News Capsules (May/June
Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP)
DDP plans a superb meeting in Seattle to be held June 4-6, 1999 at the Marriott at Sea-Tac Airport. This meeting has been planned by Dr. Robert Cihak of the Washington State Chapter of AAPS and , of course, our own intrepid Jane Orient, M.D. The theme for this meeting is Science, Freedom, and Defense: On the Threshold of a Millennium. I will make a presentation on the integrity of science and medicine as it pertains to public health and gun control. This meeting will present AAPS members another excellent opportunity to visit the west coast, to sightsee, and to participate in what promises to be an important and exciting meeting. All AAPS members and friends are welcome! (See ad on Cover II for more details.) We'll see you there!
Blood Tainted With Hepatitis C
A congressional report reveals that "one million Americans received blood from donors who subsequently tested positive for hepatitis C. Yet most of the recipients don't know that, and no one is notifying them."
Last October, the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight released "Hepatitis C: Silent Epidemic, Mute Public Health Response" criticizing the Department of HHS for not responding appropriately to the hepatitis C epidemic. (The hepatitis C virus was first unmasked in 1989.)
Health Freedom Watch comments: "What's most disturbing about the report is that it acknowledges that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the blood banking industry, has known about the tainted blood situation since at least 1989, but hasn't informed patients."
According to the report, FDA officials met on several occasions between 1989 and 1994 trying to decide whether to notify the blood recipients. The FDA refrained from recommending notification because "no clear consensus on the public health benefit of such action had emerged."
Hepatitis C has now spread to an estimated 4 million American and will cost society $600 per year to keep it under control. "That [no one is being held responsible for the incident] is disturbing because according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hepatitis can linger without symptoms for more than 20 years, then produce profound health consequences, including liver failure and cancer.
"What do you think would have happened if alternative providers or vitamin manufacturers unknowingly sold a product that infected American with a deadly disease?
"The FDA would have put those providers out of business! Those pro-viders would probably be locked up for years, fined thousands of dollars, and be forced to notify all recipients of their dangerous product..."
And following the rule we have previously stated regarding the government creating crises it then wants to correct with further state intrusion: "Will the CDC soon recommend, and then states mandate, that all children must be vaccinated against hepatitis C, like they're currently doing with hepatitis B?" (The Institute for Health Freedom, Sue Blevins, RN, Director, Jan/Feb 1999.)
(To obtain a copy of the "Hepatitis C: Silent Epidemic, Mute Public Health Response," call Deborah Grady at (888) 616-1976.)
Alarm Over Polio Vaccine
A monkey virus that purportedly contaminated the poliomyelitis vaccine in the mid-1950s through early 1963 has been identified in human neoplasms.
The head of molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Janet Butel, who had reported this contamination, says there is no definitive proof that one caused the other and that people should not be alarmed.
SV40 (Simian Virus 40) was found in the 1960s in the polio vaccine grown in kidney cells from infected Rhesus monkeys. Soon thereafter, researchers found that SV40 could transmutate normal cells and induce cancer in hamster and mice.
SV40 can now be detected in childhood brain tumors, bone cancers and neoplasms associated with asbestos exposure.
Dr. Butel calls these findings "very suspicious"
and requiring further investigation: "We just have to do more work
and figure out in more detail whether we can say it has actually caused
those tumors." (USA Today, Feb. 19, 1999)
Hepatitis A Vaccine Now a Requirement
Maricopa County, Arizona children aged 2-5 years who attend daycare must now receive the two dose hepatitis A vaccine series. County and state public health officials published the recommendation for vaccination
in March 1998 after a hepatitis A outbreak in the summer of 1997. The rule was approved early this year. Public health officials will be monitoring this policy in that county. The rule may be expanded to other counties that suspect a strong connection between child care and hepatitis A outbreaks. (Arizona Medical Association, asmiley@ArmaDoc.com)
And yet, this vaccine is not without potential complications. See Roger Schlafly's article beginning on page 106 of this issue
Clinton Administration in Contempt Again
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin have been cited in contempt of court out of a class action lawsuit over the government's mishandling of 300,000 trust fund accounts worth $2.5 billion managed for American Indians. "The Clinton Administration now has the distinction of being the first to have two of its Cabinet officers cited for contempt of court at the same time. It's been a long six years since President Clinton promised 'the most ethical administration in history,' " stated Wall Street Journal Interactive (Feb. 23, 1999).
