Thursday, August 29, 2019


Johnson & Johnson v. State of Oklahoma: How the courts are covering for Big Pharma

On Monday, Oklahoma state Judge Thad Balkman delivered his decision from the bench in a landmark case between the state of Oklahoma and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson over the company’s role in the deadly opioid epidemic. The trial was the first case brought by a state government seeking to hold a drug maker directly responsible for the death and devastation caused by the epidemic.
In his ruling, Judge Balkman ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in driving the epidemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in Oklahoma. The trial has been closely watched by other opioid makers, distributors and pharmacy chains, many of whom are awaiting trials on nearly 2,000 similar lawsuits.
The ruling is being cynically hailed by the mainstream media as a victory for the victims of the epidemic. This is a lie.
The final ruling in Oklahoma sent a clear signal to all the guilty parties: Business will stay open. The courts are on their side.
Wall Street celebrated the real victor, Johnson & Johnson, in after-hours trading on the stock market. The company’s stock price surged more than four percent in response to the ruling. Shares of other drug makers also surged, including Mallinckrodt, Teva Pharmaceutical and Endo International, three of the largest drug makers in the world, all implicated in the opioid epidemic.
The toothless ruling follows a well-worn pattern in which giant corporations, after committing horrific social crimes, get off with a relatively small fine.
Johnson & Johnson made billions of dollars off opioid sales for over a decade. For the fiscal year 2017 alone, Johnson & Johnson reported overall earnings of $15.3 billion, with an annual revenue of $81.6 billion. Judge Balkman’s ruling of $572 million amounts to barely two weeks’ profits for the company.
At the peak of the epidemic, other drug companies were bringing in anywhere from $403 million (for opioids sold by Endo) to $3.1 billion (in OxyContin sales by Purdue Pharma) in a single year.
In the recent trial, Oklahoma state was seeking $17 billion to pay for its plan to combat the epidemic, which they noted includes “addiction treatment, drug courts and other services.” The state predicts it will need at least the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic.
Despite the paltry amount of the damages awarded, the language of the ruling was unequivocal. Judge Balkman wrote, “Defendants caused an opioid crisis that is evidenced by increased rates of addiction, overdose deaths and neonatal abstinence syndrome in Oklahoma.” He added:
The Defendants [Johnson & Johnson], acting in concert with others, embarked on a major campaign in which they used branded and unbranded marketing to disseminate the messages that pain was under-treated and ‘there was a low risk of abuse and a low danger’ of prescribing opioids ... A key element in Defendants’ opioid marketing strategy to overcome barriers to liberal opioid prescribing was its promotion of the concept that chronic pain was under-treated (creating a problem) and increased opioid prescribing was the solution ... False, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns have caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths.
Balkman went on to note that the company had been warned by its own advisory board of the dangerous marketing methods: “In 2001, Defendants were advised by Defendants’ own hired scientific advisory board that many of the primary marketing messages Defendants used to promote opioids in general, and Duragesic [the company’s high-strength drug] specifically, were misleading and should not be disseminated.”
The ruling also admitted that the company had paid vast sums of money to “a variety of different pain advocacy groups and organizations that influences prescribing physicians and other healthcare professionals.”
A recent report from the Washington Post, based on leaked emails, gives a partial glimpse into the corrupt relations that prevailed between drug manufacturers and distributors. One such exchange in January 2009 was between Victor Borelli, a national account manager for drug maker Mallinckrodt, and Steve Cochrane, the vice president of sales for KeySource Medical.
Borelli wrote “Keep ’em comin’!” in response to an email informing him that 1,200 bottles of oxycodone 30 mg tablets had been shipped. Cochrane responded. “Flyin’ out of there. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are…”
To which Borelli replied: “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.”
Mallinckrodt, for whom Borelli works, is one of the companies whose stocks rose following the Oklahoma ruling.
No section of the ruling class that has any intention of bringing to justice those responsible for this massive social crime. To take on the pharmaceutical companies would require taking on the entire political establishment, with which Big Pharma is intimately intertwined.


