Vaccine Business Booming, Record Wall Street Pay, World Dumps Dollars
Revealing News Articles
October 19, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the high profitability of the booming swine flu vaccine business, the return to record pay levels on Wall Street, the dumping of US dollars by central banks worldwide, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For an intriguing article by a top MD which may explain the dangers inherent in all vaccines, click here. More than any other member of Congress Rep. Alan Grayson has been asking hard questions about where trillions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money went. The Federal Reserve is refusing to respond. To sign a petition calling for a real investigation, visit Grayson's website. To learn more and watch Grayson grilling the inspector general of the Fed, click here. And to sign a petition calling for investigation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its excessive support of big corporations at the expense of the public, click here.
Drugmakers, Doctors Rake in Billions Battling H1N1 Flu
October 14, 2009, ABC News
Americans are still debating whether to roll up their sleeves for a swine flu shot, but companies have already figured it out: vaccines are good for business. Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year. These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market. "The vaccine market is booming," says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. "It's an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well," he says. As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1's progress and educate the public about prevention. Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales. But some say it's not just drugmakers who stand to benefit. Doctors collect copayments for special office visits to inject shots, and there have been assertions that these doctors actually profit handsomely from these vaccinations. Pharmacies also charge co-payments or full price of about $25 to those without insurance.
Note: For a great essay with concrete information on what you can do about this, click here.
Rich NYC Mayor: Drug CEOs Don't Make Much Money
August 28, 2009, ABC News/Associated Press
Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and their chief executives on Friday, declaring that they "don't make a lot of money" and shouldn't be scapegoats in the health care debate. The mayor – and wealthiest person in New York City with a fortune estimated at $16.5 billion – made the comments on his radio show Friday. "You know, last time I checked, pharmaceutical companies don't make a lot of money, their executives don't make a lot of money," Bloomberg said. Pharmaceutical CEOs are known to make millions, with generous salaries, stock options and other perks. Abbott Laboratories Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Miles White's compensation was $25.3 million in 2008. The North Chicago, Ill.-based company saw profit rising 35 percent to $4.88 billion. Merck & Co.'s chief executive, Richard T. Clark, received a $17.3 million compensation package for 2008. The company's profit more than doubled to $7.8 billion. The mayor ... often battles criticism that he is out of touch with regular people. Earlier this year he declared "we love the rich people" while arguing against raising taxes on the wealthy. It was clear that Bloomberg or one of his aides realized his gaffe while he was still on the air Friday. The mayor, who has sought to cast himself as a financial and business expert, came back from a break and said he had looked up the pay of some pharmaceutical executives. "Some of them are making a decent amount, more than a decent amount of money," he said.
Open Letter To New York State Over Mandatory Vaccination
September 30, 2009, CBS News blog
As a group of healthcare workers, we are being mandated by a new New York state law to receive the seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccines. If we do not receive these vaccines by November 30th, that inaction is to be considered our resignation. We must sign a consent for the vaccines prior to their administration. The manufacturers have been granted immunity by the government; they cannot be sued for untoward effects. We do not want to receive these vaccines. Our educated studies of risks versus benefits conclude that the risks of the vaccine are greater than the possible benefits. All health care workers with direct patient care are mandated to receive the vaccine, so the coercion is real -- we cannot just go find a job "somewhere else." And the job market of 2009 does not offer opportunity in a different arena where we could still feed our families. We understand the fear that swine flu and influenza has generated. While our sources of information indicate that swine flu is not a pandemic, we know that the slanted research fed by the media offers results intended to frighten the public. We do not have the power to stop the fear that mass hype is able to generate. We hear the hype you are fed. We do not want to bring you harm, but we should not be forced into harm's way ourselves.
Note: For more on mandatory flu vaccinations, click here.
Wall Street On Track To Award Record Pay
October 14, 2009, Wall Street Journal
Major U.S. banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their employees about $140 billion this year -- a record high that shows compensation is rebounding despite regulatory scrutiny of Wall Street's pay culture. [Executives] at 23 top investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers and stock and commodities exchanges can expect to earn even more than they did the peak year of 2007, according to an analysis of securities filings for the first half of 2009 and revenue estimates through year-end by The Wall Street Journal. Total compensation and benefits at the publicly traded firms analyzed by the Journal are on track to increase 20% from last year's $117 billion -- and to top 2007's $130 billion payout. This year, employees at the companies will earn an estimated $143,400 on average, up almost $2,000 from 2007 levels. The growth in compensation reflects Wall Street firms' rapid return to precrisis revenue levels. Even as the economy is sluggish and unemployment approaches 10%, these firms have been boosted by a stronger stock market, thawing credit market, a resurgence in deal making and the continuing effects of various government aid programs. So far, regulators and lawmakers have focused on making sure pay practices discourage excessive risk-taking, leaving to companies the question of how much is too much.