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled "that the government has a fiduciary obligation to properly managed accounts it controls." As a result of this alleged fiduciary dereliction the government may be liable for up to $575 million. "Judge Lamberth said he regretted Mr. Rubin had been drawn into the 'fiasco,' but concluded, 'he has totally delegated his responsibility to others and they have miserably failed to comply with this court's orders.' He minced no words in his criticism of Mr. Babbitt, who is also under independent counsel investigation for a possible political connection between 1996 campaign contributions and his denial of an Indian casino license. Judge Lamberth said he found 'clear and convincing evidence' that Interior and Treasury 'engaged in a shocking pattern of deception of the court. I have never seen more egregious conduct by the federal government.'
"But the Clinton Administration may yet escape full accountability.
Back in 1997, Judge Lamberth levied $286,000 in sanctions against the
Clinton White House for an earlier concealment of records relating to Hillary
Clinton's health care task force. That order was appealed and a higher
court's decision has yet to be handed down. No one doubts the Justice Department's
lawyers will appeal this latest ruling, even though Judge Lamberth says
the government 'cannot tolerate more empty promises to these Indian plaintiffs.'
" (Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 1999)
Fraud in Medical Research
Federal investigators have found fraudulent data in breast cancer research sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. This is the second time in the history of the program that fraud has been detected.
° The program is the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, which includes studies of surgical and chemotherapy regimens conducted at scores of research centers around the nation.
° The incorrect data were all falsified deliberately by one research nurse, in studies testing various types of chemo-therapy in women with breast cancer.
° Officials of the National Cancer Institute insist that the false information --- which involved three cases --- would not affect the outcome of the study.
° According to a notice in the Federal Register, the data were faked by Thomas Philpot, a nurse who held the position of data manager for the national project.
Source: Denise Grady, "Fraudulent Data Is Again Uncovered in Breast Cancer Study," New York Times, February 6, 1999. For more on Science Research programs http://www.ncpa.org/pd/budget/budget-7.html.
Child Support and "Dead Beat" Doctors
Empowered by the Debt Collection Act of 1996 and Exec. Order 13019, HCFA is working with the Administration of Children and Families "to identify individuals delinquent in child support obligations who receive federal payments..." HCFA is also coordinating its efforts with the states (authorized under recent welfare reform) to revoke licenses of health professionals delinquent in child support payments." (Medicare News, Feb. 1999)
Air Bags and Hearing Loss
British medical researchers have found that auto air bags can cause hearing damage, bolstering a previous report by the Michigan Ear Institute last year. These researchers found that bags inflate with a noise loud enough to elicit 150-170 decibels, louder than a jet engine and cause hearing loss and in some cases hyperacusis so that normal noises are painful. As we have stated previously, air bags are dangerous because not only can they inflate without warning (Daimler Chrysler is recalling 328,500 Dodge vans for this possible malfunction), but also because some tests show some side-impact bags can cripple or kill children (see also Medical Sentinel, "Protecting Us to Death," Nov/Dec 1998).
Aetna U.S. Healthcare Hit With $120
The case in question is that of David Goodrich a 41-year-old prosecutor diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 1992 and his treatment was inordinately delayed because of the usual managed care restrictions and delays in referrals that took 4 months during which time his neoplasm metastasized to the liver. Then, after waiting for Aetna to approve payment, Mr. Goodrich "went through unnecessary distress at a vulnerable time," according to his family. "His death should be attributed to the severity of the disease, not the timing of financial decisions," responded Arthur Leibowitz, M.D., Aetna's chief medical officer, "It's a tragic error in judgment to conclude anything else." Nevertheless, the jury sided with the family and ruled in the plaintiff's favor. (AMNews, Feb. 8, 1999).