FBI raid of UAW president exposes union as criminal syndicate

On Wednesday morning, FBI agents carried out raids in four states, including at the suburban Detroit home of current United Auto Workers President Gary Jones, as the federal probe into illegal bribe-taking and kickbacks reached the very top of the UAW.
The September 14 contract expiration for 155,000 General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers is fast approaching. Among rank-and-file workers, there is deep hostility to both the auto companies and the corrupt UAW.
Armed with search warrants, FBI and IRS agents combed through the UAW president’s garage in Canton, Michigan, seizing files and counting “piles of cash,” according to a neighbor. The agents also searched the offices of UAW Region 5 in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Jones was director until being appointed UAW head last year.
What has been revealed so far is not a matter of garden variety corruption, which has always plagued the unions. The UAW is a criminal syndicate run by gangsters. The UAW has been exposed as a grifting operation, stealing billions from workers over years to the benefit of union executives.
United Auto Workers President Gary Jones, left, and General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra shake hands to open their contract talks Detroit, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Workers now know, if there was ever any doubt, that it is necessary to form new organizations, rank-and-file factory committees to carry out a struggle against the auto companies.
Union executives colluded with the employers to impoverish union members with the full knowledge that a portion of the money robbed from workers would find its way into their own pockets. Anyone who still claims that the UAW “represents” autoworkers is deliberately trying to delude workers.
Also targeted in the raids yesterday was former President Dennis Williams, who convicted union officials have charged with approving the illegal use of millions of dollars of company money. This money was funneled through union-company training centers to finance travel, luxury purchases and resort stays for UAW officials.
The FBI seized materials from Williams’ $610,000 home in Corona, California, 70 miles west of Palm Springs, where UAW officials spent millions on golfing and luxury villas. Also searched was the UAW Black Lake Conference Center, a 1,000-acre resort in northern Michigan, which is funded with interest money from the $780 million member-financed UAW strike fund. The UAW is building a new cottage for Williams at the location.
The Wisconsin home of Williams’ former top aide, Amy Loasching, was also searched. Loasching, who is the secretary and treasurer of Williams’ nonprofit, the Williams Charity Fund, sat on the 2015 UAW-Chrysler National Negotiating Committee with Williams and former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell. Jewell was already sentenced to jail for taking bribes from Fiat Chrysler.
At least six of the top eight UAW “negotiators” who signed the 2015 deal, which cost Fiat Chrysler workers thousands of dollars in lost wages and benefits, have either been convicted or implicated in the corruption scandal.
The corruption indictments have already spread to officials from the UAW-GM department. Michael Grimes, the top aide of former UAW vice presidents Joe Ashton and Cindy Estrada, who was on the bargaining committee in 2011 and 2015, has been indicted for taking nearly $2 million in kickbacks from vendors.
The vendors were paid with money from the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources to produce union-branded jackets, watches and other items.
The labor agreements signed by Grimes’ bosses—who have also been implicated in the illegal schemes—froze wages and paved the way for the closure of factories, including GM’s historic Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, with the loss of thousands of jobs.
Six of the top eight UAW-Fiat Chrysler negotiators have already been convicted or implicated for taking company bribes
It is 40 years since the first Chrysler bailout in 1979-80, when the UAW was brought onto the corporate board of directors to oversee the wiping out of 60,000 jobs and impose nearly half a billion dollars in wage cuts, or nearly $35,000 a year for each worker in today’s dollars.
The sacrifices, the UAW insisted, were necessary because jobs could only be “saved” by boosting the competitiveness and profitability of the US-based automakers.
