Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Frankenstein, Pharma and Public Health and Safety

Stewart Lyman writes a great article entitled: “Hollywood Sees Corruption in Pharma, and Suddenly Scientists are the Bad Guys.” He outlines some of the egregious behavior from pharmaceutical companies whose power and wealth have allowed a laxity toward public health and safety…all in the name of greed. Lyman talks about Hollywood’s role in demonizing science.

But Hollywood has it right in trying to convey some of these concepts that Mr. Lyman talks about through cinematography. It is important that Hollywood stay the course, too.

Science is now so tied into big money that corruption and loss of public health and safety rights are inevitable, not only from the egregious behavior from powerful Pharma, but also from the academic world who froth over patent rights and who has become monetarily entrenched with big Pharma. Together, pharma and academia, make one powerful network of scientific machinery that is able to manipulate media, government and legislation to their favor without due consideration of public rights and public health and safety.

Unfortunately there is little funding for public advocacy groups to protect public health and safety. So to some extent the public needs Hollywood to continue to tell stories which help educate us about these issues, issues that are subject to human rights and public health and safety abuses.

Even old movies are helpful. With human cloning now a scientific possibility, Hollywood’s portrayal of the human rights issues in the movie, Frankenstein, are issues the public should try to grasp.

Here is the link to Lyman’s article: http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2009/12/07/hollywood-sees-corruption-in-pharma-and-suddenly-scientists-are-the-bad-guys

Monday, December 7, 2009

Laboratory Worker Becomes Infected in BL3 Lab

(Picture of Tularemia lesion on Right Hand)
Poor Biocontainment Issues in Laboratories Raises Public Health and Safety Issues

A Fort Detrick laboratory worker has been infected with Tularemia, a bacteria which causes skin lesions, flu like symptoms, pneumonia or typhoid forms of the disease.

Tularemia can penetrate into the body through damaged skin and mucous membranes, or through inhalation. The natural form of Tularemia (i.e, not genetically engineered) typically is not spread from person to person. Rather, it is usually contracted through tick bites or handling diseased animals.

The infected researcher had been working with Tularemia in a BL3 lab at Fort Detrick at the time she became ill around November 23, 2009.

A BL3 (Biosafety level 3) laboratory is a biocontainment level having high levels of containment in hopes of preventing release of dangerous microorganisms into the environment.

How BL3 biocontainment of Tularemia was not maintained and, consequently, caused an illness, remains a mystery.

There is very little regulatory oversight in dangerous BL2 to BL4 laboratories that work on natural or genetically engineered human infectious agents throughout the United States. Worker's rights to a safe work environment are legally limited. This lack of protection for the public presents a serious public health and safety threat which seems to get very little attention and is usually kept from the public’s eye.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bioweapons Future