Lawyers said the award was one of the largest ever against an HMO. The total is $30 million more than the previous record for a verdict against an HMO, awarded in Riverside County against HealthNet in 1993. "I think the meaning of this verdict is that people are just plain mad," said Michael Bidard, Mrs. Goodrich's attorney. "The HMOs are corporate executives practicing medicine where profit is the motive, not the best interest of the patients." (Associated Press, Jan. 21, 1999)
See also "Piercing the ERISA Shield" on page 7 of the Jan/Feb. 1999 issue of the Medical Sentinel.
ATF Can Be Deadly
Although the U.S. Dietary Guidelines issued in 1995 stated that moderate consumption of alcohol has health benefits, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (of Ruby Ridge and Waco infamy fame) does not allow any marketing campaign to state this fact.
Among the scientific reports, a 1997 article in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that from age 35 and over "those who consume up to one or two drinks of alcohol daily had lower overall mortality than nondrinkers." Previous studies have also identified moderate drinking as one of nine ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease mortality by 30 percent.
Michael Gough, former head of the congressional Office of Technology Assessment's Biological and Behavioral Sciences program, filing a report on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (which wants the ATF to lift its gag order), commented that "there was no increase in alcohol-related disease mortality at less than three drinks per day," and, opines Mr. Gough, "at no consumption level was the increase in alcohol...sufficient to drive the overall mortality higher than that seen in nondrinkers."
Doctors Overreacting to E&M?
A recent editorial in the NEJM stated, "With each new wave of ever more complicated guidelines for documenting the medical record, doctors are further harassed and patients further sidelined. Instead of becoming an arm of HCFA, the AMA should stand with its members, enlist the help of its Federation, and reject the underlying premises of these guidelines." N Engl J Med 1998;339(23).
And yet, government officials claim doctors fear of the E&M guidelines are "a bit of an overreaction." The latter statement was in response to the Fall 1998 AMA Interim meeting in which delegates passed a resolution affirming "outrage that the practice of medicine is characterized as abusive and fraudulent" in response to the HCFA (and the AMA's) determination to implement the hated E&M guidelines. Furthermore, Department of HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala, PhD stated: "We know that 99.9 percent of the people out there who provide health care are trying to do the right thing. Some of them do make inadvertent mistakes. Some of them are used to a level of sloppiness that they got away with for years that they just can't get away with any more."
A special Senate committee warns that all segments of the U.S. economy may be at "risk" for Y2K problems in the year 2000. For example, it warns that "more than 90 percent of doctor's offices and 50 percent of small and medium-size businesses have yet to address the problem.
And particularly regarding health care: "Some 64 percent of hospitals have no plans to test their Y2K fixes before the crunch date. Some 90 percent of doctor's offices are unaware of how exposed they are to Y2K problems. Federal payment systems for Medicare and other health-insurance programs are behind schedule for repair. "The health care industry is one of the worst-prepared for Y2K and carries a significant potential for harm."
Regarding business, the reports concludes that "Heavily regulated fields such as banking, insurance and finance 'are furthest ahead,' but 'health care, oil, education, agriculture, farming, food processing and the construction industry are lagging behind," the report said. Any failure of a critical system is likely to cost up the $3.5 million to repair and to take three to 15 days."
In a "Dear Health Care Partner" letter (Jan. 12, 1999), HCFA administrator Nancy-Ann Min DeParle writes: "...We want to help you prepare for the Year 2000. Enclosed is a "Sample Provider Y2K Readiness Checklist" which you can use to assess what you need to do. You can find additional useful information at our www.hcfa.gov/Y2K web site. Infor-mation on medical devices is available on the Food and Drug Administration's www.fda.gov/cdrh/yr2000/year2000.html web site.
"We are confident that HCFA will be ready, but we are also making contingency plans so we can continue operations if unexpected problems occur. For those of you that rely on computer systems, we believe the greatest risk is that your systems will not be able to bill for services...
"What can you do... Become aware of how the Year 2000 can affect your systems. Anything that depends on a microchip or date entry could be affected. Don't forget to identify those organizations that you depend on or who depend on you. List everyone and identify your mission critical items, namely, those you cannot live without.
"Access the readiness of everything on your list... If your particular software program or form is not Y2K ready, you need to decide whether you should invest in an upgrade or replacement...
