Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Congressional Drug Dealers

Drug Czar Nominee Withdrawn:

President Trump’s plans to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic were disrupted on Monday as he came under pressure to abandon a nominee for drug czar who championed legislation undercutting the government’s power to go after pharmaceutical companies that contribute to the crisis.
Even as the president promised to announce a major initiative to stem the wave of opioid abuse as early as next week, Mr. Trump said he would consider scuttling the nomination of Representative Tom Marino as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Marino, Republican of Pennsylvania, pushed the legislation sought by lobbyists for the drug industry.
“He’s a good man,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference on Monday in the Rose Garden. “I have not spoken to him, but I will speak to him, and I’ll make that determination. And if I think it’s 1 percent negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change, yes.”
The president also suggested that he might favor rethinking the law that Mr. Marino helped pass. “We’re going to look at that very closely,” he said.
Basically, putting this Marino guy, along with his drug-happy colleague Marsha Blackburn, in charge of drug policy in this country is like putting the proverbial fox's in charge of the hen house: they authored and shepherded through congress a bill that protected opioid distributors from legal challenges and investigations by the DEA; a bill the DEA says undercut their authority to stop the epidemic and killed tens of thousands of people in the process. The story broke on 60 Minutes over the weekend.
Mr. Trump’s response came after a joint investigation by CBS’s “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post examined the influence of the drug industry in Washington. The legislation pressed by Mr. Marino was the result of a concerted industry campaign to change the authority of the Drug Enforcement Administration in a way that would make it more difficult to stop the flow of painkillers to the black market. The law, passed last year, made it nearly impossible for the D.E.A. to freeze suspicious shipments of drugs, according to documents cited by The Post.

The law was a top priority of the drug industry, which spent $106 million lobbying Congress from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Marino, who received nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees representing the industry, according to The Post, was one of the leaders in pushing the bill. Congress passed it with many legislators unaware of its real effect, and President Barack Obama signed it into law, also unaware of its import, according to former administration officials cited by The Post.
Uh huh. This bill passed the Congress by unanimous consent, both houses, both parties, and was signed by Obama, and NOT ONE person read the damn thing or knew what protections they put in place? Protections which shielded the distributors in their criminal activity and allowed the opioid crisis to kill tens of thousands of people? 

Not surprisingly, Obama's AG Eric Holder claims he was unaware of the bill's importance and the change in DEA policy to back off these drug distributing companies, thus making Holder either A. an egregious liar, or B. the most incompetent AG in history (we'll go with B to avoid the debate).  

Watch the 60 Minutes stories. One of the agents even co-opts my phrase "drug dealers in lab coats" that I've been using for over a decade.

The good news this morning is that Marino withdrew his nomination due to the firestorm of protest on social media (including tweets by yours truly). 

As usual, and at the end of the day, I repeat my refrain "follow the money." It shows you how Big Pharma in this country is nothing but a drug cartel of criminals in suits and lab coats, the size of which puts to shame the Escobar brothers or the Medellin gangs of lore. And their infusion of money (hundreds of millions of dollars) into congressional campaigns goes beyond quid pro quo. It defacto makes Congress nothing more than a collection of drug whores and pimps for an industry that is actively killing nearly 65,000 U.S. citizens each year. 

And it's every single member of congress, from every single party, including the independents. It is, quite literally, ALL of you.

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