News


Ex-Theranos executives indicted by federal grand jury

Elizabeth Holmes, Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani each face up to 20 years in prison

The former CEO and chief operating officer of embattled Palo Alto blood-testing company Theranos have been indicted by a federal grand jury for an alleged multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud investors, doctors and patients.

Elizabeth Holmes, 34, of Los Altos Hills, and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, 53, of Atherton, have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud.

Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at the age of 19 to found Theranos in 2003. Balwani held various positions within the company during his seven years there, starting in 2009, notably as chief operating officer, president and member of the board of directors.

An indictment unsealed Friday accuses the pair of carrying out a multimillion dollar scheme against their investors and a separate one against doctors and patients by asserting the company could provide accurate, affordable and fast blood tests and test results based on a few drops of blood. The 11-page document also accuses the two of leaving out the limitations and drawbacks to the company's technology.

The defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen on Friday in federal court in San Jose for arraignment. They pleaded not guilty to the charges, posted $500,000 bail and surrendered their passports. Their next court appearance on the case was set for Aug. 15.

If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and restitution for each count, a press release issued Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office states.

Holmes and Balwani allegedly used advertisements and solicitations to persuade doctors and patients to use the company's services, despite knowing certain blood tests wouldn't provide accurate results, according to the indictment. The advertisements promoted Theranos' blood tests at Walgreens stores in California and Arizona.

The blood tests were for chemical elements and components such as calcium and chloride; HIV; glycated hemoglobin; and human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as hCG. hCG is a hormone found in pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The tests performed on Theranos technology, in addition, were likely to contain inaccurate and unreliable results," the press release states.

In promoting the company's services, Holmes and Balwani allegedly claimed the company had a "revolutionary and proprietary analyzer" capable of conducting multiple clinical tests through small blood samples drawn from a finger stick, the indictment states. The analyzer went by different names including TSPU, Edison and minilab.

A mix of marketing materials, media statements, models and other communications were used to convey that the results were more valid than conventional methods and produced at a faster rate than current devices, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The pair was aware of their misrepresentation of the analyzer, which in reality performed a limited number of tests, had a slow performance rate, produced inaccurate results and, in some instances, weren't competitive with current machines.

"This conspiracy misled doctors and patients about the reliability of medical tests that endangered health and lives," FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett said in the press release.

Some patients were referred by their doctors to Theranos' services, which produced test results without vital information that was wrongly removed, the indictment states.

Theranos financially benefited from the alleged scheme in the form of payments from their patients, patients' medical insurance companies or Walgreens, the indictment said.

Potential investors were also defrauded through multiple alleged schemes, including technology demonstrations in which the would-be investors were led to mistakenly believe they were witnessing a blood test done by the company's analyzer when they weren't, the indictment states. Holmes and Balwani also allegedly bought commercial, third-party analyzers that they presented to investors as Theranos-manufactured analyzers.

The defendants also allegedly told investors that the company would make $100 million in revenues and break even in 2014, with estimates of $1 billion in revenues the following year, according to the indictment.

In 2014, Theranos was valued at $9 billion. Holmes, who had become the darling of the Silicon Valley tech world, and Theranos at one time enjoyed the strong support of high-powered persons. Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger served on the Theranos board, as did former Secretary of State William Perry and James Mattis, prior to his current appointment as Secretary of Defense. Investors included the founders of Walmart, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Secretary of Education Betsy deVos, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The federal grand jury also called to question the company's claims surrounding their business relationships. Holmes and Balwani are accused of telling investors that Theranos was earning profit from work done for the U.S. Department of Defense, which was using their technology on the battlefield, which turned out to be false, according to the indictment. Additionally, the defendants asserted that Theranos would expand the number of Wellness Centers at Walgreens stores, but by late 2014 the rollout at the stores came to a halt after the company's performance drew concern.

In March, Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 fine as part of a settlement of a civil fraud case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which was investigating the offer and sale of Theranos securities from 2013 to 2015. The settlement dictated that Holmes will not be eligible to serve as a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years, and she will return about 18.9 million shares of stock and relinquish her super-voting equity rights. Neither Theranos nor Holmes admitted or denied any wrongdoing, a March 14 company press release states.

