Compiled by Alex Constantine
There were signs early in Obama's tenure as president, centering around flagrant conflicts of interest at the Department of Health & Human Services, that a manufactured flu epidemic was in the blender:
Tom Daschlle, Bob Dole and the Alston & Bird Law Firm
Daschle was a key health advisor to Barack Obama during the campaign, and his first choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
SPOOK: Among Daschle's bona fidés (from his resumé):
"Intelligence officer, U.S. Air Force, 1969-72."
"In an appearance on Meet the Press on February 12, 2006, former Senator Daschle endorsed a controversial warrantless surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency."
Daschle appointment appears to contradict Obama ethics policy
19 November 2008
Obama's reported selection of former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to head Health and Human Services appears to flatly contradict his ethics policy, which says, "No political appointees in the Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years."
Daschle is a special public policy advisor in Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C., according to the firm's Web site, which singles out health care as an area of "particular emphasis." Elsewhere, the firm advertises that its health care legislative & public policy team "has the significant advantage of including two former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders – Senators Bob Dole and Tom Daschle." ...
Bob Dole and Pharma: " ... More than 3,000 people over the past seven years have lobbied for the industry, including 75 former lawmakers. Those lawmakers include former Sens. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas), former Reps. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Tom Foley (D-Wash.) and current Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President Billy Tauzin (R-La.) ... "
"Tom Daschle is Obama’s choice to head the department of Health and Human Services: “…board member of the Mayo Clinic and a highly paid adviser to health care clients at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird.”
" ... Tom Daschle, once considered assured of breezing through his confirmation as secretary of Health and Human Services, soon will face tough questioning on Capitol Hill about underpaying his income taxes and his extensive work for clients in the healthcare industry. ... "
Clients of Alston & Bird: Roche Diagnostics, CVS Caremark Inc. (retail pharmacy and healthcare corporation), Bayer Health Care, Abbott Laboratories, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Genomic Health Inc., Massachusetts Hospital Association, American Clinical Laboratory Association.
• Alston &Bird - Counsel to German media group Bertelsmann AG, the official book publisher of the Nazi Party.
"Daschle was recruited by the former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Daschle's salary from Alston & Bird for the year 2008 was reportedly $2 million."
PhRMA Applauds Selection of Tom Daschle as HHS Secretary
Washington, D.C. (November 19, 2008) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO Billy Tauzin issued the following statement today on Tom Daschle’s selection as incoming HHS Secretary:
“Tom Daschle is a wise choice to guide the President-elect on shaping healthcare reform. Sen. Daschle has what it takes to do the job: Smarts, toughness and a strong understanding of the healthcare challenges that face our nation in these tough economic times. ...
BOB DOLE RETURNS
After Daschle dropped from consideration as DHH secretary, Obama nominated Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
Wikipedia: "On February 28, 2009, it was reported that Sebelius had accepted Obama's nomination for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services. On March 2, 2009, Obama officially announced Governor Sebelius as his nominee. At Obama's announcement, Sebelius was accompanied by two Kansas Republicans, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and current U.S. Senator Pat Roberts. ... Sebelius was confirmed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the Senate on April 28, 2009 with a vote of 65-31.
Bob Dole on Pharma's dole: "Bob Dole had been paid $500,000 in 2000 and 2001 by Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical company, to lobby to keep laws on the books that protect the drug company patents. It cited lobbying registration reports that said he was registered to lobby on 'Medicare, Medicare reform, patent extensions, and medical equipment technology appropriations.'"
LOOK WHO'S DRAFTING AMERICA'S PENDING HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION
"Senator Dole, along with former Majority Leaders and BPC Founders
Senators Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, and George Mitchell, has spent the past year working on the BPC's 'Leaders' Project on the State of American Health Care'" The bipartisan Leaders' Project is expected to release its report
with recommendations for health care reform in May of 2009. ... "
Howard Koh, M.D., Flight 3407, the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and Public Health Preparedness Exercises
Excerpt: Obama appoints Howard Koh, M.D. as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services
" ... Dr. Koh has served as the Principal Investigator of multiple research grants related to community-based participatory research, cancer prevention, health disparities, tobacco control, and emergency preparedness. He is also Director of the HSPH Center for Public Health Preparedness. ...
This is Obama's appointment to oversee the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute of Health, a major position ...
The assistant secretary for health is responsible for the major health agencies, including the CDC, FDA and NIH, and is the leading health advisor to the Secretary of HHS. Dr. Koh has served as the Principal Investigator of multiple research grants related to ... emergency preparedness. He is also Director of the HSPH Center for Public Health Preparedness.
He is an elected member of ... the CDC's Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response. ...
Richard E. Besser, MD, Emergency Preparedness at the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services
CDC's preparedness chief named acting director
Robert Roos, News Editor
Jan 27, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Richard E. Besser, MD, who formerly directed terrorism preparedness and emergency response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was named last week as the agency's acting director. ... Besser took the helm of the agency Jan 22, according to a brief notice on the CDC Web site. He had been director of the CDC Coordinatng Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response since August 29, 2005, according to Glen Nowak, CDC media relations director. ...
Besser, 49, started his CDC career in the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in 1991, working on foodborne diseases. ... He later returned to the CDC and served as epidemiology section chief in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, acting chief of the Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and as medical director of a CDC campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use in the community.
He received a bachelor's degree in economics at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, the CDC said.
Prior Flu Drill
Top Bush aides test bird flu preparedness
By Adam Entous
Dec 10, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Warning an outbreak may be inevitable, the White House on Saturday conducted a test of its readiness for a feared bird flu pandemic and said federal agencies fared "quite well" without offering any details.
Cabinet secretaries, military leaders and other top officials took part in the four-hour tabletop drill, which officials said was designed to assess the level of federal preparedness for a possible outbreak of bird flu or another deadly virus. ...
HHS has projected that in a pandemic 92 million Americans will become sick and that as many as 2 million will die. Schools will close, businesses will be disrupted and essential services may break down.
"We currently have no evidence that a pandemic flu in this country is imminent. That said, we are fairly warned, and the time to prepare for that pandemic is now," Townsend said.
The preparedness drill was conducted in offices next to the White House.
Approximately 20 officials took part, including Townsend, Leavitt, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.
U.S. President George W. Bush did not participate. ...
2005-2006: RAND and the Rockefeller Foundation Sponsor Pandemic Influenza Exercises in SE Asia
Pandemic Influenza in Southeast Asia
In late 2005 and early 2006, NTI developed a close working relationship with the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), whose Southeast Asia Regional Office has supported an important collaboration among the Ministries of Health in six countries in the Mekong Basin area (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and China-Yunnan province) to strengthen national and sub-regional disease surveillance capacity. The Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance (MBDS) members have identified challenges to developing a surveillance system that operates across borders, responds quickly to regional disease threats, and works to create equity in the national capacities to detect and respond or, better yet, prevent local outbreaks from developing into regional or even global emergencies.
NTI will utilize the infrastructure created by Rockefeller to engage the MBDS stakeholders in tabletop exercises to openly examine the challenges of a regional approach to the surveillance, early detection, and response to a major biological event such as that posed by avian or pandemic influenza.
NTI has previously worked with the RAND Corporation in similar exercises at the local and state level in Georgia. RAND is helping plan, develop and conduct simulation exercises for MBDS countries at the national and regional level. These exercises will help the individual countries, Rockefeller, and others in the planning and execution of responses needed in the event of a real pandemic influenza emergency.