Sunday, February 7, 2016

U.S. Now Overtly at War Against Russia

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on February 2nd that he approves of US ‘Defense’ Secretary Ash Carter’s proposal to quadruple US armaments and troops in Europe, against ‘Russian aggression’.
Secretary Carter said earlier that same day, in his announcement of America’s arming for war against Russia:
We are reinforcing our posture in Europe to support our NATO allies in the face of Russia’s aggression. In Pentagon parlance, this is called the European Reassurance Initiative and after requesting about $800 million for last year, this year we’re more than quadrupling it for a total of $3.4 billion in 2017.
That will fund a lot of things: more rotational US forces in Europe, more training and exercising with our allies, more preposition and war-fighting gear and infrastructure improvements to support all this.
And when combined with US forces already in and assigned to Europe – which are also substantial – all of this together by the end of 2017 will let us rapidly form a highly capable combined arms ground force that can respond across that theater, if necessary.
The US is preparing for an invasion of Russia.
«By the end of 2017» the US will be prepared to invade Russia.
Secretary Carter went on to say:
Russia and China are our most stressing competitors. They have developed and are continuing to advance military system[s] that seek to threaten our advantages in specific areas. And in some case[s], they are developing weapons and ways of wars that seek to achieve their objectives rapidly, before they hope, we can respond.
Because of this and because of their actions to date, from Ukraine to the South China Sea, DOD has elevated their importance in our defense planning and budgeting.
Since he is a Secretary of ‘Defense’ instead of a Secretary of Offense, he immediately added:
While we do not desire conflict of any kind with either of these nations – and let me be clear.
That’s all there was to the assertion there; he didn’t finish the sentence, nor even the thought. But in this offhanded way, he did at least try to give the impression that the US is never an aggressor – for example: that, though the US is expanding NATO right up to Russia’s borders, Russia is being the ‘aggressor’ to move troops and weapons up to those borders – up to Russia’s own borders (to counter the US & NATO invasion-threat, of course; but, no: it’s to threaten NATO, if you believe the West).
In the statements by Ash Carter, Barack Obama, and Jens Stoltenberg, that’s ‘Russian aggression’. In the allegory by George Orwell, 1984, America’s rhetoric is called simply «Newspeak».
It’s as if during the Soviet Union (i.e., before 1991), when Nikita Khrushchev was the aggressor in 1962 and John Kennedy was the defender (against Soviet missiles in Cuba), Khrushchev had refused to yield and said that Soviet nuclear missiles near the US had only a defensive, not offensive, purpose (no purpose for a blitz nuclear attack against the US too fast for the US to be able to get its missiles launched in retaliation). Kennedy said no to that idea then, and Putin says no to that idea (right on Russia’s very borders) now. The US, in post-Soviet, post-communist, Russia, has turned around and become the aggressor – against the now democratic nation of Russia. (And Putin’s approval-rating from the Russian people is at least 80%, whereas Obama’s approval-rating from the American people is near 50%.)
We’ve switched roles. The US has turned to dictatorship, while Russia has turned to democracy. It’s a super-switcheroo. ‘Democracy’ in the US has become, during recent decades, the election of Presidents and congresspersons who were campaigning on lies, and who then actually delivered more like the opposite, as their actual governmental policies.
A good example of this is that when Mr Obama was campaigning for re-election to the Presidency in 2012, he outright mocked his opponent Mitt Romney’s asserting (2:22 on the video) that, «Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe». But the moment that Obama became re-elected, Obama activated a 1957 CIA plan to overthrow Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and a more-recent CIA and State Department plan to overthrow the actually neutralist Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine and replace him with a rabidly anti-Russian government. The head of Stratfor called it «the most blatant coup in history,» and it was an extremely bloody coup, followed by a civil war – and economic collapse, and even more corruption there. In addition, Obama carried out a French plan to overthrow Russia’s ally Muammar Gaddafi in Syria.
All of these plans were strongly welcomed by Russia’s main oil-market competitors, all of them fundamentalist Sunni Arab financial backers of jihadists: the Saud royal family of Saudi Arabia, and the Thani royal family of Qatar, as well as the Sabah royal family of Kuwait, and the six royal families of the UAE. Those royals own most of the world’s oil, and only Russia and its ally Iran are even in that league. All of those Sunni Arab royal families (especially the Sauds) are the main financial backers of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other jihadist groups, all of which are fundamentalist Sunni terrorist groups, which especially aim to exterminate all Shiites – and Shiites just happen to be supported by Russia. (The US overthrew the democratically elected progressive President of Iran and installed the tyrannous Shah, back in 1953, and Iranians have loathed the US government ever since.)
