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Messages - meepmeep

2402
I don't think the GOP knew how deep in the shit this asshole is with Russia. They probably noticed his questionable business dealings during the vetting process but figured that was it. I think a lot of them are legitimately concerned. The rest, like McConnell and Chaffetz and King, are disgusting toadies who will do anything for more power.

One thing I've been wondering. Flynn is a career military and intelligence officer who worked during the Cold War. He did work for RT and sat next to Putin at a fancy gala dinner. He traveled to Moscow to meet the head of GRU ( :stare: ) and was given a tour of their headquarters. And he called the Russian ambassador multiple times on the day sanctions were announced.

He's not completely stupid. He had to know these things would raise red flags. He had to know somebody would be listening in on those phone calls. He had to know that other NATO allies' intelligence agencies would also be paying attention.  Why would he take all of these risks?
2403
Spicer lied lied lied about Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-idUSKBN14X1YX

2405
if the "new" drug's formula is pretty close to the old one, that will tend to be covered by obviousness, which would prevent them from getting a new patent.  there is actually case law saying homologs, isomers, etc. are obvious.  you can't just move a hydroxy radical to a different node and say "new chemical!" ... the obviousness rejection can be overcome by showing unexpected results or commercial success (among other things) stemming from the change in chemical formula - iow, showing that the apparently stupid change actually seemed to matter - and then they get a new patent for the "nonobvious" new chemical.  but in that case, there is arguably a legit difference from the old drug. 

if they are getting away with some bullshit along these lines, it may be that their modifications make a significant enough difference in actual results to qualify for a new patent, but those changes don't reflect a ton of r&d and/or don't provide enough benefit to be a net gain to the public in return for another 20 years of monopoly.

It's been a while since I read about this in particular, so I could be getting some of it wrong. I remember the issue being things like making a slight alteration to delivery route ("now intranasal!") or action of delivery (eg, this coating makes release two times slower or this version dissolves underneath the tongue) or purifying a drug and changing the dosage (like going from a racemic mixture to using just the one enantiomer that's the one that actually works). Or combining two drugs that are nearing expiration into a new compound to squeeze more profit out of them.

These changes can have benefits, and, yeah, there can be a significant difference to have an extended-release version or just one enantiomer. Just as a personal example, I'm glad they made an oral version of the Bordetella vaccine for dogs but that we also have an injectable so I don't have to put my hands in the mouth of a dog that's been muzzled twice and pinned in between the door and door frame so it doesn't eat me. And I'm glad we have antibiotics that are given once daily because client compliance goes down considerably when they have to give something twice a day (and completely tanks if it's three times a day). And some of these alterations might improve bioavailability or might have fewer side effects or might be more convenient or easier to use. But I'm not convinced this is the best way to incentivize these improvements. I mean, when they took Prilosec and purified it to the S-enantiomer to make Nexium, they didn't do it in an effort to improve the drug itself but only did it to make up for the losses they were going to have when Prilosec's patent expired. The incentive is to put your one product out, develop these other versions in the background, and then only put those on the market towards the tail end of the original drug's patent. There's not that much of an incentive to develop these alternate routes of delivery or work on other improvements early on in the process. The incentive is to wait so you can extend the line and then time everything to maximize your profits. I think that's a little shitty.

eta2: curious what damian thinks

Maybe tell that fucker to actually sign up then.
2406
Right, it's a pretty complicated topic. I think in general, though, the bigger problem is what teeth mentioned - antitrust practices. Mergers and acquisitions. It's my understanding that it's possible for drug companies to slightly tweak a drug to essentially extend patent protection. And there's manipulation in the generic market where the number of companies making a drug dwindles to the point where the few left can do whatever they want. That seems to entail pulling the drug off the market completely and then bringing it back later at an insanely jacked up price. That's what happened with doxycycline, and it turns out that there was straight up price fixing going on. We need to do more to combat these sorts of things.

But, yeah, public subsidies might be a fair solution. R&D is already subsidized by federal funding in a way, and it's questionable how much those costs contribute to the problem. It's true that high costs of R&D disincentivizes development of new drugs and therapies since the vast majority fail.

Anyway, this sort of thing is incredibly complicated, and as much as I'd like to see lower drug prices, I can't get super fucking angry at Cory Booker for voting the way he did. It's not as straightforward as people make it seem. And it's in the best interests of the political career of ANYBODY from NJ to vote the way he did.
2407
i'm learning more and more about the alt-left. apparently they hate cory booker for voting against that Rx drug importation amendment?

it's a damned if you do damned if you don't situation. Import prescription drugs from Canada, and you're hurting American jobs. Don't import those drugs, and it's your fault that domestic drug prices are so high. The actual solution (regulating drug prices domestically and stopping anticompetitive practices by drug manufacturers) is a political non-starter apparently.

