sacklers

VICTORY! New Free File rules ban tax-prep firms from hiding their offerings, allow IRS to compete with them (a love-letter to Propublica)

Six months ago, Propublica began beating the drum about "Free File," a bizarre, corrupt arrangement between the IRS and the country's largest tax-prep firms that ended up costing the poorest people in America millions and millions of dollars, every single year. Read the rest

One of the poorest, most desperate regions in Appalachia is experiencing an economic miracle thanks to fiber run by a New Deal-era co-op

Kentucky's Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative came out of a local electrification co-op set up during the New Deal, and in 1949 it was expanded into a telephone co-op with more federal infrastructure money. Today, the PRTC has used Obama FCC funding to expand into public broadband delivery, wiring up all of Jackson and Owsley Counties, some of the poorest places in America, using a mule called "Old Bub" to haul fiber through inaccessible mountain passes and other extremely isolated places. Read the rest

A former pharma rep explains how the industry pushes doctors to overprescribe

The pharma industry spends $2 on marketing for every $1 it spends on R&D: Shahram Ahari was a rep for Eli Lilly, so he knows how the money was spent: in a tell-all op-ed in the Washington Post, Ahari describes how he lavished spending over doctors, everything from dinners at "so many fancy Manhattan restaurants that the maitre d’s greeted me by name" to free ballgames and Broadway musical tickets to offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees to top prescribers. Read the rest

Peak billionaire: a billionaire tries to purchase a party nomination to outflank anti-billionaires so he can run against another billionaire

The past two years have seen a tremendous shift in the public perception of capitalism and socialism, the character of philanthropy as reputation-laundry rather than generosity, and the nature of wealth as an indicator of sociopathy, not virtue or cleverness. Read the rest

Billionaire Sackler family accused of pushing addictive opioids in China

The Sackler family are owners of the drug company that caused a devastating drug crisis in the United States by making false claims about the safety of its highly addictive OxyContin. According to an AP story, Mundipharma, a Chinese company owned by the Sackler family is now using the same tactics in China. Mundipharma is telling doctors that its time-release opioids are less addictive than other kinds of opioids, "the same pitch that Purdue Pharma, the U.S. company owned by the family, admitted was false in court more than a decade ago."

More from AP:

Mundipharma has pushed ever larger doses of the drug, even as it became clear that higher doses present higher risks, and represented the drug as safe for chronic pain, according the interviews and documents.

These tactics mirror those employed by Purdue Pharma in the U.S., where more than 400,000 people have died of opioid overdoses and millions more became addicted. An avalanche of litigation over the company’s marketing has driven Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy in the U.S.

In other words, if you were worried that the Sacklers might suffer as a result of their role US drug epidemic, this news should assuage your concerns. They'll be fine.

Image: 51fifty, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link, Modified. Read the rest

Leaks reveal how the "Pitbull of PR" helped Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers ignite the opioid crisis

Propublica has obtained a tranche of leaked internal communications between the Sackler family's Purdue Pharma, makers of the lethal opioid Oxycontin, and Dezenhall Resources, known as "The Pitbull of Public Relations," whose previous client roster includes Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, Exxon and other "beleaguered corporations," who masterminded a "blame the victim" strategy that apportioned responsibility for Oxycontin's mounting death toll on the people who became addicted to it -- not the Sacklers and Purdue, who falsified science, bribed doctors, and made billions from an epidemic that has now claimed more American lives than the Vietnam War. Read the rest

The Sacklers come to Sesame Street as a muppet is revealed to have had an addicted mother

Sesame Street continues its run of excellent, empathetic new muppets to help kids deal with a changing world: after introducing muppets experiencing homelessness, living with autism, and explaining marriage without recourse to gender norms, the show has introduced a muppet whose mother lost custody of her after becoming addicted to drugs. Read the rest

US prosecutors say the "bankrupt" Sacklers still have billions hidden away

The Sackler family (previously) made more money than the Rockefellers when their family business, Purdue Pharma, misled the public about the addictiveness of its flagship opioid, Oxycontin, and induced doctors to overprescribe it, kicking off an epidemic that has killed more Americans than the Vietnam war, with the body count at 400,000 and still climbing. Read the rest

Bill Gates: if we break up Big Tech, we'll just have more bad companies

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bill Gates dismissed the idea of breakups as a remedy for Big Tech's monopolistic market concentration; Gates said that breaking up an abusive company will just produce more abusive companies. Instead, Gates believes that specific monopolistic activities should be banned. Read the rest

New York AG finds a billion dollars that the Sacklers funneled through a single bank

The Sackler family got richer than the Rockefellers through their role in creating and sustaining the opioid crisis, which took more American lives than the Vietnam war. Read the rest

Purdue's court filings understate its role in the opioid epidemic by 80%

Purdue Pharma (and its richer-than-the-Rockefellers owners, the Sackler family are increasingly being dragged into state courts to account for their role in the opioid epidemic, which has claimed more American lives than the Vietnam War. Read the rest

Massachusetts says Purdue's profits from a single opioid addict were $200,000

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not the first state to sue Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family (who own the company), and other board members for their role in deliberately seeking to addict people to their powerful opioid Oxycontin, but unlike other states, Massachusetts is conducting the suit in the public eye, targeting a court judgment rather than a quiet settlement with an accompanying gag-order. Read the rest

Triple Chaser: a short documentary that uses machine learning to document tear gas use against civilians, calling out "philanthropist" Warren Kanders for his company's war-crimes

Laura Poitras (previously) is the Academy Award-winning director of Citizenfour; she teamed up with the activist group Forensic Archicture (previously), whose incredible combination of data-visualization and documentary filmmaking have made them a potent force for holding war criminals and authoritarians to account: together, they created Triple Chaser, a short documentary that uses novel machine-learning techniques to document the ways in which tear gas and bullets made by companies belonging to "philanthropist" Warren Kanders have been used against civilians to suppress anti-authoritarian movements, and even to murder innocents, including children. Read the rest

Louvre purges every mention of the Sackler opioid family after artist's protest

The Sackler family got richer than the Rockefellers by marketing Oxycontin in ways that kickstarted the global opioid epidemic, whose body count continues to rise -- more than 200,000 dead in the US alone, which is more Americans than died in the Vietnam war. Read the rest

CEO of London's Serpentine Gallery resigns after Guardian investigation accuses her of being part owner of notorious cyber-arms-dealer NSO Group

The NSO Group (previously) is one of the world's most notorious cyber-arms dealers, linked to horrific human rights abuses, extrajudicial killing of human rights activists, and the dirtiest of dirty trick campaigns against its critics (and their lawyers) -- they're also accused of helping with the Saudi government's murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Read the rest

Fentanyl execs found guilty of racketeering, face 20 year prison sentences

Five senior execs at Insys Therapeutics (manufacturer of Subsys, a type of fentanyl), have been convicted of criminal racketeering and fraud charges stemming from the company's practice of bribing doctors to overprescribe their incredibly addictive and dangerous product, and for defrauding Medicare in the process. Read the rest

Zuck turned American classrooms into nonconsensual laboratories for his pet educational theories, and now they're rebelling

Summit Learning is a nonprofit, high-tech "customized learning" group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's family charity; under the program, students are equipped with high-surveillance Chromebooks and work on their own "at their own pace" and call on teachers to act as "mentors" when they get stuck. Read the rest

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