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Letters to the Editor Policy

The Flimflam Man

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) predicts that the bird flu will cause 200 thousand deaths, 700 thousand hospitalizations and 50 million cases of severe illnesses. Yes, it's possible, and it is also possible for the Big One to set California adrift in the Pacific, or for an asteroid to do to us what it did to the dinosaurs, or for global warming to turn mankind into a race of borrowing troglodytes. Yes, it's all possible but not probable.

It starts every year with an advertising campaign presaging the annual reawakening of the dreaded phoenix – the flu. You might call this the war for terror. The ad onslaught is paid for by the pharmaceuticals – Who else? This year their budget was 100 million dollars. If you think this was spent out of their loving concern for our welfare, think again. Big Pharma is a money-making machine and this year they made it big.

The ad campaign put us all in such a dither that the Republicans and Democrats vied with each other to see who could spend the most tax dollars to save us from an early grave. The Republicans won. The Bush administration is pouring 7.1 billion dollars into the coffers of Big Pharma. Not a bad return on 100 mil. This sweetheart deal gets even better.

For years evidence has been mounting linking flu vaccines to neurological and autoimmune conditions. These side effects include autism, attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer's and paralysis. A case in point is the 1999 flu vaccine, Tamiflu. This vaccine is supposed to moderate flu symptoms. To date (11/18) it has killed 12 people; another side effect. But for those unfortunates who may be harmed by this year's injection there is no possibility of suing the drug manufacturers. The President's bill includes "liability protection for the makers of life-saving vaccines" except in cases of "willful misconduct." Try proving that in court.

But these "life-saving vaccines" are always out-of-date. The flu virus mutates constantly. It takes drug manufactures six to eight months to identify a major strain of the virus and prepare it for marketing. By that time the flu season has passed. Consequently, people are always receiving last year's virus to protect them from this year's flu.

If you think I'm being more cynical than realistic, take a close at two statistics that are flashed before us on TV: 1) 62 people have died of bird flu, and 2) 36,000 people die from the flu every year.

True, 62 people have indeed died from the bird flue, but this is over a three-year period, from 2003 to the present. That's 20 deaths/year. Moreover, these fatalities occurred on the other side of the world in Southeast Asia and among poultry workers daily surrounded by birds under the poorest sanitary conditions. Except for hypochondriacs, hardly a cause for alarm.

What about the 36,000 people who die every year from the flu? The CDC lumps flu and pneumonia deaths together. Subtracting the pneumonia deaths we are left with 257 flu deaths in 2001, and 753 flu deaths in 2002 in the U.S. That's a far cry from 36,000.

Look at it this way: If nationwide there are 500 deaths/year due to the flu, then on a per capita basis in Pennsylvania you have a 1 in 600,000 chance this year of succumbing to the flu. And if you're in reasonably good health and under 80, your chances are one in several million of being a flu fatality.

So why don't we hear about this on TV or read it in the newspapers? Just look at who's buying all the ad time and space; it's Big Pharma. They pay the piper and they call the tune.

A recent article in the "British Medical Journal" said this: "The lack of sustained human-to-human transmission suggests that this AH5N1 avian virus does not currently have the capacity to cause a human pandemic."

J. Anthony Morris, MD, formerly Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the Federal Drug Administration is more straightforward: "There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine that thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know that they are worthless."

Dr. Morris is partly mistaken; they are not entirely "worthless." They may be worthless as flu protection but to Big Pharma it is a cash cow, a goose that lays a golden egg every year, a cornucopia of currency all rolled into one.

When the flimflam man comes to town

All the people flock from miles around

They come to make their bodies sound

When the flimflam man comes to town


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Have Gone Too Far

Enough is enough! They have gone too far, this time, and we must stand up and rebuke this assault on Pennsylvania's Representative, John Murtha.

John Murtha is no bleeding-heart liberal; in fact, he’s a decorated war hero who served this Country honorably as a U.S. Marine for 37 years. He was multiply wounded in Vietnam. Murtha, a Marine Colonel, has been awarded the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and other medals.