Yeah, basically, and NJ is home to a huge chunk of the pharmaceutical industry. But they've been losing jobs with the insane number of mergers and acquisitions that have been happening. I swear even in the animal world every time I get used to some brand-specific product, some motherfucker buys some other motherfucker out, and the names change all over again.
2408
Which is stupid, I think.

Drug regulation is a monster. I'm not opposed to importing drugs from certified pharmacies in Canada with the stipulations that these proposed amendments include (no controlled drugs, no temperature-controlled drugs, no photoreactive drugs, no gene therapy, etc.), but it's profoundly stupid. Ideally, we'd enact our own fucking price controls instead of routing things through Canada to use their price control system. But this could be used as a bandaid fix.

One of the problems is that the price of drugs that can't be imported will most certainly go up to compensate for any losses. Part of it is because these companies won't want to give up a single cent of profit but part of it is because of their business model. They internally subsidize drugs that don't make as much money by raising prices on those that do. A major change like this would make them have to recalibrate.

In any case, the argument against this amendment is reasonable. The way I understand it, there's no way for the FDA to make sure that everyone is in compliance with the Food and Drug Act. While it's true that Canada's standards for drug safety and efficacy are probably just as good or better than ours, we have zero control over their regulatory policies. Relying on another country to regulate things for you doesn't seem like a good idea in general. Is there any other industry where we do this? How would regulation and enforcement work? If there are consumer complaints in the US, who gets involved? Who investigates? We're already in murky waters with compounding pharmacies in this country. How does Canada regulate compounding?

Then there's this: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/compli-conform/import-export/pol-0060_biu-uif-eng.php

5.3.3 Section 37(1)

Quote
Thus, pursuant to Section 37(1), an establishment in Canada that fabricates a health product in Canada for export only is not subject to the requirements of the Act and Regulations in relation to that product, provided the product:

    has been fabricated in Canada solely for export;
    complies with the labeling requirements of Section 37(1); and
    in the case of a drug - is the subject of an Export Certificate in the form prescribed in Appendix III of the Food and Drug Regulations that has been attested to under oath by the exporter of the drug;
    or
    in the case of a medical device, is the subject of an Export Certificate in the form prescribed in Schedule 3 of the Medical Devices Regulations that has been attested to under oath by the exporter of the medical device.

In requiring the issuance of an Export Certificate which states that the package and its contents do not contravene any law or requirement of the receiving country, Section 37(1) allows products fabricated for export only to exempt themselves from requirements that may be uniquely Canadian and not applicable in other countries (e.g. bilingual labeling requirements), all the while subjecting them to the health and safety requirements of other regulatory authorities.

So to me, it looks like if a company is selling a product only for export, they're exempt from meeting the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and regulations provided the product is clearly labeled for export only. Companies are supposed to ensure that they're complying with regulations in the country of sale, but it's not clear whether there's any enforcement of that. It looks like the only time these exporters may be inspected is if their "export only" labeling is in question or if they haven't properly invoked the exemption.

If we were talking about any other kind of product, it wouldn't really be an issue, but drugs are a different story. People focus on safety for obvious reasons, but efficacy and purity matter just as much. Taking an ineffective drug can cause a lot of harm. Trusting pharmaceutical companies in any country to put out a consistently good product is ridiculous, and it's not clear to me that there'd be enough oversight of imports, since the amendment did nothing to expand FDA funding.

But Cory Booker is Satan because :sparkles: ideological purity :sparkles: .
2409
The problem is how would we know for sure? I mean, short of a situation where people get arrested and tried. If high level government officials are being investigated for improper acts that involve foreign powers or intelligence leaks or anything that serious, proof is going to be hard to come by for the general public because the people doing the investigating aren't going to compromise what they're doing. Even when it came to moles like Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames, once suspicion was aroused, it still took years for investigators to get their ducks all in a row.

With this situation, the only thing that's left is to read between the lines, which means you never really know for sure which way is up. It's highly unusual how many ties Trump has to the Russian government and Russian organized crime. His behavior is also highly unusual. I don't think having a super mega man crush on Putin explains the risks he's taking in pushing these policies and being so defensive of him, and it's worth noting that his purported ties to Russian organized crime predate Putin. We're talking about a man who has no problem contradicting himself because his goal is to get the crowd to cheer, and this is practically the one issue he won't budge on.