President Obama, in his second Administration, ceased his previous focus against the Sunni group al-Qaeda, and refocused US policy to be against Russia, even to the extent of supporting al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other rabidly anti-Russian Sunni groups, who are driving millions of refugees from Syria, Libya, etc., into Europe. (Of course, Obama’s rhetoric remains against those Sunni extremists – just as his rhetoric was against Romney’s policies that Obama ended up imposing in his second term.) All of those terrorist groups are allied with the Sunni Arab royal families against Shiite-led Iran, and Shiite-allied Syria.
The fundamentalist Sunni beliefs of the Arab royal families have, since at least 1744, been committed to exterminating all Shiites. Now that Shiite and Shiite-allied nations are supported by Russia, the United States is more overtly than ever preparing to conquer Russia, for the benefit of the aristocracies of America, and of Arabia.
And there are many other examples of President Obama’s policies exposing him to be an example of «the election of Presidents and congresspersons who were campaigning on lies, and who then actually delivered more like the opposite, as policies», such as his claiming to champion democracy in Syria when his actual demand regarding Syria is to block democracy there because all the evidence shows that it would result in an overwhelming electoral victory for Bashar al-Assad. And another example is Obama’s support of the right of self-determination of peoples regarding Scotland and Catalonia, but not in Crimea, nor in Donbas, nor in Abkhazia. The United Nations supports the right of self-determination of peoples everywhere, and Ban Ki-moon has clearly stated that America’s demand for the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power is alien to the principles upon which the United Nations was founded.
So: the US regime is moving toward a nuclear confrontation against Russia, as a ‘defensive’ measure against ‘Russian aggression’.
Obama had previously used ‘The Iran Threat’ as his basis for placing anti-ballistic missiles in European countries near and bordering Russia, but he can’t do that anymore and so he’s now doing it with what had been his actual motive all along: to ‘protect’ Europe from ‘Russian aggression’.
What had led up to Romney’s assertion that Russia «is without question our number one geopolitical foe» was his having been baited by CNN to comment upon a private statement that Obama had made to Dmitry Medvedev, saying that, «This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility». CNN didn’t say what that matter was about, but simply baited Romney with it for Romney to play the Red-scare Joseph R. McCarthy role, which Romney did (McCarthy, of the anti-communist witch-hunts, being a Republican hero). Reuters explained what the context was, what Obama had been replying to there: Putin’s concern was that placing anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) in Europe to strip Russia of its ability to retaliate against a first-strike from NATO forces in Europe, was unacceptable. Obama was telling that he would «have more flexibility» against Republican hate-mongers against Russia, after he’d win re-election. It was just another lie from him. He won re-election and turned out to be actually a black Mitt Romney. In fact, Obama had spent his entire first term deceiving the entire world to think that he rejected Republicans being «stuck in a Cold War mind warp», as he put it. It was all merely an act for him. He should be in Hollywood, not in the White House.
If this cat gets much farther out of the bag, it’s not just the cat but the whole world that will be lost.
The first priority for a President Bernie Sanders, or for a President Donald Trump, must be to undo the Bush-Obama foreign policy, because it certainly won’t be undone by a President Hillary Clinton, nor by a President Ted Cruz, nor by a President Marco Rubio – and this is the main thing that’s at stake in the current US Presidential contest. What’s at stake here is nothing less than whether civilization even survives another few decades. That’s now seriously at question, and trillions are being spent right now to bring it to an end.
This isn’t kid’s stuff. And it’s not really rocket science, either. It’s instead a fundamental and stark moral issue, that’s staring the entire world in the face right now. And it hasn’t got a thing to do with religion, but it has a lot to do with restoring democracy where it has been eroded down to virtually nothing.
Democracy requires a truthfully informed public. And that’s the truth. Let’s get with it, before it’s too late to do so.
The likelihood of a nuclear war has never been higher than it is now, except perhaps for the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the entire world was being informed about that then, and what about the situation now? This time around, the situation is perhaps even more serious. The urgency of the situation is critical.
Is this the type of ‘news’ coverage we’ll continue to get on the world’s top matter – that Russia is invading our territory, when we’re actually constantly invading (and perpetrating coups) in theirs, and they’re actually doing what they must do in order to defend the Russian people themselves from NATO?
End NATO now. Or else it (and its cooperative ‘news’ media in the West) will end us all. The whole expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders has been based upon US President George Herbert Walker Bush’s lie to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, which induced Gorbachev to end not just the Soviet Union but their equivalent of NATO, the Warsaw Pact – all of which Russia did do in 1991. Russia has consistently fulfilled its part of the bargain, but GHWB’s vicious violation of his promise has been consistently followed, adhered to, by American Presidents ever since. The deceit goes on, and the US is now heading towards culminating the most dangerous lie in world history.