Over the last four decades, however, the number of hourly UAW members at GM, Ford and Chrysler has fallen from 750,000 to 158,000. And far from the wage and benefit cuts being temporary, they have never stopped. As a result, autoworkers, once the highest paid industrial workers in the US, have been largely reduced to a low-wage casual workforce who cannot afford the cars they build.
Throughout this period, UAW membership fell from 1.5 million to below 400,000. The only thing keeping the organization afloat was massive infusions of cash from the automakers and the sanction of successive governments, which saw in the UAW the instrument to suppress the resistance of autoworkers and drastically reduce labor costs.
From 1982 to today, the automakers pumped more than $5 billion in “Joint Funds Reimbursements” to the UAW through various corporatist schemes, including joint training centers. Billions more have been transferred to the UAW in the form of company stocks and legal and illegal bribes.
The timing of the Justice Department’s corruption probe is significant. In 2015, autoworkers rebelled against the UAW with Fiat Chrysler workers defeating a UAW-backed national agreement for the first time in three decades. The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter was at the center of opposition, for which it was denounced by the UAW and the corporate media.
The Trump administration and the ruling class are aware of the immense anger of autoworkers and their determination to fight. They are fearful that the UAW will not be able to control another rebellion.
The danger exists that the government will intervene directly and create conditions for a settlement entirely on the company’s terms, either through placing the UAW under federal trusteeship—as was done with the Teamsters in the late 1980s under the Bush administration—or through some kind of forced arbitration, which could include a ban on strikes.
The Detroit News reported on Wednesday night that the raids “amplify the possibility the federal government could assume oversight of the union under anti-racketeering statutes.” If this were to happen, the struggle of autoworkers would put them in direct conflict with the Trump administration and the state.
Autoworkers cannot outsource their struggle to Trump’s Justice Department or any other section of the corporate-controlled government, Democrat or Republican.
Autoworkers must begin to form their own organizations of struggle, rank-and-file factory committees that are completely independent of the UAW and both big business parties. Preparations must be made now to carry out an industry-wide strike and to spread it to workers throughout the entire auto and auto parts industry, while appealing to workers in Canada, Mexico and around the world for joint cross-border industrial action.
The UAW “bargaining committee” is completely illegitimate and must be replaced by a committee of rank-and-file workers. Factory committees should be organized and advance their own demands, including a 40 percent pay increase, the abolition of the multi-tier pay and benefit system, the conversion of all temporary and contract workers to full-time positions with full pay and benefits, and the rehiring of all laid-off workers.
It is not possible to reform the UAW. Its transformation into a bribed tool of management is rooted in the nationalist and pro-capitalist character of all the old organizations that claim to “represent” the working class.
The very same day the FBI raids were taking place, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) sabotaged the powerful strike by 22,000 AT&T workers in nine southern US states, forcing them back to work on management’s terms. Around the world, the nationalist unions are accepting plant closings, mass layoffs and wage and benefit cuts.
That is why the building of rank-and-file factory committees and reviving the militant traditions of American autoworkers must be guided by an entirely different strategy: the international unification of the working class, based on a socialist program to fight the global auto companies.
The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter is holding an emergency online conference call Thursday, August 29, at 7:30 p.m. EDT to discuss a plan of action for rank-and-file autoworkers to take the contract negotiations out of the hands of the corrupt UAW and launch an international fight back for workers’ interests. We urge all autoworkers to register and participate.

