He only wanted people to be able to get their pills is all

Pennsylvania Republican congressman Tom Marino has decided he’d rather not be the nation’s drug czar if people are going to be having hissy fits over the sweetheart deal he pushed through Congress on behalf of opioid manufacturers and wholesalers. Marino withdrew his name from consideration as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy — which is not nearly as sexy a title as “drug czar” — following a great big investigative piece by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” on how legislation introduced by Marino blocked the Drug Enforcement Agency from stopping large shipments of opioids that could be headed for illegal use.

The law Marino pushed, the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act,” was a brilliantly stealthy bill that makes it harder for the DEA to do its job, as NPR explainers:

[among] other things, the bill changed the standard for identifying dangers to local communities, from “imminent” threats to “immediate” threats. That change cramped the DEA’s authority to go after drug companies that didn’t report suspicious — and often very large — orders for narcotics.

If you haven’t already read the WaPo/60 Minutes investigative piece, consider it on your Mandatory Reading list for this week. It traces how the drug industry — both manufacturers and wholesalers — managed to overcome years of opposition from the DEA to win support for Marino’s bill, as a huge part of the industry’s strategy has been hiring former DEA and Justice Department officials as lobbyists. In fact, the guy credited with drafting Marino’s bill, D. Linden Barber, had been a top DEA lawyer who prosecuted cases against drug companies, at least until he retired and started working for them. That standard of whether a threat of illegal distribution was “imminent” or “immediate” was one of Barber’s pet priorities when he was still at DEA, and the story details his worries that cases might fall apart if the agency’s investigators didn’t meet high standards of evidence. His heart might have been in the right place, even, but once he was ensconced in the industry, he got a nice paycheck to help  craft legislation that would require the DEA to meet an almost impossible enforcement standard and that would keep The Man off the industry’s back. (You can also watch the 60 Minutes teevee report here.)

The industry also lucked out thanks to persistence and personnel changes. Marino had introduced two previous versions of the bill, but the DEA and Justice Department fought them. The second try passed the House, but Attorney General Eric Holder made a priority of fighting it in the Senate, where it died. But by the third attempt, in 2015-2016, some of the bill’s biggest opponents at DEA and Justice were gone! When it got to the Senate, the agencies were in more of a mood to be cooperative with the industry, so the bill made it through the pro-free-enterprise House, passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and went to Barack Obama without objection from DEA or DOJ, so Obama signed the thing. An unnamed “senior DEA official” told the Post that after resisting years of pressure from top members of Congress and their lobbyist pals, DEA ended up accepting a rules change its opioid enforcement people didn’t especially want:

“They would have passed this with us or without us,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Our point was that this law was completely unnecessary.”

Again, read the whole thing because it’s one of those jaw-dropping stories of how the sausages get made and you will definitely GRRR. Outside of the industry-friendly sponsors of the bill, and some politically-weakened opponents of the thing at DEA and Justice, the bill was stealthy enough to get passed under its cover as a minor administrative change that simply “clarified” how existing drug enforcement law should be enforced.

The WaPo/60 Minutes story also made many in Congress GRRR — from both parties, because nobody wants to be seen as having been snookered into voting for a bill that enables Big Pharma to fuel the opioid epidemic. There’s an increasing buzz — from both parties — about modifying or outright repealing the law, and sorta-Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is especially angry about the whole thing, and has said most people who voted for passage had no idea of its actual effect. He told NPR he was “horrified” by the investigation, and wrote a letter to Donald Trump saying the DEA needs to be able to take action against pharma wholesalers who are flooding his state with pills:

“As the report notes, one such company shipped 20 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone to pharmacies in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012. This included 11 million doses in one small county with only 25,000 people in the southern part of the state: Mingo County. As the number of pills in my state increased, so did the death toll in our communities, including Mingo County.”

11 million doses is rather a lot for a county that size, just maybe.

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, says the WaPo/60 minutes story is “flawed” and “one-sided,” and besides, patient groups really wanted the bill to ensure their meds wouldn’t be held up by Government Overreach, which is code for wholesalers were worried about having to pay fines.

Others were a bit more cynical, like New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who sees a bit of a trend here, and suggests maybe folks might want to raise a ruckus about another upcoming nomination:

And Tom Marino? Now that he’s out of a sweet Drug Czar job, he’s still got his House gig to fall back on. WaPo notes that Marino “hadn’t been making plans for re-election and it wasn’t clear Tuesday whether he would seek a fifth term next year.”