US Congressional memos highlight price-gouging strategies of drug companies

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Two recently released congressional documents outline the price-gouging strategies of Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals and the companies’ public relations efforts to address the inevitable public backlash.
On Tuesday, Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued two supplemental memos to Democratic committee members in preparation for Thursday’s hearing on drug prices.
The memos summarize findings based on more than 300,000 pages of new documents obtained from Turing Pharmaceuticals (250,000 pages) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (75,000 pages).
“These new documents provide a rare, inside look at the motivations and tactics of drug company executives,” said Cummings in a press release.
“They confirm what Americans across the country have experienced firsthand for years—that many drug companies are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation,” Cumming said. “The documents show that these tactics are not limited to a few ‘bad apples,’ but are prominent throughout the industry.”

Turing Pharmaceuticals

Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines last year after its former CEO Martin Shkreli purchased the drug Daraprim from Impax Laboratories for $55 million and then jacked up the price by 5,000 percent, from $13.50 to $750.
The drug, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis in individuals with compromised immune systems, had been affordable and widely available before it was acquired by Turing. As a Senate Hearing noted in December, the price hike made Daraprim prohibitively expensive and restricted patient access.
“The documents,” states the congressional Turing memo, “demonstrate that although Mr. Shkreli spent no funds on developing Daraprim, which has been on the market for decades, he purchased it for the purpose of increasing the price dramatically and making hundreds of millions of dollars by exploiting its existing monopoly before any competitors could enter the market, which Mr. Shkreli expected would not occur for a number of years.”
Shkreli, who was arrested in December on charges of securities fraud, was called to testify at Thursday’s hearing but refused to answer questions, repeatedly citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
By hiking the price, Shkreli expected sales revenues from Daraprim to jump from $10 million per year to an excess of $200 million. An internal financial forecast projected a “GROSS PROFIT” of $134 million in 2016. In an email dated May 27, 2015 to the chairman of the board of directors discussing the significant progress made towards acquiring Daraprim, Shkreli wrote: “$1bn here we come.”
“We raised the price from $1,700 per bottle to $75,000,” Shkreli wrote to a contact in an email dated August 27. “So 5,000 paying bottles at the new price is $375,000,000—almost all of it is profit and I think we will get 3 years of that or more. Should be a very handsome investment for all of us.”
While a “handsome investment” for Shkreli, the price hike entailed significant financial hardships for patients. Documents reveal that Turing was aware that patients were left with co-pays ranging from $1,000 to $16,000.
The company also received numerous letters and emails from hospitals and health care providers describing the negative impacts of the price increase. Even Dr. Rima McLeod of the University of Chicago, one of the few physicians to support Turing as it hiked the price of Daraprim, raised concerns on October 9 about patient access, writing:
“This sounds like smoke and mirrors when someone’s sight and life are threatened and is not acceptable. … There really cannot be delays. People will really be hurt lifelong. You have a monopoly on safe reliable medicine right now and it truly matters for people’s lives.”
According to the documents, Turing executives anticipated a backlash, “but believed that physicians generally are not sensitive to price increases and that HIV/AIDS advocates—while organized and vocal—could be managed,” says the memo.
For example, a July 7 company presentation stated: “Many feel the number of toxoplasmosis patients is too small to stimulate a significant lobbying effort were the cost of therapy to become an issue.” On September 21, an outside consultant advised senior management of the company on how to handle negative coverage: “If we can get HIV/AIDS activists to ‘sit this one out,’ we come out way ahead.”
The memo also details the public relations (PR) strategy employed by Turing, which sought to divert attention away from the price hikes by focusing on patient assistance programs (PAPs) and research and development (R&D) efforts.
“Internal communications,” states the memo, “show that Turing officials joked about this strategy and did not in fact intend to lower the price of Daraprim.”
As the controversy over the pricing of Daraprim grew, an outside consultant emailed a member of Turing’s board of directors on October 8 with PR advice aimed at “more long term reputation rehabilitation by forcing a focus on Turing as a research and development company—not a pharma hedge fund hybrid.”
Internal documents reveal that Turing Pharmaceutical’s claims that the added revenue from the drug sales would be invested in R&D was simply a ruse. On December 8, Dr. McLeod emailed company officials stating that she was unaware “of what makes Turing solvent and able to do research …”
“However,” she continued, “Martin [Shkreli] did say that he had to maximize profit for investors and that was why price is high. He did not say it was for research primarily that it was a high price. He called that the ‘dirty secret’ of pharma.”

Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Valeant Pharmaceuticals came to the attention of legislators after it acquired two heart drugs in February 2015 and raised their prices by 525 percent (Isuprel) and 212 percent (Nitropress). This was after the drug’s previous owner, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, had raised the prices of the respective drugs by 384 percent and 486 percent after acquiring them in 2013.
“The documents indicate,” states the congressional Valeant memo, “that [Valeant CEO] Pearson purchased Isuprel and Nitropress in order to dramatically increase their prices and drive up his company’s revenues and profits.”
Similar to Turing, Valeant’s R&D spending on the two drugs was “nominal.”
Valeant’s price-gouging activities went well beyond Isuprel and Nitropress, raising the prices of more than 20 additional products by over 200 percent from 2014 to 2015. “Valeant raised the prices of several of these products multiple times from 2014 to 2015, in some cases by as much as 800%,” says the memo.
Like Turing and other pharmaceutical companies, Valeant employed a PR strategy to distract from the price hikes and focus attention on patient assistance programs. “Kind of hard to paint us as greedy if we have removed financial barriers for patients,” states a September 20, 2013 letter from Valeant executives.
“In fact,” states the memo, “the documents indicate that Valeant used its patient assistance programs to justify raising prices and to generate increased revenues by driving patients into closed distribution systems.”
While the memos focused on only two companies, the practice of hiking prices to enrich shareholders and then obfuscating the issue through public relations is endemic to the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Last year, drug prices rose by an average of 10.4 percent, the third year in a row of double-digit price increases.