COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION NO. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, v. PURDUE PHARMA L.P., PURDUE PHARMA INC., RICHARD SACKLER, THERESA SACKLER, KATHE SACKLER, JONATHAN SACKLER, MORTIMER DA. SACKLER, BEVERLY SACKLER, DAVID SACKLER, ILENE SACKLER LEFCOURT, PETER BOER, PAULO COSTA, CECIL PICKETT, RALPH SNYDERMAN, JUDY LEWENT, CRAIG LANDAU, JOHN STEWART, and MARK TIMNEY
Dangerous opioid drugs are killing people across Massachusetts. Prescription medicines, which are supposed to protect our health, are instead ruining people’s lives. Every community in our Commonwealth suffers from the epidemic of addiction and death.
Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit. First, Purdue deceived doctors and patients to get more and more people on its dangerous drugs. Second, Purdue misled them to take higher and more dangerous doses. Third, Purdue deceived them to stay on its drugs for longer and more harmful periods of time. All the while, Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives. Even when Purdue knew people were addicted and dying, Purdue treated patients and their doctors as “targets” to sell more drugs. At the top of Purdue, a small group of executives led the deception and pocketed millions of dollars.
How is it in this extraordinary country in which vested interests also enjoy the greatest access to liberal education that the same affluent-to-wealthy people think nothing of addicting and gouging their fellow Americans to death?
The effort, the whistleblowers said in a lawsuit against the company, was part of an intentional “multi-tiered strategy” by Questcor Pharmaceuticals, now Mallinckrodt, to boost sales of H.P. Acthar Gel, cheating the government out of millions of dollars.
The price of the drug, best known for treating a rare infant seizure disorder, has increased almost 97,000%, from $40 a vial in 2000 to nearly $39,000 today.
The Justice Department has now intervened in the case after conducting its own extensive investigation — a sign that the government believes the allegations levied by the whistleblowers are credible. In a statement to CNN, Mallinckrodt did not deny the accusations but said the fault lies primarily with Questcor.
–It doesn’t matter: why not let him have his little state?
BackChannels will demur here from commenting on the standing President of the United States but may note that little things like stiffing dozens of subcontractors, building hills around a golf course in-holding, selling off a $42 million property for about $94 million to meet a few debts (Harry Homeowner: try to beat that for obtaining a favor — and note: the buyer razed the property: it’s a field by the Atlantic Ocean today), sabotaging American universal health care, deriding the most professional news organizations in the world as “Fake News!” may not endear the same to all ordinary Americans who despite their many vulnerabilities may enjoy a modicum of dignity and protection through true democratic representation.
Poor Robert — this editor has long suggested that Mugabe’s long presence in power not only proves that a ruthless and wily dictator may not only get away it but perhaps pass away in an untroubled sleep somewhere in his 90s. Nope. Well maybe. In any case, BackChannels didn’t see this coup a-comin’, but there it is and fair cause for becoming desktop-addicted newsie.
Hungarian Uprising, 1956: I was looking for Soviet officers hung from lamp posts, a detail reported in a BBC video about Vladimir Putin’s cultural memory (perhaps I was looking at the wrong event, so will look again) but found the visual record formed by the collision of the deeply resentful against the then militarily powerful. Similar images may be dredged up from the web for the end of Mussilini and the Ceausescues.
Language is a cultural invention and tool in which the world’s separated populations suspend themselves each as a unique enterprise. Perhaps in the densely populated complex societies, the aggregation of multiple cultures in political space require stronger tools for accommodation and integration.
The subjects of language, language history, linguistics, etc. are immense, but where we have the tools for our own demise, nature demands we find a common enough cultural and social code to keep everyone — and their languages — in existence
There are presently about 7,000 living languages extant, but the actual number is less and we lose several annually to natural discarding (if not through cultural annihilation). It’s for that reason I’ve taken the tack that a People possessed of a language, practically by definition invented in the space, small or large, on which they have been marooned, need their land and may be “updated” to civil standards of a sort and otherwise left to evolve.
That’s my proposed modern ethic.