In early April, the company laid off most of its employees, save for two dozen or fewer, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

According to CNBC, Theranos reported Friday Holmes has resigned as CEO and that its general counsel, David Taylor, has replaced her. Holmes continues to serve as chair of the company's board.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI were aided in the investigation by personnel from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Holmes is represented by San Francisco attorney John D. Cline and Kevin M. Downey of Washington, D.C. firm Williams & Connolly LLP.

Balwani's lawyers are Jeffrey Coopersmith and Kelly Michelle Gorton of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

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Comments

49 people like this
Posted by Delighted Citizen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2018 at 6:57 am

It's about time. This charlatan pulled off one of the greatest corporate frauds in history. The fact she was a mildly-attractive young woman compelled the world to look the other way for a while. But the evidence became so overwhelming that finally she's getting dragged into court, as is her (much much older) former love interest.


56 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2018 at 7:02 am

The Theranos Board of Directors is also culpable. At the very least, members of the Theranos Board should be prevented from serving on any other Board of Directors for at least 10 years.


41 people like this
Posted by Dredd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2018 at 8:07 am

When one reads the details of the depth and deliberateness of the actions involved in this multi-year scam (from the WSJ reporter John Carreyrou), it is amazing that the charges weren't more severe and didn't include obstruction of justice. Theranos's employees whose consciences were uncomfortable with continuing were threatened with legal actions and other harassment.


43 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

This is a massive fraud against both consumers and investors. While these 2 perps were the leaders, I can't believe they were the only ones who were part of the conspiracy. Yes, the Feds should investigate the directors as well as the senior employees.

This is a medical product. Has anyone died because of this fraud? I would like to see murder charges if that happens.


31 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2018 at 10:04 am

As someone who relies on blood testing to detect and now manage a medical condition, I am shocked that these two are not on trial for negligent homicide. From my experience and people I am exposed to due to my condition, these criminals put lives at risk, and probably cost the consumers wo can least afford it, precious funds needed to pay medical bills.

How can she still be on the BOD ?
Of course two others from the BOD are members of the Trump Administration so I’m not surprised at the low ethical and moral bar that board has.


17 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon 2
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

The Theranos episode is tragic. While I thought from the beginning that she was too good to be true, I also rooted for her and her potential for greatness, both medically and as a woman entreprneur. It's also a reminder that the rich and might investors should pay attention. You could just witness how she moved from one rich (and often, old) patron to another.
My connection to all of this is that I had a Theranos blood panel done at Walgreens in 2014. when I was seeing a local practitioner. I just found it in old files. Nothing out of the ordinary so no life and death decisions were made as a result. (But, what if.......?)
The 5-page lab report is presented in a thorough, factual way, not unlike PAMF's. But, unfortunately, the results mean nothing. Maybe I'll keep it as a reminder of the dark side of the techie world. Her company is/was probably not the only one out there with something to hide. But, in her case, peoples' lives were (and still may be) at stake.


52 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2018 at 11:42 am

People say this is Silicon Valley tech fraud. That is not really true. Tech fraud is Facebook selling your private information to Steve Bannon's company. Theranos is medical fraud. There should be (and probably is) a much higher standard for medical fraud since lives are more directly at risk.


11 people like this
Posted by Wondering??
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm

> Tech fraud is Facebook selling your private information to Steve Bannon's company

Facebook has acknowledged selling user information to Chinese companies. Guess this is not "Tech Fraud"?


17 people like this
Posted by Sophie
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 16, 2018 at 2:58 pm

The fact that she is a white young female with elite background, from elite university, and has a minority boy friend, painted a rosy color to this case. A story with inclusion, diversity, and political correctness is better than a fabricated business plan to some investors.


20 people like this
Posted by Steven
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Homes in Los Altos Hills and Atherton - well at least we know where some of the money went.


9 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2018 at 3:35 pm

She had high profile people on her Board, many would know little to nothing on this subject though they are very, very politically well connected.
I guess that’s what counts for a Stanford drop-out, Steve Jobs wannabe.
Not just fraud, but medical fraud. Buyer beware.


