UPDATE: New York State goes after the Sackler family's opioid fortune, claims they funneled their Oxy millions through offshore laundries

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/29/verbal-financial-reports.html


Good. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of bloody handed ghouls.


Dare I hope for actual punitive punishments, or will this turn out to be NY state shaking them down for a piece of the action?


I’m starting to think every fortune is founded on blood money. Even the Kennedys descend from a bootlegger. But even if the children are complicit, nobody could blame the grandchildren.

The most successful money laundry in the world: two generations.


Forgive me if this is a tangent, but is the guillotine imagery really a great idea to normalize? When the alt-right idiots all thought they were clever by using the Pinochet helicopter meme or the graphics with crosshairs over people’s faces to threaten violence against their political opponents while keeping the pretense that they’re only joking about killing the people they disagree with, it was some disingenuous bullshit meant to provide cover for advocating political violence.

We can all agree that this is not a both sides of the coin situation where one side is just as bad as the other, so please don’t misunderstand that, but isn’t the cutesy guillotine stuff being a little too cute by half about advocating for political violence without really advocating for political violence?


We need more signs that people on the Left (really center) are PO’ed and just as willing to show their anger as everyone else. This is not a “both sides thing” one side has completely monopolized political violence and murder here. There is simply no equivalence here nor one possible.


I fully agree that it’s not a “both sides” thing (which is why I explicitly said as much). But, the fact that there is no fundamental equivalence isn’t a blank check or a justification for any and all behavior. We agree that there is no moral equivalence between the political sides here, and and in my opinion, one of the ways that distinction should be maintained is to avoid advocating for political violence, even when it’s done with a wink and nod.

I think that it’s corrosive, and when you accept it you shift your Overton window in ways that aren’t so great in the long run.

I also appreciate that this is a very difficult issue to discuss without getting personal or accusing one another of acting in bad faith or not being sophisticated enough to see what’s really going on, so I hope that nothing I’m saying is coming across that way and realize that unpleasant times sometimes produce unpleasant rhetoric.


Y’know, if we taxed these people appropriately we wouldn’t need their selectively applied PR “philanthropy”. We’d just have well funded public institutions that serve the common good. Yeah, I know that’s crazy talk…


yeah, we should limit it to pitchforks and torches - a much more allegorical reference from stories like Frankenstein which does not represent an actual threat of violence. Ahem.


“Oxy overdose deaths of 200,000 Americans”

This statement is not supported by the article. The article links to a CDC page that says 200,000 Americans have died from overdoses of prescription opioids. Not all prescription opioids are Oxy. And most overdose deaths are due to combinations of drugs, making hard to lay the blame on any one of them.

The CDC Guidelines were written at the behest of a lobbyist group of the addition recovery industry. The CDC’s (dubious) number for the rate of addiction to prescription opioids are an order of magnitude higher than the NIH’s.

I’m not saying that Purdue doesn’t have some blame here. Just as Insys appears to have marketed Subsys in an illegal manner. They both clearly acted on incentives that did not align with those of society.

But there’s a whole bunch of chronic pain patients whose lives are made functional and tolerable by oxycodone and/or fentanyl. The overwhelming majority of them will not become addicted. Many of them are treated by doctors who have exhausted all other therapies, who assess addition risk, who monitor for abuse and diversion (with random drug testing). Patients are required to be screened by a federal program and sign “pain contracts” with their pain management physicians.

The mounting political pressure to eliminate potent but useful medications for pain is causing real, actual harm to pain patients. As one pain doctor put it, “taking away an effective treatment is unethical.”

But politicians feel the need to do something, anything about all this. The lobbyists jump on the bandwagon, and the insurance companies see a way to avoid forking out for these expensive drugs. They’re working (often in secret) to scare the shit out of doctors, regardless of whether they’re prescribing responsibly. Doctors are refusing to prescribe, are switching to inferior meds that don’t actually help. Doctors are turning away patients who’ve exhausted all other therapies. Doctors are pushing embeddable pain pumps and spinal cord stimulators that are expensive, invasive, hard to maintain, insecure, and have a relatively low effectiveness.

Patients are being left with inferior meds, that also have very similar risks (and in many cases worse side effects) to the current boogeymen, oxy and fentanyl. Dosages are being lowered and drugs are being taken away, leaving many of these patients with no treatment for constant debilitating pain. We’re torturing these people for the appearance of doing something constructive.

The NIH says: “The potential for these risk [factors for addiction] should not, however, prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed opioids such as oxycodone hydrochloride capsules, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of oxycodone hydrochloride capsules along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse.”