Today's stories are even more suggestive, especially the bit about Flynn. How would this official supposedly know that Flynn called the ambassador? Somebody's fucking listening. Why are they listening? It's possible that the FBI did in fact get FISA warrants in October and that maybe Flynn was one of the targets, though nobody will ever be able to confirm it unless something happens. Somebody in the administration or intelligence community supposedly leaked that bit to the press. I imagine if you were caught up in the midst of this insanity and knew that no one was allowed to say anything, this would be the only measure you could possibly take to warn people about what's happening.

I understand the skepticism and caution, but this is such an unusual situation. I know everyone has said this a million times for almost 2 years now, but we're in uncharted waters, so it's hard to be sure of anything. But I'm also finding it difficult to make sense of any of this without there being something more serious than Trump just really liking Putin's policies.
2410
Comey directly told Trump about it all (Conway lied - shocking!): http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/314105-fbi-director-comey-briefed-donald-trump-on-dossier-cnn-reports

US intelligence officials have allegedly warned Israeli intelligence to be careful what kind of information they pass along: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.764711?v=74A9A2AC6F00E892BC72B10692D09D07

Flynn apparently contacted the Russian ambassador: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-did-obama-dawdle-on-russias-hacking/2017/01/12/75f878a0-d90c-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.02b926ed7434

Quote
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about "disputes" with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
2411
there are probably people who would say no and view any kind of working with him on legislation, even in the edge case that what he wants is good, as a capitulation to fascism.

Those people are idiot children.
2412
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
2413
The CIA did not produce that dossier or leak it.
No, it was a former MI6 guy that was paid by opponents of Trump that produced it.  Not sure that adds or detracts from its credibility.

The CIA may not have produced or leaked the document(s) but they are using it to brief Obama, Trump and eight congressmen.  And are allegedly using it as the basis of an investigation into Trump's Russia dealings.

Yes, and? Why are you bringing up believing the CIA when they're not the ones who compiled the report?

I'm also getting tired of this worn out "but Iraq!" argument. During the run up to the invasion of the Iraq war, there was a lot of disagreement and dissent in the intelligence community. What we're seeing now is unanimous agreement. It's foolish to dismiss it all because you're so cynical and clever that you know better because :smugbert: the CIA, guys :smugbert: . And I say this as someone whose country of birth had a CIA puppet dictatorship installed. They're not my favorite organization in the world by a long shot, but they are good at doing their job, which involves gathering intelligence, and reading Greenwald smugfarts doesn't grant me any special knowledge that would contradict their findings.

Trump dissembles and misdirects constantly no matter what (many times he's dissembling because he can't put two coherent sentences together).

Yes, and everything is "fake news," no matter what. It's not like if it had only been the CNN article published, he would've been like, oh shit, I had better clear this up! Anything critical of him gets spun as lies, and his more rabid supporters have been labeling anything they don't like as "fake news."

Let's not pretend like they wouldn't be having the same fucking reaction even if Buzzfeed hadn't leaked the raw dossier.
2414
The CIA did not produce that dossier or leak it.
2415
Trump is going to do lots of stuff that he can be attacked for and we can be outraged about . . . like his Treasury Secretary nominee.  Do we really need to be wasting a bunch of outrage energy on things that haven't been verified and parts of which are demonstrably false?  I mean the intelligence agencies haven't even bothered to independently inspect the hacked DNC servers and instead just relied on the findings of a private company hired by the DNC to look over their servers for evidence of hacking.

Seriously, stop and look at what you're fucking saying.

These allegations are not coming out of thin air, and even before this leak, there was plenty to be outraged and worried about.

We know for a fact that Paul Manafort lobbied on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians and that he was paid millions of dollars to push a pro-Kremlin agenda. He was Trump's campaign adviser and remained an unofficial advisor even after officially quitting.

We know that Carter Page is still advising Trump and also has serious ties to Russia. He's being investigated for holding meetings with Russian government officials.

We know for a fact that Trump has business ties with the Russian mafia, that he's been fined in the past for bad financial practices, that an extensive part of his business involves Russia.

We have Trump denying any connection at all to Russia despite having talked about having those connections in the past. We have Trump parroting the same talking points and propaganda as the Kremlin. We have Trump pushing hard on changing US policy towards Crimea/Ukraine. We have Trump being remarkably consistent in his support and defense of Russian policy and of Putin. We have Trump completely reversing course on Wikileaks from saying Assange should get the death penalty to quoting him as if he's a more reliable source than American intelligence agencies. We have Trump having a fucking meltdown in response to this dossier and using "Russia says it's false" as an argument.

I think releasing the whole dossier was wrong, but I think acting as if every last bit of it is equal to Pizzagate is beyond fucking stupid.

What matters is that we have lots of other evidence that something fucking fishy is going on between Trump and the Russian government. What matters is that intelligence directors thought there was something in there worth briefing Obama and Trump about. No one knows what that something is, but there's obviously concern in the IC over this.

