Why the Sackler deal is so bad

The legal cases brought by so many state attorneys general and individuals against the odious Sackler family, whose company Purdue Pharma was responsible for so many opioid deaths, is going before a bankruptcy judge this week who will decide on a plea deal brought by some state attorneys general.

John Oliver gives a masterful expose of why the deal that has been proposed is such a bad one but will likely get approved. Basically the deal is such that the Sacklers, while pretending to pay billions, will actually get off very lightly by having their considerable personal assets mostly protected and will also be given sweeping blanket immunity from the lawsuits of those who did not agree to be part of this deal and even future lawsuits. They will not even have to plead guilty to any personal wrongdoing in the case, blaming it all on the company even though they were very hands-on in driving the practices that led to massive rates of addiction.

The bankruptcy judge hearing the case has a history of being sympathetic to these kinds of deals which is why the Sacklers shopped around so that they could appear before him in the small town of White Plains, NY. This case shows how the rich can manipulate the legal system to their benefit.

I hope that this show helps to create a big enough uproar that he has second thoughts about letting them get off so easy.

Leftist wins first round of Ecuador’s presidential elections

Leftist candidate Andrés Arauz has won the first round of the Ecuadoran presidential elections, coming ahead of the neoliberal candidate that was heavily backed by the US. Dennis Rogatyuk describes the complicated politics of that country with its various factions and shifting alliances that remind me a lot of Sri Lankan politics.

The first round of the Ecuadorian presidential election held on February 7 was engulfed in chaos and controversies. But it also saw the overhaul of the political map — and an end to the short-lived dominance of the country’s main neoliberal actors.

The top-placed candidate was left-winger Andrés Arauz, close to former president Rafael Correa and his “Citizens’ Revolution”: he won nearly 33 percent support and his Union for Hope (UNES) coalition became the largest force in the National Assembly. Meanwhile the alliance of the two traditional conservative parties Creating Opportunities party (CREO) and the Social Christian Party (PSC) headed by the country’s most notorious corporate banker, Guillermo Lasso, obtained less than 20 percent — a loss of more than half of its strength since 2017. Yet more surprising was the emergence of two newcomers — Carlos “Yaku” Pérez of the indigenist Pachakutik party (19.5 percent) and Xavier Hervas of the liberal Democratic Left (16 percent).

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Maybe he should have worn the cassock differently

The president of Notre Dame University John Jenkins, a Catholic priest, has tested positive for the coronavirus. He had attended a reception at the White House on Saturday and was seen not wearing a mask and shaking hands with people.

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Conference on Women in Secularism

Some time ago at my former site, I wrote about the troubling issue of sexism in the atheism movement, a post that generated a lively discussion.

Over at Almost Diamonds Stephanie Zvan provides information about the Women in Secularism conference to be held May 18-20 of this year in Washington, DC. For more details, see here.

The conference should make an important contribution to this topic and I look forward to reading about what ensues.