50,000 reports of malfunctioning heart device hidden by the FDA


Congressional Quarterly

❝ The Food and Drug Administration allowed the maker of a faulty implantable heart device to secretly log 50,000 malfunction incidents, according to a series of investigations by Kaiser Health News.

The device—the Sprint Fidelis, made by Medtronic—consists of a pair of wires and a defibrillator to jolt the heart into a regular rhythm. But doctors found that it was giving patients random, harmful zaps and sometimes failed during actual cardiac emergencies.

❝ Medtronic recalled the device in 2007 but only after it was implanted in around 268,000 patients. Many of those patients have since faced the ghastly choice of learning to live with the faulty device or undergoing an invasive, risky—sometimes deadly—surgery to remove it. According to the KHN investigation, they’ve been making that choice without information from the 50,000 incident reports.

The FDA accumulated over a million reports they “exempted” from reporting requirements which would have aided patients and doctors…and opened the manufacturers of faulty gear to lawsuits. What’s the likelihood of our 2-party government doing something as radical as that, eh?

Last time corporations paid taxes this low the president was Eisenhower

❝ While polls suggest that most Americans feel they’re not benefiting from the recent overhaul of the nation’s tax laws, U.S. corporations have more to crow about: New IRS data show American companies are paying their smallest share of federal income tax revenue in nearly 60 years.

❝ Businesses contributed 7.6% of the $3.5 trillion in total tax revenue collected for fiscal-year 2018, the tax agency said in a report — that’s a two percentage point decline from the previous year. After refunds, that figure falls to 6.8%. By contrast, individuals are shouldering a larger share of the country’s tax burden, accounting for 57% of revenue last year compared with 54% in 2017. Most of the rest of the country’s tax revenue stems from employment taxes.

❝ The IRS data doesn’t provide company-level data on taxes, but the overall trend highlights the declining share of corporate taxes across the decades. In 1960, corporations provided about one-quarter of all tax revenue, based on IRS data. At that time, individuals contributed less than half of total tax revenue.

I think we should be an equal opportunity country when it comes to the relative value of taxes forked over for the maintenance and advancement of this nation. Meaning – obviously – it’s time for people tgo come before profits instead of the other way round.

Massive NatGas leak followed NO inspections


Leak caused by microbial corrosionEarthworks/Flickr

❝ A massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in Southern California was caused by microbial corrosion of well equipment, according to a new independent report from analysis firm Blade Energy Partners. The report blames the storage facility owner, Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) for failing to conduct follow-up inspections of equipment, despite knowing about 60 smaller leaks at the facility that had occurred since the 1970s…

❝ The indirect cause of the leak, according to Blade, was a failure on the part of SoCal Gas to conduct detailed inspections of the well equipment. “Blade identified more than 60 casing leaks at Aliso Canyon before the October 2015 incident going back to the 1970s, but no failure investigations were conducted by SoCalGas,” the CPUC wrote. The company also failed to do any risk assessment focused on well failure.

Hey, just another corporate partner in the vast “Who, me?” network of do-nothing that might slow profits.

Bethlehem Steel Corporate Headquarters -> BOOM!

Bethlehem Steel went out of business in 2003. Steel manufacturers all around the world modernized while American firms relied on government contracts, political contacts, simpleminded pennypinching to stay in business well beyond competitive practices and pricing…until it was too late, too expensive, to fix.

Someone really should explain that to our fake president and his GOP pimps.

14-year-old Oil Leak in the Gulf of Mexico Finally Contained


Oil slick at the Taylor MC20 siteU.S Coast Guard

❝ A team of contractors has finally contained an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has been spewing from the site of a damaged platform for more than 14 years.

❝ The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed…that teams successfully deployed a subsea system that is able to contain and collect oil being discharged from the site of a toppled platform approximately 11 miles south of the mouth of Mississippi River. The containment system is now actively collecting oil…

❝ The platform, owned by Taylor Energy, LLC, was located in Mississippi Canyon Block 20. It toppled in September 2004 during Hurricane Ivan after storm surge triggered an underwater mudslide. The incident left the platform well conductor pipes buried in more than 100 feet of mud and sediment, impacting 25 of 28 connected wells.

The spill went unnoticed for years until 2008 when it was identified as the source of daily sheen reports.

Taylor knew about the disaster, of course, right from Day One…and tried their best to keep the public, regulators, anyone concerned with environments poisoned by the fossil fuel industry, from finding out. They succeeded for four years.

Generic Drugmakers are the biggest corporate cartel in history

❝ Twenty of the biggest generic prescription drug makers are accused of committing a multi-billion-dollar fraud in the U.S. Forty-three states and Puerto Rico filed a complaint Friday alleging the companies coordinated to inflate prices and reduce competition on more than 100 generic prescription drugs.

❝ “It’s what we believe to be the biggest corporate cartel in history and probably the biggest antitrust price-fixing case in this country, certainly right now and maybe in our nation’s history,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”…

❝ “What’s really troubling is it’s clear that they’re just going to break the law as long as they can afford to do so. You know, these are extraordinarily powerful forces that got away with price increases as high as 1,000%, 2,000%. Last night on ’60 Minutes,’ they reported that a drug that I take, doxycycline, saw a price increase of 8,000%. And they’ve gotten away with it for such a long time and that’s why it took more than 40 states coming together and taking them on, on behalf of the people of this country.”

Overdue!

AT&T promises new jobs, gets tax break — cuts thousands of jobs!


AT&T Liar-in-ChiefBloomberg/Getty

❝ AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying that “every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.”

❝ The corporate tax cut was subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The tax cut reportedly gave AT&T an extra $3 billion in cash in 2018.

But AT&T cut capital spending and kept laying people off after the tax cut. A union analysis of AT&T’s publicly available financial statements “shows the telecom company eliminated 23,328 jobs since the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed in late 2017, including nearly 6,000 in the first quarter of 2019,” the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said…

AT&T’s only expansion in total workforce came from acquisition of Time-Warner and two smaller companies. The existing workforce was cut.

Pharma Billionaire found guilty in opioid trial


Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe

John Kapoor of Insys Therapeutics has been found guilty of defrauding insurance companies to sell Subsys — a fentanyl spray much stronger than morphine. According to The Guardian, the 75-year-old billionaire’s company was also found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe the drug to their patients.

The Boston jury also discovered that Insys Therapeutics paid these doctors to prescribe the powerful painkiller to patients who didn’t even need it.

❝ In the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic — where addiction, suicide, and dependence rates are through the roof and an estimated 400,000 lives have been lost over the last two decades — the first criminal conviction of a pharmaceutical chief sets a welcome precedent to curb this reckless corruption.

Overdue!

Corporate crooks falsified tests on rocket materials = 2 failed missions + $700 million loss

❝ An aluminum manufacturer charged with crimes and civil claims of fraud has agreed to pay $46.9 million to NASA, the Department of Defense, and many commercial customers. This comes after a NASA investigation uncovered a 19-year scheme by Sapa Profiles, Inc. that involved faked test results and the selling of faulty materials — actions which eventually led to two failed NASA missions and more than $700 million in losses… “Corporate and personal greed perpetuated this fraud against the government and other private customers, and this resolution holds these companies accountable for the harm caused by their scheme.”

More detail in the article. The feds seem satisfied. I’m not. Long ago, in another time and place, I performed MILSPEC tests – for a metals producer – that required periodic personal witnessing by an inspector representing the Pentagon. You can be certain there was no fudging of results. I imagine there was some “cost-saving” lie out of Congress that subverted that process.