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

And, according to Business Insider interview of man who just published a book in this subject, a Walgreen’s consultant attempted to alert Walgreen’s but HE was overruled. Risky, when this has to do with people’s health.


3 people like this
Posted by Webster Street
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Folks, Fraud Smaud. It's an example of medical TECHNOLOGY fraud. She promised the world that she'd discovered a new technology and mechanism to deliver it. Focus, readers, focus. BTW, all you wunderkinds after the next invention, ditch the black turtle necks. Shirts hanging out, scuffed shoes (or Nikes), and 4-day old stubble are de rigeuer. Very generic, but so what.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 16, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Ramesh?! WOW, I'm shocked! You smart idiot, you.


40 people like this
Posted by Blood on Their(anous) Hands
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 16, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Blood on Their(anous) Hands is a registered user.

I devoured John Carreyrou's fascinating book "BAD BLOOD: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup."

Holmes and Balwani's appalling hubris and greed impacted people's health and possibly their lives.

Look how they treated Theranos Chief Scientist Ian Gibbons!

Where was the oversight by the Board of Directors?

Kudos to all of the courageous whistleblowers, Carreyrou and the Wall Street Journal for getting the truth out about this fallen unicorn.


25 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2018 at 9:25 pm

Why does it take a major expose appearance on 60 Minutes before our regulatory agencies life a finger? Where this is one incident of fraud that is so blatant there are probably many, many more.


35 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I watched an interesting interview about THERANOS via Reason:

Web Link


33 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:10 pm

Oddly enough, I wonder if we will ever learn just how far Theranos had made it in their goal of delivering a remote-access almost-universal blood test. The idea is still amazing.

I think that the great lesson here is that Theranos should have been treated by investors like other such companies that were trying to foster development of cutting edge medical devices.

For instance, Scanadu has played by all of the rules in their attempt to made something similar to the "tricorder" from STAR TREK. Such technology is a marathon and not a sprint. It hearkens to the old proverb about how "slow and steady wins the race."

The interview with Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou (that I provided a link for above) is quite enlightening. It was as if investors ignored all sense of logic and reason when it came to the company and its claims.


9 people like this
Posted by Wife of M.D.
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jun 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm

23andMe, Dr. Oz show, Find Your Real Age (Roizen) are all scams. They take a bit of info and claim truth when they are actually just barely touching the truth. None of those claims are fully true, as there are many variables that need to be in place to lead to their conclusions. My husband has a vast background in research and asked Roizen a simple question of "How can this lead to this?" and he could not answer the question because his research is questionable and false. Tip: Most M.D.s on TV are not the best, they are seeking fame. CNN's Sanjay Gupta is the exception.

While those mentioned are for entertainment purposes, Holmes' company may have actually harmed someone and 20 years in easy dorm prison life isn't enough.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:19 am

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by You got to be kidding
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:23 am

To help perpetrate the scam, Theranos hired the following gold-star board of directors who clearly more expert at overseeing Rand Corporation, Hoover Institution, Lockheed etc. than to overseeing a medical technology company:
Henry A. Kissinger— former US secretary of state
William H. Frist— heart and lung transplant surgeon and former US senator
Sam Nunn— former US senator who served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
William J. Perry— former US secretary of defense
George P. Shultz— former US secretary of state, director of OMB, secretary of Labor
Gary Roughead— retired US Navy admiral

That was a clue by itself. These gentlemen had no professional expertise in either medicine or blood testing technology. The Theranos scamsters tried to blind everyone with the brilliance and accomplishments of their board, none of which had anything to do with Theranos's busiiness. Just goes to show you can fool all of the people almost all of the time.


5 people like this
Posted by You got to be kidding
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:28 am

Correction: Dr. Bill Frist is a surgeon and medical entrepreneur having been an owner of Hospital Corporation of America. He obviously does have medical experience and as an owner of a chain of hospitals should have inquired more deeply into Theranos's blood testing technology. Of all the board members he is in my opinion the most culpable since he should of known better. Dr. Kissinger and several others admitted they knew nothing about blood testing technology.


