Op-Ed: Big Pharma & Gene Therapy

March 2, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - LocalOrg) I just recently watched a TED Talk - this was the CEO of Bluebird Bio - a pharmaceutical and biotech company - talking about their work on gene therapies.

These are cures that work on the first shot - correcting your condition or augmenting your body to repair itself on the genetic level. One shot and you are cured for life - more or less - because the corrected cells then multiple, carrying the corrections on in each additional cell.

The work for now can be a bit primitive, but the technology is already drastically changing lives for the better.

It is nothing short of revolutionary - it stands to change humanity forever - and if Bluebird Bio doesn't do it, someone else eventually will. The problem is obvious though, these cures may cost a lot to develop but once they are perfected, they cost relatively very little to produce and give to patients compared to traditional and less effective therapies. And when they are given to patients, it is a one time deal.

Realizing this prompted the CEO of Bluebird Bio to say something very questionable - claiming that by fixing a patient on the genetic level, they will from then on be producing his corporation's drug (though not really since it is not a drug, it is corrected DNA) and while he doesn't come right out and say it, anyone familiar with big-pharma and big-biotech's method of operation knows that they expect you to pay for it ... for life.

And so that is how big-pharma plans to continue rolling in piles of money even when technology makes it possible to permanently cure people with a single shot, by extorting people literally like a cartoon villain - demanding "1 million dollars" per life-saving shot - the subject of a previously published report titled, "Big Pharma Dangles Life and Death Over Patients' Heads."

There is indeed the valid argument that these treatments cost money to research and develop, and the people involved in doing so deserve to profit from them. And I agree, but guess what? The government gives these corporations millions of dollars through all sorts of grants every year so they can do just that.

Here is just one announcement of Bluebird Bio getting just such a grant from the Government of California, "Bluebird Bio Awarded $9.3 Million From the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to Further Gene Therapy Clinical Development," an announcement made in 2012, the same year Bluebird's CEO was on stage giving his Ted Talk.

Surely society would be all for giving even more money toward this sort of research - something the government should  be doing instead of spending literally a trillion dollars on a single weapons system - like the F-35. But then there is the reality that greed prevails, and special interests rule.

People have got to get informed on gene therapy - it will change humanity forever and whoever controls it controls humanity's future. That being the case, the people should be the one's wielding it, not a handful of corporations dangling life over the heads of sick kids so they can please their investors and stay in business.

I admittedly don't know the whole story about Bluebird - I'd hate to say they were corrupt and greedy if they were really doing everything they could within a system that is itself backwards ... but it was difficult to listen to their TED Talk and not walk away feeling I've just been extorted. If you hold the keys to saving lives, you must unlock the door, handsomely rewarded or not. And part of being a "good guy," is taking it upon yourself to create a better system within which life-saving research can move forward without parasitical investors demanding immense profits in return at the expense of both ethics and progress. 

Science as the New Religion

Irrational faith in corporate R&D is not science, it is a modern day cult. 

February 26, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - LocalOrg) - When money and power are involved, those standing to gain the most will say and do anything to push their agenda forward. Five centuries ago, saying and doing anything involved exploiting people's superstitions and their faith in religion. Today, saying and doing anything means also exploiting science.

Science, engineering, and design are amongst our most practical and effective tools to make real and meaningful change. But because they are so powerful and appealing, the potential for their abuse in the wrong hands is immense. Compounding this is the naivety of those who are fascinated by science's promise but blind to its potential abuse.

It wasn't long ago when big-tobacco had armies of "scientists" citing the latest "studies" confirming the health benefits and safety of smoking. Of course these were paid liars, not scientists, even if many of them had PhDs. And it was lies they were telling, even if mixed with shades of science. Today, special interests have refined this practice of filtering lies and exploitation through the lens of science regarding everything from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the false debate on climate change, to the questionable interests behind global vaccination programs.

The latest example of this comes via National Geographic which recently published an article titled, "Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?," which claims:
We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.
Indeed, just as religions claimed a monopoly on morality and spirituality, National Geographic condemns those "empowered by their own sources of information" and "their own interpretations of research," maintaining that the only truth to be found is amongst the "consensus of experts."

The Consensus of "Experts" 

The article goes on to claim:
The idea that hundreds of scientists from all over the world would collaborate on such a vast hoax is laughable—scientists love to debunk one another. It’s very clear, however, that organizations funded in part by the fossil fuel industry have deliberately tried to undermine the public’s understanding of the scientific consensus by promoting a few skeptics.
National Geographic never explains why "organizations funded in part by the fossil fuel industry" are conspiring to lie, but the notion that "scientists" would conspire to lie is "laughable." After all, scientists work under various organizations funded by special interests as well, including immense corporate-financier interests - many of which overlap with big-oil, ironically. If the billions to be made by big-oil is motivation enough to lie and say the Earth isn't getting warmer, aren't the billions to be made in a "carbon credit" pyramid scheme also motivation enough to lie that it is?

Images: The "science" of smoking. Images collected by the New York Times for their article, "When Doctors, and Even Santa, Endorsed Tobacco" depict "scientific studies" assuring consumers of the safety, even benefits of smoking cigarettes commonsense told everyone else were literally killing people.  Those today who think they are ahead of everyone else by parroting "scientific studies" regarding big-ag's GMOs, big-pharma's vaccines, and big-oil and bankers' climate change racket are ahead of nothing. They are being duped by an old trick practiced shamelessly for at least 100 years. 

NSA's SIM Card Scandal Bigger Than You Think

Stolen encryption keys are just the beginning. US NSA appears to have compromised big telecom, IT manufacturers, online banking, and even passports, starting on the factory floor.

February 22, 2015 (Vladimir Platov - NEO) - Recent days have been marked by a record number of news stories regarding the US and its allies trying to establish total control over Internet users.

On February 16, researchers at the Moscow-based security group Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of the ultimate virus which has virtually infected all spheres of military and civilian computing in more than 40 countries around the world. They’ve managed to discover a piece of malware that must have been installed on hard disks while they were still being manufactured, and due to its complexity and a certain number of features that it shares with Stuxnet, it’s safe to assume that it was created by US secret services.

On February 18, The Guardian confirmed that for the last 7 years Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had been sharing personal intelligence data en masse with America’s national security agencies, regardless of the fact that it had intercepted millions of foreign citizens' conversations. The ruling of a UK court clearly suggests that these actions were illegal on top of being carried out in violation of the the European Convention on Human Rights.

On February 19, it was announced that the National Security Agency (NSA) along with its British partner in crime –GCHQ, has manged to steal encryption keys from Gemalto – the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM-cards. This allowed the above named intelligence agencies to tap any phone and intercept data from any mobile device that was using a SIM-card produced by Gemalto. This conspiracy was unveiled by The Intercept, which added that Gemalto was created nine years ago when the French company Axalto merged with Gemplus International which was operating in Luxembourg. Today Gemalto has more that 85 offices across the globe along with a total of 40 factories, working in close cooperation with leading telecommunication corporations, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, along with many others. Representatives of the three aforementioned companies refused to comment on this scandal.