This is very serious and should be treated as such. These are not wild accusations coming out of nowhere.
2416
Christ, some people on the left are fucking dumb.
2417
The dossier dates back to at least the summer, and it's been circulating among government and journalists for months. And the pee thing is the least damaging accusation.

Also lol 4chan, give me a fucking break.
2418
Trump is melting down on Twitter and he even said Russia says none of it is true. And that he has no connections to Russia.

Lol sure inspires confidence that he would believe Russia's denials. And if he has no ties, surely releasing his tax returns and financial documents would help clear the air.
2419
In other news...
http://fox5.co/r-kelly-confirmed-to-perform-at-inauguration/

lol, definitely in the top 5 of jokes that this has unleashed.
2420
James Comey's had this information since August and didn't say shit, but he sure did rush out the "OMG MORE EMAILS MAYBE!" letter as quickly as he could. Plus that turd he dropped in the Senate hearings today about how he never comments on pending/ongoing investigations.

It's even worse:

Quote
The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

So new emails on Weiner's laptop merited a public letter to Congress, but the FBI applying for a warrant under FISA to investigate Trump team members didn't.

It's incredibly rare for the FISA court to reject a warrant. It could've been that the evidence was so shoddy that this was one of the rare occasions where they rejected it. Or it could be that the court demanded a higher standard because it involved the presidential campaign of a major party nominee. Or it could be the court playing politics. And if it's true that they were able to obtain a warrant in October, then what in the fucking fuck?

I gave Comey the benefit of the doubt earlier, but now I'm thinking he really fucked this up in a horrific way.
2421
On Twitter, Cohen has denied ever having been to Prague. Trump tweeted out in ALL CAPS that it's FAKE NEWS and a WITCH HUNT.

I haven't gone back to read the thingy more closely, but I apparently missed a bit about Trump's campaign supposedly promising to back off on Ukraine and shift the focus to US/NATO to take the heat off and question US commitment to the Baltic states. If that's true, that's also a pretty big deal.

It's impossible to tell what's likely to be true, what's likely to be embellished, and what's likely to be completely wrong. The fact that Obama and Trump were both briefed on this seems to suggest someone has confirmed at least some part of it, unless it's not unheard of for complete garbage intelligence to make it up that high. I have a feeling that this has opened the floodgates, and we'll maybe find out more in the coming days. Some of it is bound to be made up or incorrect, but who fucking knows? It all sounds simultaneously outlandish and believable.
2422
meep, can you do a "AMA: my family fled a puppet dictatorship!" thread?

Lol oh god. Hey you might be able to do it yourself eventually. :buddy:

My first impression as someone who doesn't know a whole lot about the laws involved is that if true, the most damaging accusations might be the bribery of foreign officials (that's a felony if I remember correctly), the transmission of information on the activities of oligarchs in the US to Russian intelligence, and more importantly Cohen's supposed meeting in Prague with operatives and the alleged payments. That last one would be direct evidence linking Trump's campaign to hacking via a foreign power.

None of this is surprising but it's shocking that this is all happening. There are whispers on the Twitters from a few former US intelligence people that some of the allegations may have been substantiated, with hints about the Prague meeting but it's pure speculation at this point.
2423
Anyway, I quoted the most salacious part that happened to be in the first section. I'm still skimming through the rest, which involves a lot of accusations about collusion with Kremlin insiders. It also accuses Trump of directly bribing St. Petersburg officials. His lawyer, Michael Cohen, is accused of meeting with members of the Russian government and operatives/hackers. The document alleges that they discussed how to handle covert payments to operatives and make sure they wouldn't be traced if Clinton won. Apparently, Cohen's wife is Russian and his father-in-law is a property developer in Moscow. The head of Rosneft is also accused of offering Carter Page and Trump's associates a stake in the company if sanctions are lifted.

If even a fraction of this is true, this is pretty serious.
2424
He's got a press conference planned for tomorrow.

He's probably pretty...pissed. :snicker:

eta likelihood that he cancels, anyone? I think it's probable.
2425
Buzzfeed just published the dossier: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-trump-has-deep-ties-to-russia?utm_term=.hiXzQ7d1j#.kl4NGQ8wq

Caveats:
Quote
The document is not just unconfirmed: It includes some clear errors. The report misspells the name of one company, "Alpha Group," throughout. It is Alfa Group. The report says the settlement of Barvikha, outside Moscow, is "reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates." It is not reserved for anyone, and is also populated by the very wealthy.



:stare:

eta2 oh god what's going to happen to the Lincoln bedroom :staregonk: