Embattled Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli Resigns

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

turing-pharma-logoFollowing his arrest this week for alleged securities fraud, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli resigned his office.

Turing garnered infamy for the 5000 percent price increase of Daraprim, a $13.50 medication indicated for patients requiring treatment of Toxoplasma gondii–an opportunistic pathogen afflicting the immune-compromised such as AIDS patients. Monthly treatment cost now associated with the drug can be upwards of seventy-five thousand dollars. See previous articles HERE and HERE.

Interim CEO Ron Tiles thanked the 32-year-old for “helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research-focused company it is today.”

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2015 Was A Very, Very Bad Year For Chelan County Meth User

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

250px-MethpipeChelan County resident Martin Hoyer will not be enjoying this holiday season. He might also want to consider a new year’s resolution of finding a new illicit drug.

Hoyer admitted to smoking meth for two consecutive days and began hallucinating, hearing voices through a vent to his neighbor’s apartment. He convinced himself that the neighbor and “A bunch of Mexicans and White Guys” were conspiring to rob him.

You can only imagine how quickly things devolved from there.

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WA Department Of Social And Health Services Served With $27,000,000.00 Tort Claim For Fiendish Child Neglect Case

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

WA DSHS LOGOIt was nearly two years ago that I featured strong showing of just how uncaring and incompetent DSHS/CPS in Washington can aspire to with a terrible case of child abuse mentioned HERE.

In my previous article I wrote how in March of 2013 the children’s parents Sandra and Jeff Weller of Vancouver were each sentenced to twenty years in prison after having been convicted of fourteen counts of child abuse; double the statutory determinate maximum sentence. Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson levied the exceptional sentence due to the severity of the crimes.

The claim against the state on behalf of five children alleges nearly ten years of abuse of the children by the parents where little to no action was taken by Child Protective Services to address the issues and protect the children from further crimes by the parents.

Now we have another example of the incompetence, indifference and permissible atmosphere the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, allowed for what reportedly amounted to a fiendish and unconscionable maltreatment of a blind, developmentally disabled child afflicted with cerebral palsy. This person suffered torturous neglect over another ten year period–despite ample amount of complaints and reports that should have directed the agency to find another foster home for the child.

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It’s Time To Expunge Minor Marijuana Conviction Records In Legal States

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

the-thin-line-of-medical-marijuanaSimple marijuana possession is legal in several states and is likely to be in others in the future. Yet, the taint of a marijuana conviction on record can be a limiting factor for the convicted seeking employment and other benefits–Especially for engaging in an act that is essentially legal in green states. While certainly the courts are under no present obligation to expunge these records, morally it can be argued that state legislatures should put this social handicap to a rest.

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Three Individuals Growing Medical Marijuana In WA State Convicted And Sent To Prison

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Entreating the Godfather

Nearly a year and a half ago we featured a story describing the plight of the “Kettle Falls Five” who were arrested by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency on charges relating to marijuana cultivation and firearms violations.  I am reprinting here portions of my previous article which has many details of the original case. Now, three of these defendants were sentenced to federal prison.

The confusion as to what constitutes lawful medical marijuana grows with federal deference and ten year punishments for doing so, the United States Department of Justice prosecuted five rural Eastern Washington residents accused of growing seventy-four medical marijuana plants in a private collective. Washington State is a Medical Marijuana State. The accused include a seventy year old man who states he uses the medicine to treat pain from a job related injury, his wife for her arthritis, and their son.  The patriarch of the family, the accused Larry Harvey, had the charges dropped but has since died of cancer.

While state law at the time permitted the cultivation of up to forty-five plants, federal law prohibits any cultivation.  Originally confusion of the numbers of plants that might be permissible under state law (in aggregate) should take into consideration that multiple individuals had separate grows and this led to a misunderstanding.  While the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office told the accused to remove those plants in excess of the amounts allowed, the DEA later arrived and raided their farms.

What compounds the severity for these five individuals is that within the thirty-three acre property, two of the defendants’ residence had inside several firearms, including rifles which are used by the family to hunt and for protection from wild animals. Firearms are very common in residences in rural Eastern Washington. Yet, the firearms in relation to the marijuana grow add an additional five year minimum sentence, adding to the defendants’ minimum of ten years imprisonment, something the senior defendant claimed to be a “death sentence.”

What is rather extraordinary in this effort by the department of justice, despite guidelines in not allocating resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients, the defendants claim it was a misunderstanding of Washington’s medical marijuana laws that caused them to go from legal users to being potentially imprisoned for ten years.  Many viewed this case as necessitating jury nullification.

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Yazidi Kurds and Kurdish Regional Government Of Iraq Petition ICC To Investigate Genocide By ISIS

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

150px-International_Criminal_Court_logo.svgYazidi Rights Groups, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq Petitioned the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute ISIS for crimes against humanity and genocide for the terrorist organizations atrocities committed against citizens in Iraq and Syria.

Ekurd Daily reported how the new effort to bring legal accountability to actors in the war torn region.

Members of Yazda International and Free Yazidi Foundation, backed by the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq (KRG), met with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda today to present their new report outlining how [ISIS] fighters have slaughtered, enslaved, and raped thousands of Yazidis since it invaded their communities in the Nineveh province in northern Iraq last August. Thousands of Yazidi women and girls remain captive as sex slaves among IS militants.

These acts of violence committed by [ISIS] fighters against the Yazidis and other non-Muslim minorities in the region have been documented before. But Murad Ismael, co-founder of Yazda, told VICE News his group’s report provides further evidence of abuses against Yazidis at the hands of foreign fighters. According to the report, there’s an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people from Australia, Jordan, Europe, and beyond fighting for [ISIS].

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County Clerk Who Refuses To Issue Marriage License To Gay Couple Says She Will Remain In Jail, So Be It.

By Darren Smith Weekend Contributor

kim-davis-mugshotAfter the Rowan County Kentucky Clerk, Democrat Kim Davis, defied a court order to issue gay couples marriage licenses, and was subsequently arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Service and jailed, her husband stated that she chose to remain in jail rather than compromise her religious beliefs by performing her statutory duty. Her contempt of court ruling will stand until she resumes issuing such licenses and thus in jail she shall remain.

And so it should.

The issue is not the content of her religious beliefs that are on trial. It is that of failure to perform her duty and denial of a civil right as mandated by the Supreme Court. For this reason she has two choices: being in contempt indefinitely; or resigning her position. For the near term it is as simple as that. If she continues her defiance, a third party must step up, show some leadership, and make the decision for her by ejecting her from office.
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