Sick Bern: Bernie Sanders’ tweet cost Ariad Pharmaceuticals $387 million

Published: Salon (October 17, 2016)

With a single tweet, Sen. Bernie Sanders has cost Ariad Pharmaceuticals $387 million.

The article retweeted by Sanders was from Stat, a publication that specializes in covering health and medical news. It reported that, since the beginning of the year, Ariad has raised the price of its Iclusig chronic myeloid leukemia treatment by 27 percent. The drug now has a pre-rebate list price of $16,560 a month, or almost $199,000 a year. Even worse for Ariad’s image (to say nothing of consumers), this isn’t the first time they raised the price on that drug, having done so twice last year. read more

How the “Sausage Party” gets made: Why Seth Rogen’s talking-food cartoon’s labor controversy matters

Published: Salon (September 2, 2016)

“Sausage Party” is a surprisingly smart, visually creative comedy that has been rightfully praised for its satirical take on organized religion. This makes it all the more unfortunate that the movie is currently wrapped up in a labor controversy that, if it is grounded in fact, could convince potential viewers to pause before spending their money on the film.

“Sausage Party” currently finds itself in an unflattering light because of online reports that Vancouver-based Nitrogen Studios, which produced the movie’s animation, did not pay its employees for overtime hours and created a hostile working environment in which employers could threaten crew with termination if they didn’t meet excessive demands. Because British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act has an exemption for “high technology professionals,” companies like Nitrogen may be claiming that animators are high-tech professionals to justify not paying them overtime. (High-technology professionals are defined as individuals who use specialized knowledge and professional judgment on tech-related issues for at least 75 percent of their work time, so that could apply to animators, although it depends on where the line is drawn between strictly tech-related work and activities that are more artistic and creative in nature.) read more

Jews have a special responsibility to fight Donald Trump

United against hate. (Reuters/Jonathan Drake)

Published: Quartz (July 9, 2016)

Donald Trump’s anti-Semitic tweet—I’m sorry, his allegedly anti-Semitic tweet—is still in the news in the US, and with good reason. The presumptive Republican nominee has repeatedly refused to apologize for linking Hillary Clinton, corruption and Judaism all in one ill-advised meme. Meanwhile, his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner is being publicly pressured by one of his employees at the New York Observer (which he owns) to denounce Trump’s actions.

Which brings us to one of the most popular defenses of Trump–namely, that he can’t possibly be anti-Semitic because of his Jewish family. Trump does indeed have a Jewish son-in-law, a Jewish daughter (Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism upon marrying Kushner), and a Jewish grandchild. And it’s totally irrelevant. This argument is not only specious, it elides the great moral question presented by this election: Will America’s legacy be one of peaceful diversity or hate? read more

Sanders voters should learn from Brexit: Don’t make the same mistake as Brits and support right-wing populism

Published: Salon (July 3, 2016)

If Bernie Sanders supporters can learn anything from Brexit, it is that the English-speaking world is in the mood for a certain type of right-wing populism. On one side of the pond, the anti-immigrant and anti-free trade sentiment that swept the United Kingdom prompted that nation to vote for a historic exit from the European Union. In the United States, this phenomenon has manifested itself in the historic presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, who as I’ve explained before is the most anti-free trade major party candidate since Herbert Hoover. read more

It’s time for Democrats to unify: Why even the most idealistic Sanders voter should support Clinton

Published: Salon (June 16, 2016)

We don’t know what Bernie Sanders discussed with Hillary Clinton when the two of them met Tuesday night, but it’s fair to assume that the conversation revolved around Clinton’s new status as the presumptive Democratic nominee. As the burgeoning Bernie or Bust movement clearly demonstrates, a lot of Sanders supporters are unhappy with the prospect of backing Clinton. Of course, because Green Party candidate Jill Stein has offered to run on a joint ticket with Sanders, they may not actually have to do so. read more

Sanders supporters pushed Clinton to the left—now they have to keep her there

Published: Quartz (June 7, 2016)

Heading into California primary today, Donald Trump is catching up toHillary Clinton in the general election polls. According to political analysis from statisticians like Nate Silver, the reluctance of some Bernie Sanders supporters to back an alternate Democratic candidate is part of the reason for Trump’s boost. Sanders’ backers tend to identify as progressive, according to Silver, but not necessarily as Democrats. “If Clinton wins over those voters, she’ll gain a few percentage points on Trump in national and swing state polls,” Silver explains. “If not, the general election could come down to the wire.” read more

Martin Luther King and the Panama Papers

Published: Salon (April 9, 2016), The Good Men Project (April 7, 2016)

When Martin Luther King Jr. is brought up in a political conversation, it is usually in reference to his work for civil rights…. and if you’re a member of the proverbial one percent, this is definitely for the best. Considering the reverence with which King is held today, it would ill-serve them if the general public remembered him for quotes like this one:

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” read more

Bernie Sanders is a compassionate, intelligent man who has no clue how to run a country

Published: Quartz (April 6, 2016)

If Bernie Sanders wants to be president, he’ll need to do better than this.

The Democratic senator is doubtless feeling pretty optimistic today, fresh off a primary victory in Wisconsin. And yet a much more telling measure of the candidate’s presidential chances happened earlier this week, during an interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News.

Reading the interview is a thoroughly disheartening affair. As editors plied Sanders with questions about how he would implement his radical agenda, it became abundantly clear that Hillary Clinton’s chief rival doesn’t have many answers. read more