10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:53 am

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the Theranos board of directors was filled with Republican operatives who turned a blind eye to mounting allegations of massive fraud at the company: Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by You are kidding
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Let us also not forget that Ian Gibbons on of the chief scientists educated at Cambridge who couldn't make the technology work (because of course he couldn't--it didn't work)--killed himself because he thought he was going to be fired because he couldn't make it work.

I knew someone who was a real professional hired there and then was sidelined for asking questions. She had to put everything she did through a lawyer that worked there that protected the top folks. When she chafed at that and said she couldn't do her job (a lot of which was listening to employees tell their tales of woe and how afraid they were to speak up) she went directly to Sunny and Elizabeth and was put off (despite being high in company) and then after a few months was completely sidelined and told to get another job.......she was always suspicious that something nefarious was going on.

Interesting that most of the board (besides being ancient) was outside of the Valley ---although Larry Ellison was a big investor.

I do wonder will they find anyone who was terribly harmed except people lost their money. In the world of today the board won't lose their reputations.....you can apparently do anything and it won't harm your reputation in our world today. What a story!


47 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:28 pm

@ resident - I think that you're mistaken. While there are some Republicans on the board, there are also some Democrats. Look at the list of all-star "advisory" board members mentioned above (which was ended at the end of last year):

Henry A. Kissinger: Republican. Former US Secretary of State for Nixon and Ford.
William H. Frist: Republican. Former senator.
Sam Nunn: Democrat. Former senator.
William J. Perry: Democrat. Former Secretary of Defense.
George P. Shultz: Republican. Formerr US Secretary of State.

Most recent Board of Directors:
Elizabeth Holmes: CEO Theranos. Mother worked as staffer for Democrat Charlie Wilson.
Gary Roughead: US Navy Admiral (retired).
William Foege: Former Director of the CDC under Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan.
Riley P. Bechtel: Former Chairman, CEO of Bechtel Corp. (Resigned 2016)
David Boies: Democrat. Attorney for Al Gore (in Bush v. Gore) and currently representing Harvey Weinstein.
Richard Kovacevich: Republican. Former CEO Wells Fargo.
Jim Mattis: Current US Secretary of Defense (Trump). Former Commander US Central Command (Obama). Retired USMC General. (Resigned Jan 2017)
Fabrizio Bonanni: Former executive vice-president of Amgen.

I'd hardly say that Theranos was "filled with Republican operatives who turned a blind eye to mounting allegations of massive fraud at the company." In fact, the Wall Street Journal didn't say that either. You did. In fact, there are only five known Republicans among the 13 individuals who served on either the advisory board or the board of directors.

You don't have to turn this into an "us versus them" bipolar political battle. The fact remains that the Theranos debacle crossed party lines.


8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm

"The pair was aware of their misrepresentation of the analyzer, which in reality performed a limited number of tests, had a slow performance rate, produced inaccurate results and, in some instances, weren't competitive with current machines."

WHAAATTT??? In all those years, nobody did any validation tests on their products??!!? The medical community simply accepted everything based on company hype and board member star power???!!?

[Portion removed.]

Snookered medical community that could easily have exposed this scam years ago [portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by JM
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:42 pm

This all-star "advisory" board and BoD list is beyond any Valley start-up's wildest dream.

Why?


4 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:50 pm

"In fact, there are only five known Republicans among the 13 individuals who served on either the advisory board or the board of directors."

That's a nice historical factoid, but all of them have now demonstrated their eligibility for high positions in the Trump administration. Watch the news.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:55 pm

"This all-star "advisory" board and BoD list is beyond any Valley start-up's wildest dream.

Why?"

Pure star power. Advisory boards are generally galleries of pretty faces (meant metaphorically) that are not taken seriously within the company.


31 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 4:39 pm

@ Independent - I am simply refuting a partisan-fueled falsehood introduced earlier today in this discussion.

As for claiming that the board of advisers or board of directors "have now demonstrated their eligibility for high positions in the Trump administration:" This claim simply isn't true.