"Test your existing and newly purchased systems and software...If you are not already using compliant electronic claim formats, consider testing your electronic data interchanges (EDI) with one or more of your payers, including Medicare. This will ensure that your payer can accept your EDI transactions, especially claims. Medicare can now accept claims with eight digit date formats.
"Develop business contingency (continuity) plans in the event something goes wrong...You need to do your part to be sure that you will continue to be paid as beneficiaries are assured that they will continue to receive the health care they have come to depend on."
Nanny of the Year
For those who missed the awards by the Guest Choice Network, a national coalition of food service and beverage companies, a new found ally of the Science and Environmen-tal Policy Project, here is a recapitulation of some of its most important Guest Choice's 1998 "Nanny of the Year" awards:
Public Disservice Awards --- The National Institute of Health for redefining the Body Mass Index, effectively making 33 million Americans (including Michael Jordan) overweight over-night; California for its ban on smoking in bars and taverns; South Dakota for considering a bill making it felony child abuse for a pregnant woman to order a glass of wine in a restaurant without a doctor's prescription; and The Department of Transportation for ordering commercial airlines to create peanut-free buffer zones to protect peanut-allergy sufferers, despite acknow-ledging that to suffer an allergic reaction, one must actually eat a peanut.
The Power of The Press Awards --- U.S. News & World Report for calling the so-called "fat tax" one of the smart ideas to save the world.
The Nanny of the Year Award --- Yale University professor Kelly Brownell for creating a national buzz by calling for a "Twinkie Tax" on high-calorie-food, reuniting a nanny nation that had been divided over what product they were going to attack after tobacco.
(The Washington Times, National Weekly Edition, Jan 4-10, 1999.)
University of Virginia climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels thinks global warming promoters are in a panic, and with reason. In a commentary piece distributed by the Cato Institute, Michaels predicted that by the end of the year 2007, the satellite temperature record will show a statistically significant global cooling trend. "If the Kyoto protocol doesn't pass in the heat of this particular moment," he says, "it never will."
One reason Michaels is so confident is the nosedive that satellite readings took at the end of 1998. Last year, the El Niño pushed both surface and satellite-based temperature readings to record levels. By November, however, satellite readings had already dropped to levels typical of the 1979-1997 trend, i.e., a slight cooling. (The Science and Environmental Policy Project web site http://www.sepp.org.)
Did you know banks have been directed to spy on their unsuspecting clients? The Clinton administration has proposed new federal regulations to have the banks "profile" their customers; that is, they determine your individual banking habits and report to federal authorities any deviations from established patterns of banking transactions.
Writing in The Washington Times (National Weekly Edition, Jan. 4-10, 1999), Phyllis Schlafly, head of Eagle Forum, comments, "If you deviate significantly from this pattern (such as by earning some extra money or buying or selling a car), your once-friendly bank will report the "inconsistent" transactions to a federal database."
Some banks have already jumped on the bandwagon of these proposals, creating their own "Know Your Customer" policies. "...Traffic patterns of a customer change in the safe-deposit area...Increased wire activity...Borrower pays down a large problem loan suddenly..."
Mrs. Schlafly correctly summarizes, "The government pretends that this extraordinary surveillance is necessary to detect money laundering by drug kingpins. In fact, the government averages less than 100 money-laundering convictions per year, few of which even involve drug kingpins."
This government proposal should arouse us to our loss of freedom.
Gradualism in Gun Control
Writing in The New American (Jan. 18, 1999), Robert W. Lee remembers: "In 1976, Nelson T. "Pete" Shields, then executive director of the National Council to Control Handguns (NCCH), told The New Yorker, "I'm convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily --- given the political realities --- going to be very modest." Then, "we'll have to start working again to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again." The first problem Shields asserted, "is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country." The second "is to get handgun registered." And "the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition --- except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors --- totally illegal."
In 1980, NCCH was renamed Handgun Control Inc. (HCI)... The rest as they say is history.
Government Wants To "Invest"
The Clinton administration also wants to invest Social Security tax monies in the stock market. The American Sentinel comments: "Market downturns would become major political events, and it wouldn't be long before federal representatives are sitting on the board of every publicly-traded company."