Where we witness barbarism, what we may perceive as an absence of conscience may be instead a different set of cultural rules (desperately in need of adjustment). When ISIS idiots mass rape Yazidi women, they do so with language that has pandered to them and given them permit for extraordinary cruelty. Of course, some ISIS members flee ISIS for such reasons: the behavior on exhibit goes against the grain of their humanity.
Within Islam, the same may be noted of Muslims victimized by the Taliban: the Army School in Peshawar represented a Muslim community defending and raising its children, and the “Talibandits” attack, which must have seemed a virtuous undertaking to themselves, proved only to further destroy their image while encouraging more of the Ummah to shun their presentation of what Muslims should be.
A “zeitgeist” is an expression of language in its totality and care must be taken — artists and poets may consider their responsibilities to man and God — or man and nature if that better suits — before encouraging the worship of chaos and death.
Empathy with an emphasis on compassion, and here with that as related to casualties and displaced from Syria’s agonizing civil war, signals something good in the general humanity, but it’s not going to be enough to promote band-aids when the war is sustained on the absence of an armed force of a middle and perhaps now modern temperament.
It’s notable also that Russia pledged $10 million to refugee relief in Syria while spending $52 billion, the largest amount ever, for the winter Olympics at Sochi.
My partner in the short conversation then said, “Humanity in the true sense has lost all its values.”
Not really although it sometimes seems to. We’re a wild species suspended in about, oh, 6,900 living languages, each of which represents a cultural invention and technology and conveys from one generation to the next a behavioral program fit to the character of the language community in a given circumstance in place and time.
I believe the variance in that language-driven and language-derived behavior shapes consciousness and conscience and with regard to empathy, may emphasize the cultivation of that ability to meld emotion and imagination on behalf of someone else, or it may harden the heart against the same.
Other qualities may obtain similar support and the tapestry of whole cultures, whether that of, say, a living sun king or that of a god remote and separate from the mortal, becomes made of such threads. With the aforementioned 6,900 differences in cultural cognitive style wrapped in language, it’s amazing we don’t have more conflict on our plates than we do, but, ever optimistic here, if we drift toward a moderate middle together, we can clean up and forestall a lot of this kind of mess.
The modern dictator’s values — any side (one chessboard – same player on both sides, lol) — build on heroic myth to develop power over others for the purpose of obtaining continuous and inexhaustible “narcissistic supply” — the adoration and adulation of the realm: and they often sail themselves and their own to disaster on the wings of a grandiose messianic delusion.
The inspiration for the above portion of threaded conversation appears to be a contrivance but quite pointed:
The best way to save the children is, alas, to save the adults, get enough on to about the same page in their attitudes, ethics, ideals, and values with regard to others, and then get them to challenge, eject, or evolve the kind of deeply narcissistic and lost personalities who have attempted to paint reality for others through what they do in the pursuit of war.
Of the Assad regime and the al-Nusra et al. counterpoints, I’ve remarked “different talk: same walk”: each will use the lives of noncombatants for political chips. Perhaps nowhere in the whole sorry tragedy has that been made more clear than in the approach of each side to the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp, where one side laid siege as part became a rebel base, and the rebels, true to form, used the helpless and unarmed residents as their own human shields.
Is there anyone reading this post that might want to see that obscenity again?
Attitudes and beliefs, including beliefs about Jews, about loyalty, about the west, about the Baath Party and the Soviet Union (or its ghost from 22 years ago) play a role in impeding the development of an effective and true Syrian people’s army. Moreover, but along similar lines, the three sides — Assad; more secular revolutionary forces; and, of course, the al-Qaeda types — have found themselves trapped in the immense shadows cast by the glorious wars of yesteryear, which for each is different: Bashar al-Assad has been trying to fight his father’s war, an armed insurrection against the state; the battles in mind, perhaps literally, for the al-Qaeda affiliates need little introduction and would seem to be expressed in battlefield and political behavior; and the moderates who seem to be carrying around the load of combined internationalist and Islamist hate for Israel, Jews, and “The West” just haven’t found their way to daylight.
I don’t know where to change that “Jew hate” that signals so much else about the three parties sewing Syria with destruction, and I’m not sure it’s my job alone to locate those cognitive switches in the languages alive on the fields of battle, but finding that would be a good place to start.
Syrians needs Syria — I know of no culture free of a relationship with its land and landscape — and they need to own it for themselves in peace.
To obtain that ownership and peace, the defense Syrians may need most of all, the defense most absent in the three years of continuous and brutal fighting, is not defense from Israel, which is treating Syrian wounded today, but defense from those among themselves who would seek their own excessive aggrandizement at the costs now well displayed in death, displacement, and suffering.
Related (updated 3/18/2014) from The Torah, Exodus 31-32:
31The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. 32But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
An uncle, who did not want his name published, said Ms Ali was desperate to help people . . . After initially posting about buying Prada sunglasses and working night shifts at the Sea World resort in her late teens, the aspiring graphic designer was fund-raising for families in Syria and writing posts such as ”the blood of a martyr does not dry” in the past year.
The lack of access to conscience, simple decency, on the part of the combatants and their enablers and sponsors tells what needs to be told of the Syrian Civil War. Even for the generations of the refugees of 1948, the cause célèbre for 66 of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist vitriol, it appears neither side will cease fire even to allow the same access to food.
Human Rights Watch has called for aid donors to Syria to “push the Syrian government to eliminate obstacles to effective aid distribution, and increase their contributions.”
Push with what?
Where good is concerned, the possession of conscience is the push. Conscience looks around at what has happened, and embarks upon repair.
Contacts pass links to me after I’ve published a piece, and some so fit the topic area, such as may be on any post on this blog, that I would feel remiss for not sharing what’s brought to my attention for a few hours to days after publication.
Ironically, for the UN humanitarian appeal for Syria, held in Kuwait earlier this week, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged a combined total of $120 million.
In other words, these two Persian Gulf monarchies have spent 75 times more on fueling conflict and destruction in Syria than what they are now pledging in “humanitarian assistance”.
Wounded Syrian woman: “We hesitated coming to Israel, because we were taught to hate it. We were taught this is a brutal enemy state, but we learned that reality is different. People here have a conscience. Our enemy is in Syria, not in Israel.”
The test is never defined; while God gives Abraham the familiar command, it may be notable that when Abraham goes to do it, God sends an emissary to intervene, spares Isaac, provides a ram as substitute, and never again addresses Abraham directly, perhaps suggesting that the greater test was that of conscience and of courage, a test Abraham perhaps fails.
Here I may borrow from what I’ve often said about pictures: if you look at a photograph and believe that you have seen it, look again.
The same may be said of Torah portions and Genesis 22 should prove no exception.
The definition of the test is not in the text definitively or directly, and while obedience is tested — of that there is no question — the command to murder one’s own boy, and not a boy easily gotten, would seem not only questionable, but so much so as to be and to turn out the true test of Abraham’s character, which some, including Isaac, might think in the instance miserably dumb.
Rather, at the binding the main one tested was Abraham. It was a test of faith to see whether he would doubt God’s words. Abraham had been assured by God that “Your seed will be called through Isaac” (Gen. 21:12), i.e., Isaac (and not Ishmael) would father a great nation—the Jewish people. However, Abraham could apparently have asked a very glaring question: at the time that God commanded him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, Isaac was still single, and if Isaac would die now, how could he possibly father the nation which was to be born from Abraham? Moreover, isn’t God eternal and unchanging, as God declares: “I have not changed” (Malachi 3:6), implying that He does not change His mind?
While the will to commit murder in God’s name may seem so much more elevating, heady to Abraham, perhaps, the facts of the story — God’s promise regarding Isaac, the ambiguity of the language conveying the idea of Abraham being tested, the sending of an emissary (after having spoken to Abraham directly — what a let down), the subsequent intercession by a lesser being, the killing of a ram instead of Isaac, the conversation that God does not resume with Abraham — strongly supports the argument for God having tested Abraham’s conscience more than his unquestioning obedience.