There is just one person from the Theranos board of directors who was nominated by President Trump. General Mattis was nominated as Secretary of Defense (and confirmed by a 98-1 vote of the US Senate) after having served as the Commander of US Central Command under President Obama.

Your suggestion to "watch the news" causes me to encourage you to "verify" the "news" that you're watching. Some of it might very well be "fake" (or little more than agenda-driven op-ed).

Like I said, this debacle crosses party lines. Please don't try to pretend that this into a partisan political scandal. It is an interesting narrative; however, it still isn't true.


2 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

"@ Independent - I am simply refuting a partisan-fueled falsehood introduced earlier today in this discussion."

I am simply belaboring the well demonstrated fact that one must show a threshold level of sleaze to be eligible a high position in the Trump administration. The Theranos governing board members have amply proven their qualifications.

Watch the news, to see who lands what post.


29 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:45 pm

@ Independent: You wrote, "I am simply belaboring the well demonstrated fact..."

No. You're expressing an OPINION based upon your own sociopolitical views and mingled with myths that you pretend come from the "news." You're also trying to tie this Theranos debacle -- something over 15 years in the making -- with the Trump Administration.

By the way, I do watch and read the news. I also know the difference between agenda-driven op-ed, the diatribes by pundits, interpretation of news and, of course, straight presentations of facts.

Why do you feel the need to make this into a partisan political fight? It is certainly a debacle -- but one that transcends political parties.


2 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:16 pm

"No. You're expressing an OPINION based upon your own sociopolitical views and mingled with myths that you pretend come from the "news."

You have your opinions; thus you view the world through opinion-colored glasses. I have only the unalternative facts to work with. Blame them.


"You're also trying to tie this Theranos debacle -- something over 15 years in the making -- with the Trump Administration."

I did not say or imply this Theranos debacle resulted from the Trump Administration. I am only indicating a logical next career move for certain certified qualified individuals who may need subsequent employment as a result of their involvement in this Theranos debacle. The key qualification for this option is their demonstrated basic sleazability; length of experience is secondary.


30 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:23 pm

@ Independent - What are you talking about? Of course I have opinions! However, I don't confuse my opinions with facts. Rather, I try to derive my opinions from my understanding of facts (rather than the opinions of others).

You haven't stated any "facts." You're sharing opinions that attempt to use this ridiculous debacle that was the Theranos corporation (and how it was a money pit for investors) -- something that has been happening for over 15 years -- as a means to try and make the current sitting president culpable. That is quite a stretch.

You're also projecting a belief that the Theranos board was corrupt (there is no proof of this) and that this would somehow make them attractive for positions in the Trump Administration. These aren't "unalterable facts." Their opinions based upon other opinions motivated by underlying political opinions.

The bottom line is that none of this has anything to do with the current presidential administration (other than the fact that Retired USMC General Jim Mattis is the current Secretary of Defense and the Former Commander of the U.S. Central Command (during the Obama Administration). However, he wasn't on the Theranos board by the time that the current president was inaugurated.


5 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:17 pm

[Post removed.]


33 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

I think the investors got the company they deserved. It's hard not to notice that Holmes got all that money basically by overconfidence, overselling, ego, overhyping.

In my own endeavors, I have had a few big money opportunities that I wasn't nearly in a position to act on, so I had to pass. But it's really, really hard to get the high-risk early investment or just outright support to get to that place. I once saw a stranger post about my work, saying most people promise a lot and deliver a little, and my work promises little and delivers a lot. If I'd had a fraction of the investment Holmes has drummed up, I could be delivering far more. But I'm not willing to go down that unethical road. It seems to be required by people willing to make the big investments, though. I talk to other people in medical and biotech areas with world-changing work, who also don't, won't, or can't bring their riskiest but most potentially rewarding ideas into fruition because that same integrity is simply not rewarded by investors.

This gets to why women are so underrepresented. Holmes was rewarded for behaving like successful men, at least in her ability to hype her work. Like most women I know, I'm very conservative about what I am willing to promise, and ironically because the results are so good, people aren't willing to believe those either until I have the kind of data needed. I understand that, but getting the funding for that is next to impossible without being willing to channel one's inner Jobs/Holmes to sell it.

