Here And There with Dave Marash

Many recent developments in litigation to hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible for American’s opioid drug addiction epidemic. A powerful judgment in Oklahoma against drug-industry giant Johnson & Johnson, a near-settlement and declaration of bankruptcy from OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, which shows deep divisions among the plaintiffs in the biggest federal suit. Settlement deadline for all defendants is October 21. Chris McGreal of The Guardian US, author of American Overdose has been covering the story.

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Doing good is hard to do.  For example, carbon offsets are meant to save forests, protect the planet and discourage pollution.  Nice idea, but does it really work?  Investigative reporter Lisa Song of Pro Publica says study after study shows that the swaps rarely deliver. All it takes is a bad storm or a worse President to do in the best-paid plan.  Examples: wildfires and Jair Bolosnaro in Brazil.  But in California carbon offsets are getting a big green light. 

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The public address announcement at Heathrow Airport in London summoned investigative reporter Dave Lindorff… report to your boarding gate for a security check.  Somehow, Lindorff was on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist.  Could it have been that his stories on the futility of Pentagon audits could have made someone angry?  Angry enough to call him a terrorist?  How might he clear his name? Lindorff investigated his own story and tells it, in depth on HERE & THERE

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In Hong Kong, a standoff continues.  Xi Jinping and his Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam carry on a measured war of attrition, jailing a few, beating up a few more rebels each week, while making faux-concessions on -- for example, the extradition bill that "lit the fuse" for rebellion.  Xi hopes, as in 2014, China can outlast the opposition.  So far, that hasn't worked.  The popular resistance is wide and deep.  Joseph Lian, a veteran Hong Kong journalist and frequent contributor to the NY Times has the latest on the story.

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When it comes to our global crisis of climate change, these are the watchwords of Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old leader of a worldwide youth campaign for immediate action: "I want you to act as if the house was on fire — because it is". Artemisio Romero y Carver is a leader of YUCCA, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, who will bring Thunberg’s message to Santa Fe tomorrow.  The NM Legislature has taken steps, but he says, they’re far short of enough. 

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What is Vladimir Putin’s Russia all about, and how did it get there.  Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow Center has a new short history, simply titled Russia, which succinctly tells that story…of a history filled with revolutions…of old regimes torn apart and very different new ones built on their bones.  What changed?  And what about Russia always seems to stay the same? 

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Before Israel was officially a state, it was a nation under threat from its Arab neighbors.  Matti Friedman’s new book, Spies of No Country tells the story of 4 future Israelis, Arabic-speakers who grew up in Arab environments as spies behind enemy lines in Lebanon.  Their story points to the future intelligence service Mossad and the future of Israel in which Mizrahis, Jews from the East play crucial roles.  Life, love and a mission to blow up a yacht built for Adolf Hitler.  The story, in depth on HERE & THERE

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Bullies do it when called out – “He started it!” Aggressive haters always claim the hatred started with their enemies.  So, Donald Trump’s first and everlasting claim: “Islam hates us!”  So many ways that this idea is not true, and profoundly damaging as it gets rooted in America.  How Islamophobia was cultivated here and the consequences are subjects covered in Lawrence Pintak’s new book America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump.

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Because they are appointed for life, a generation of Federal Judges is longer than the average – say, 25 years.  So that our generation, today’s Federal Court Judges include a few elders from the Clinton era, a short-changed minority of Obama selections and a majority of George W Bush and Donald Trump appointees. As promised, Trump’s judges are different.  Elie Mystal of The Nation and Above the Law on how this affects your life. 

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One of the fastest growing things in the world is the pile of traceable evidence every crime leaves behind.  As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia learned in the days and weeks after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Which led to a whole new pile of evidence of other crimes committed by a government-sponsored Saudi Murder and Kidnap Inc.  Ayman Mohyeldin broke the story in Vanity Fair and on MSNBC, where he reports and anchors. 

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The rush to qualify for the upcoming third round of the Democratic Presidential debates raises a lot of questions. How much should be enough to qualify.  How many are too many when it comes to candidates taking part in a single debate.  10?  We’ve done 10?  11? 12?  Or does that mandate a pair of 6’s?  And how could a co-called national poll of 298 people carry so much weight? John Nichols of The Nation helps sort out the story.

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It was, said an administration insider, John Bolton’s and Mike Pompeo’s “nightmare” – that Ayatollah Khamenei invites Donald Trump to talk, and the President agrees.  At the G-7 meetings, French President Emanuel Macron re-staged that nightmare as a dream almost come true.  Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on how close to a US-Iran summit is “almost.”   

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