. At 47 she developed breast cancer and she wrote about that in her trademark style. At 52 she was dead from leptomeningeal cancer.

(Photo credit: Dan Callister/Shutterstock)

In all of her brilliant writing, Ms. Wurtzel never criticized the white coats nor their pharmaceutical handlers in spite of the myriad ways that they failed her. Ms. Wurtzel blamed the BRCA gene mutation for her breast cancer and praised the heroic doctors and scientists who identified it and treated it (with a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery).

The BRCA gene mutation very well could be the cause of her death. But there is another explanation that is also plausible — one that is not allowed in the mainstream media. Prozac is a fluoride compound (fluoxetine). Fluoxetine is 18.5% fluoride by weight.

Fluoride is toxic. Ms. Wurtzel’s miracle pill was actually depositing poison into her bone marrow, brain, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, fatty tissue, and vital organs, day after day, year after year.

It never cured her depression — any gains were short-lived and supplemented by drugs and alcohol.

The entire story of Prozac Nation was based a toxic and deadly lie.

V. The legacy of Prozac Nation

Things did not turn out well for the rest of us either.

Psychiatrist David Healy figured out the scam early on and went to great lengths to alert others with books including Let Them Eat Prozac (2002) and Pharmageddon (2004). He was later joined by Peter Gøtzsche (Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime, 2017) and many others.

But it took 30 years before the mainstream media admitted what was knowable on the first day — these products do not work as advertised. Even the usually reliable Pharma mouthpiece, The Guardian, was recently forced to admit that the entire theory of the case in connection with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors was just glorified marketing copy:

The study in Molecular Psychiatry on which that article is based is (here). If you click through to read The Guardian article you’ll see defenders of the status quo at the end explaining that ‘it works even though there is no evidence that it works.’ Sound familiar?

By this point, about 1 in 5 American women and 1 in 10 men are on these drugs. They are given to pregnant women even though they are linked with autism (see literature review in my thesis). People are on them for decades in spite of no safety studies on long term use. They create dependency and once started, it is very difficult to stop.

It was not a foregone conclusion that Prozac would take off in the United States. German regulators (who actually examined the underlying data) rejected it and it was only approved in Sweden through outright bribery. But FDA regulators were primed to look the other way. In the meantime, Ms. Wurtzel made mental illness and these magic fluoride capsules sexy and cool. One can see how this set the stage for normalizing the other mass poisoning events that followed.

The adoption of SSRIs followed a pattern. Pharma pushed them, the FDA blessed them based on shoddy studies, the media and trusted messengers promoted them, and society gobbled up that snake oil like candy. Anyone who questioned the grift was shunned.

There was just too much money to be made for anyone to do the right thing. Once the pattern was set, more pharmacological disasters soon followed.

Next we were told that opioids, including OxyContin®, were not addictive. Once again the FDA blessed them based on shoddy data, the media promoted them, and society took these pills in massive quantities. On average, every year the U.S. now loses more Americans to opioids than died in combat in the entire (decade-long) Vietnam War.

Now it is happening yet again with Safe & Effective™️ Covid-19 shots that disable and kill at an astonishing rate. There is just so much money to be made from poisoning society that Pharma (+ the media and the political system that they own) cannot resist.

And millions of people who once believed in the promise of a better society are now mindless zombies who just want more pills, more injections, and more drugs to cure the human condition. But even that’s not enough — they want a society where Pharma idolatry is enshrined in law and everyone is forced to obey (setting up Pharma totalitarianism is basically the entire purpose of the California Democratic Party at this point).

VI. Sliding doors: imagine if Elizabeth Wurtzel had chosen differently

Hindsight is 20/20 and Ms. Wurtzel is not here to defend herself. But she was so incredibly talented. One can imagine a world where she might have chosen differently. Imagine if she had said, now wait, hang on, you’re telling me that several millennia of philosophy and a century of psychology are nonsense and that these drug dealers can solve the human condition with fluoride? That seems far-fetched.

One can imagine a world where Ms. Wurtzel used her fierce intellect to actually read the junk science clinical trials and study the FDA sham regulatory process instead of just surfing the zeitgeist. Any amount of honest due diligence would have quickly raised extraordinary doubts.

But the promise of magic pills was irresistible — for Ms. Wurtzel, society, and the drug dealers in white coats who stood to gain billions of dollars.

I want to be clear that it is not the responsibility of a 26 year old creative writer to save civilization. There should have been some adults in the room at her publisher (Houghton Mifflin) or the FDA who could have tapped the brakes on the rush to promote a fluoride compound as some sort of miracle cure. Ms. Wurtzel was uniquely influential but there were hundreds of thousands of others who also made ethically questionable choices in connection with this product. Furthermore, Ms. Wurtzel’s impulsiveness suggests that she may have already had some neurological damage, perhaps from the 10 to 13 shots that were common for Generation X. So perhaps she physically could not have chosen otherwise.

On the other hand, warrior mamas and Covid critical thinkers perform proper due diligence every day. As a result we are attacked by the mainstream media, hunted by the cartel, censored by the Stasi, and blacklisted by corporations and government. I guess if Elizabeth Wurtzel had chosen otherwise we never would have heard of her and they would have promoted someone else to fill that trusted spokesmodel role.

Here’s what I cannot figure out. Was the promise (that I began this article with) always a lie? Is the human condition such that we are always at the mercy of primitive instinct? Conservative Presbyterians believe in the doctrine of “total depravity” — that human beings are always flawed and fallen and the best we can hope for is divine grace that cannot be earned. Are they right?

I confess that I still believe in the promise (even though the last two years have shown me mountains of evidence that it’s not possible). I want to believe in a world where people are decent to each other, where we can find better ways to relate to each other that reduce strife and provide meaning and connection. It’s a far cry better than the alternative — magic pills & injections that are actually deadly, promoted by an entire society built on lies.

October 5, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Fauci doubled his wealth during Covid-19 – report

Samizdat | October 2, 2022

US chief medical officer Anthony Fauci’s net worth surged to $12.6 million in 2021, nearly twice the $7.6 million it had been in 2019, watchdog group OpenTheBooks revealed on Friday, citing financial disclosures it obtained from Fauci’s employer, the National Institutes of Health.

Already the highest-paid employee in the federal government before the pandemic as director of the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Fauci pulled down a salary of $456,000 in 2021 and $480,000 in 2022. However, that paycheck represents just a fraction of the money he made while his Covid-19 policies helped push the US economy into a recession.

The disclosures show multiple trusts, retirement accounts, and other financial assets, all of which seem to have appreciated in value during the pandemic even as much of the real economy suffered. Book royalties and the $1 million Dan David Prize from Israel, as well as appearances and speaking fees, round out Fauci’s Covid-19 windfall. When OpenTheBooks asked the NIH to see all royalties paid to the doctor, however, the document they received – which would have shown exactly how much Fauci was financially benefiting from drugs and other patents – was reportedly heavily redacted.

“While Dr. Fauci has been a government bureaucrat for more than 55 years, his household net worth skyrocketed during the pandemic,” OpenTheBooks CEO Adam Andrzejewski told Fox News, attributing the doctor’s wealth spurt to “career-end salary spiking, lucrative cash prizes awarded by nonprofit organizations around the world, and an ever-larger investment portfolio.”

Fauci has been criticized throughout the pandemic for allegedly profiting off the pricey antiviral medication remdesivir, which he proclaimed the standard for treating Covid-19 despite lackluster clinical trial results and having been against the initial advice of the World Health Organization.

Fauci appears to dislike discussing his finances in public, having been caught on a hot mic describing Republican Senator Roger Marshall as a “moron” for merely asking to see what were supposed to be publicly available documents. The Kansas senator, who is also a doctor, asked to see Fauci’s financials during a January hearing only for the NIAID chief to insist they were already public – a statement that was not true at the time. OpenTheBooks sued for access in January and only recently received the documents it posted on Friday.

Following the hearing, Marshall introduced the FAUCI Act (Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals) to require that government employees’ financial disclosures be publicly accessible on the Office of Government Ethics website.

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Is the Real Covid Pharmaceutical Bonanza Just Getting Started?


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is not a manufacturer of a Covid vaccine and thus did not benefit from Covid vaccine sales, recently announced second quarter 2022 results that surpassed expectations. This has enabled an upward adjustment in the profit forecast for the full year 2022. The Telegraph reported that GSK shares are up 44% from last spring.

Sales of GSK’s shingles vaccine, Shingrix, was the main driver of growth. Shingrix sales more than doubled in the second quarter, being April to June 2022, pushing up total GSK sales by 13%.

Shingrix is a relatively new shingles vaccine that my doctor tells me is considered an improvement on Zostervax, the traditional shingles vaccine. However, Shingrix is not cheap. A two dose course in Hong Kong costs £600, in the U.K. £440 and in the U.S. around $300. Allowing for distributor and retail margins, I estimate that GSK’s income would be about one third of the retail price. Let’s assume therefore that GSK earns £150 per two dose course on a worldwide average basis.

According to GSK, sales of Shingrix doubled to £731M, an increase of £366M in one fiscal quarter. At £150 per course, this equates to an unexpected increase in sales and thus vaccine recipients in one fiscal quarter of 2.4 million from the expected quarterly run rate.

When asked the reason for this surprising jump in Shingrix sales, GSK’s CEO stated: “It comes after countries started to shift their focus away from Covid towards other jab campaigns.”

Nobody seems to have questioned this statement. In the period in question, April to June 2022, Covid vaccine programmes were still highly active and indeed many programmes across the world were on to their third or fourth booster.

Though extremely painful, shingles is not life threatening and generally affects people over 50. It affects persons who have previously had chickenpox, often in their childhood, and is triggered mainly by overwork, lack of sleep or similar stress-related reasons. Shingles attacks the nervous system, especially nerve endings, and hence is often intensely painful.

Vaccination against shingles is not routinely given to all over-50s in most countries. Despite this, according to GSK, in the middle of a continuing Covid campaign, countries opted to shift their focus to vaccinating against shingles?

Is this likely? If indeed there was a shift to more usual vaccination programmes, would vaccination against shingles have been prioritised? Additionally, given the cost of this vaccine, and weighing up the public benefit, would most countries or patients really switch to Shingrix from the much cheaper Zostervax?

All of this seems unlikely. So what has driven a 50% increase in sales of a very expensive vaccine not part of the usual standard vaccination programme?

Further, taking the USA as an example, the ratio of Shingrix to Zostervax sales is 50-50.  In most other countries, Shingrix has less than 50% of the market. If 2.4 million people in one quarter had the Shingrix vaccine, how many more had Zostervax? It is not inconceivable that some 5 million more people than usual were vaccinated against shingles in one quarter.

Can this really be explained by countries restarting their normal vaccination programmes, and for no particular reason adding a shingles vaccines into the standard mix?

I may have the answer. In my 50s I twice had shingles. I can vouch for how painful it is. Since then I have had the traditional shingles vaccine jab every few years and had been shingles free for 15 years. I have also consciously improved how I manage my business travel and lifestyle to reduce travel stress and tiredness, which had been the previous drivers in my case.

In March and April 2021 I had my first and second Pfizer Covid jabs. On the day following the second jab I developed a chickenpox like rash and started to experience nerve pain. As I am something of a shingles veteran, I immediately thought “I am getting shingles!” And this is, indeed, what developed quite badly over the next few days.

I rang my doctor who said, “It can’t be shingles, you are vaccinated.” However, after examining me the next day he agreed I was right. I asked what had brought this on? Could it be the Covid jabs? He replied: “I cannot explain why, but it is not likely to be connected to the Covid jab.  Just unfortunate timing.”

My doctor then prescribed the usual medication for shingles and it cleared up in a week or so (for some it can take many weeks). My doctor then suggested I spend £600 having the new and better Shingrix vaccine, “as obviously your body is now immune to the traditional vaccine”. In his defence, this was very early days for assessing vaccine side-effects.

I decided I would not spend £600. Instead, I set about researching on the internet.

Since then it has transpired that shingles is a recognised reaction to the Pfizer vaccine in older people. Shingles is an inflammation of the nerves and nerve endings. The mRNA vaccines are now known to affect the nervous system in a number of different ways. It appears that triggering shingles is one of them (or else it is a result of a temporary depression of the immune system, as some have suggested).

Significantly, my doctor has confirmed he has now had other patients who contracted shingles after Covid vaccination. Most took up his £600 offer of Shingrix. It does not take much to imagine what a multiplier effect such advice and take-up across the world would have on the sales of Shingrix and the profits of GSK.

Something must be happening across the world for sales of an existing single product to double in a quarter by 2.4 million. In the absence of any other new factors, one can conclude that the drive in sales must have been due to one side-effect of the Covid vaccines. Equally one can imagine the booster effect for the makers of Zostervax too.

Whilst not all pharmaceutical companies have produced enormously profitable Covid vaccines, the emerging medical toll, side-effects and general aftermath of these vaccines and lockdowns is only just emerging. I suspect all pharmaceutical companies will now share in a second Covid profits bonanza driven by medications prescribed to deal with the collective aftermath of Covid. GSK has lit the way.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Hindawi and Wiley to retract over 500 papers linked to peer review rings

Retraction Watch | September 28, 2022

After months of investigation that identified networks of reviewers and editors manipulating the peer review process, Hindawi plans to retract 511 papers across 16 journals, Retraction Watch has learned.

The retractions, which the publisher and its parent company, Wiley, will announce tomorrow in a blog post, will be issued in the next month, and more may come as its investigation continues. They are not yet making the list available.

Hindawi’s research integrity team found several signs of manipulated peer reviews for the affected papers, including reviews that contained duplicated text, a few individuals who did a lot of reviews, reviewers who turned in their reviews extremely quickly, and misuse of databases that publishers use to vet potential reviewers.

Richard Bennett, vice president of researcher and publishing services for Hindawi, told us that the publisher suspects “coordinated peer review rings” consisting of reviewers and editors working together to advance manuscripts through to publication. Some of the manuscripts appeared to come from paper mills, he said.

We asked what prompted the investigation. Bennett told us:

In April 2022, Hindawi’s Research Integrity team led an initial investigation into a single Special Issue (SI) after a Chief Editor raised concerns about some of the papers published in it. The team decided to investigate the content of the journal further. Through this investigation, the team highlighted a pattern of irregular and concerning reviewer activity and identified potential ‘bad actors’ that were present across many of these publications.

These concerns prompted the Publishing Insights and Research Integrity teams, enabled by recently enhanced analytic capabilities and newly developed dashboards providing views across all reviewer activity, to conduct a wider investigation to determine whether these same bad actors were involved in peer review manipulation elsewhere in the Hindawi portfolio.

Following the discovery that these bad actors were present in other journals, the Hindawi leadership team put in place a cross-functional working team combining the manual and data-driven investigation which resulted in the identification of further published articles.

In early August, Hindawi expanded the investigation under a combined investigation team comprising Research Integrity experts, data and analytics experts, publishing and operational teams, and legal counsel from both Wiley and Hindawi. This team evaluated in depth review activity across all potentially impacted articles and manuscripts. This resulted in a list of ‘compromised’ reviewers and editors in addition to the bad actors already discovered, identification of networks that exist between them, patterns of review activity, and insight into published articles and manuscripts at each stage in the review process that we could initially label as ‘compromised’. On September 6, the combined investigation team began assessing published articles which led to the initial recommendation to retract 511 articles that are compromised based on reviewer activity alone. We expect ongoing investigations to result in further retractions.

The publisher also held up the review and production of submitted manuscripts in which “potentially compromised” individuals were involved, and will begin assessing those articles.

We asked about what Hindawi will do to prevent something similar from happening again, but Bennett declined to share specifics, “as we believe it will simply open up new targets for those who seek to exploit a system based on trust.”

He did say that the publisher has banned the individuals its investigation identified, will contact research integrity officers or department heads as appropriate, and has shared its findings with industry groups:

It is increasingly apparent to all involved in safeguarding and investigating issues of research integrity that closing rings down at one publisher can simply move the problem to others. We are committed to taking an active role in preventing that.

Other publishers have announced large batches of retractions recently. IOP Publishing earlier this month said it planned to retract nearly 500 articles likely from paper mills, and PLOS in August announced it would retract over 100 papers from its flagship journal over manipulated peer review.

In a prepared statement, Liz Ferguson, Wiley senior vice president of research publishing for Wiley, said that attacks on research integrity such as paper mills, manipulated peer review, and image duplication and doctoring “are sophisticated and appear to be coordinated.”

Her statement continued:

As these attacks increase in frequency and intensity, we remain committed to upholding research integrity throughout our publishing programs. We have and will continue to share our findings with our peers and industry bodies to advance a cross-industry approach. This is absolutely essential to safeguard trust in research.

It’s something that we at Wiley are committed to and as a result we have taken the step of sharing our findings as transparently as possible, not just with our peers, but with industry associations, third party databases, and others.

These conversations have been very constructive. Our industry is one of trust – this remains our greatest asset. Only through concerted and collaborative action will we succeed together. This is our goal, and Wiley and Hindawi will continue to advance it tirelessly.

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

FBI Misused SWAT Team to Arrest Jan. 6 Protesters – Whistleblower

Samizdat – 28.09.2022

An FBI whistleblower submitted a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel alleging that the federal agency and Department of Justice (DoJ) have violated constitutional rights of Jan. 6 defendants by misusing SWAT teams to make misdemeanor arrests.

Special Agent Stephen M. Friend informed the US Office of Special Counsel, a permanent independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency, about alleged violations by the bureau and DoJ in a whistleblower complaint obtained by US media outlet Just the News earlier this week. Friend works for the FBI in Florida and serves as a SWAT team member.

“I believed the investigations were inconsistent with FBI procedure and resulted in the violation of citizens’ Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights,” Friend wrote. “I added that many of my colleagues expressed similar concerns to me but had not vocalized their objections to FBI Executive Management.”

In particular, Friend cited an inappropriate use of SWAT teams to arrest subjects for misdemeanor offenses related to the January 6 protests in DC. According to the complaint, the agent suggested alternatives such as “the issuance of a court summons or utilizing surveillance groups to determine an optimal, safe time for a local sheriff deputy to contact the subjects and advise them about the existence of the arrest warrant.”

Nonetheless, one of Friend’s bosses told him that “FBI executive management considered all potential alternatives and determined the SWAT takedown was the appropriate course of action.”

Last year, Julie Kelly, a political commentator, author and senior contributor to American Greatness (AG), described numerous cases when January Sixers were raided by SWAT teams despite not being accused of any violent crime or having a criminal record. Many of the defendants were also interrogated with no lawyer present, according to Kelly.

In one case on June 24, 2021, the FBI arrested a Florida pastor and his son for their alleged involvement in the January 6 protest, according to American Greatness. The son, Casey Cusick, was handcuffed in front of his three-year-old daughter, while Cusick’s father, James, the founder and pastor of a church in Melbourne, Florida, also was arrested. Neither of the Cusicks were accused of violent crimes related to the DC incident.

Joseph Bolanos, a 69-year-old New Yorker and former Red Cross volunteer was raided in February 2021 by the FBI anti-terrorism task force because a tipster falsely linked him to the January 6 Capitol hill protest. The old man remained handcuffed and detained for three hours before the problem was resolved.

Agent Friend noted in his whistleblower complaint that he believes that the January 6 investigation has involved “overzealous charging by the DOJ and biased jury pools in Washington DC”.

The whistleblower likewise revealed that the FBI field office in Washington DC was opening Capitol riot cases in other field offices across the US, thus creating “a false data trail” suggesting a nationwide domestic extremism emergency when in reality the cases all stemmed from the Capitol breach in one city: Washington.

As a result of this apparent manipulation, agents in field offices across the country are being listed as case agents for search and arrest warrants for subjects they actually had not investigated, according to Friend.

“There are active criminal investigations of J6 subjects in which I am listed as the ‘Case Agent,’ but have not done any investigative work,” Friend revealed. “Additionally, my supervisor has not approved any paperwork within the file. J6 Task Force members are serving as Affiants on search and arrest warrant affidavits for subjects whom I have never investigated or even interviewed but am listed as a Case Agent.”

To complicate matters further, the FBI deprioritized other investigations of serious crimes like child sex exploitation for the sake of January 6 investigation, according to the whistleblower: “I was also told that child sexual abuse material investigations were no longer an FBI priority and should be referred to local law enforcement agencies,” the agent wrote.

Speaking to Just the News, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio confirmed that his office had communicated with Friend and is aware of his complaint. The Republican lawmakers raised concerns about the FBI’s usage of excessive force both in raids against January Sixers and the bureau’s latest searches of former President Donald Trump’s premises in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, which took place on August 8.

The DoJ dispatched a whopping 30 FBI agents to raid Trump’s home. However, Jonathan Turley, Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University, wondered if the FBI’s sudden intrusion was really justified given that Trump’s team had previously cooperated with the DoJ and complied with a federal subpoena.

On August 14, GOP Rep. Jordan told Fox News that 14 FBI whistleblowers had come forward with concerns about the DoJ’s alleged political bias in the wake of the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid.

Earlier, a number of FBI whistleblowers reportedly informed Republican congressmembers that the bureau and the Department of Justice had selectively launched investigations into conservative-aligned individuals and exhibited a pattern of political bias. On July 25, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley accused FBI officials of pursuing “politically charged investigations” related to the Trump campaign while downplaying and discrediting negative information concerning Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

“If these allegations are true and accurate, the Justice Department and FBI are – and have been – institutionally corrupted to their very core to the point in which the United States Congress and the American people will have no confidence in the equal application of the law,” Grassley wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Not only Republicans are concerned with the FBI and DoJ’s apparent political bias: on July 23, former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called out the Biden administration, for “shamelessly weaponz[ing]” federal law enforcement agencies into a “political hit squad.”

Ranking Republican lawmakers have been reportedly conducting investigations into the DoJ and the FBI which could take on a new significance if the GOP wins the majority in the House and the Senate after the November midterms.

September 28, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment

A Critique of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission

By David Bell | Brownstone Institute | September 27, 2022

The Lancet recently released its long-awaited COVID-19 commission report. The report well reflects the current state of public health science and addresses the business needs of the Lancet. It may have been naïve to expect further, but health is an important area and should be taken more seriously.

The level of obfuscation of evidence, misrepresentation of prior knowledge, and disregard for diversity of scientific evidence and opinion does not reflect well on either Lancet or the commission itself.

The Lancet in context

Medicine and public health are particularly dependent on truth and transparency, as the lives and health of people cannot be entrusted to dogma and superstition. Clear and open debate is fundamental to minimizing mistakes, which can kill, and to building the trust that patients and populations need to follow guidance (as they must ultimately be the decision-makers). These two related disciplines are also increasingly lucrative for practitioners and for the companies supplying the wares they employ. These forces inevitably pull in different directions.

Private companies making these wares, such as those in the pharmaceutical industry, have a responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders. This means encouraging more people to use their tests or drugs, rather than putting people in states of health where they do not need them (either good health, or death).

This is not an extreme position, it is a simple truth – it is how this industry is structured. If there is a wonder drug in a lab somewhere that resolves all metabolic disease with a single dose, and it is easy to manufacture and copy, then the Pharma industry would collapse. Pharma has a duty to build a market, not heal.

Transparency and truth, on the other hand, could mean admitting certain highly profitable drugs are not needed or even dangerous; that an alternative safe and cheap drug, previously available for other purposes, will be more cost-effective and lower risk.

We cannot expect private companies to state this, as it will damage or destroy their income (their business). If they do not try to block a repurposed drug that puts their own investments at risk, they would be betraying their investors. What they should do, for their investors, is overemphasize the advantage of their own product, maximize the desire of people to use them, and run public campaigns to ensure this situation is prolonged as far as possible. This is what any for-profit business does – it is their job. It is not unexpected.

We have long relied on medical journals to act as a conduit for information from researchers to medical practitioners and the public. This is a plausible model if journals are independent and the staff and owners of the journal promote truth above politics or company profit.

This was once the case; the Lancet, a subject of this article, was once family-owned and that could hold to the values of Thomas Wakley and his descendants, standing against medical authorities up to 1921. It has since been owned by other for-profit companies, now a subsidiary of a larger Dutch-based publishing conglomerate, ‘Elsevier.’

Elsevier in turn is owned by RELX group (back in London), a large company with a typical list of major institutional investors including BlackRock (and so its major owner Vanguard), Morgan Stanley and Bank of America – the same list as major pharmaceutical and biotech corporations whose products Lancet publishes on.

The above does not tell us there is intentional wrong or malfeasance, just intrinsic conflicts of interest of the type journals such as Lancet are supposed to guard against. Lancet’s ultimate ownership has a duty to shareholders to use their portfolio of assets to maximize return; on this measure alone Lancet should favor certain pharmaceutical companies. The only thing that could stand in the way is lack of competence by the owners, or a moral code that rates investors below integrity.

In this context, Lancet’s track record over COVID-19 has been checkered. In February 2020 it published a major letter on COVID-19 origins that ignored major conflicts of interest in which nearly all authors were implicated in the alternative lab origin hypothesis. It published clearly fraudulent data on hydroxychloroquine that were significant in halting early treatment studies.

A lack of early effective treatment was necessary to secure Pharma profits for later COVID-19 medications and vaccines. The later exposure of the fraud was subsequently described by The Guardian and was one of the biggest retractions in modern history.

In 2022 Lancet published a weakly-evidenced opinion advocating medical fascism; dividing and restricting people based on compliance with pharmaceutical interventions. Lancet’s top leadership has remained unchanged throughout. This is relevant context for understanding the report of the Lancet ‘commission’ on COVID-19.

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission’s Report

In mid-2020 Lancet recruited people from various aspects of public life to review various aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak. This ‘commission’ (a somewhat grand name for a privately-convened group from a private for-profit business) was headed by economist Jeffrey Sachs, who preceded the recent release of the report by publicly discussing conclusions on the potential source of SARS-CoV-2, highlighting the probability of a laboratory origin as opposed to direct animal-human spread.

This part of the commission’s investigation had been halted early when Sachs discovered that several panel members had undisclosed conflicts of interest amounting to receipt of funding to conduct the very laboratory gain-of-function research widely suspected of promoting rapid human spread. Some had been authors of the earlier Lancet origins letter.

The Executive Summary provides a foretaste of the quality of work to come, noting IHME estimates of “17·2 million estimated deaths from COVID-19,” a “staggering death toll” as the commission notes, particularly staggering as it is higher than the WHO estimates for total excess deaths throughout the pandemic period. These WHO estimates include all deaths caused by lockdowns and those where virus detection was incidental. It is an implausible figure, even ignoring the lack of context here (nearly all in late old age, and with severe comorbidities).

Ironically, the commission reports in its main text over 2.1 million excess deaths from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV arising from the COVID-19 response in 2020 alone. However, this is a misunderstanding by commission members of WHO’s actual estimates – WHO does report significant excess 2020 deaths from these diseases but not this many – though many more will accumulate through subsequent years.

Reflecting the lack of inclusiveness of the commission itself, the report recommends censorship of the alternate approaches, considering “failure to combat systematic disinformation” to be a contributor to severity. The commission then inadvertently provides an example of disinformation in its characterization of the Great Barrington Declaration, misrepresenting it as calling for “uncontrolled spread of the virus.

This, based on the declaration itself, must be a lie, as the commission must not have read the declaration within the two years they had available. Did they not consider it pertinent to question those who wrote it or (over 900,000) signed it? Whether the declaration was correct or not, it reflected prior WHO evidence-based policy. Ignoring this is simply untenable for a serious inquiry.

The overall findings of the commission are extremely disappointing from the point of view of science, public health, and simple honesty. Its apparent lack of familiarity with prior public health norms and practice, including that of the World Health Organization (WHO), may have been genuine, or may be contrived to emphasize a narrative it was intended to support. Given Lancet’s COVID-19 track record and business imperatives, the latter would not be entirely unexpected, but it is disappointing to see adults in positions of influence producing a document of this nature.

Summary of key findings

The Report helpfully provides a three page ‘Key Findings’ section. While missing aspects of the main body such as the euphemism “prosocial behaviour” to denote social exclusion, and extolling the “logic” of the completely illogical WHO slogan for mass COVID-19 vaccination, “No one is safe until everyone is safe,” it generally captures the main thrust of the whole text. Reading the rest is however recommended to understand how modern public health thinking has so clearly gone off the rails.

The key findings are stepped through here. Anyone with a public health background is encouraged to refute the concerns raised, as many of the commission’s assertions appear to involve common traps that seem inexcusable for public health professionals. They hang heavily on a failure to grasp three fundamentals of COVID-19 and public health:

  1. Public health interventions are about risk and benefit. Interventions have positive and negative impacts. Recommendations therefore cannot be given without considering the potential harms they may cause in the short and long term, weighing these against perceived benefits.
  2. COVID-19 mortality is highly skewed towards very old age, and heavily associated with comorbidities. Therefore it is imperative to consider COVID-19 disease burden relative to other diseases in terms of life-years lost, not raw mortality (from or with) COVID-19.
  3. Prolonged lockdowns, workplace and school closures were not part of prior policy, or were partially recommended only in far more severe outbreaks. This is not implying the interventions were good or bad, it is just a fact that they defied public health norms and prior evidence. They were recommended against due to the harm they potentially cause. This lands most heavily, as WHO notes, on low income people and populations.

Highlights of the commission’s key findings:

“WHO acted too cautiously and too slowly on several important matters: … declare a public health emergency… restrict travel … endorse the use of facemasks…”

The commission seems unaware of the prior WHO pandemic influenza guideline. It is not among their 499 references. WHO specifically warned against restricting travel in this guideline, also noting that evidence on facemasks is “weak.” Travel restrictions can be significantly harmful to economies – cutting tourism income alone in low-income countries can increase mortality through poverty. The report fails to mention costs that extending these response measures would impose. Where lockdown costs are mentioned at all, it is in the context of costs of ‘failure’ to implement earlier or heavier, never in terms of weighing harm avoided against that caused. Ignoring relative costs, including the long-term health costs of increased poverty from longer lockdowns, is anathema to good public health policy.

Metanalyses of randomized control trials of community masking do not show significant benefit, and trials during COVID-19 show similar results. At a minimum, WHO was therefore evidence-based when recommending against community-masking – the organization is yet to provide evidence to back its later endorsement of their widespread use. The Lancet commission appears to be specifically recommending against the use of evidence-based approaches.

“… most governments around the world were too slow to acknowledge its importance and act with urgency in response….”

Most people live in low and middle income countries with low COVID-19 mortality and far higher burdens from other infectious disease, which occur in far younger people. This statement therefore seems strangely Western-centric. If they had known earlier, what would countries have actually done? (if earlier implementation of poverty-inducing responses, then for how long?)

The commission appears unaware of serological evidence of spread prior to January 2020, in some cases backed by PCR. This would negate any benefit from this recommendation, even ignoring the harms.

Citing the Western Pacific Region as an example of ‘lockdowns working’ similarly makes little sense, as comparisons elsewhere (e.g. Europe) did not show significant benefit, while in crowded slum areas they are clearly pointless. Evidence of early wide transmission (e.g Japan) indicates that low mortality was due to other factors.

“Epidemic control was seriously hindered by substantial public opposition to routine public health and social measures, such as the wearing of properly fitting face masks and getting vaccinated.”

This statement is ignorant or disingenuous. If the commission members have experience in public health, they know that quarantine of healthy people, prolonged ‘distancing’ and workplace closures were never used at scale before, and that widespread lockdowns were not ‘routine public health and social measures.’ If they did not know this, they had two years to find out. The world, including Lancet, knew by March 2020 that COVID-19 overwhelmingly targets the elderly and has little impact on healthy working-age adults.

The vaccines do not significantly reduce overall transmission – heavily vaccinated countries continue to show high transmission – so to suggest low vaccination hindered epidemic control is a vacuous statement. It may seem intuitive (e.g. it occurs with some other vaccines) but the commission had 18 months to observe COVID-19 mass vaccination.

“Public policies have also failed to draw upon the behavioural and social sciences.”

This is an extraordinary statement to use regarding COVID-19. Many Western governments have openly employed behavioral psychology in an unprecedented way in the COVID-19 outbreak. No public health campaign has ever gained such media attention or had such uniform suppression of non-official messaging from media outlets. It is strange to see a statement so removed from reality.

“Heavily burdened groups include essential workers, who are already disproportionately concentrated in more vulnerable minority and low-income communities.”

This appears to be a nod to compassion for vulnerable populations. It is true that certain groups did suffer higher rates of severe COVID-19, though these are highly correlated with rates of comorbidities (obesity in Western countries is unfortunately associated with poverty, and poverty with certain ethnic groups).

However, the burden was overwhelmingly on the elderly – to a rate several thousand times that in young people. It is the response that burdened these groups most clearly and the report does mention inequity-driving school closures, but this appears forgotten elsewhere in an apparent blind support for faster and harder lockdowns.

“In low income and middle-income countries (LMICs)… better outcomes were seen when previous experiences with outbreaks and epidemics were built upon, and when community-based resources—notably community health workers—were used to support screening and contact tracing, capacity and trust-building within communities.”

This claim appears false. Sub-Saharan African countries did well irrespective of prior experience, with a relative exception of South Africa where obesity is more prevalent and there is a higher proportion of old people. Tanzania instituted very few COVID-19 specific measures but has similar outcomes. More than half the sub-Saharan population is less than 20 years of age, an age-group with extremely low mortality in the West. Actual spread in Africa, confirmed by WHO, has been very high.

“… the support for vaccine production in LMICs, for use in those countries, has come at a great cost in terms of inequitable access to vaccines.”

Nearly all people in low and middle income countries (except perhaps China) will by now have immunityPost-infection immunity is equal or more effective to vaccine-induced immunity. Therefore, mass vaccination of a whole population with COVID-19 vaccines that don’t significantly reduce transmission cannot plausibly provide much benefit, whilst resource diversion is harmful. This statement is therefore devoid of public health sense.

“Economic recovery depends on sustaining high rates of vaccination coverage …”

Economic recovery depends on removing impediments to a functioning economy (lockdown measures). Vaccinating immune people with a vaccine that does not stop transmission cannot help to ‘reopen’ an economy. This statement parrots official mass-vaccination messaging elsewhere, but Lancet’s commission had an opportunity to promote logic and evidence-based policy.

“The sustainable development process has been set back by several years, with a deep underfinancing of investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

This is indeed clear. Poverty is worse, malnutrition is worse, and preventable disease burdens are higher. Women’s rights are greatly reduced across much of the world, and school attendance has been denied to hundreds of millions of children, entrenching future poverty. Acknowledging this is important, but it also calls into question much of the remainder of the report. Recommendations that acknowledge these mass harms which are concentrated on populations with lowest COVID-19 risk, but go on to recommend more of the interventions that caused them, do not seem well considered.

The remainder of the key findings recommend policies of mass vaccination ‘to protect populations,’ more money for the World Health Organization, and more money internationally for supporters of the growing pandemic agenda. This plays to Lancet’s gallery, but does not consider the harms of resource diversion, the actual very low mortality from pandemics over the last 100 years, or the heterogeneity of human populations and of risk to disease.

If vaccines worked in reducing mortality (for all-cause mortality (the Pfizer and Moderna randomized controlled trials have not shown this to date), if vaccination was confined to highly vulnerable groups where benefit is most likely, and if the trillions of dollars spent on lockdown compensation, mass testing and mass vaccination had been spent on chronic and endemic disease burdens and poverty mitigation, does the Commission really believe more people would have died and outcomes been worse?

A travesty of public health and science

The commission members appear convinced that lockdowns and mass vaccination were a net benefit, but It also appears that in two years of consultation they have not considered the alternative. The loss of decades of progress on infectious disease, human rights, and poverty reduction caused by lockdowns has not been given sufficient pause for thought.

A virus that mainly targets people over 75 years of age was addressed with a public health response that targets the children and the economically productive, cementing long-term poverty and inequity. They support this approach, but consider it should have been instituted earlier, and was lifted too soon.

After emphasizing mandatory and restrictive measures throughout, and misrepresenting or ignoring alternative approaches, the report ends on a note that it should perhaps have started with. “We note the timeliness of recommitting to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN’s moral charter, as we celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023.”

This declaration includes rights to work, travel, socialize, and express opinions freely including, specifically, through any media. A quick read of the WHO’s charter would also have helped – health includes social and mental well-being (and physical well-being beyond a single disease). The report is void of such thinking – a travesty of both human rights and public health.

The report could well have been written based on slogans from WHOGavi and CEPI (whom the Lancet recommends should receive more money), from Pharma companies (on whose support Lancet is heavily directly or indirectly reliant) and from the World Economic Forum (who seem everywhere these days).

Some will have hoped for careful and considered thought, wide consultation, and a strong evidence base. It seems the corporate world may no longer have time for such indulgence. This is, in the end, a rich person’s club, seeking increased taxpayer funding for their favorite project. They are doing this in the name of public health.

It was reasonable to have hoped for better. What would Thomas Wakley have thought?

David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is the former Program Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland.

September 28, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

There’s no debating it: Biden will get billions in new Ukraine aid

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos | Responsible Statecraft | September 27, 2022

Congress is poised this week to approve an estimated $12 billion in new economic aid and military assistance to Ukraine. But don’t expect a lot of debate or even fanfare because it is being rolled into a stopgap measure to keep the entire federal government operating until December.

Called a continuing resolution, the massive spending bill must be passed by Friday to avoid a shutdown. This was obviously the most convenient way for Biden to push the Ukrainian aid measure through: Majority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spearheaded its inclusion in the resolution, and, with most members of Congress in favor of the previous aid packages and precious few days for any floor discussion, any critics of the proposal have little or no time to question it.

And plus, who’s going to chance being accused of wanting to “shut down the government” by raising a stink?

According to the most recent reports on Monday night, lawmakers have agreed to include $12 billion — $4.5 billion for weapons and equipment, and $2.7 for military, intelligence, and other defense support, plus another $4.5 billion to keep the Ukrainian government running for another quarter.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ attention seems to be focused elsewhere, on a completely different potential stumbling block: a permitting reform measure by Sen Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Nevertheless, the first step is a cloture vote to move the massive bill forward, with the Senate beginning deliberations today.

This new money is on top of the $40 billion approved in May. Since the war began, the U.S. has sent more than $15 billion in weapons and military assistance to Kyiv in its war against invading Russian forces.

But critics say there has been little visible oversight in Washington of the money already spent, whether it is getting to where it needs to go, or being used effectively by the forces that need it.

“Oversight of Ukraine aid is sorely needed,” Julia Gledhill, a defense analyst for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), tells Responsible Statecraft. “The State and Defense departments are handling billions of dollars in Ukraine funding, but neither have permanent inspectors general in place to investigate and prevent abuse of funds.”

The word is that the Democrats are unified behind the new aid package (recall no Democrat in either the House or Senate voted against the $40 billion measure in May). Republicans, on the other hand represent the potential opposition, with 11 GOP senators and 57 House Republicans dissenting on that same vote.

According to recent reports, Republican complaints of this latest tranche have focused on the fact it was being tied to the CR and the lack of debate.

“I haven’t seen a detailed list of exactly how they want to spend the money,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said on Sept. 19. “I think whatever we do on Ukraine, we ought to be doing it separately from the CR. I think we’ve gotta have a clean CR that goes through Congress.”

In that same CNN article, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said he was “open for discussion” about the Ukraine aid. The House side seems a bit more restive: a recent Politico article quoted Rep. Chip Roy, (R-Texas) balking at what seemed to be rubber stamping aid for Ukraine.

“There’s no limiting principle. So no, count me against throwing more money at Ukraine without having a serious conversation about guns and butter, a serious conversation about why we’re spending it and how it’s in our national security interest,” he said.

But these primary concerns — oversight and debate over whether continuing aid is in the U.S. interest (and whether, when not paired with diplomatic strategy, we might be prolonging the war at Ukraine’s ultimate expense) — will be likely overtaken this week by the bipartisan desire to keep sending aid. This includes party leaders and chairs/ranking members of the prominent Armed Services Committees who believe that new and more weapons will put Ukrainians in a position of strength from which to eventually negotiate.

In fact, folks like Sen. James Inhofe want to give more. “This aid package is insufficient to provide the Ukrainians with what they need to win,” the Republican ranking member of the SASC complained on Twitter in early September.

Politically, however, Biden is smart to get this through now. If Republicans take over the House after the November midterms, they are expected to throw up many more roadblocks against additional Biden/Democratic spending, and that might jeopardize further Ukraine aid. But that’s not set in stone: Establishment institutions like the Republican Policy Committee are clear the assistance to Ukraine must continue. In fact, they tie it to our foreign policy writ large:

“We must leave absolutely no doubt in the minds of Russia’s, China’s, or any other nation’s leaders about U.S. resolve to support sovereignty and self-determination around the globe,” the RPC said in Sept. 12 paper. “Decisive military aid to Ukraine will accomplish this task.”

Responsible Statecraft will update this story as it develops.

September 27, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , | 3 Comments


The Highwire with Del Bigtree | September 21, 2022

World-renowned Critical Care Specialist, Dr. Paul Marik, joins Del to talk about the harrowing fight to keep his medical license, after treating critically-ill Covid-19 patients with lifesaving early treatments that were against hospital policy. Fellow FLCCC co-founder, Dr. Pierre Kory, joins the conversation to reflect on their first battle against Academia; the shocking struggle with a corrupt medical system to utilize a life-saving, cheap, and safe protocol for sepsis, the leading cause of death in the world.

September 25, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

CDC Report Blames Pregnancy-Related Deaths on Heart, Mental Health Issues, But No Mention of Vaccines

The Defender | September 23, 2022

The U.S. has long had the dubious distinction of trailing other wealthy nations in infant and child mortality.

Shamefully, it is not just babies and young children who are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in peer nations, but also American moms-to-be and new moms, with the U.S. having the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country.

In countries like New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands, there are three or fewer maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, versus about 17 deaths per 100,000 in the U.S.

America also is the only high-income nation where pregnancy-related deaths have, since 2000, been increasing rather than declining.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks moms’ deaths both short-term and longer-term, looking at maternal deaths that occur within six weeks (42 days) of the end of pregnancy, and deaths that occur up to a year after the end of pregnancy, some of which are referred to as “late maternal deaths.”

“Late” deaths are yet another area in which the U.S. is an outlier compared to its sister nations.

For both the short-term and longer-term measures, the cause may be “any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy.”

In lower-income nations, hemorrhage, infections and delivery-related complications are some of the leading contributors to maternal mortality.

But according to a new CDC report, in the U.S., the picture is quite different.

The CDC report analyzed about 1,000 deaths from 36 states for the 2017-2019 period — that is, the time frame before restrictive COVID-19 policies and vaccines introduced new risks.

Noting that more than half of pregnancy-related deaths (53%) in America take place well after delivery — anywhere from one week to one year postpartum — the CDC report highlights mental health and cardiovascular conditions as the top two “underlying causes of pregnancy-related death,” albeit with stark differences by race/ethnicity.

For white and Hispanic women, it’s the mind

Among non-Hispanic white and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic women, mental health conditions top the list of apparent underlying causes, with the CDC attributing more than a third of pregnancy-related deaths (35%) in the former group to that category and about 1 in 4 deaths (24%) in the latter group.

The CDC defines mental-health-related deaths among pregnant women and new moms as “deaths of suicide, overdose/poisoning related to substance use disorder, and other deaths determined … to be related to a mental health condition, including substance use disorder.”

It should be noted that some researchers believe published data sources on maternal mortality vastly underestimate deaths from suicide and overdose.

Up to 17% of women, according to some sources, experience postpartum anxiety, a fact that long ago prompted experts to flag suicide risks in postpartum women as a “public health priority.”

In 2018, Stanford authors also linked major depression during pregnancy — reportedly experienced by up to 13% of expectant women — to increased risks of “maternal self-harm or suicide.”

However, the go-to “treatments” for postpartum blues — anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants — are in and of themselves linked to increased suicidality, not to mention being of unproven efficacy.

WebMD, which blithely encourages women experiencing postpartum depression to consider antidepressants, says nothing about suicidality as a potential side effect, merely telling women the drugs “should help you feel more like yourself” and if they don’t, suggesting “a different dosage” or a “combination of medicines.”

Likewise, a 2018 article in HuffPost connected no dots when it told the story of a two-time mom who committed suicide shortly after initiating anti-anxiety medication.

2021 meta-analysis assessing 1.45 million patients produced far more assertive findings, showing that all types of antidepressants — whether commonly prescribed SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs (e.g., Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Pexeva, Prozac, Zoloft) or non-SSRI medications (e.g., Effexor, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Zyban) — are associated with a significantly increased risk of suicide.

Commenting on the 2021 study, the organization Mad in America noted, “Studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry were far more likely to find lower suicide rates than studies performed by independent researchers,” with non-industry-beholden researchers reporting a doubling of suicide risk in adults taking antidepressants.

An 11-year analysis of prescription medications found a statistically significant association with increased suicide attempts for the anti-anxiety drugs Xanax and Valium — both widely prescribed to new moms and both in the highly addictive benzodiazepine family — as well as for the opioid Vicodin, which combines the narcotic hydrocodone with acetaminophen.

In fact, both depression and suicidal symptoms are potential “side effects” of more than 200 common drugs used by one-fourth to one-third of all Americans — “an important reminder that the drugs a person takes for one health condition may be making them sick in other ways.”

All of these data are left unmentioned when the CDC and other researchers lament substance use disorders as a risk factor for pregnancy-related death.

At best, they pay lip service to the fact that such disorders may involve legal drugs and medications in addition to illicit substances.

Medical sites are equally selective in the facts they choose to emphasize regarding opioid use disorder in pregnant and postpartum women.

For example, few dwell on the hefty incentives that have encouraged providers to widely prescribe opioids for these and other patient groups.

Describing overprescribing of opioids after childbirth, and particularly after cesarean surgery, a 2019 study noted that “the absolute number of women who are exposed to opioids after childbirth and become chronic opioid users every year is very large.”

The same study also highlighted the association between chronic opioid (mis)use and depression.

For Black women, it’s the heart

Among non-Hispanic Black women — who are two-and-a-half times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women — the CDC’s latest findings highlight cardiovascular problems rather than mental health issues as the leading mortality contender.

By the CDC’s accounting, problems ranging from “cardiac and coronary conditions” to cardiomyopathy (heart muscle weakness) to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (forms of high blood pressure predictive of future heart attacks) to strokes and blood clots are responsible for almost 6 in 10 pregnancy-related deaths (58%) in Black women, with a paltry 7% of deaths attributed to mental health challenges.

Recent research indicates Black moms who experience high blood pressure during pregnancy actually face a significantly increased all-cause mortality risk for at least five years after delivery.

Notably, Black women’s heart risks appear to be impervious to socioeconomic status or level of education.

In fact, a Commonwealth Fund report published in late 2020 noted the “startling” fact that education “exacerbates rather than mitigates Black-White differences in maternal deaths,” with college-educated Black mothers being at greater risk of pregnancy-related death than white mothers of any education level.

Many experts profess to be baffled about the root causes or “driving mechanisms” of Black-white cardiovascular disparities.

One factor could be obesity — affecting 57% of Black women versus 40% of white women — but typically, individuals with more education are less likely to be obese, so this can’t completely account for the findings pertaining to college-educated Black women.

Regarding both obesity and related chronic diseases like diabetes, other researchers have speculated that Black Americans “consume significantly more added sugars … than Whites,” noting that diabetes went from being far less to far more common in Blacks versus whites concurrently with the exponential rise in added sugar (and notably, soft drink) intake.

A third factor that has long garnered attention is that of stress and what are referred to as social determinants — “the complexity of factors germane to the environment (that) predisposes people to a burden of cardiovascular disease” — although researchers who vaguely blame “multifactorial” causes ranging from “the individual level to the social environment” have not been particularly helpful in pinpointing meaningful solutions.

Vaccines: an invisible factor affecting both mind and heart

No discussion of threats to the health of pregnant and postpartum women would be complete without noting the alarming loosening of former prohibitions against vaccination during pregnancy.

Vaccine package inserts list nearly 400 possible adverse events — including death and every single “mental health,” cardiac or vascular condition reported by the CDC as an “underlying cause” of pregnancy-related death.

However, the CDC will never investigate the role of this influential variable. On the contrary, the nation’s lead public health agency is the ringleader for vaccination of pregnant women, aggressively recommending inactivated flu shots since around 2006, and Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccines since about 2011, despite an utter lack of data supporting their safety.

By April 2020, three out of five pregnant women (61%) were receiving flu shots and nearly that many (57%) were getting Tdap vaccines, with the CDC celebrating large year-over-year increases in flu shot coverage for non-white women, in particular.

The CDC now also recommends that all pregnant women get COVID-19 shots, and in addition advises five vaccines — hepatitis A and B, meningococcal vaccines (ACWY or B), and polio — either “in some circumstances,” or based on “risk vs. benefit,” or “if otherwise indicated” or “if needed.”

For travel purposes, the CDC gives a thumbs-up to pregnant women for anthrax vaccines (if there is a “high risk of exposure”), rabies (“if otherwise indicated”), typhoid (“if needed”), smallpox (if “post-exposure”) and yellow fever (“if benefit outweighs risk”).

The agency takes an agnostic position (either “no recommendation” or “inadequate data for specific recommendation”) on the PCV13, PPSV23 and zoster vaccines, which leaves only four vaccines — human papillomavirus (HPV), live influenza, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and varicella (chickenpox) — that the CDC either does not recommend or considers “contraindicated” for pregnant women.

When the CDC and other public health officials opened the floodgates to vaccination of pregnant women — a group historically considered to require heightened research protections — it was clear they were turning a blind eye to known risks to the developing fetus, including miscarriage, subsequent neurodevelopmental disorders arising from an inflammatory response called “maternal immune activation,” birth defects and preterm delivery.

But it was with the rushed authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women — “based on [an] unreviewed study [and] unverifiable data” — that public health and government hypocrisy with regard to pregnant women came under the brightest spotlight.

As thousands, if not millions, of women and their babies suffer serious adverse events from the COVID-19 jabs, the CDC’s crocodile tears about 1,000 or so pregnancy-related deaths over a three-year period are hard to take seriously.

If the agency wants to stop pregnant women and new moms from dying, a good start would be to halt all vaccination during pregnancy and take a cold, hard look at the pharmaceutical pill-pushing and other social-environmental factors that ensnare so many women trying to do right by their babies.

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Corruption | , , | 1 Comment

Is this the turning of the tide against Bill Gates?

By Roger Watson | TCW Defending Freedom | September 20, 2022

It is hard to know if these are the end days for monkeypox, but I think they are. One of the main drivers, if not the sole driver, for pushing the monkeypox agenda was Big Pharma and the likely profits it would make from manufacturing a monkeypox vaccine. But with the imminent retirement of the representative of Big Pharma on earth, Anthony Fauci, to his $350,000 per annum package (and continued Covid infection and Paxlovid treatment ‘rebound’) and the start of the exposure of its high priest Bill Gates in the mainstream media, we can but hope the vaccine pushers may no longer prevail.

The exposure I refer to is an astonishing in-depth investigative article, published by the hitherto pro-vaccine Politico, entitled ‘How Bill Gates and his partners used their clout to control the global Covid response – with little oversight’ which reveals the extent of this one man’s control over the production and distribution of vaccines.

The disclosures will come as little surprise to readers of TCW, where Gates’s Covid vaccine development role has been under the microscope since December 2021. They will know already from TCW reporting that in March 2020 Gates stepped down from his position on the Microsoft board of directors, citing his desire to concentrate on Covid-19, that a month later he pledged to make Covid-19 vaccines available to 7billion people (the global population was estimated at 7.8billion last year) and that in December 2020 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $1.75billion to develop Covid-19 tests and vaccines, making itself the self-appointed leader of the global response to Covid-19. They will know, too, that this comes on the back of his hubristic long-term total global vaccine project. 