A panel of life science experts convened for the Strategic Assessments Group by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that advances in biotechnology, coupled with the difficulty in detecting nefarious biological activity, have the potential to create a much more dangerous biological warfare (BW) threat. The panel noted:
The effects of some of these engineered biological agents could be worse than any disease known to man.
The genomic revolution is pushing biotechnology into an explosive growth phase. Panelists asserted that the resulting wave front of knowledge will evolve rapidly and be so broad, complex, and widely available to the public that traditional intelligence means for monitoring WMD development could prove inadequate to deal with the treat from these advanced biological weapons.
Detection of related activities, particularly the development of novel bioengineered pathogens, will depend increasingly on more specific human intelligence and, argued panelists, will necessitate a closer--and perhaps qualitatively different--working relationship between the intelligence and biological sciences communities.
The Threat From Advanced BWIn the last several decades, the world has witnessed a knowledge explosion in the life sciences based on an understanding of genes and how they work. According to panel members, practical applications of this new and burgeoning knowledge base will accelerate dramatically and unpredictably:
As one expert remarked: "In the life sciences, we now are where information technology was in the 1960s; more than any other science, it will revolutionize the 21st century."
Growing understanding of the complex biochemical pathways that underlie life processes has the potential to enable a class of new, more virulent biological agents engineered to attack distinct biochemical pathways and elicit specific effects, claimed panel members. The same science that may cure some of our worst diseases could be used to create the world's most frightening weapons.The know-how to develop some of these weapons already exists. For example:
Australian researchers recently inadvertently showed that the virulence of mousepox virus can be significantly enhanced by the incorporation of a standard immunoregulator gene, a technique that could be applied to other naturally occurring pathogens such as anthrax or smallpox, greatly increasing their lethality.
Indeed, other biologists have synthesized a key smallpox viral protein and shown its effectiveness in blocking critical aspects of the human immune response.
A team of biologists recently created a polio virus in vitro from scratch.
According to the scientists convened, other classes of unconventional pathogens that may arise over the next decade and beyond include binary BW agents that only become effective when two components are combined (a particularly insidious example would be a mild pathogen that when combined with its antidote becomes virulent); "designer" BW agents created to be antibiotic resistant or to evade an immune response; weaponized gene therapy vectors that effect permanent change in the victim's genetic makeup; or a "stealth" virus, which could lie dormant inside the victim for an extended period before being triggered. For example, one panelist cited the possibility of a stealth virus attack that could cripple a large portion of people in their forties with severe arthritis, concealing its hostile origin and leaving a country with massive health and econmic problems.According to experts, the biotechnology underlying the development of advanced biological agents is likely to advance very rapidly, causing a diverse and elusive threat spectrum. The resulting diversity of new BW agents could enable such a broad range of attack scenarios that it would be virtually impossible to anticipate and defend against, they say. As a result, there could be a considerable lag time in developing effective biodefense measures.However, effective countermeasures, once developed, could be leveraged against a range of BW agents, asserted attendees, citing current research aimed at developing protocols for augmenting common elements of the body's response to disease, rather than treating individual diseases. Such treatments could strengthen our defense against attacks by ABW agents.Implications for WarningThe experts emphasized that, because the processes, techniques, equipment and know-how needed for advanced bio agent development are dual use, it will be extremely difficult to distinguish between legitimate biological research activities and production of advanced BW agents.
The panel contrasted the difficulty of detecting advanced bioweapons with that of detecting nuclear weapons, which has always had clear surveillance and detection "observables," such as highly enriched uranium or telltale production equipment.
Consequently, most panlists argued that a qualitatively different relationship between the government and life sciences communities might be needed to most effectively grapple with the future BW threat.They cited the pace, breadth, and volume of the evolving bioscience knowledge base, coupled with its dual-use nature and the fact that most is publicly available via electronic means and very hard to track, as the driving forces for enhanced cooperation. Most panelists agreed that the US life sciences research community was more or less "over its Vietnam-era distrust" of the national security establishment and would be open to more collaboration.
One possibility, they argued, might be early government assistance to life sciences community efforts to develop its own "standards and norms" intended to differentiate between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" research, efforts recently initiated by the US biological sciences community.
A more comprehensive vision articulated by one panelist was for the bioscience community at large to aid the government by acting as "a living sensor web"--at international conferences, in university labs, and through informal networks--to identify and alert it to new technical advances with weaponization potential. The workshop did not discuss the legal or regulatory implications of any such changes.
Posted from webiste on Dec 5, 2009: http://secretsofthecia.blogspot.com/2009/12/darker-bioweapons-future.html

Leadership, Power and Women

Leadership, Power and Women
Becky A. McClain
November 21, 2009

I find it ironic that in a crowded room full of women who had been lured to a talk entitled “Stepping into Power: How to Get it and How to Use It”, the lone person dozing off at the event was the only man in attendance.

Sponsored by a professional women networking group called the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the public event last Wednesday held in Old Saybrook’s Acton Library featured Dr. Nancy Hutson, a 25 year career Pfizer executive who had retired in 2006.

Hutson’s talk was advertized to discuss the subject of POWER – getting it and how to use it in the context of her experience as a woman during her career climb from a bench scientist to Senior Vice President in the male-dominated pharmaceutical organization at Pfizer Inc.

I was intrigued, not only because of the topic of power and how it relates to working women, but also, because of the past history of Pfizer and their use of power.

You see, Pfizer has not displayed the best reputation for getting and using power. In fact, Pfizer’s reputation has become seriously tarnished this past decade both locally and internationally. Their role in the imminent domain take over of New London homes, and subsequently bugging out of New London after their 10 year tax incentive deal expired, their role in public health and safety violations accompanied with research building explosions causing serious injuries, their role in unethical clinical trials resulting in deaths of Nigerian children, and finally, their egregious behavior in criminal fraud against the government for promotion of off-labeled use of their drugs are some of Pfizer’s most recent notorious acts, costing the company billions of dollars in criminal fines and settlements.

So how was Hutson going to deliver her topic on the use of power in light of what some could allege was a grand collection of abuse of power from Pfizer during her tenure?

But Hutson was slick to avoid such topics, as any savvy executive would.

And in the end her talk was disappointingly empty. Not only in her uncanny assertion that Pfizer’s bad reputation resulted from healthcare reform, baby boomers and bad economy, but also for her bland subject matter relating to power, women and her workplace experiences.

One would think that a woman who has climbed the corporate ladder of success at Pfizer from bench scientist to Senior Vice President in charge of 4500 Groton scientists would have SOME gripping stories to share, stories containing her trials and tribulations of being a woman within the highly charged political terrain of a male dominated pharmaceutical industry.

But Hutson’s worst experience shared with us was the time her supervisor performed email tasks while she was trying to have a discussion with him. Apparently her supervisor was not being completely “present” with her, making her feel discounted.

It was then when I turned to my side and noticed my husband beginning to nod off. And as I dug my elbow into his side to make him “be present”, I realized that Hutson did not even bother to tell us how she resolved the dilemma of having such a multi-tasking un-present supervisor.

Matter a fact, Hutson gave us very little insights about the true struggles women face in the workplace, like harassment, discrimination, glass ceilings, managing work and family, and unequal pay scales.

Instead she gave us an ordinary package of self-help steps to leadership, wrapped in jargon, ringing of mundane familiarity, …“Develop relationships”, “be present”, “manage your energy”, “practice leadership”, “have defined purpose, mission and goals”. Abracadabra. You’ve got power.

And of course, not a whisper of ethics. Hutson’s experience with ethics at Pfizer apparently had little connection in defining her steps in how to get power and use it.

Despite Hutson’s cookbook and carefully constructed talk, what was apparent, however, was at the conclusion of her presentation, you could not help but like Nancy Hutson.

And that’s because Hutson fits the part.

Nancy Hutson fits the part of our present day executives, people who look and act intelligent, self assured, but down to earth, and who have the ability to develop relationships because of their knack for the art of massaging communication. They are the type of person you seemingly could trust with any personal issue, a person that one would love to share a cup of coffee and perhaps become friends.

But in reality, many corporate execs who have “stepped into power” have often watched unethical practices unfold in their businesses. And while “practicing leadership”, standing composed and smiling, and carefully managing their energy and their speech, they do nothing, as well as, say nothing about these unethical practices.

You see, good executives deliver for their corporations, reporting to the bottom line. And that is exactly what Hutson told us on Wednesday. One of her opening statements was that her career role shifted from bench science to politics and the bottom line. Hutson went on to say that those who deliver for corporations are rewarded by power, title and money.

Hutson surely delivered for corporate America at the AAUW meeting. She was intelligent, articulate and friendly. She gave a well structured non-controversial talk, avoiding the tough issues women face in the workplace and avoiding Pfizer’s history of ethical troubles.

But a discussion about leadership and power, without involving ethics, sells cheap. It holds no real substance for the majority of professional women of Connecticut who want to succeed while making the world a better place.

And ironically, it put the only man attending such a discussion, right to sleep.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Toxic Sites, Brownfields and Downey Studio