Fortunately, on January 20, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan panned the plan by saying "it risks harming the economy by inserting politics into investment decisions."
The Washington Times (National Weekly Edition, Jan. 4-10, 1999) reported that "Stunned Democrats on the committee asked Mr. Greenspan to reconsider...but he declined to back off his rejection of Mr. Clinton's plan...
'The political process...makes it very difficult not to try to create some form of direction in the way those funds are invested,' he said, pointing to a history of state pension funds pursuing political causes that have lowered the rates of return on their investments...I can't find a logical reason to do it, he said,' " Greenspan concluded.
Books in Brief
Year of the Rat --- How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash by Edward T. Timperlake and William C. Triplett, II, 1998, 275 pp., ISBN: 0-89526-333-5, $24.95 (Hard cover), Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC 20001.
The authors: William C. Triplett, II, former Chief Republican Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Edward T. Timperlake, a professional staff member for the Committee on Rules in the U.S. House of Representatives, provide compelling evidence of a corrupt administration willing to give national security information to a foreign power in exchange for the preservation of political power. This book furnishes abject proof to some to the arguments I brought forth in my painful realization --- "Are We the Enemy?" (Sept/Oct 1998) as well as "The Founding Fathers, High Crimes and Misdemeanors and Impeachment" (Jan/Feb 1999) issue of the Medical Sentinel. This volume belongs in the library of every informed citizen concerned with the gradual erosion of this once great republic.
Freedom in Chains --- The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen by James Bovard, 1999, 326 pp., ISBN: 0-312-21441-3, $26.95 (Hard cover), St. Martin's Press, New York, NY 10010.
James Bovard, author of the bestselling book, Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin's Press, 1994), was one of our honorary speakers at the last annual AAPS meeting held in Raleigh, North Carolina and has written for the Medical Sentinel. His new book is a welcomed addition to the arsenal of individual liberty.
The publisher is correct when he asserts: "Governments and bureaucracies are bigger and more controlling than ever. A citizen's own ability to control his or her own life has never been less than it has today. How did we get to this point? Jim Bovard...looks at the development of the State into a behemoth that threatens to destroy the individual at the cost of preserving the idea of 'statism' --- the belief that government is inherently superior to the citizenry, that progress consists of extending the realm of governmental compulsion, and that vesting more arbitrary power in government officials will eventually make citizens happy...Freedom In Chains is must reading for anyone trying to understand how far we've come from our eighteenth century roots as a community of impassioned patriots to our sorry positions as wards of the state at the end of the twentieth century."
Otto Scott's Compass (Monthly newsletter) is a superb, informative 12-page newsletter usually containing an extended essay by its editor, the great observer of contemporary culture and scholar, Mr. Otto Scott. There are also movie and book reviews, observations on cultural trends ("Passing Parade"), and other articles of interest, ranging in variety from commentaries on pop culture to classical scholarship. This newsletter has become one of the editor's favorite publications and is highly recommended. A summary of his publications has been published and is available free of charge (call 1-800-994-2323 or send e-mail to email@example.com). Some great past issues include: "Power of Mediocrity" (Vol. 8, No. 87), "The Collapse of American Literature" (Vol. 8, No. 88), "Cowardice" (Vol. 8, No. 89), etc.
An Overview of Our World (Video) by John McManus, publisher of The New American magazine. This video contains Mr. McManus' 2-hour presentation recorded by C-Span on June 30, 1998, and may well be the best documentary of the year --- if not this closing decade of the 20th century! In this video, Mr. McManus "stresses that the United States is a republic not a democracy or an oligarchy, and notes that the world's political systems can be categorized as either republic or oligarchy. He also discusses the history of republicanism from ancient times to the present..." The video is available from C-Span Archives at 1-800-277-2698, ID: 108494, $36.95 (includes shipping and handling). I highly recommend it. See also the American Opinion ad on Cover III of this issue.
This edition of News Capsules was compiled by Miguel A. Faria, Jr.,
M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel of the AAPS. It appeared
in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(3):82-87. Copyright©1999 Association
of American Physicians and Surgeons.