If Marino does decide to run, he’ll have a huge “Hoor For Big Pharma” sign around his neck, so it’s entirely possible he’ll leave Congress to serve America in another capacity, possibly with the pharmaceuticals industry. He seems to know the territory pretty well.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Click here to give us money! And if you’re in or near Boise, come join us at Quinn’s Restaurant and Lounge, 1005 S Vista Ave in Boise, from 6 to 9 TONITE!

[WaPo / 60 Minutes / NPR / WaPo]

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  • Monsieur_Grumpe

    What? Satan wasn’t available?

    • Msgr_MΩment

      Satan’s got a blog/zine to run after all.

      • BearDeLaOursistance

        Breitbart? Or did I just earn a “Thanks, Ted, that was the joke”?

    • SweetDeeKat

      The dude has SOME standards.

  • Timothy Watson

    Any theories on why Trump didn’t denounce those investigative stories as “fake news”?

    • Three Finger Salute

      Because Sessions is the real drug czar. Drugs are only bad, m’kay, if you can lock up black and brown poors for a bag of weed and collect sweet Confederate dollars from the private prison industry.

      • aureolaborealis

        sweet Confederate dollars


  • armed_bears

    So the Flint MI officials are understandably facing prosecution for their actions.

    And these pharma folks skate how, exactly?

    • GoutMachine

      I’m sure Trump is about to nominate those selfsame officials to the EPA’s Office of Water.

    • It’s the gun manufacturer loophole, only applied to drug manufacturers… Just because you make a drug that people routinely die on due to overdosage, doesn’t make you responsible for people routinely dieing.

    • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

      The officials in Flint didn’t line the pockets of their congressmen like the pharmadudes did.

    • Donna Mueller

      they brought a bottomless bag of money to the table and a shitload of lawyers that had previously worked for the DEA. because money= free speech and corps. = people. and the garden gnome needs to keep his prisons full.

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    Trump Drug Czar Pick Pulls Out

    How I wish I could unsee what you did there…

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      “Trump Drug Czar Prick Pulls Out” would have been funnier – and more accurate.

  • JMP

    But I thought only the Obama administration had Czars, and he totally made that title up that the media had been using for senior administration officials since the 80s. Remember when the far right was all up in arms about that little manufactured outrage?

  • bubbuhh

    Marino is the kind of guy who only pulls out if someone puts a gun to one of his heads.

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    perhaps the president should stop nominating industry shills altogether

    “But no one else will even consider working for the likes of me!”

    – Donald, if he’s ever honest

    • Cat Cafe

      “I have to appoint the people Putie tells me to, it’s part of the deal where he doesn’t have me murdered”

  • Marino shouldn’t worry, he’s a better fit for Trump’s DEA.

  • TJ Barke

    God, the regulatory capture in this country is so grotesque.

  • Monsieur_Grumpe

    Nurse Ratched would have been a better choice seeing she has medical experience.

    • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

      Upvoted partially for spelling her name right!

    • Eileen Besse


    • Donna Mueller

      i still have that albumn and it still SOUNDS GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • clairence

    So, Trump nominated someone whose views were in direct opposition to the position they were nominated for. Hm. Where have I heard that before?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      How many cabinet positions are there?

  • Cousin Itt un Mondialiste

    Rush Limbaugh was not conscious for comment.

  • Baconzgood

    Hooray for hill-billy heroine.

  • Joe Beese

    Why is it not spelled “drug tsar”?

    • MynameisBlarney

      Why are the repugs not freaking out about the very usage of that word like they did during Obama’s presidency?

      • Joe Beese

        You mean Blackie McBlackerson?

      • Nockular cavity

        “Obama’s got so many czars! And the Russians had czars, so you know that’s communist!”
        “That doesn’t make any sense. Oh, and speaking of Russia, did you see how much they’re interfering in our politics?”
        “What? Russia? Yawn, who cares?”

    • puredog

      “Tsar” lacks pizazz.

      • Weird Fishes

        “Tsar” requires pince-nez and a spade beard.

    • Weird Fishes

      Too furrin, of course. Them letters don’t belong together; it’s unnatural.

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    OT breaking news alert from the NYT:

    WASHINGTON — Two leading senators have reached a bipartisan deal to provide funding for critical subsidies to health insurers that President Trump said last week that he would cut off, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said Tuesday.

    The plan agreed to by Mr. Alexander and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a Democrat, is intended to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act.

    As one part of the deal, the subsidies would be funded for two years, a step that would provide at least short-term certainty to insurers. The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers.

    The deal between Mr. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health committee, and Ms. Murray, the panel’s top Democrat, is an important step for lawmakers hoping to shore up insurance markets after Republicans’ failed efforts to repeal the health law.

    tl;dr: for the sake of my health care, I hope this becomes a thing FFS.