I wonder if Holmes would have fared better if she'd had a more effective, genuine partner - her Steve Wozniak. Maybe successful ventures need at least two partners, one for the selling, one for the coming through on it. I think Holmes was a victim of her own successful sales ability (and lack of integrity). It's just, having integrity can be a pretty big stumbling block to getting investment, too. I hope this episode gives that whole sector a little pause on that.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Independent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2018 at 8:45 pm

@ Hmmm - Correction: I am a CONSERVATIVE with strong libertarian views. I am not beholden to ANY political party. I tend to (but do not always) vote for Republicans. Why? I feel that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by far-left sociopolitical zealots who have shifted the party further to the left than the Republican Party is to the right of mainstream America.

Still, my point is that this entire Theranos debacle has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. It is about snake oil being sold to investors who should be able to see through snake oil salesmen.

The fact that some people are so political zealous that they feel a need to point the finger of blame at certain politicians or political parties with which they disagree is something of a demonstration of the types of sociopolitical fanaticism that is wrong for America. Such rhetoric is undoubtedly a reason why Trump was elected and will probably be reelected.


15 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2018 at 8:48 pm

@ Perspective - That is an interesting perspective. Over the last few days, I've wondered whether Miss Holmes and her inner circle picked individuals who weren't particularly knowledgeable of the industry or those that she believed wanted such a position without exerting much effort to adequately police the company.

I am perplexed that so many would invest in a company without carefully sifting through the claims.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

"The fact that some people are so political zealous ... is something of a demonstration of the types of sociopolitical fanaticism that is wrong for America. Such rhetoric is undoubtedly a reason why Trump was elected and will probably be reelected."

The Base fell for it in 2016, and they'll fall for it again in 2020. Think Trump will get the same popular vote majority?


"I am perplexed that so many would invest in a company without carefully sifting through the claims."

Same reason they'll vote for Trump again in 2020: You can fool some of the people all of the time. Glitz and noise trump substance and analysis. It's that simple.

Holmes' gift was an instinct for identifying les gullibles. Trump has it easy; they naturally gravitate to hucksters.


15 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

@ Curmudgeon - It is a shame that people can be such sociopolitical ideologues that they will attempt to connect a debacle 15 years in the making to a current sitting president or the people who elected him.

If you really think that people are simply "gullible" or stupid enough to "naturally gravitate to hucksters," then it is no wonder that people on the farthest fringe areas of the far left are left scratching their heads (or hurling "we're better than you" insults) after someone is elected that they hate.

This has nothing to do with President Trump...except in the minds of those who tend to connect everything bad in America with voters or political figures on the opposite side of their own sociopolitical whims.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

"If you really think that people are simply "gullible" or stupid enough to "naturally gravitate to hucksters,"..."

Well then, tell me: Is Mexico paying for Trump's Big Beautiful Wall in dollars or in pesos?


15 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 4:41 pm

@ Curmudgeon - What does the problem of illegal immigration and various options to try and stop it have to do with Theranos? Do you see everything through an "orange" colored lens of, well political malcontent?


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 5:56 pm

@Nayeli

As Independent indicated above, Theranos management is a farm club of talent for Trump's future cabinet because, as you yourself pointed out, they have demonstrated high levels of skill at fooling their audience with empty promises.

So, since we're on the subject of fooling an audience with empty promises: Is Mexico paying for Trump's Big Beautiful Wall in dollars or in pesos?



13 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 7:20 pm

@ Curmudgeon - First of all, I never indicated any such belief. Secondly, that is trying to connect dots from two separate coloring books. You and a couple of others are trying to connect dots about this long-running Theranos debacle with your own personal opinions about the current president and his administration.

It is amazing that some people are so given to ideological fanaticism that they feel the need to try and tie an article about Theranos -- a money pit for investors for more than 15 years -- to a president who was elected less than two years ago.

I guess that some people are such faithful to their politicians, political parties or ideological persuasions that they just can't help themselves.