What the Politico article makes clear is that all the major bodies involved in unleashing the scourge of Covid-19 vaccines on the world such as Gavi, a global ‘vaccine alliance’ instigated by Bill Gates, the World Health Organisation, the Wellcome Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) were all receiving substantial funding from Bill Gates. This is exemplified by the fact that in 2021 the funding received by the WHO from Gates exceeded the contribution of the United StatesPolitico, with the German newspaper Die Welt, examined meeting minutes and thousands of pages of financial disclosures and tax documents, which revealed that the groups have spent nearly $10billion since 2020 in one of the first comprehensive accountings of expenditures by global health organisations on the global fight against the pandemic.

What the Politico article also shows is that Covid vaccine process spearheaded by Gates has been, from the perspective of the poorer parts of the world, a complete failure. In managing Covid-19, Politico argues that in the early days there was ‘a steady, almost inexorable shift in power from the overwhelmed governments to a group of non-governmental organisations’. These organisations ‘took on roles often played by governments – but without the accountability of governments’.

In her investigative reports for TCW into the guilty men behind global lockdown and the fast-tracked gene therapy vaccines, Paula Jardine casts an even more sinister light on this process. Her analysis points to the operation of CEPI (‘cross-populated’ with several men associated with or employed by BMGF, Wellcome and Gavi) a self-appointed international cabal that both engineered the crisis and the solutions to it, and to how it successfully sought to influence and control Covid policies – from lockdown to vaccination – round the world, deliberately panicking and pressuring governments. 

The Politico investigation by contrast focuses on the disturbing and influential role played by one man, the man with the money, that great ‘philanthropist’ Gates, who refused to suspend intellectual property rights which Doctors Without Borders, questioning the undue influence of Gates, stated emphatically was ‘protecting the interests of pharmaceutical giants over people living in poorer nations’. An unnamed former senior US health official is reported to have said: ‘You have to remember that when you’re dealing with the Gates Foundation, it’s almost like you’re dealing with another major country in terms of their donations to these global health organisations.’

Health fascists and medical meddlers have started to lose credibility in face of ‘operation backtrack’ over the damaging effect of lockdowns; the question is when backtrack will start in earnest over vaccines. Despite abundant evidence for, on the one hand, the ineffectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines and, on the other hand, their harmful side-effects, is there yet enough scepticism amongst the mass vaccinated to knock Gates, the vaccine architect, off his powerful pedestal?

That Politico and Die Welt – the latter also pro-Covid – had not been critical of Bill Gates up to this point gives a glimmer of hope. If other MSM follow where they lead, the tables could start to turn on Gates and spell the end of his role as the world’s leading vaccine cajoler; the end of a ‘vaccine for every ill’ global health culture, at the expense of all other public health measures, whether they are needed or not or do more harm than the diseases they were meant to prevent. We can but hope.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Russia won’t congratulate CIA on its diamond jubilee


In the Russian journal Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defence), the chief of Russia’s foreign intelligence Sergey Naryshkin has written a riveting essay on the 75th anniversary of the Central Intelligence Agency, which falls on Sunday. It is an unusual gesture, especially in the middle of the hybrid war in Ukraine. 

Probably, it serves a purpose? Most certainly, it serves to remind the Russian people and foreigners alike that nothing has been forgotten, nothing forgiven. 

The title of the essay — 75 candles on the CIA Cake — is somewhat misleading, as Naryshkin’s concluding remark is that “Anniversary congratulations and wishes there will not be. As there can be no compromise in assessing its (CIA’s) role in history and ‘merits’ to humanity.” 

Naryshkin’s essay will be closely studied by the western intelligence  for any “clues.” Indeed, what is he messaging? Naryshkin and President Vladimir Putin go back some 40 years. Naryshkin had just graduated from one of Moscow’s most prestigious institutions, the Felix Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB and  Putin was already working in the foreign intelligence department of the Leningrad KGB when they bumped into each other in the corridors of the Big House (as KGB’s regional headquarters in Leningrad was known).

Unsurprisingly, Naryshkin writes about the CIA with an easy familiarity. As he put it, “The CIA was created at the beginning of the Cold War era in order to conduct intelligence activities around the world as a tool to counteract the existence and strengthen the role of the USSR in the world, the formation of a bloc of socialist states, and the rise of the national liberation movement in Africa, Asia, and South America.” 

Funnily enough, nonetheless, the CIA began with a colossal intelligence failure when it predicted on 20th September 1949 that the first Soviet atomic bomb would appear in mid-1953, when, actually, 22 days before the publication of that forecast, the Soviet Union had already conducted its first test of a nuclear device.  

The CIA was once again clueless when Putin announced in March 2018 in an address to the Russian Parliament that Russia had developed a new hypersonic missile system, which “will be practically invulnerable.” US officials and analysts were taken aback. The CIA has a history of getting Russia all wrong, including about the collapse of the Soviet Union.  

But the CIA had its successes too — for example,  the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1951 after his move to nationalise Iranian oil fields. By the 1950s, CIA already turned into a “multi-disciplinary monster” when besides traditional intelligence activities, it was also “tasked with tracking and suppressing any political, economic, military processes in all parts of the planet that could threaten the world hegemony of the United States and its allies.” Naryshkin gives credit to Allen Dulles for this metamorphosis. Dulles introduced “aggressiveness and lack of morality into the activities” of the CIA. He was just the man to do so, having been station chief of the OSS (CIA’s predecessor) in Bern in 1942-1945, who had clandestine dealings with the Nazis behind the back of the US’ Soviet ally. 

Naryshkin takes us through the chronicle of CIA’s “coups d’etat, direct military interventions, provocations of all kinds, assassinations of objectionable politicians, terror, sabotage, bribery” and all that cloak and dagger stuff, which prompted President Lyndon Johnson’s famous condemnation of the agency as the “damn murder corporation.” Like in Banquo’s ghost scene at Macbeth’s banquet table in Shakespeare’s play, the victims appear — Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende …

There are chilling references to the CIA’s practice of using cancer spreading technology to eliminate “objectionable” Latin American leaders — Argentina’s Kirchner (thyroid cancer), Paraguay’s Lugo (lymphoma), Brazil’s Lula da Silva (laryngeal cancer) and D. Dilma Rousseff (lymphoma) — and, of course, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (tracheal cancer). According to Naryshkin, “In 1955, the CIA attempted to eliminate Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, who was perceived by the Americans as “a maniacal fanatic seeking to take over the world,” but failed miserably. Agents blew up the plane on which Zhou was supposed to fly to a conference of Asian and African leaders in Indonesia.” Thereupon, Dulles developed a plan to poison Zhou but gave up fearing that CIA’s involvement might get exposed!

A US Senate commission in 1975 uncovered and confirmed CIA involvement in contract killings and coup d’état. It counted 8 cases of assassination attempts by CIA agents and mercenaries on Fidel Castro during 1960-1965 alone. Havana later revealed the full tally — from 1959 through 1990, CIA planned 634 assassination attempts on Fidel. To quote Naryshkin, “With maniacal persistence, the CIA officers developed simply exotic ways to eliminate the Comandante. They tried to kill him with the help of suicide pilots, paratrooper agents, recruited agents from the inner circle, shelling cars and yachts from ships, boats and subversive saboteurs, with the help of scuba gear with a tubercle bacillus brought there, poisoned cigars, poisonous pills for food and much more.”

“The CIA used every opportunity to inflict maximum damage on the Soviet Union, including economic damage. CIA director W. Casey personally addressed the king of Saudi Arabia and persuaded him to sharply increase oil production, which caused world prices for the most important export resources for the USSR to fall by almost three times. For the budget of the Soviet Union, this was a huge loss, which seriously influenced further political events in the USSR.” 

Naryshkin throws some riveting insights into the saga of Ukraine in the 1948-1949 period when the CIA “actively used the experience of Hitler’s special services for launching subversive work against the USSR with recruits in the camps of displaced East Europeans who included quarter of a million Ukrainians. “Almost all the leaders and top functionaries of the Ukrainian nationalists were in one way or another bound by cooperation with the Nazis and therefore were completely controlled” by the CIA and British intelligence. In November 1950, the head of the CIA’s Policy Coordination Office, Frank Wisner bragged that CIA was capable of deploying up to 100,000 Ukrainian nationalists in case of a war with the Soviet Union. 

The U2 incident — shooting down the CIA spy plane — in the Urals on May 1, 1960 was a dramatic incident when Washington accused the USSR of destroying a scientific aircraft and a pilot-scientist, but was profoundly embarrassed when Moscow presented not only the wreckage of the aircraft and spy equipment to the media, “but also the living pilot Francis Gary Powers, who frankly told what he was doing in the sky over the USSR and on whose instructions.”

