Pharmaceutical executives mocked customers who became addicted to their company's painkillers, according to newly released emails.
The emails were revealed by West Virginia prosecutor Paul Farrell Jr. in a trial against drug makers AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp., whose executives mocked addicts as "pillbillies," reported the Herald-Dispatch.
"Watch out Georgia and Alabama, there will be a mass exodus of pillbillies heading north," wrote AmerisourceBergen executive Chris Zimmerman after Florida passed legislation in 2011 cracking down on the pharmacies.
Other executives made up songs about Appalachian addicts to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme and Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville," while a corporate investigator forwarded an email titled "Oxycontin for kids" showing a cereal box altered to read "SMACK."
"You're just a barrel of laughs today," a co-worker replied.
Zimmerman apologized in court for sending the email but insisted the term "pillbillies" was in reference to drug dealers, not to his company's patients.
"I shouldn't have sent the emails," he said.
AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. sent 127.9 million opiate doses into Cabell County between 2006 and 2014, despite the area having a population of only 90,000 people.
"It is a pattern of conduct by those people charged with protecting our community, and they're circulating emails disparaging hillbillies," Farrell said.
Human rights advocates warned Monday that the Biden administration is deepening U.S. complicity in the Netanyahu regime's ongoing massacre of civilians in Gaza by attempting to push through a $735 million sale of so-called "precision-guided weapons" to Israel.
"[The] Biden administration must be held accountable for being complicit in escalating the violence and failing to prevent civilian deaths and suffering."
—Jamil Dakwar, ACLU
The Washington Post reported Monday that the Biden administration officially notified Congress of the sale on May 5, just days before Israeli forces began their latest bombardment of Gaza last week—an assault that has killed nearly 200 Palestinians, wounded more than 1,200, and displaced tens of thousands.
Since last Monday, the Israeli military has used bombs and missiles made by major U.S. military contractors such as Boeing and General Dynamics to obliterate major buildings in Gaza, including one over the weekend that housed offices of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
"Criminal complicity," Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst, tweeted in response to reports of the sale, under which Boeing would provide Joint Direct Attack Munitions to Israel.
Freelance journalist Alex Kane warned that "those bombs will be dropped on Gaza if approved, as is likely."
Speaking to the Post on the condition of anonymity, one Democratic lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee similarly cautioned that "allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire will only enable further carnage."
While Democratic-controlled Congress has the power to block the weapons sale, it is unclear whether there would be enough support in either chamber to pass a resolution of disapproval, even as a growing chorus of progressive lawmakers expresses support for conditioning—and, if necessary, cutting off—the $3.8 billion in military aid the U.S. sends to Israel each year.
As the Post reported, one Democratic Senate aide said that "it's unlikely debate over the sale will ultimately result in a resolution of disapproval," which must pass within 20 days of the formal notification.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program, said Monday that "approving more weapons to Israel would add fuel to the fire and would only embolden Israel to continue its bombardments on Gaza."
"[The] Biden administration must be held accountable for being complicit in escalating the violence and failing to prevent civilian deaths and suffering," Dakwar added.
"Biden has a career-long record of defending Israel's worst crimes. And as president, he is now facilitating this murderous crime against humanity being committed by his 'great, great friend' Netanyahu."
—Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept
News of the sale came as the Biden administration on Sunday single-handedly blocked—for the third time in a week—a United Nations Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire, a proposal that the Netanyahu government has repeatedly rejected in recent days.
On Monday, according to the Associated Press U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that the Biden administration "still would not press for an immediate cease-fire" between Israel and Hamas despite mounting international pressure.
"Any diplomatic initiative that advances that prospect is something that we'll support," Blinken said during a press conference in press conference in Copenhagen. "And we are again willing and ready to do that. But ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a cease-fire."
"The world wants the killing to stop. The Biden administration does not," said political analyst and human rights advocate Omar Baddar. "Why? Because Israel doesn't want to stop the killing in Gaza, and Joe Biden and Secretary Blinken believe in unconditional support for Israel. This is disgusting and disgraceful, and a stain on our conscience."
In a column late last week, The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill wrote that on top of being "a nuclear power, armed with the most sophisticated and lethal weaponry imaginable," Israel "operates with a blank check of impunity bestowed upon it by its fiscal and military sponsor: the U.S. government."
"Biden has a career-long record of defending Israel's worst crimes," Scahill noted. "And as president, he is now facilitating this murderous crime against humanity being committed by his 'great, great friend' Netanyahu. This is all rooted in Israel's multidecade war of annihilation against the Palestinian people."
‘If walking around singing some patriotic songs is a crime then I guess I am guilty,’ says man arrested for Capitol riot
Two Illinois men who claim they were just taking a "tour" of Capitol sights during the January 6 Capitol insurrection have been charged by the FBI with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.
Douglas Wangler and Bruce Harrison admit they entered the Capitol building after listening to Donald Trump's rally speech, the FBI reported. It quoted Harrison as having "heard several loud bangs that sounded to him like a "civil war re-enactment" as they approached the U.S. Capitol building."
The two men attempted to distance themselves from what Wangler described as "a crazy mob" that they saw clashing with police on their way to the Capitol. The FBI criminal complaint stated:
"Both Wangler and Harrison stated they watched the crowd by the scaffolding for a short time, then decided to go around to the other side of the U.S. Capitol building to get away from the violent activities. Wangler advised that as they were walking around to the other side, he saw a man pounding on one of the building's windows and he told the man to "knock that shit off." Wangler further advised that the atmosphere on the other side of the building was peaceful and no one was doing anything violent."
If one believes the pair, they did have an inkling they were in the wrong place at the wrong time once inside the Capitol.
"Wangler stated that he asked the officer if they were going to get in trouble for being inside the building. According to Wangler, the officer shrugged and said something to the effect of, "It doesn't matter now."
Wanger is identified by the FBI as "pumping his fist and shouting USA" while "standing between white marble sculpture of John Stark and a white marble bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol building."
And there was this:
"Both Wangler and Harrison identified Harrison as the individual depicted in the still image from video footage of a camera in the Senate Wing of the U.S. Capitol building wearing a white baseball-style hat and distinctive jacket with red and white stripes on the sleeves. Harrison stated that he was…wearing a New England Patriots jacket, which he intentionally chose for the rally because of its patriotic colors."You can read the FBI criminal complaint here.
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