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      The two-year cutoff confuses me. What’s the GOP’s angle?

      • goonemeritus

        They don’t think Trump will last 3?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Two years leaves them a bit short of 2020, and chaos just prior to an election year won’t play well. Expect a different number when the rest of Congress gets hold of it.

      • Juanita

        Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
        On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleDailyConsumerFoxJournalsJobsReport1/easy/jobs ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!di276lhhhhh

  • Msgr_MΩment

    I won’t even daydream about somebody slipping opioids into his morning coffee to get him addicted so that he can actually imagine what horrors his drug company buds are wreaking on this country, because that would violate commenters’ rules.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      He could easily afford to feed the habit – I doubt it would make the slightest impression on him.

      • Donna Mueller

        he’s busy with adderall and peruvian flake.

  • TheGrandWazoo2

    Shit, I thought ‘opioids’ was what members of the Ron Howard fan club called themselves.

  • puredog

    I’ve heard the occasional odd rumor about this opioid epidemic. So it was that I was surprised when I filled a scrip for percocet after recent gum surgery to find I’d been given a scrip for 18 pills (when I usually take only 4 or 5, and hoard the rest for emergencies), AND that they cost less than 5 cents a pill for this Medicare patient. I thought: Sounds like a good pill to abuse, if you’re into that sort of thing, and a good delivery system.

    • BearDeLaOursistance

      Seconded on the sheer prevalence of this all. The dental surgeon who did my wisdom teeth a couple years back was literally shocked to hear that I wanted only Tramadol rather than Vicodin post-procedure. (A previous dental experience with Vicodin had me walking down mid-rise Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis and thinking it was the two-story main street of Shakopee. No mas).

  • Three Finger Salute

    You know what would be really nice is if CBS stopped accepting ad dollars from Pig Pharma, at least during the 60 Minutes broadcast that’s airing this report. But I guess even that’s too much to ask for a company whose CEO actually admitted that he was fine with Trump being bad for America as long as he was good for bigly ratings.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Shipping enough opiates to one county to kill everybody in the county was not “suspicious” to the distributor. Because money.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I’m at best ambivalent about this story, because of my sister’s experiences. She has had severe, chronic, undiagnosable pain for going on 40 years now. The only way she can function at all is by taking massive doses of opioid painkillers.

    It’s always been a bitch for her to get her meds, especially finding a doctor willing to prescribe them in the doses she needs. The worst was when the DEA pulled the license of a doctor who specialized in pain treatment for no other reason than that they thought he was prescribing too many opioids.

    When Dok says the DEA looks at “suspicious — and often very large — orders for narcotics,” he may not realize that 1) the DEA makes no distinction between the two–“suspicious” equals “very large” equals “suspicious” and 2) the DEA, generally speaking, can’t find its dick with a map and a mirror. It’s the most useless federal law enforcement agency this side of the TSA. (Anyone remember Operation Fast & Furious?)

    In other words, when Orrin Hatch says that “patient groups really wanted the bill to ensure their meds wouldn’t be held up by Government Overreach,” he’s not just carrying water for a bunch of drug manufacturers. It’s a legitimate concern.

    • Three Finger Salute

      Fuck the reefer madness types for letting this shit go through, and not at least making medicinal cannabis legal as an alternative option.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      If the DEA were properly funded, they wouldn’t have to use such blunt instruments as “too many opioids”, which is what causes problems for legitimate patients. The test ought to be, “How many opioids for how many out-of-state patients?”

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      I feel for your sister, there’s nothing worse than being in severe pain, knowing there’s relief, but that there’s people standing in your way due to simple stupidity. I kind of wish there was a chronic pain registry, like the pre-check line at the airport, that could streamline this process for people whose pain literally never goes away.

    • proudgrampa

      The DEA hasn’t done anything good since it took out the Cali cartel in Colombia.

      I know because Netflix told me so…

    • mailman27

      As one of the above (post herpetic neuralgia) I’ve seen every primary care physician stop prescribing pain meds, presumably because its such a pain (ha ha) in the ass. Then the patient is forced to go to a pain clinic, where you never see an actual doctor, go to lots of unnecessary appointments, pee in a lot of cups while the clinic squeezes the dosages back so the hospital owners can crow to the local paper about doing their part in the war on opiates. It has the greatest impact on the people least responsible for criminal excess and who need the relief for real. It sucks.

  • Ms.MLG on Maui

    The rich get richer, and the poor get Oxy.