TRUMP DEMANDS DHS SPEED UP HIS PRETEND WALL.... Isn't the Swamp Keeper a bit late?

Report: Trump Demands DHS Speed Up Construction of Southern Border Wall

US workers replace fencing with a higher new metal wall along the border between Ciudad Juarez and Sunland Park, New Mexico, in Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on September 12, 2016. / AFP / HERIKA MARTINEZ (Photo credit should read HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump has requested Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials speed up the construction of his proposed border wall along the United States-Mexico border, according to a new report.

Trump is demanding that hundreds of miles of border wall be constructed by DHS despite the agency constructing new barriers at a historically slow pace thus far, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Post.
In about two and a half years, DHS has constructed about 52 miles of fresh border wall, only in areas that previously had a barrier. This indicates that on average, the Trump administration has built less than two miles of border wall a month since January 2017.
Trump, the Washington Post reports, is pressing DHS officials to speed up construction so that potentially 500 miles of border wall is built before the 2020 presidential election:
The president has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat. With the election 14 months away and hundreds of miles of fencing plans still in blueprint form, Trump has held regular White House meetings for progress updates and to hasten the pace, according to several people involved in the discussions. [Emphasis added]
During a conference call last week, officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Army Corps engineers that the hundreds of miles of fencing must be completed before the next presidential election, according to administration officials with knowledge of the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal communications. [Emphasis added]
CBP and Pentagon officials insist they remain on track to complete about 450 miles of fencing by the election. Of that, about 110 miles will be added to areas where there is currently no barrier. The height of the structure will vary between 18 and 30 feet, high enough to inflict severe injury or death from a fall. [Emphasis added]
Trump also wants aesthetic changes to barries that have already been built, the Washington Post reported. The president has asked DHS officials to have the border wall painted black so that it absorbs heat and is hot to the touch, as well as to ensure that the top of the barriers are spiked and pointed to deter wall-jumpers from crossing.
Like Trump, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) told the Washington Post that he is frustrated with the pace at which DHS is building barriers at the border, writing “I wish DHS would engage a whole bunch of builders and innovators rather than rely on the same decades-old bureaucracy.”
The majority of the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border has no barrier, with only about 650 miles currently having barriers. Over the last year, DHS officials have repeatedly said hundreds of miles of border wall will be constructed by the end of 2020.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

Conservative Immigration Hawk Joe Walsh May Primary Trump

For national release | August 22, 2019
Discuss & Share this release and meme at (ALIPAC HERE) .. (FACEBOOK HERE) .. (TWITTER HERE) .. (GAB HERE)

President Donald Trump may face a 2020 GOP primary challenge from conservative talk radio show host, prior member of Congress, and anti-illegal immigration candidate endorsed by ALIPAC in 2010, Rep. Joe Walsh.

ALIPAC has been calling for a conservative GOP primary challenger to Trump due to Trump's numerous broken campaign promises on immigration issues and as a strategy to stop Trump's efforts this year to pass immigration reform Amnesty for illegals through his life long Democrat son-in-law and surrogate Jared Kushner.

Rep. Joe Walsh was endorsed and supported by ALIPAC in 2010 when he first ran for Congress as a successful Tea Party challenger in Illinois's 8th district because his federal candidate survey responses indicated he would uphold America's existing border and immigration laws while opposing Amnesty legislation! (View ALIPAC Survey)

When running for Congress, Walsh signed ALIPAC's pledge to...

"...oppose any form of Amnesty or path to citizenship for illegal aliens, including Comprehensive Immigration Reform which would turn millions of illegal immigrants into voters, thus destroying future borders of America. I will use the full power of my office, including impeachment if necessary, to insure the Executive Branch secures America's border immediately and begins to adequately enforce the existing immigration and border laws of the United States, which were enacted by Congress at the behest of America's citizenry. I understand that the failure of the Executive Branch to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration laws is depriving;ng all Americans of a Republican form of government and depriving our states of protection from invasion as mandated by the US Constitution. I intend to use the power of Congress to immediately remedy this problem that is costing many Americans their jobs, wages, taxpayer resources, property, security, and sometimes their very lives."

Candidate Joe Walsh told ALIPAC in 2010 that he supported Arizona's tough state law SB 1070, deportation for illegal immigrants, and comprehensive immigration enforcement.

Video of Rep. Joe Walsh discussing illegal immigration

Immigration issue watchdog group NumbersUSA also gave Rep. Joe Walsh an A grade for his positions and votes on immigration matters in Washington. (View NumbersUSA Report Card for Walsh)

"Joe Walsh challenging Trump in the GOP primary would be a very welcome and needed campaign because the large numbers of Trump voters who have been highly disappointed by the President's numerous broken campaign promises on illegal immigration issues deserve to have a voice in 2020," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Joe Walsh could attract and rally the part of Trump's base that no longer believes the President's tough talk on immigration issues."