How dare our former cocaine-snorting, admitted former alcoholic, lying, punk President, hiding in the National Guard with his rich and powerful “Daddy” pulling strings, send his henchwoman out to assault this true American Hero, by insinuating in any way, that John Murtha is a coward? Coward? Who dares insinuate Murtha (or any other combat-decorated Marine) is a coward?

John Murtha stood with the President, for war, (against Democrats) when he believed Bush was telling us the truth and feared these fictional “Weapons Of Mass Destruction.” It appears now, that President Bush at worst knowingly lied to us, and at best filtered and exaggerated the intelligence to justify his plan for war.

Murtha is a patriot who stood in Vietnam, proudly defending America, and through his 37 years of Marine Corps service and sacrifice, earned the right to speak. He is entitled to be treated with the respect and honor he earned through his military service.

This is not a new tactic. Senator George McGovern, a multiply decorated combat hero (if I remember correctly earned a Silver Star) and WW II bomber pilot, was perceived as a Communist, by the time Nixon and his cohorts got done lying about him and slandering his record. In the last Presidential Election, they again took Senator John Kerry, another decorated Vietnam War hero, and maligned his record, challenged his patriotism and honorable military service to America.

Have they no shame? Have they no honor? Vice President Cheney never served in combat (with his multiple deferments). President Bush never served in combat, either. Maybe that’s why they're so anxious for war, because they never were in one or watched friends die.

They have gone too far, this time, with Representative John Murtha. Murtha is a hero, a true American hero, and I believe the House Republicans and our President owe John Murtha and all of America an apology. The actions in the House of Representatives last week stepped over the line, a line of decency.

To me, America is about the freedom to speak one’s mind. John Murtha has earned the right to speak, and we, as Americans, should respect that his concerns for our Country are from his heart and for the good of America.

I'm calling my Congressman, Sherwood, to make sure he knows exactly how I feel about this foul and degrading assault on a decorated Marine combat hero. I suggest others do the same.


Lee Geisler, P.L.S.

Montrose, PA

Babbling About

Well, after quite some time, my buddy, Mr. Amadio has reared his ugly head again. Babbling about the shortcomings of the Susquehanna Democratic party (of which he is a non-existent member).

P. Jay, as leader of this Democratic party in this county, you can slam and cut me down every week if you so desire, but I cannot sit back and let you belittle the many, many men, women, and teenagers who believe in this party, and work very, very hard to promote it. These are people, some in their 80’s, and some in their teens, and everyone in between, working hard to promote this party. These people, young and old, having spent most of their lives supporting this party, or just getting involved as young  men and women for their belief in this party deserve better than to be degraded, by you of all people, for being non-existent.

Personally, I think an apology is in order, not to me, but to these many fine, hardworking Democrats that you offended immensely!

As for you, Mr. P. Jay, in all my years of involvement with this party, and as the leader for four years, I have never seen you at a meeting, have never seen you come out to one of our picnics, or fund-raisers, in support of this party you belong to. I have never picked up the phone to hear your voice on the other end to ask any questions about this fine party. Yet, you have the gall to label many good Democrats as “non-existent,” when, in reality, you are the most non-existent of all!

As for your opinion about our not backing candidates, in the last commissioners’ race, the party was solidly behind two Democrats for this office. For the first time in many years, we backed these two candidates, trying to get two Democrats elected as commissioners. Look at the county. Two Democrats could certainly do no worse.

It is not the Democrats fault the voter registration is two-to-one in favor of the Republicans. And, as you reported in your election results two weeks ago, almost 70% of the Republican vote was “straight party.” This shows how much research and background checks these people do on candidates.

If Mr. Ed and Bozo the Clown ran for commissioner and had an “R” after their names, these two would be Susquehanna County’s new majority commissioners. Now, don’t put your “spin” on Joey Franks bashing Republicans, as I have many, many people I call friends in this county who are members of the Republican party. People who are dear to me, and I would do anything I could to help them. I just wonder sometimes why they vote the way they do.

In closing, Mr. P. Jay, bash away if you must, but the Democratic party is alive and well in Susquehanna County, and we won’t allow people like you to try to sink the ship. We will stay the course, and believe me, someday our ship will come in.


Joey Franks

Susquehanna County Chair

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