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Health Care & Environment
06.20 ALEC’s Deadly Asbestos Agenda Benefits Koch Industries, Nationwide [the sociopaths are at it again]
06.16 Delhi's air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart [an increasingly deadly problem]
06.15 What if Canada had backed wind energy instead of the oil sands? [infographic]
06.10 Microplastics in our mussels: the sea is feeding human garbage back to us [our pollution becomes us...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
06.22 As 'Wealthiest and Freest Country in the World,' Nikki Haley Tells Bernie Sanders It's 'Ridiculous' to Examine US Poverty [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]
06.22 50 Years Later, We Still Have a Dream [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]
06.21 James Comey: 'You stare at children crying – what kind of people are we?’ [We have stupidly allowed bribery and greed to corrupt government to the point where morality—and what's best for people is totally ignored...is considered too late.]
06.20 Democratic candidates vow to dump Pelosi [if you want single-payer, then corporate Democrats must not have leadership]
06.20 Millions Lack Food, Housing, and Healthcare, But 38 Democrats Just Joined GOP to Spend $716 Billion on Endless War and Empire [it's about pleasing your corporate base for huge “campaign donations”]
06.20 'Morally Bankrupt': After Tax Cuts for Richest, House GOP Unveils $5.4 Trillion Attack on Nation's Safety Net [the sociopaths are at it again]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
06.22 The Unsurpassed Power Trip by an Insuperable Control Freak: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]
International & Futurism
06.22 Europe’s democrats must unite to prevent a far-right takeover [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]
06.20 'Outraged, But Frankly Not Surprised': In Defense of Serial Violator Israel, US Ditches UN Human Rights Council [the sociopaths are at it again]
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.