I feel for all of those who’ve lost loved ones due to addiction. But let’s not try to solve this problem by destroying the lives of millions of others. Let’s report the facts without hype without mischaracterizing the stats or inflating the numbers.



Give me a break. Only one side has been showing a willingness to use murderous violence here. This willingness spanning decades. So its not like there is even an equivalence as to how the violent imagery is received by everyone else.

When the right wing puts targets on people, their willingness to use violence in the past makes it significant. When the left wing uses guillotine imagery, it is far more jokey, even by the people on the receiving end. There is no longstanding history here of the Left killing people whom they oppose, unlike their counterparts. There is no realistic expectation that violence is really being threatened here, unlike the right wing.

FTS We have been accepting genuine threats of violence and actual violence from the extreme right for ages. That has not been great in the long run. Even worse, its long established as apparently acceptable discourse. But we never hear people like you admonishing them. But you are annoyed over some playful threats by people with no history of violence in service of their political beliefs? Give me a break.

Or put in another way, you are attacking egg throwers while ignoring lynch mobs and murderers.


It appears you think one is not able to examine one’s own rhetoric without excusing or ignoring far worse, and it also does not appear that you agree with the sentiment of my last paragraph, so I’ll wish you well & leave it at that.


No reason why I should be examining mine at this point. The “far worse” is quantum levels of far worse and recognized as such by everyone. Same can’t be said of the people and imagery you are criticizing now.

Kind of the difference between admonishing people for using the word “Honkey” while ignoring people constantly saying “Lynch the N-----s”. One barely rises to the level of even offense by the intended recipient while the other is perceived as a tangible and real threat of violence.


Once again, the use of the guillotine imagery by Cory isn’t about promoting political violence but rather warning that political violence is what you get if greedpigs like the Sacklers aren’t punished and regulated by the peaceful administration of the law as legitimised by liberal-democratic institutions.

Cory may be a leftist firebrand who advocates for change, but if you think a comfortably upper-middle-class family man like him wants his daughter to grow up in the shadow of The Terror (or some other form of violent populist revolution) you’re reading him wrong.

The guillotine hasn’t been used in the service of ideological score-settling in a long time – it’s seen as archaic, slightly ridiculous, over-engineered, cartoonish and (to the majority of leftists who oppose capital punishment) barbaric. The noose that forms the basis of a lot of right-wing imagery, on the other hand, is anything but cartoonish and ridiculous and overengineered. It’s also been used far more recently by people who are very comfortable with the idea of executions and political violence. I’d worry more about the latter.


So if it was only 100,000 or 50,000 or 40,000 attributed to them, you’d be ok with that?


That’s kind of the plausible deniability defense I’m getting at that I’m not a huge fan of. I’m not really saying people should commit violence, I’m just saying that violence is going to be inevitably visited upon these people unless the the political action I favor is taken.

And yes, you’re right, I’m quite certain that Mr. Doctorow does not literally want to institute another Terror, nor is he advocating it. That’s why I referenced this as something that shifts the window of acceptable discourse firmly in one direction, i.e. normalizing jokey half-serious threats/warnings of political violence. It’s a direction I think is ultimately corrosive, even if it just gets moved one notch at a time.

I don’t think anyone is going to go out and commit a violent act because BB posts images like this, to be clear. I think it’s part of a larger trend, though, that is not unrelated to the kind of meme rhetoric that cloaks itself in joking that I find to be dangerous in the big picture. The language and imagery we accept as normal discourse matters, I think.

Of course, none of this requires accepting or excusing anything from the alt-right shitlords who go far, far beyond these kinds of things in service of literal evil, nor does it require a circular firing squad. But I do reject variations of “but the right did it first!” as an excuse to ignore or cut off discussion.

ETA: sorry, I hit “reply” to the wrong post. I intended to reply to Gracchus, but actually replied to Mangochin. My mistake.


You are too fucking late for that. The right wing has been doing that for a while. They are the ones who normalized actual tangible threats of violence. You are looking in the wrong direction here and trying to blame an extremely mild reaction to a much more serious problem.


From a liberal or progressive who’s been educated in history, that’s just a statement of fact and not any sort of call to action.

Any time greed goes unchecked by the political powers that be, eventually it gets unbearable and the poor react with violence (often at the urging of demagogues from either the far left or far right).

I’m not arguing that. I’m pointing out that the threat implied by the imagery of the noose that the right is so fond of is a lot more immediate and serious than that which might be perceived by the use of the guillotine imagery.


I’m not sure I agree that things like this are exclusively one or the other, but we’ll probably have to agree to disagree about that point.

Of course it is. But the fact that there are (much, much) worse and more direct threats of violence out there doesn’t change my point that imagery like this normalizes a kind of jokey threat. That’s what I think is unhealthy.