Note: For lots more on the realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
Dollar Reaches Breaking Point as Banks Shift Reserves
October 12, 2009, Bloomberg News
Central banks flush with record reserves are increasingly snubbing dollars in favor of euros and yen, further pressuring the greenback after its biggest two- quarter rout in almost two decades. Policy makers boosted foreign currency holdings by $413 billion last quarter, the most since at least 2003, to $7.3 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nations reporting currency breakdowns put 63 percent of the new cash into euros and yen in April, May and June. That's the highest percentage in any quarter with more than an $80 billion increase. World leaders are acting on threats to dump the dollar while the Obama administration shows a willingness to tolerate a weaker currency in an effort to boost exports and the economy as long as it doesn't drive away the nation's creditors. The diversification signals that the currency won't rebound anytime soon after losing 10.3 percent on a trade-weighted basis the past six months, the biggest drop since 1991. "Global central banks are getting more serious about diversification, whereas in the past they used to just talk about it," said Steven Englander, a former Federal Reserve researcher who is now the chief U.S. currency strategist at Barclays in New York. "It looks like they are really backing away from the dollar." The dollar's 37 percent share of new reserves fell from about a 63 percent average since 1999. America's currency has been under siege as the Treasury sells a record amount of debt to finance a budget deficit that totaled $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009 ended Sept. 30.
Note: For insightful analyses of the US financial crisis, click here.
Do-nothing committees at state Capitol
October 12, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
It's always interesting to look behind the curtain at the state Capitol and marvel at the California Legislature's ingenuity at spending our money or avoiding accountability. It's just too bad this creative brilliance could not be applied to addressing fiscal crises or solving the state's water problems. The latest little outrage came in the scrutiny of the Legislature's 77 select committees by Chronicle staff writers Wyatt Buchanan and Matthew Yi. What they found was that 32 of these committees have paid staffers, with a combined payroll of $4.3 million. It may not be a lot of money in the context of a state that keeps encountering deficits in the tens of billions, but it does seem to represent a bit of clever accounting. To put it in plain terms: It's a way for elected officials to pad their staffs. For example, state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has six people working for him who are paid through three select committees. Total number of hearings those committees have held this year: zero. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chairs two select committees ... with four paid staff members. Total number of hearings this year: zero. Californians who are not so immersed in the culture of the Legislature might wonder why it needs 77 select committees in addition to the standing committees that are assigned to cover areas such as transportation, energy and myriad other issues. At least 19 of the 32 with paid staff have not met at all this year.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Energy crisis is postponed as new gas rescues the world
October 11, 2009, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Advances in technology for extracting [natural] gas from shale and methane beds have quickened dramatically, altering the global balance of energy faster than almost anybody expected. Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, said proven natural gas reserves around the world have risen to 1.2 trillion barrels of oil equivalent, enough for 60 years' supply – and rising fast. "There has been a revolution in the gas fields of North America. Reserve estimates are rising sharply as technology unlocks unconventional resources," he said. The breakthrough has been to combine 3-D seismic imaging with new technologies to free "tight gas" by smashing rocks, known as hydro-fracturing or "fracking" in the trade. The US is leading the charge. Texas A&M University said US methods could increase global gas reserves by nine times to 16,000 TCF (trillion cubic feet). Shale gas is undoubtedly messy. Millions of gallons of water mixed with sand, hydrochloric acid and toxic chemicals are blasted at rocks. This is supposed to happen below the water basins but accidents have been common. Pennsylvania's [environmental authorities] have shut down a Cabot Oil & Gas operation after 8,000 gallons of chemicals spilled into a stream. The claims of BP ... are so extraordinary that we may need to rewrite the geo-strategy textbooks for the next half century.
Anti-war activist's works banned at prison camps
October 11, 2009, Miami Herald
Professor Noam Chomsky may be among America's most enduring anti-war activists. But the leftist intellectual's anthology of post-9/11 commentary is taboo at Guantanamo's prison camp library, which offers books and videos on Harry Potter, World Cup soccer and Islam. U.S. military censors recently rejected a Pentagon lawyer's donation of an Arabic-language copy of the political activist and linguistic professor's 2007 anthology Interventions for the library. Chomsky, 80, who has been voicing disgust with U.S. foreign policy since the Vietnam War, reacted with irritation and derision. "This happens sometimes in totalitarian regimes," he told The Miami Herald by e-mail after learning of the decision. "Of some incidental interest, perhaps, is the nature of the book they banned. It consists of op-eds written for The New York Times syndicate and distributed by them. The subversive rot must run very deep." Prison camp officials would not say specifically why the book was rejected. A rejection slip accompanying the Chomsky book did not explain the reason but listed categories of restricted literature to include those espousing "Anti-American, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Western" ideology, literature on "military topics." Prison camp staff would not say how many donated books have been refused.