Meanwhile, this sort of ridiculous rhetoric only helps the very politicians that such individuals hate with the type of radical fervor that you'd typically find at cults like Westboro Baptist Church.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 7:55 pm

"I am perplexed that so many would invest in a company [Theranos] without carefully sifting through the claims." - Nayeli, 22 hours ago

And I am perplexed that so many would vote for a candidate [Trump] without carefully sifting through their claims. Such as: Mexico will pay for The Wall.

Now how likely was that to happen? Huh? Especially coming as it did from the object of a headline in today's WP "Trump has been forced into retreat by babies."

So, back to the subject of fooling gullibles with empty promises: Is Mexico paying for Trump's Big Beautiful Wall in dollars or in pesos?


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm

I'm unsure whether to connect Theranos to airplane noise or to climate change.


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 9:40 pm

@ Curmudgeon - The error in your post is that it operates under the flawed assumption that people who voted for Trump "didn't carefully sift" his campaign claims and promises.

An election is about choosing between the viable alternatives and selecting the one that you feel is better than the other options. Even a vote for a third party (or simply not voting at all) has a collective impact on an election.

Investment is very different. No one forces anyone to invest in a company. They can take that money and apply it anywhere else.

Of course, a sociopolitical ideologue will connect dots between everything wrong in this world with the politicians that they hate. Like musical, I have to wonder if someone is going to lay the blame for Palo Alto traffic congestion, renamed public schools or limited office space with President Trump.

The 15+ year Theranos debacle has little to do with President Trump.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 9:49 pm

"@ Curmudgeon - The error in your post is that it operates under the flawed assumption that people who voted for Trump "didn't carefully sift" his campaign claims and promises."

They did carefully sift his campaign claims and promises? Well, then Mexico must be paying for Trump's Big Beautiful Wall like Trump repeatedly promised it would. Is it sending dollars or pesos?


21 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm

@ Curmudgeon - Did you sift Obama's campaign promises as vigorously as you do Trump's? I'm still wondering if all my health care costs will drop...I can keep my doctor and insurance plans...or if the 2009 Summer of Recovery will arrive.

As for the wall: There has ALWAYS been a wall. I've lived on both sides of it. The thing that Trump did right was call attention to an issue that Democrats and liberals have been ignoring for decades.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2018 at 1:01 pm

"There has ALWAYS been a wall." - Nayeli, 14 hours ago

Yes, but didn't your hero Trump promise you a Big Beautiful Wall, and that Mexico was going to pay for it? Hmmm?

Well, is Mexico paying in dollars or pesos?


"I am perplexed that so many would invest in a company [Theranos] without carefully sifting through the claims." - Nayeli, Jun 19, 2018 at 8:48 pm

And now you know why. Star-struck people get unthinkingly enthralled by what their idol tells them and they don't check if the promises are delivered.

BTW, Trump kicked quite a load of sand into the faces of his Base when he caved to the liberals and promised not to take any more babies away from their parents, didn't he?


20 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm

@ Curmudgeon - You just can't help yourself, can you? Do you blame the long lines at the DMV on President Trump too?


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2018 at 5:33 pm

"Do you blame the long lines at the DMV on President Trump too?"

That's related to his failed infrastructure upgrade pledge. Let's stay on topic.

Didn't your hero Trump promise you a Big Beautiful Wall, and that Mexico was going to pay for it? Hmmm?

Well, is Mexico paying in dollars or in pesos?

It's a simple answer, an easy Google. Why not have a go at it?


5 people like this
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2018 at 6:23 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2018 at 9:30 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2018 at 10:35 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

@Curmudgeon, we are now, as a nation, precisely at the stage Germany found itself in 1929. You trying to change the mind of a true believer of trump is like trying to change the mind of a true believer and follower of the little corporal back then. In other words, a monumental waste of time and energy.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

@mauricio

I'm not trying to change a mind. I'm just having fun demonstrating how some people can doggedly overlook or sidestep the dissonant obvious. My real audience is readers like you.