Since taking office, President Trump has broken or failed to fulfill more than ten top campaign promises regarding illegal immigration, which is probably why he keeps announcing hollow promises to end birthright citizenship to try to rally his base.

Trump is--

-- failing to secure the border,
-- failing to end Obama's DACA Amnesty,
-- failing to end birthright citizenship,
-- failing to build new miles of border wall,
-- failing to oppose Amnesty for illegals,
-- failing to oppose legal immigration increases,
-- failing to stop illegal alien caravans,
-- failing to end catch and release Presidential policies,
-- failing to stop sanctuary cities and illegal voters,
-- and failing to mass deport illegal immigrants as he promised voters last month, three months ago, and in 2016.

ALIPAC originally endorsed Trump, contributed to him, campaigned for him, rallied against Hillary Clinton, voted for Trump and attended Trump's inauguration but had to rescind the group's endorsement after it became clear was breaking his signature campaign promise to end Obama's unconstitutional DACA Amnesty for illegals. (Washington Times: Group Rescinds Endorsement)

ALIPAC believes that Rep. Joe Walsh challenging Trump in the 2020 GOP Primary would have the added benefit for American voters of decreasing the chances Trump will sign green card giveaway to China and India bill HB 1044 / S 386 and immigration reform Amnesty legislation Sen. Graham is rallying GOP globalists to join with Democrats to send to Trump's desk this year.

ALIPAC will seek information from the Joe Walsh Presidential campaign to determine if his views on illegal immigration and Amnesty remain the same or have changed.

For more information about Trump voters who would like to have a conservative choice on the ballot for President in the 2020 GOP and for Trump to return to his campaign promises on immigration, please visit


Sanctuary City: Illegal Alien Accused of Raping 16-Year-Old Girl at Knifepoint

Montgomery County Police Department

An illegal alien has been arrested after allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl at knifepoint in the sanctuary city of Montgomery County, Maryland — the fifth alleged illegal alien rapist arrested in the area in a month.

Nelson Reyes-Medrano, a 46-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador, has been charged with first-degree rape after investigators say he raped a teenage girl in August 2018, according to WJLA 7 News‘ Kevin Lewis.

NEW: Nelson Reyes-Medrano is accused of crawling into bed with a 16yo Germantown, Md. girl as she napped. The 46yo proceeded to rape the teen at knifepoint, police say.

This is the fifth undocumented immigrant arrested on rape charges in Montgomery County, Md. in the last month.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Police reports allege that Reyes-Medrano climbed into bed with the 16-year-old girl while she was napping and told her to “take your clothes off” as he held a kitchen knife. The victim told police that after she did not move, the illegal alien again told her, “Last time I’m going to say it, take your clothes off” and pressed the dull side of his knife against her neck.
At Reyes-Medrano’s request, the girl said she began to slowly remove her clothes. She told police that the illegal alien became impatient, pressed the knife against her neck again, and proceeded to rip her clothes off of her. This is when the victim told police that Reyes-Medrano began to rape her.
Only after hearing a noise outside did Reyes-Medrano stop raping the victim, the police report details. Police say the illegal alien stood up, put his pants on, and left the victim’s home, taking his kitchen knife with him.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency confirmed that Reyes-Medrano is an illegal alien from El Salvador. Records reveal he is a father of 10 children and has worked illegally for at least three years at a bakery in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Reyes-Medrano was denied bond and remains in local custody. Montgomery County has a sanctuary policy where criminal illegal aliens are only turned over to ICE agents if a court issues a judicial warrant. ICE detainers with no judicial warrants are not honored and illegal aliens are released back into the community by law enforcement.
This is the fifth illegal alien who has been arrested on rape charges in Montgomery County in about a month. Last week, an illegal alien from El Salvador was arrested after allegedly raping a woman who was intoxicated. That same week, an illegal alien was arrested for allegedly beating, raping, and nearly strangling to death a woman outside her apartment complex. Similarly, two illegal aliens were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl on separate occasions.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