The World's Most Wanted Man
September 12, 2009, Daily Express (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Thousands of troops from countries including Britain, America, Afghanistan and Pakistan search relentlessly for him. Dozens of CIA agents have no other mission than working day after day on his capture. Yet eight years after the 9/11 outrage on the Twin Towers of New York and the Pentagon in Washington, no one has come close to laying a finger on Osama Bin Laden. Ever since that day when nearly 3,000 people were murdered, America has wanted the leader of al Qaeda dead or alive. But there is a compelling argument, put forward by a respected American academic, that Bin Laden was killed eight years ago. Professor David Ray Griffin, who has written authoritative books on the 9/11 attacks, believes the US has kept the Bin Laden myth alive to bolster the war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. What is truly astonishing is that despite an army of investigators, a practically limitless budget and an immense £15million bounty on his head, so little is known about what has actually happened to Bin Laden. In his new book Osama Bin Laden: Dead Or Alive?. "There's much evidence which points to the conclusion that Osama Bin Laden is no longer alive," Prof Griffin insists. "We have had no credible intelligence on Bin Laden since 2001." On Christmas Day 2001, Pakistan's Observer newspaper carried a report of Bin Laden's funeral, saying he died a natural and quiet death. "The major pretext for the war in Afghanistan is the expressed need to prevent Osama Bin Laden and his followers attacking the West again. This pretext would be removed by convincing evidence that Bin Laden is dead. Such evidence exists," [said Prof. Griffin.].
2012 Isn't the End of the World, Mayans Insist
October 11, 2009, ABC News/Associated Press
Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly "running out" on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it's not the end of the world. Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas. A significant time period for the Mayas does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years. But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials. It may sound all too much like other doomsday scenarios of recent decades – the 1987 Harmonic Convergence, the Jupiter Effect or "Planet X." But this one has some grains of archaeological basis. One of them is Monument Six. Found at an obscure ruin in southern Mexico during highway construction in the 1960s, the stone tablet [is] unique in that [it contains] the equivalent of the date 2012. The inscription describes something that is supposed to occur in 2012 involving Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation. However – shades of Indiana Jones – erosion and a crack in the stone make the end of the passage almost illegible. Archaeologist Guillermo Bernal of Mexico's National Autonomous University ... notes there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012 – including one that roughly translates into the year 4772.
Note: The highest counter in the Mayan calendar is the alautun, which is an interval of 63 million years. Those who state the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 have not researched the Mayan system carefully. 2012 may be the equivalent of the year 10,000 in the Mayan calendar, which is significant, yet it may end up being but another Y2K. For more, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Eli Lilly Said to Play Down Risk of Top Pill
December 17, 2006, New York Times
The drug maker Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers. The documents ... show that Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar – both known risk factors for diabetes. Lilly's own published data, which it told its sales representatives to play down in conversations with doctors, has shown that 30 percent of patients taking Zyprexa gain 22 pounds or more after a year on the drug, and some patients have reported gaining 100 pounds or more. But Lilly was concerned that Zyprexa's sales would be hurt if the company was more forthright about the fact that the drug might cause unmanageable weight gain or diabetes, according to the documents, which cover the period 1995 to 2004. Zyprexa has become by far Lilly's best-selling product, with sales of $4.2 billion last year, when about two million people worldwide took the drug. Critics, including the American Diabetes Association, have argued that Zyprexa, introduced in 1996, is more likely to cause diabetes than other widely used schizophrenia drugs. As early as 1999, the documents show that Lilly worried that side effects from Zyprexa, whose chemical name is olanzapine, would hurt sales. "Olanzapine-associated weight gain and possible hyperglycemia is a major threat to the long-term success of this critically important molecule," Dr. Alan Breier wrote in a November 1999 e-mail message to two-dozen Lilly employees.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
The Flu Pandemic
November 29, 1992, New York Times
The existence of the influenza vaccine ... may give us a sense of false security when it comes to the possibility of a pandemic outbreak of influenza. In fact, the flu vaccine must be reformulated each year to keep pace with the newest variants of this fast-mutating virus. The recipe for making the flu vaccine is simple. Take the current year's variant of the influenza virus, throw it into a stew with a strain of virus that leads to rapid proliferation. Incorporate the fast-growing strain into its own genes and start replicating it. From there, it's an easy matter to take those plentiful viruses and attenuate them for a flu vaccine. But the scientists who must determine what virus will cause the next year's illness run a high chance of being wrong. Some observers have put the odds of success at no better than 50-50. Even when they are right, the vaccine lasts only as long as that year's strain. Experts thought they saw big-league trouble coming in February 1976, when a few cases of severe swine flu broke out among young military recruits in Fort Dix, N.J. One of them, Pvt. David Lewis, 19, died. Lewis and four others were shown to be infected with the same H1N1 influenza virus as was responsible for the 1918 pandemic. But the swine-flu pandemic never materialized. In retrospect, some critics now say 40 million Americans were vaccinated for nothing. In fact, the only real illness to result from the swine flu adventure was caused by the vaccine: about one thousand people developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, a serious paralytic disease that could be traced directly to an immunological response to the inoculation.
Note: This article also discusses how new, intensified farming techniques for chickens, pigs, and ducks are the prime breeding ground for viruses which spread around the world. A powerful CBS 60 Minutes clip on the 1976 swine flu scare is available here. The intrepid 60 Minutes team shows how greed and blatant corruption led to the death of hundreds and paralysis of thousands as a direct result of the vaccine developed that year, while only one person died from the flu. For lots more, click here.
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