In a 2005 article in the Village Voice titled "Capitalizing on the Flu," James Ridgeway predicted that a "flu pandemic would spark enough fear to make it a greed pandemic." As Ridgeway observed, "With a worldwide market estimated at more than $1 billion, there's big money in a flu plague." In fact, the pharmaceutical industry has gone to great lengths through its lobbying and government contracts to ensure that it will get a good piece of the plague pie. Now with the swine flu set to become a global pandemic, Big Pharma is raking it in.

Responding to the somewhat hysteria-induced demand for drugs to protect against the swine flu, pharmaceutical companies have ramped up production of Tamiflu and Relenza, two anti-viral drugs being touted for their ability to fight the flu. Eleven million doses of the flu-fighting drugs, about one-quarter of what has been stockpiled by the U.S. government, have already been sent to the states.

News-media sycophants, in typical fashion, have taken up the hew and cry over Tamiflu's life-saving properties. Yet little is being said about the very real dangers that these drugs, particularly Tamiflu, pose to your health and mental welfare.

John W. WhiteheadTwo years ago, I alerted people to the fact that the groundwork was being laid for a new kind of government in which virtually everyone is a suspect and it will no longer matter if you're innocent or guilty, whether you're a threat to the nation or even if you're a citizen. What will matter is what the president -- or whoever happens to be occupying the Oval Office at the time -- thinks.

At the time, I was voicing concerns about the liberties the Bush administration was taking in its application of the term "enemy combatant." Today, under the Obama administration, the perceived threat is coming from an altogether different direction: "right-wing extremists."

John W. WhiteheadThe
Commonwealth of Virginia is in the throes of a massive budgetary
crisis, with a current shortfall of just under $3 billion. As a
result, a reduction in services, job losses, and funding cuts for
secondary and higher education are expected. Lawmakers, officials,
and state employees also face the difficult task of paring down their
budgets in the face of dwindling financial support from the
Commonwealth. As Delegate Terry G. Kilgore stated, "Everyone needs
to be concentrating on the budget this year. The budget transcends
everything."

United NationsThe
world has moved one step closer to total censorship. For the fourth
year running, on December 18 the United Nations General Assembly
passed a defamation-of-religion resolution that threatens to
undermine the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"We
know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily
given up by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." -
Martin Luther King Jr.

 

With
the government's relentless assault on our pocketbooks and
freedoms, the economic and fiscal picture for many Americans is
bleak. The national debt is approaching $10 trillion. People are
losing their homes and jobs, and 5 million have fallen into poverty.
At the same time, lucrative tax breaks exist for the corporate rich,
while the average citizen is heavily taxed. The Constitution and
civil liberties have been undermined at every step. And don't
expect any of these developments to let up anytime soon.

"In questions of power, then,
let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from
mischief by the chains of the Constitution." - Thomas
Jefferson

As I detailed in part
one
of this article, the next president will inherit more than a
financial catastrophe when he assumes office. He will also inherit a
shadow government - an authoritarian regime that is fully staffed
by unelected officials, fully operational, and ready to take over the
running of the country at a moment's notice.

This is all part of the government's Continuity of Government
(COG) plan, which was laid out in two May 2007 directives issued by
President Bush. These directives, which do not need congressional
approval, provide that the president (or his appointees) will take
control of the government in the event of a "national emergency"
- loosely defined to mean "any incident" that disrupts
governmental functions or "severely affects the U.S.
population." This could mean anything from a terrorist attack to
a hurricane. Particularly significant is the absence of a plan to
repopulate or reconvene Congress or the Supreme Court, which would
give unchecked executive, legislative and judicial power to the
executive branch.

Mount Weather "All men having power ought to be mistrusted." - James Madison

America's next president will inherit more than a financial catastrophe when he assumes office. He will also inherit a shadow government - one that is fully staffed by unelected officials, fully operational, and ready to take over the running of the country at a moment's notice.

Reader issue #702
"In
America, the law is King. For as in absolute governments, the King is
law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought
to be no other." - Thomas Paine

 

As
usual, the contenders for the White House are making a lot of
promises about what they will change if elected. They're singing
the siren song all politicians adopt by telling us exactly what we
want to hear: reduce taxes, lower gas prices, reform Social Security,
and provide us with more and more benefits. In other words, they're
going to give us something for our vote - maybe. But reading
between the lines, it's what Barack Obama and John McCain aren't
saying that should cause voters to pause.

John W. Whitehead
The
recent Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was a wash. Both
candidates, who claim to be Christians, spent much of their time
pandering to the nearly 3 million television viewers who tuned in.
But in terms of what presidential candidates John McCain and Barack
Obama had to say, their responses were largely lacking in content.

Democratic Donkey
If
there's one thing the United States stands for, it's unfettered
free speech. It is vital to a functioning democracy. Unfortunately,
the increasing use by government and law-enforcement officials of
"free speech zones" and other stifling tactics to purge dissent
has largely undermined the First Amendment's safeguards for
political free speech.

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