Judicial Watch Seeking Permanent Injunction Against California County’s Sanctuary Policy

August 28, 2019 Updated: August 29, 2019

Non-profit government watchdog Judicial Watch announced Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court seeking a permanent injunction to bar Santa Clara County officials from enforcing a sanctuary policy that protects illegal aliens accused of heinous crimes.
Filed on behalf of Santa Clara County taxpayer Howard Myers, the suitrequests an injunction against Sheriff Laurie Smith and Rick Sung, acting chief of corrections.
The injunction would prevent Smith and Sung “from expending taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed resources on a recently enacted policy that requires federal immigration officials to obtain a judicial warrant before an alien in Santa Clara County’s custody may be transferred to federal immigration officials’ custody for removal from the United States.”
The suit was prompted by the refusal of county officials to cooperate with efforts by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take into custody Carlos Arevalo-Carranza, 24, an illegal alien accused in the brutal Feb. 28, 2019, murder of county resident Bambi Larson.
Larson, 59, died from multiple “deep wounds consistent with a cutting tool,” according to court documents.
Several weeks after Larson’s murder, Arevalo-Carranza was arrested by local law enforcement “and charged with Ms. Larson’s murder. Mr. Arevalo-Carranza reportedly had multiple, prior convictions in Santa Clara County, including a conviction for burglary in 2015, convictions for battery of an officer, resisting arrest, and entering a property in 2016, and a conviction for false imprisonment in 2017,” Judicial Watch told the court in its filing.
“He also reportedly had multiple, prior arrests in 2015-18 in both Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County, including arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine, prowling, and false identification,” the filing continued.
“At the time of Ms. Larson’s death, Arevalo-Carranza reportedly was on probation for possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine, false imprisonment, and burglary,” according to the suit.
Arevalo-Carranza reportedly had in his possession a seven-inch knife at the time of his arrest. Crime investigators matched a bloody footprint in Larson’s home with shoes worn by Arevalo-Carranza.
Federal officials had on six prior occasions asked county officials to hold Arevalo-Carranza when he was about to be released long enough for ICE officers to take him into custody for deportation and removal from the country.
“Each request was ignored pursuant to Santa Clara County’s longstanding policy of not honoring ICE detainers,” Judicial Watch said in the suit.
“Had Santa Clara County allowed ICE to take custody of Mr. Arevalo-Carranza, it is unlikely he would have had the opportunity to kill Ms. Larson,” Judicial Watch said.
The non-profit argued in its suit that the injunction should be granted because the county’s sanctuary policy is an “illegal local regulation of immigration” that is “preempted by federal law,” and “barred by the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.”
That doctrine is intended to prevent state governments from limiting the central government’s sovereignty. The doctrine developed during the period prior to the Civil War when Southern states claimed the authority to nullify selected federal laws.
Judicial Watch told the court that Smith and Sung “are developing transfer procedures that prohibit the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Correction from transferring an inmate to ICE’s custody when presented with an administrative warrant representing that ICE has determined there is probable cause to believe the inmate is a removable alien.”
Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said in a statement announcing the suit that “sanctuary policies are illegal and deadly … Our new taxpayer lawsuit simply seeks to stop tax dollars from being spent on a sanctuary policy that harms public safety and undermines the rule of law.”
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) spokesman Matthew Tragesser told The Epoch Times Wednesday that his organization supports litigation aimed at sanctuary policies.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions jeopardize public safety by restricting local and state police from cooperating with federal immigration officials. This shields illegal aliens from removal—including those who are criminals,” Tragresser said.
“Instead of being removed from the country, they often just end up back on the streets, recommitting crimes against innocent Americans or legal residents,” he said.
Judicial Watch previously filed suit against San Francisco in the wake of the Kate Steinle murder case involving illegal alien Jose Ines Garcia Zarate.
Contact Mark Tapscott at