    • Three Finger Salute

      Forget weed eve, I wish they’d legalize hemlock so that those of us who really want to, can shuffle off this mortal coil and be done with this maladministration and the decaying state of the world once and for all.

    • Infrequentcontributor

      Or Soma… (not the intimates)

  • Msgr_MΩment

    So is czar-wannabe Marino gonna withdraw his morally repugnant BILL too?

  • Crystalclear12

    I thought being a corporate whore was a Trump administration requirement.
    Why is he withdrawing?
    You don’t see Pruitt quitting, do ya?

  • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

    11 million doses for 25,000 people? Hmm, seems a bit high.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Or else 25,000 people are a bit high.

  • jowgajen
    • MynameisBlarney


      • Daniel

        Delicious chicken that repeats on you after three days.

    • JMP

      How is it that CNN and The New York Times are more liked by Democrats when both are right-wing propaganda outfits?

      • jowgajen

        Neither are, exactly. NYT has some editorial issues. And this explains CNN’s bizarre behavior in hiring Lewandowski, et al. more than any other thing I’ve seen to date.

      • Three Finger Salute

        What isn’t right-wing media, really. Jeff Bozos owns WaPo, and clearly doesn’t care that it’s not very “liberal” to be cannibalizing the labor force with robots to a point where nobody can afford to buy crap at Amazon because they have no jobs and thus no salaries to pay for it. There is nothing liberal about the tech industry except meaningless, lip-service platitudes about diversity in hiring.

        • proudgrampa

          “Bozos.” Ha!

    • Three Finger Salute

      Never heard of Cabela’s, and why the hell does anyone even care about Puff Piece Post? Dead Breitbart helped DINO Arianna start it anyway and they’re basically just a combination of BuzzFeed and the Daily Fail with the occasional celebrity “thinkpiece.” The trolls flooded the commenting section when she opened the doors to Fakebook and then bailed to go start her “lifestyle brand.” Huffingpaint Compost is about as relevant as Digg and MySpace. Not sure why they’re in the top 25 “polarizing” companies at all?

      • MynameisBlarney

        Cabela’s is on that list?

        • clubseal

          Maybe due to PETA? I’d put In-N-Out Burgers up there, personally. I don’t think it’s anything special, but that’s sacrilege in some parts.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          Cabela’s is “polarizing” in that a lot of Dems never heard of it and didn’t give it a positive rating. Rural folks know it really well. It’s certainly the one place to find anything that might conceivably be used outdoors.
          “Trump Hotels” being highly rated by Trumpanzees is just hilarious – and not just because they merely rent the name.

      • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

        Cabela’s was sold to Bass Pro Shops, I thought.

        • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

          Yeah, they made news because some of the “bump stocks” the Las Vegas shooter had were purchased there.

        • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

          More info: I was right. the merger was signed off on last month.

      • JMP

        WHAT THE FUCK IS A CABELA’S?! Seriously, everything else on that list is a big famous company – then there’s some random ass what-the-hell that I’ve never even heard of.

        • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

          Cabela’s is a hunting/fishing/outdoorsman store. They’re mainly Midwest/West Coast.

        • SomeBigRedDog

          Its basically a gun and camouflage emporium. Only people I know who shop there are fishermen.

          • Blackest Noobs

            i bought a Kimber pocket pistola there once…ok ok they don’t call ’em pocket pistola but they sure are small enough.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            lots of hikers and campers and other outdoorsmen shop there too

          • SomeBigRedDog

            Thats what REI is for and you don’t have to drive to the nether reaches of suburbia to get there.

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            You won’t find twenty-six kinds of fly-fishing line at REI.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            Bass Pro is often cheaper, though I will shop at either (no Cabela’s near me).

          • MynameisBlarney

            My dad and I used to shop there a lot.
            They have excellent cast iron cookware.

          • It’s hard to find your way around the place since everything’s camouflaged.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            to find the hiking boots, you go down the aisle until you see the stuffed grizzly bear and hang a left, keep going until you see the giant inflatable kayak, then angle past the gun display case and you should find them just behind the duck blinds…

          • Actually, I wait in the truck while my boyfriend shops inside. Too many lifeless critters on the walls for my taste. I adopted a hound from a guy in ID who did Cabelas’ mounts. He was mounting a beaver when I came to pick up the dog. Seriously.

          • Raan

            Sounds like a lonely guy.

          • Bitter Scribe

            Once I went into this restaurant somewhere in Missouri where the walls were festooned with animal heads, Deer, bear, moose, mountain lion, you name it.

            We open our menus, and it’s a vegetarian restaurant.

            We finished our meal (the food was very good) and went to pay. I remarked to the cashier, “It seems like your decorator was a little unclear on the concept.”

            She rolled her eyes and I realized it was probably about the 500th time she’s heard that line.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            all the dead critters is kinda gross. But mounting a beaver???? Naw. not going there today, lol

          • Bitter Scribe

            A former acquaintance works part time as a rep for a fishing equipment manufacturer, a job that takes her into a lot of sporting/hunting goods stores. She says Cabela’s has really jumped the shark because it’s including all kinds of stuff that’s not related to camping, fishing or hunting, like background playground equipment, that you can get way cheaper at Walmart.

          • SweetDeeKat

            Our local one has lots and lots of boats.

        • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

          Considering the fact that the Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s merger was for $4.2Billion, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of them. They’re primarily known for hunting and fishing, but their stores are (were) legendary for being nearly a destination unto themselves.

          • JMP

            Bass Pro Shop? Never heard of them either. I guess this is something only around in redneckesville were people actually think hunting and fishing are somehow enjoyable pastimes.

          • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

            I’m not a hunter, but I do enjoy fishing, so maybe you’re right. I do remember a huge Cabela’s right across the state line in WV from when I worked in Washington, PA. That is hunting central up there.

          • Zippy W Pinhead

            you’ve never heard of Bass Pro Shop? There’s all sorts of stuff for sale there that has nothing to do with hunting and fishing

          • MynameisBlarney

            Hey now.
            Fishing is fucking damn near Zen-like.
            Even if you don’t actually catch anything other than a buzz.

          • P’jama Pahnts

            There’s a fairly new one in Greenville SC that has a beautiful trout aquarium built in.

        • It’s a warehouse for critter-killing-commodities. They even have hard-cover catalogs.

        • Major_Major_Major

          They have a bunch of bang-bang pew-pew-pew supplies, but also a lot of fly fishing stuff. I still try to go to the hometown shop if possible , but considering I live about 18 from there now…

        • Skeptical_thinker

          It’s the only place I know that sells gas powered blenders.

      • Cabelas sold the Vegas killer his guns.

    • OrG

      Fux is only minus 14?

    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef
      • jowgajen

        It really says that not even R’s like Breitbart that much.

      • JMP

        I think it’s more that a lot of people haven’t heart of Breitbart.

    • bbayliss
    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Gee, you’d think something happened.

  • OrG


  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    If the gun lobby was as powerful as pharma, guns would be easily available, regulations non-existent, it would never be the right time to do something about it … and tens of thousands of Americans would be die each year as a result.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      That would be bad, wouldn’t it?

  • JMP

    Drugs are bad, just say no! Unless of course you’re getting high of prescription narcotics that you don’t actually have a medical need for, then it’s perfectly OK, just as prescription abusers who hate other drug users like Rush Limbaugh or Elvis (before he ODed on the toilet).

    • Three Finger Salute

      Elvis: Joined DEA, died like a king on his throne of impacted bowels from painkillers.

      Willie: Still tokin’ into his 80s.

      • MynameisBlarney

        All those peanut butter pies likely didn’t help either.

        • Raan

          Or the deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

          • MynameisBlarney

            In bacon fat.
            I’ve had one of those actually.
            Fucking AMAZING, but not something to ever eat more than once.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          Nasty combo with opiate-induced constipation. Ouch.

      • Bitter Scribe

        No shit. (Literally.) I took Vicodin after cracking a rib and had to load up on stiff (not literally) doses of laxatives to function.

        • Mehmeisterjr

          Double no shit.

          I had two painful emergencies.

          The opiod they gave me resisted all laxatives no matter what the dosage and I finally begged them to change to something else before I exploded internally.

          Thanks Rep. Marino and organized crime!

  • BearDeLaOursistance

    The only “regulatory capture” I want to see is the Fibbies putting the spoiled Dorito in cuffs.

    • Cogswell – In a Mirror, Darkly

      I want to see him publicly humiliated as he is frog marched out of the WH.

  • jesuswasablack

    Drug Czar Pulls Out!

  • Scooby

    Is El Chapo still available?

  • MynameisBlarney

    OT, but.

    Margeret and Helen have words about all this disrespecting the flag bullshit…

    • Infrequentcontributor

      Funny. I get a Cabela’s banner ad in clicking through to Margaret & Helen. I know there’s not a lot of overlap in interests there. :-)

      (see below if you don’t get the reference)

    • bbayliss

      Oh my goodness she’s marvelous.
      From Helen:
      “Margaret, that man is so stupid if he threw himself on the ground he would miss. And in that ridiculous hat he looks like something the dog is hiding under the porch. Honestly honey, I just don’t like him. He makes my ass itch every time he opens his mouth.”

    • TakingAmes

      I love them. They’re a pair of foul-mouthed Molly Ivinses.

  • JohnBull

    At this point, I’m all for abolishing the executive branch. It’s clear we can live better without one.

    • MynameisBlarney


    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Well – without THIS one, certainly.

      • Three Finger Salute

        Only if we can replace it with the Canuckistani Parliament. Or just bypass Canada and forget that whole revolution thing, put us under direct authority of the queen.

        • CindyinEncinitas

          That could be fun. Sorry, great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

  • beatbort

    I do believe that the only work Trump does in the White House is to research who would be the ABSOLUTE WORST PERSON to hold a particular job and then nominate that person.

    • bbayliss

      With input from Pence.

      • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

        Isn’t that recursive? I mean, Pence fits that description pretty well himself…

        • bbayliss

          Point taken.

    • Bitter Scribe

      And he’s great at it!

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      Naw, that’s Bannon’s job

    • natoslug

      From a VF article I read yesterday, Trump’s management style is to have other people do everything. He doesn’t research shit, or expend any excess energy on wasteful things like thought or reason, so most likely this pick was Miller’s. “Steve — pick a drug guy for me, a good one.”

      • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

        My money’s on Jared. It’s not like he’s doing anything else.

        • natoslug

          I thought Jared was focused on researching countries without extradition treaties to the U.S..

          • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

            He gave that job to Vanky, I think.

          • Three Finger Salute

            He doesn’t have to research them. Israel still exists, he can just crash at Uncle Beebensraum’s settlement.

          • TakingAmes

            Ouch. Bibi burn!

      • cmd resistor

        He might have a secret Pick A Shitty Cabinet Person Committee that does it.

      • satanscheerleadersloveamerica

        pence certainly had a lot of influence on the cabinet

        • natoslug

          He’s an expert in cabinets. And closets.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        ^^THIS^^ exactly.

        To the voters: “We’re gonna have great, affordable health care for everybody.”
        To nobody in particular: “Somebody come up with a plan so I can sign it.”
        (Then he has a tantrum when nobody comes up with the plan he ordered up.)

      • This is how the Heritage Foundation got to hand pick all his judge picks for him

  • Gee, Your Hair Smells Horrific

    So let me get this straight: Tom Marino is NOT qualified to be the head of an agency—because he’s basically acted counter to that agency’s mission—but Scott Pruitt, Betsy Devos, Jeff Sessions, and Ryan Zinke ARE qualified for their positions.
    Okay, fine. I guess I should just be glad he pulled his nomination.

    • OutOfOrbit

      the skeletons in his closet began to rattle

    • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

      Not to mention Rick Perry, who’s heading a Department he actively wants to see abolished (or would, if he could remember it). And Ben Carson, who has no fucking idea what HUD even does.

    • Beanz&Berryz

      Scott Pruitt, Betsy Devos, Jeff Sessions, and Ryan Zinke hadn’t already created national addiction crises before they got nominated…

      • Ahem.
        Betsy sure as fuck has, and it is spreading

        • Beanz&Berryz

          Good point….

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Now that Il Douche has installed an entire Cabinet of Deplorables, there seems to be a bit more resistance. Too little, too late.
      Let’s hope the parade of Federalist-approved federal judge appointees gets at least as much attention.

    • Mike Steele

      Not to mention Rick Perry, Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson, Steve Mnuchin, and – our personal favorite – nominee for head of Criminal Division at DoJ. Brian Benczkowski, who was on Trump’s transition team, worked as a white-collar crime DEFENSE atty., and had Russia’s Alfa Bank as a client. Nobody does It better.

  • clubseal

    But by all means, Jeff Sessions and your minions, keep telling us how dangerous the threat of marijuana is.

    • Three Finger Salute

      “WON’T Y’ALL PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?!?” -Jeffbo Custard

      “Um… hold my beer. Eh, and my bong.” -Justin Trudeau

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Marijuana has killed . . . umm . . . dozens? Versus some 400,000 for opiates.

      Now that opiates are killing lots of rednecks, you might think the GOP would be singing a different tune . . . but only if you believed they actually cared about rednecks. When the rednecks wise up, which I do think is starting to happen (and has the GOP terrified), things will get interesting. I’d love to see “Redneck Lives Matter” become a thing in this context.

      • clubseal

        Sadly, as long as the GOP can play the Second Amendment Card, rednecks may never wise up.

  • whitroth

    About the opiod crisis, Wonketteers, try this one: since not a single media outlet has even had this thought… anyone out
    there have a state breakdown/graph, or maybe by county, of a) opioid
    deaths and b) unemployment?

    There’s always a *reason* that folks turn to painkillers, and it’s not always for physical pain.

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      I have seen that broken down, don’t have a link though. I’d check WaPo or Vox

    • jesterpunk
    • Three Finger Salute

      Ben Franklin said nine men in ten are suicides. Durkheim basically confirmed it, and that was more than 100 years ago. There is a mental health crisis in this country that’s not being properly addressed, because it’s basically a rational reaction to existential despair.

      – Two endless wars (and more on the way)

      – a financial crisis brought about out of greed and the “invisible hand of the free market” (aka iron boot) that only the billionaires were protected from (while everyone else got hosed)

      – jobs being outsourced and now replaced with robots

      – a student loan bubble that’s on the verge of exploding bigly and which is intentionally keeping a quality education out of the hands of those who can least afford it out of pocket, not to mention people calling into question whether “education” is even worth the bother if it doesn’t put food on your table and only leads to “liberal arts jobs” at Wendy’s that are already being replaced by robots

      – families being ripped apart because the natural course of human migration doesn’t jibe with the red-tape paperwork set up by a racist blood-and-soil government that doesn’t want darkies yearning to breathe free

      – black people being executed by cops who get barely a slap on the wrist because in the eyes of the injustice system, blacks are guilty of precrime simply for the sin of breathing (while not really free)

      On and on the crises go; where they’ll stop, nobody knows. Actually, I’ve been of the opinion for years that people who have no hope should be allowed to shuffle off this mortal coil humanely if they so choose. Believe me, I’d be one of the first signing up for the morphine clinic. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore either.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Today’s billionaires aren’t just “protected” from the iron boot . . . they get to wear it.

    • There is a link.
      Poorz get medicare and what not. Doctors in poor areas are too rushed to actually treat and so push drugs, and get kick backs.
      Poorz get hooked on drugs.

  • MynameisBlarney

    To everyone concerned that nothing can be done against the wave of hateful stupid.

    Chins up, ya fargin’ bastages.

    • Stulexington

      If denied bond, he would join seven other white supremacists being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail in a special cell block designated for the growing list of inmates implicated in crimes related to the August 12th riot. They are considered to be at high risk if included in the general population of inmates from the community who are awaiting trial.

      Ah where to go with this, do I complain that Nazis are still getting special treatment or do I point out that the reason they’re in so much danger is the disproportionate arrest rates among non-whites.

      Decisions decisions.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Legislating Bad

  • dshwa

    I’d bet a big chunk of those patient advocacy groups ol’ Orrin is concerned for have industry backers as well.

    • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

      Orrin is also the one that took huge bribes to keep the Vitamin and supplement industry self regulating.

      • Zyxomma

        That’s one of the few decent things he’s ever done. I don’t want to have to get my supplements by prescription. I want to be able to buy them over the counter at reasonable prices. Yes, I have to do a lot of research to know which ones work, and I assume that nearly anything sold at a chain drug store is worthless. Leave my fucking herbs alone, Big Pharma.

        • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

          Which ones actually have the real herbs in them though? Obviously none made in Utah? I have tried to figure who the “good companies are and I am not having any luck. I try to get ones from Canadian companies whenever possible.

  • Kooolest G

    meet richard sackler, one of the sackler family (#19 on forbes richest families list)

    “Richard’s political contributions have gone mostly to Republicans—including Strom Thurmond and Herman Cain—though at times he has also given to Democrats. (His ex-wife, Beth Sackler, has given almost exclusively to Democrats.) In 2008, he wrote a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal denouncing Muslim support for suicide bombing, a concern that seems to persist: Since 2014, his charitable organization, the Richard and Beth Sackler Foundation, has donated to several anti-Muslim groups, including three organizations classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (The family spokesperson said, “It was never Richard Sackler’s intention to donate to an anti-Muslim or hate group.”) The foundation has also donated to True the Vote, the “voter-fraud watchdog” that was the original source for Donald Trump’s inaccurate claim that three million illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 election.”

    the sackler family owns purdue pharma, the company that brought you oxycontin.

  • bbayliss

    About time: “Reporter calls Trump a liar to his face: Claiming US is ‘highest taxed country’ is ‘objectively false’”

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      “A lot of people think the way that I’m saying it is exactly correct,” the president added before walking away.”

      And there you have it: “If the dumbfucks believe it, I will say it.”

      • Zippy W Pinhead

        Yup, all my base in Cult 45 doesn’t care about the actual facts

        • beatbort

          I thought it was Area 51

        • Wonky Magoo

          Cult 45 were the worst British new wave band.

      • To wit the reporter called “But they are wrong also!”

    • Beanz&Berryz

      “Objectively false.” Brilliant! A new way to call him out to his face… And here’s more Trump added…

      “the highest developed nation taxed in the world”

      Those tax havens of Germany, France, Denmark… We need lower taxes like they have… We’re taxing ourselves to ruin like… _________. I don’t even want to pick on some random developing country…

      He is monumentally fucking stupid… Exacerbated by the fact that he doesn’t even remotely get how fucking stupid he is…

      “We’ll be lucky to live through this…”

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    A tough confirmation battle was just too bitter a pill for Marino to swallow.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    “Trump Drug Czar Prick Pulls Out…”


  • UnsaltedSinner

    Hang on — Trump has czars? I distinctly remember that Republicans believed czars were something only Kenyan communist tyrants had.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      They’ve become more inclusive: “It’s what all tyrants have.”

    • Wonky Magoo

      That was before he learned Russia had them, too.

    • toughsister

      Well, Putin is his real czar.

  • Slinger

    Today is the second day that locals TV stations here in northeastern PA have sent reporters to his Cogan Station, PA home, his Williamsport, PA office and calls to his Capitol Hill office. Nobody is answering questions and Marino is nowhere to be found.
    Marino must be staying with his former Mafia boss Louis DeNaples. A disgraced former federal DA, Marino quit his job when the G.W. Bush Administration started investigating him for his helping Mafia boss DeNaples illegally obtain a PA casino gambling license. This gave Marino the opportunity to be a full-time in house Mafia lawyer for DeNaples. Then Marino ran for office, knowing that being a Republican running in a solidly Republican district, he’d get easily elected even with his Mafia credentials.

  • toughsister

    Most congressmen and women on both sides of the aisle are industry whores, but this one chased the johns and begged them to sodomize him.

    • JohnC44

      I gotta say, this comment is pretty dark. Well played.

  • Impatient

    This must be a fake story, ’cause I just KNOW Repugnicants would never pass something without reading it!

    • JohnC44

      *-When/if permitted to see its text before being hurriedly voted on on strict party line(s).

  • Lefty Wright

    Orrin Hatch is also the senator that keeps insisting the reports of the tax “reform” legislation being a scam to benefit the rich are fake news. All those economists are just pulling numbers out of thin air (or using the few actual ideas Trump and Ryan have floated) and are way off base on their estimates. But as usual, he does not point out what is incorrect about the numbers they use or give any clues about what the tax bill may eventually include.

    I’ve always felt that if all you can do is say something is wrong without citing any facts or rationale, that’s not even a valid opinion, it’s just bullshit.

  • Rocket Pony Ron

    Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, says the WaPo/60 minutes story is “flawed” and “one-sided”

    Yes, it only tells the truth and doesn’t give equal time to industry bullshit.

  • Mike Steele

    Lady MS just finished chatting with an old & dear friend. Back when we both lived and worked in PA, we shared a somewhat common mindset. She & husband left first, retiring to NC. We left shortly thereafter, to care for dying mom on Delmarva, where we’ve remained. In the near decade or so that has passed, they – as we – have suffered some rather debilitating physical setbacks. Mike and I have approached things holistically. As a recovering alcoholic, he was temporarily sidetracked when opioids prescribed for incurable mantle-cell lymphoma caught him up in the web again, necessitating treatment for THAT scourge. Personally deal with residual effects of botched spinal surgery via decompression, exercise and supplements. Meanwhile, my friend has sought relief from RA and fibromyalgia with ever-increasing doses of opiates. In fact, while we avoided any discussion of politics (she has become a Trumpanzee-extraordinaire), she was popping Oxys as we spoke. Neither snifflin’ Trump, nor my friend, would recognize addiction if it slapped them in the face. Yet, they are ready, willing and anxious to pass judgment on anyone else facing that, or other, challenges. Empathy is among the first senses to go.

  • Zyxomma

    I hate to say this, because addiction and overdoses are horrid, but sometimes it seems this country was way better off when all this stuff was available over the counter at reasonable prices. No one knows how many people (mostly women) were addicted to stuff like laudanum and opium (later heroin, which was marketed to doctors as a cure for opium addiction).

    The real solution, of course, is legalization of marijuana. Not decriminalization, legalization. Grow it with high standards, sell it to adults, tax it. Opiates are useful, but pot (especially the stuff that’s low in THC and high in cannabidiol) is great for chronic pain. Of course, those pharma companies probably sell a lot of drug tests, so that would cut into their profits.

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