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12.11 This For-Profit College Is Leaving Students With Lots of Debt and No Degrees [It's a Trump University World]
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12.15 John Kerry: Forget Trump. We All Must Act on Climate Change. [Might he be a candidate for President in 2020?]
12.15 Black lung disease is still killing miners. The coal industry doesn't want to hear it [Trump loves Coal]
12.11 The will of the people is to halt climate change, what about politicians? [Excellent!]
12.11 'We live in a lobstocracy': Maine town is feeling the effects of climate change [Do you care?]
12.11 Protesters disrupt pro-fossil fuel event at COP24 – video [Do you care?]
12.11 'It's a sad reality': a troubling trend sees a 97% decline in monarch butterflies [Do you care?]
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
12.15 What the Hell Is Wrong With Paul Ryan? [”The Saudi check is in the mail.”]
12.15 Scott Walker signs bills to limit powers of incoming Wisconsin Democrats [Immoral people cheat, etc.]
12.15 Trump science adviser casts doubt on links between pollution and health problems [Consider the ignorant/bribed source.]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
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12.15 Denmark gives new fathers paid leave. Why do so few take it? [Audio clip]
12.13 The Honduran Nightmare
12.10 US and Russia ally with Saudi Arabia to water down climate pledge [The Oil Mafias lobby for more insanity]
Rumsfeld and Scoundrel Time with the Pharmaceuticals
Panic over avian flu has already resulted in a U.S. government stockpile of $2 billion worth of Tamiflu, and Bush is seeking a $7.5 appropriation for more. Who benefits?While the Administration faces accusations that it overhyped post-9/11 threats to national security, the media have been slow to stitch together a similar pattern in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's connection with the pharmaceutical industry, a connection that built his personal fortune on a series of panics stretching back to the mid 1970's.
Most recently, the panic over avian flu has been fanned almost universally by news outlets, despite expert caution that the virus itself has yet to mutate into any form transmittible between humans or between birds and humans.
Earlier, the current Secretary of Defense successfully marketed aspartame, a suspected carcinogen, as "Nutrasweet," on which he earned some ten million. Before that, he exploited scare tactics on the swine flu, to the extent that President Ford ordered massive inoculations in 1976. When fifty people died from the drug, its administration was suspended, but not before Mr. Rumsfeld pocketed an estimated five million.
The avian flu scare is being handled similarly to the infamous "Swine Flu Affair" during the Ford Administration. Who benefited then?Much of the swine flu story and its dubious provenance has been documented by a Johns Hopkins medical professor, Arthur Silverstein, in his book Pure Politics and Impure Science, subtitled The Swine Flu Affair (JHU Press,1984). His account emphasizes how President Ford's desire to win election on his own rendered him susceptible to pressure from the pharmaceuticals to inoculate all Americans, 220 million people, against the Swine flu despite only one clearly documented fatality.
It became a $135 million program which had reached 40 million before the accumulation of fatalities and a linkage to several cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome or paralysis saw suspension of the vaccine. The pharmaceutical companies had pre-arranged for the government to assume any liabilities.
Aspartame had such a mixed record in various lab tests that the FDA refused approval several times. However, with the election of Ronald Reagan, Arthur Hayes Hull, Sr., a friend of Rumsfeld, became a commissioner on the FDA. Another crony appointment secured the votes necessary for approval. Today a $330 million class action lawsuit under RICO provisions mentions Rumsfeld as the CEO of G.D. Searle Company in 1977.
The current scare, commented NBC News' chief science and health correspondent Robert Bazell just this past February, closely resembles the 1970's scare, except this time around the price tag in Bush's request for funding is $7.1 billion.
©2006 Stuart Markoff. The author is a Baltimore-based free lance with an interest in immunology after he developed diabetes II. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
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This story was published on May 8, 2006.