On the other hand, the masterstroke of a South Korean Boeing entering  Soviet airspace and getting shot down in 1983 provided just the “propaganda basis” for President Reagan “to announce another ‘crusade against communism.’ The policy of detente was thrown aside, and a new round of the arms race began.”  

Naryshkin’s final reflection is calm and collected with no trace of hyperbole: “Evaluation of the effectiveness of any special service is always relative. The US Central Intelligence Agency, entering its 76th year of existence, has been and remains a zealous executor of the will of the ruling circles of its country. Despite the significant changes taking place, they continue to imagine themselves as the only hegemon in the unipolar world. The organisation is intelligence, based on its name, but with a sensitive focus on conducting subversive actions against sovereign states.” 

To Indians, CIA has become a benign creature, no longer feared. Having links with the CIA carries no stigma among Indian elites. They regard “CIA phobia”  as a legacy of the Indira Gandhi era. And they thrive as mainstream columnists, think tankers and opinion makers. Naryshkin’s essay is a sobering reminder that history has not ended — and it never will. 

The essay (in Russian) is here. 

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Pharma’s Criminal Business Model — and How the U.S. Government Benefits From It

The Defender | September 9, 2022

In early September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that pharma giant Bayer would have to fork over millions to the DOJ to resolve allegations of fraud under the False Claims Act (FCA).

The False Claims Act, which enables civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government, dates back to the 19th century and Civil-War-era defense contractor fraud — but in modern times, healthcare fraud is the “top driver of FCA activity, both in the number of cases filed and total dollars recovered.”

In fiscal year 2021 — a year in which medicine and pharma went to town with demonstrably murderous COVID-19 hospital protocols and vaccines — the act brought in $5.6-plus billion, the second largest annual total in the FCA’s history.

Eighty-nine percent of those settlements and judgments were related to “drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories and physicians.”

And, though the total amounts were smaller in the three preceding years — fiscal years 20202019 and 2018 — healthcare-related cases still predominated, accounting for 86% to 87% of settlements and judgments.

In 2016, and again in 2019, the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen zeroed in on “ongoing, systematic wrongdoing” by the pharmaceutical industry, analyzing up to 27 years (1991-2017) of criminal and civil penalties paid to the federal or state governments, whether via the FCA or other mechanisms.

The top two types of violations were drug-pricing fraud and unlawful or deceptive marketing. But the reports also described practices such as kickbacks, patent manipulation, corporate collusion, data concealment, sale of contaminated or adulterated products, accounting and tax fraud, insider trading and distribution of unapproved drugs.

In 2020, academic authors published a similar analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reporting that 22 of 26 Global 500 or Fortune 1000 pharmaceutical firms had paid state or federal penalties for illegal activities between 2003-2016, with all but one firm engaging in the illegalities “for 4 or more years.”

The authors speculated that the four companies not documented as paying penalties could be more ethical or, conversely, might harbor “an ability for illegal activity to be undetected.”

All of these reports support the conclusion of Marc Rodwin — a Suffolk University Law School professor and expert on health law, policy and ethics — who wrote in a 2015 legal paper that the pharmaceutical industry’s “wide-scale” misconduct “risks slipping into the banalities of ordinary business practices.”

Bayer’s drop in the bucket

Bayer’s just-announced $40-million DOJ settlement, which responds to whistleblower lawsuits initiated nearly two decades ago, represents a drop in the bucket compared to the company’s $48.9-billion earnings for 2021.

The Germany-headquartered company, the world’s sixth-largest pharmaceutical juggernaut, is engaged in an ongoing biotech “investment spree” that has enabled positive financial results despite the current legal headaches associated with its ownership of Monsanto.

Violation Tracker, a database covering corporate misconduct from the year 2000 on, displays 155 results for Bayer and its subsidiaries over the past two decades, listing penalties such as drug and medical equipment safety violations, FCA offenses and various other forms of fraud.

The company’s “history of malfeasance” extends much further back, however, featuring its marketing of heroin as a top-selling children’s cough syrup in the early 20th century; the sale of lethal chemical weapons during WWI in violation of chemical warfare treaties; collaboration, as part of the IG Farben conglomerate, with Nazi medical experiments during WWII; knowingly marketing tainted blood products in the 1970s and 1980s; and, for 16 years, promoting a now-recalled birth control device — the focus of nearly 20,000 lawsuits — that routinely perforated women’s internal organs.

The long-running lawsuits that led to the latest settlement alleged Bayer paid kickbacks to hospitals and physicians to promote three drugs: a cholesterol drug recalled in 2001 after being linked to “significantly more fatal cases than its competitors,” a potent antibiotic associated with a wide range of serious or fatal adverse reactions and a kidney-toxic heart surgery drug approved in 1993 and belatedly recalled in 2007, after killing an estimated 22,000 bypass patients.

The whistleblower also alleged drug marketing “for off-label uses that were not reasonable and necessary” and significant downplaying of the two recalled drugs’ safety risks.

Though Bayer withdrew both drugs for “safety reasons,” its settlement admits no wrongdoing.

Top offenders since the early 1990s

In 1986, Congress amended the False Claims Act, significantly expanding its scope and “breath[ing] new life into what has now become the government’s primary enforcement tool against fraud.”

However, that same year President Ronald Reagan signed into law the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, a piece of legislation that decimated incentives to make vaccines safe by furnishing manufacturers with blanket immunity from liability for vaccine injuries.

The lifting of those legal constraints catapulted vaccines from a “neglected corner of the drugs business” into a major driver of pharmaceutical industry profits.

Public Citizen’s 1991-and-on analyses of settlements indicate these manufacturers also felt emboldened to engage in lawless — and recidivist — behavior even for drugs not enjoying liability protections.

According to Violation Tracker, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Merck and Pfizer are the top three companies in terms of total penalties paid, with the latter two also accounting for the largest numbers of violations.

Among Pfizer’s penalties was a 2009 settlement for $2.3 billion — the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the DOJ’s history.

Merck and Pfizer happen to be two of the “big four” companies providing the vaccines on America’s childhood vaccine schedule, and J&J and Pfizer are responsible for two of the four COVID-19 shots authorized for U.S. use.

In 2021, Pfizer became the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, by revenue, thanks to its COVID-19 shots, also liability-free, and its Paxlovid drug. Together, Paxlovid and the vaccines accounted for almost half of operational revenues.

Durable Covid-19 revenues” are fueling Pfizer’s expectation that it will remain a “growth company.”

Cui bono?

Although pharmaceutical industry kickbacks to hospitals and physicians are among the bad behaviors openly acknowledged to lead to settlements or judgments, few experts discuss, even indirectly, the fact that the penalties themselves function as a form of federal kickback.

Law professor Rodwin discreetly alluded to this in his 2015 paper when speculating as to “why prosecutors rarely use the strongest sanctions in their arsenal.” Rodwin hypothesized that it might be because they “prefer to seek monetary penalties to support their budgets.”

According to Violation Tracker, pharmaceutical penalties since 2000 have enriched federal (and state) coffers to the tune of over $87 billion.

Curiously, Public Citizen’s two reports showed a sudden drop in 2013 and 2014 in the number and size of settlements, with federal criminal penalties “nearly disappearing” by 2017.

Eager to counteract any perception of declining enforcement, a publication called FCA Insider proclaimed in early 2021 the DOJ’s “years-long effort … to be more proactive in combatting fraud,” optimistically suggesting that “sophisticated data mining tools” were going to help the nation’s top law enforcer achieve increased fraud-related recoveries.

An honest look at history shows, however, that far more often than not, the DOJ — and regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have been pharma’s biased partners in crime rather than its antagonists.

Examples of the phony and selective zeal for justice include the alleged fraud perpetrated by DOJ lawyers intent on denying compensation to thousands of National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program petitioners, and, more recently, Pfizer’s astonishing argument that a COVID-19-vaccine-related whistleblower lawsuit against it should be dismissed “because the U.S. government knew about the wrongdoings but continued to do business with the vaccine maker.”

And from the pharmaceutical industry’s perspective, handing over an $87-billion cut to the feds to grease the skids appears to be an acceptable price to pay.

As Public Citizen noted a few years ago, pharma penalties over the 1991-2017 period represented a paltry 5% of the 11 largest global drug companies’ net profits “during just 10 of those 27 years,” amounting to little more than a slap on the wrist.

Emphasizing the “stark imbalance” between penalties and profits, the consumer group concluded that without more sincere and active enforcement — including prosecution and jail sentences for executives overseeing systemic fraud — “illegal but profitable activities will continue to be part of [pharmaceutical] companies’ business model.”

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment