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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Although Rick Santorum claims to be anti-choice, he appears to be trying to abort a Romney victory in 2012.

A fundraising letter for Santorum just showed up in Iowa -- after he withdrew from the GOP presidential race - declaring to supporters, ""It truly frightens me to think what'll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The statistics are almost certainly an undercount, because a lot of bodies are never found, but data reveals that hundreds of undocumented migrants each year die seeking economic refuge in the United States.

According to the good Samaritan group No More Deaths, "The deadly combination of U.S. border enforcement policy and the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert cause hundreds of deaths every year, most of the deaths occurring in the brutal heat of the summer months. In the face of these adverse conditions, migrants crossing the border north still contend with the brutality and cruelty of U.S. Border Patrol Agents on the ground."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

According to a Seattle Crosscut Public Media article,

Leftover medications are fueling an epidemic of prescription-drug abuse that is killing more Washingtonians than traffic accidents, say drug-addiction experts. Yet pharmaceutical companies have consistently torpedoed efforts here to fund a statewide disposal program for unused drugs.

Meanwhile, environmental authorities say prescription drugs are turning up in waterways and even drinking water - and it's happening often enough that the old medications now are considered hazardous waste.

So as Truthout and BuzzFlash have focused on the failed US war on drugs in Mexico and Central America, the US government is also abdicating a serious regulation of the pharmaceutical industry in regards to practices that are deadly.

Crosscut reveals:

"More people are dying from prescription drugs than out there on the highways," said Patric L. Slack, commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force.

Since 2003, drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths in Washington. Most of these overdose deaths were from prescription and over-the-counter medications, not illegal drugs.

"More people are dying from prescription drugs than all illicit drugs combined," Slack said.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In response to the BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary, "Who is the Biggest Drug Cartel in the World? Big Pharma," we received a Salon article by journalist Evelyn Nieves, "America's pill-popping capital: Welcome to Kermit, W.Va. -- ground zero of the prescription drug epidemic"

In the story, Nieves details the rampant growth of mood altering and addictive drugs - narcotics - in southern West Virginia, along with a specific pill mill pharmacy that was indiscriminately peddling them.   Nieves went on to note:

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps warning, prescription drug abuse is spreading. Pills, especially Xanax, the anti-anxiety drug manufactured by Pfizer, and Vicodin, Loracet and Lortabs, highly addictive opioid painkillers familiar to anyone who has had a wisdom tooth removed, are being abused more and more, all over. What started out as a situation in poor isolated areas of the country left to their own devices has taken root and spread, across Appalachia and beyond.

You can find pockets of pill abuse from Orange County, Calif., to Staten Island, NY (sometimes now called Pill Island). Nationally, the abuse of prescription pain relievers, as evidenced by treatment submissions, has gone up 430 percent in the last decade, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, D.C. The report says states with the highest rise in prescription painkiller abuse include Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Arkansas, Rhode Island and West Virginia.


It is difficult to believe that Big Pharma is not aware of this growing abuse of legal drugs.  It is difficult to fathom that their actuarial predictions of profit don't take into account the addictive and widespread abuse of narcotics.  Perhaps they are indeed innocent bystanders to this spreading problem, but then the companies that make such effective medications would have to be deaf, blind, and dumb, because there is no way to ignore the "legal" drugs that are decimating sections of America.

In fact, in 2004, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma, settled a case brought by the attorney general of West Virginia charging them with misleading and overly aggressive marketing of Oxycontin in the state.  According to a 2004 New York Times article:

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wind. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.

In using the expression "paranoid style" I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics., In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.

--Richard Hofstadter, Harper's Magazine, 1964

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

BuzzFlash at Truthout has been covering the bloody fiasco of the US sponsored war on drugs in Mexico and other southern nations.

Most recently, Truthout reported, "The US War on Drug Cartels in Mexico Is a Deadly Failure." In that article, it was noted that there has been a simmering backlash, even among governments likely complicit in drug trafficking, against the lack of a US policy to reduce illicit drug consumption at home - or, perish the thought, legalize some of the contraband (starting with marijuana).

Yesterday, BuzzFlash noted the hypocrisy of American pharmaceutical companies being the largest cartels pushing narcotics, legally - and profiting handsomely from the drug dependency business.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

On Sunday, BuzzFlash at Truthout ran a commentary on the failed US war on drug cartels in Mexico, leaving -- at a minimum - 50,000 persons killed in its wake.

While individuals can have their own opinions about whether or not - and which - drugs might be legalized, there is little debate to be had about the ineffectiveness of the war on drug trafficking in the nations to the south of the US. It is a colossal and deadly failure.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Before BuzzFlash joined Truthout, it also offered progressive premiums. Perhaps the most popular, with literally hundreds ordered, was Charles Pierce's "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free."

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has turned a US motivated war on drugs into a bloodbath for the citizens of his nation. Despite his public fervor to "cleanse" Mexico of the cartels, his key anti-drug advisor from to 2006 - 2008 received $450,000 a month in bribes from drug kingpins.

That's more than $5 million a year.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Is it an exaggeration to argue that the US government packaging of a war on drugs in Mexico is -- on the ground -- really a battle over who pockets the estimated $50 billion drug trafficking business through that nation?

Perhaps.  But only because this so-called battle encompasses so many aspects of a US domestic political agenda, including US corporate profits from companies equipping and the war (think drones, guns, helicopters, etc.), US law enforcement agencies with vested interests in the war, a Pentagon goal of militarizing the conflict, the relegation of indigenous people to expendable collateral damage, etc., it is hard to pick one aspect of this vast doomed-to-fail-enterprise and imply that it alone represents the whole cynical undertaking.

In the past few years, since Mexican President Calderon took office in 2006, and signed on as a "partner" with the US in "eradicating" the drug cartels, at least 50,000 Mexicans have died in the conflict.  No one knows the exact number of murders - or the additional numerical account for "the disappeared" - but what most US media don't cover is that a significant percentage of these killings are people with very little or no relation to the higher ups in the drug world - or even to drugs. In short, they are collateral damage.

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