BTW, Hitler was far smarter than our homegrown Stable Genius and way, way more focused. Read the biography by John Toland. But there are scary parallels involving workers who are sick of being screwed over by a plutocrat swamp class. Interestingly, the German workers did not vote their exploiters into office like their later American counterparts do again and again.


3 people like this
Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Nayeli - Why are you all over the Town Square comments? Please give other folks a chance to post. You seem to enjoy the back-and-forth between yourself and one or two other people. This is a forum for posting ideas, and being neighborly. Stop picking fights.


9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2018 at 3:26 pm

@PA Mom

Nayeli has an equal right to post and defend her views.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 22, 2018 at 3:58 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Of particular interest are the comments of King Wilem Alexander, the king of the Netherlands via twitter, addressed to trump. He attached a photo of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and wrote, translated from Dutch: We have a beautiful building in the Hague, it's called the International Criminal Court,ICC, and there is a room there waiting for you. It may take a long time, Sir, but we will be waiting.


16 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2018 at 11:59 am

@ PA Mom - First of all, I am not "all over" the Town Square comments. In fact, I am somewhat frugal in what and how I post. I've seen many more of the same names much, much more frequently on Town Square comments.

Secondly, I post because I am a resident of Palo Alto. I have something to say. It may not always be what you want to hear, but my comments certainly reflect my own views. I don't always post when I want to. I often agree with most posters (including Mauricio or Curmudgeon) on many other issues while I might disagree with them on other issues.

Finally, the posts that I included in response to this particular article are largely meant to focus the discussion back to the topic. This wasn't an article about President Trump. It was an article about a company that was founded by a CEO was seemingly selling false promises (or worse) to investors.

You should never fear the voice of dissent. Mauricio brought up his view that the United States is somehow shifted to something similar to the early days of Nazi Germany. While I think that it is incredibly ridiculous to compare modern Conservatives or even Republicans with Nazis (after all, I am a conservative and also a Mexican immigrant married to a man with Jewish roots).

However, I do agree that there is one evident similarity. It is found in how many people approach free and any voices of dissent. The Nazis worked tirelessly to end all voices of dissent or speech that was deemed "incorrect" by those who controlled the media at the time.

As much of a haven of liberalism that Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley might have become since George H. W. Bush won this state in 1988, there are still significant numbers of the population that do NOT consider themselves "liberal" (via the American sociopolitical spectrum). In fact, more than one-in-three voters in the state routinely cast votes for Republican presidential candidates.

Although I am a conservative woman, I am not beholden to the Republican Party. I don't agree with the party on everything. Of course, I tend to agree with it more than I do the Democratic Party. The same is true of politicians.

As politically aware that I might be, I also don't follow any politician or party with religious-like devotion or zeal. I didn't vote for Trump because I thought that he was Mr. Wonderful. The guy's biggest flaw is his mouth. However, I agreed with his policy goals more I agreed with Hillary Clinton.

Still, I like being challenged. Since I am far from perfect and my beliefs and views are pliable enough to change, I don't mind discussing what I believe with individuals who have an opposite perspective or belief.

Still, I wonder why you've pinpointed me (and not others) in this discussion. There are many people who post far more often in the Town Square than I do. Is it because you disagree with my views and hope to shut any voice of dissent?


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Hey Nayeli

Welcome back.

Dollars or pesos?


4 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2018 at 12:50 pm

@ Curmudgeon - To bring to Mexico? In most resorts or border towns, use dollars (bring small denomination bills). You'd be surprised just how many Mexican stores and restaurants accept the dollar -- even in the DF. However, most store operators will charge unwitting Americans more in dollars than the equivalent in pesos. Tipping, taxis, etc. are often more appreciated in dollars.

Are you planning a trip?


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 23, 2018 at 2:10 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Nayeli has a right to post and express her views. I will be the first to support her right to free speech, although I always cringe at her [portion removed] views. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

"You'd be surprised just how many Mexican stores and restaurants accept the dollar..."

Yep. Been that way forever. Very convenient.

And speaking of money crossing the border, is Mexico paying for Trump's Big Beautiful Wall in dollars or in pesos?

How much has it paid on account to date?


Like this comment
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 23, 2018 at 4:44 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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