Dec 3, 2009
Written by Dina J. Padilla

MAJOR 1st amendment and very human VICTORY occurred on 11-13-09, The kaiserpapers.org website, the website owner, Vickie Travis and myself, Dina J. Padilla won the Slapp suit because the judge dismissed it WITH prejudice, MEANING that Stuart Lichter can never bring the same lawsuit against us on the same material that was on the website. This Slapp suit was filed in 8-08 by Stuart Lichter and his Attorney David S.White. An article in the L.A. Times referred to this lawsuit n 8-2-09 with Downey Studio workers getting sick. Leonard Martin had also won the suit earlier on but Stuart Lichter and his attorney fought it and it went to the Calfornia Applellate Court. The outcome is hopeful for Leonard Martin since we won.
What was on the website was about the Downey Studio that Stuart Lichter owns and where a Kaiser medical complex is built on what is a toxic Superfund-Brownfield site.
There are many Brownfield sites and we have at least four here in Sacramento. Aerojet, Mather, McClellan, Army Depot, but railroad yards and gas stations are also considered brownfields. The local news are starting to report some news about these sites but clearly not enough to alert all the people to the many dangers we all face.
Brownfields are loaded with poisons like radiation,depleted unranium, pesticides, diesel, arsenic, chromium hexolate, anthrax, agent orange and about another 250 deadly(carcinogens) contaminates that were claimed to be cleaned up-remediated like and by an ex- employee for GSA-General Services Agency, and for over 30 years, Stuart Lichter, who also claimed to clean up the Downey site as well as the site on McClellan Park here in North Highlands, Ca.. He had not payed insurance on this property and the DOI has allowed this. His office of IRG is in Littleton, Co. With many IRG's across the nation.
Stuart Lichter stalled in answering our interrogatories FOR MANY months even though HE WAS THE ONE WHO brought the Slapp suit aginst us for malice and CLAIMING losses of millions of dollars. He wanted the whole website down which mostly includes information about Kaiser-Kaiser Permanente. Stuart Lichter claimed that Kaiser Permanente was not in the law suit but it is interesting to note that he wanted the whole site down and also wanted any'all info pertaining to Kaiser.
The Downey Studios has had many movies made on that property and that it has so many deadly contaminates on it (and Stuart had every opportunity to say differently in a deposition BUT DID NOT) that all workers, actors, extras, including children have been exposed to what the federal government with NASA and Boeing left.. The Other factor is that Kaiser got to build on that site with a hospital and a clinic, right on a toxic brownfield site where patients, workers and visitors are every day and night being exposed to many deadly contaminates just as those who work building production sites for movie makers.
Many workers at the studio have gotten very sick and their claims have all been denied for any illness. They struggle along with their families to survive and go without the medical care they need. If no insurance claims are paid out (liability) then the property where the studios and kaiser are at will be able to build PERMANENT housing, exposing many families with children to the same deadly toxins.
This already has occurred at the Railroad yards and McClellan Park here in Roseville/Citrus Heights and Sacramento. Build a park or an arena and then such things as permanent housing is allowed. Habitat for Humnaity will be built at McClellan park for the indigenous to live on and get gravely ill.
Irreversible diseases are in our air,soil and water tables that will and are surely causing cancers, kidney diseases, diabetes, thyroid and other medical problems such as asthma and other respiratory problems. If you think about all of this, then you have to realize that far too many people are sick and dying at unprecedented rates of diseases that were very rare when most of us were kids. (I'm in my 60's).
Stuart Lichter has built on many toxic properties in Ohio as in California with local, state and federal assistance by the legislators but also by public officials in the DOD & DOE and public officials who have gone into the privatizing of these sites..FOR PROFIT FOR A FEW!
That assistance also includes billions of federal dollars and the current one in Downey is a new car manufacturing plant-TESLA from the Bay area (non union) building cars that are worth $115,000 claiming to use ELECTRIC energy with more more MPG's. This particular site is claiming almost 500,000 million dollars of federal money.
Now workers who are going to work in a car plant will be exposed to the same deadly contaminates as the studio workers, including children and kaiser workers and patients. The Downey site is also on a major earthquake fault.
Our own government through IRAD has allowed the privatization of these toxic Superfund-Brownfield sites to make money by letting people like Stuart Lichter develop on these toxic sites without cleaning them up, even though he has claimed to have cleaned them up. Let us please see this proof. Some of these sites can never be cleaned, such as Downey, McClellan or the Sacramento Rail Road yards.
Many public officials who are in both state and federal EPA are SAYING that these sites have been cleaned up. If that is the case, then Stuart Lichter could have proven he remediated the Downey site by answering the interrogatories, BUT HE DID NOT.
Across the U.S., there is gentrification that is going on. Older neighborhoods are being remodeled but many of the neighborhoods had toxic lands next to them exposing millions to deadly contaminates. My old neighborhood in Chicago is one of them.
Who does this effect the most?
It affects all of us, the U.S. workers. Who are the workers? They are people like our soldiers who are and have been exposed to the same contaminates, people like you, me, your children, college students, minorities, women, people of all creeds, the 99% that pay taxes, obey laws, those of you work every day to make things better for you & your family. The people who work for a living in a country that espouses "The American Dream".
Now mind you, I learned about Downey at the about the same time I learned about mold, which was at Kaiser Bellflower facility, not far from the Downey site and also about the bio tech industry and then the chem trails. This is far more information for me to wrap my head around in a year and now going on over 2 years. Just as it will be for all of you to try and comprehend and fathom as you are reading this. I still have some days that I have a hard time understanding that our own government is allowing to happen to the majority of the American people, BUT IT IS. And that this is happening in other countries like New Zealand and the Ukraine.
I have to thank Matt Gonzales-Leigh from San Francisco Ca. who ran for THE Peace & Freedom Party Vice President & running with Ralph Nader as President for the Peace& Freedom Party for President of the U.S. and his assistant attorneys who stayed the course and fought the fight against developers like Stuart Lichter who have used SLAPP SUITS against people who dare blow the whistle on MONUMENTAL government malfeasance ON THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION.
NO ONE POLITICIAN or state or fedral agency that all of this has been brought to, IS CONCERNING THEMSELVES ON THE THESE ISSUES BROUGHT BEFORE THEM!!!!
Ralph Nader &Matt Gonzales cared enough to show up at a Downey conference and also a Peace& Freedom Convention where these were issues brought up. I, in my heart of hearts, know that Ralph Nader is perhaps the most caring individual for workers and consumers unlike no other politician.
Ralph Nader since the 60's was responsible in bringing the most protection safety nets for us but that since, subsequent politicians, have destroyed our safety nets that he created and what we paid for.
Now when you drink your water and the fish that comes out of that water, eat your (organic and otherwise) veggies and fruit, eat protein like beef chicken & pork, go outside to smell the roses, or even take your meds, please remember there are people like Stuart Lichter who are profiting on properties that are being developed to maim, poison and kill people.
And those that will benefit will be the high end investors who are on Wall St. who are also invested in these toxic Superfund brownfield properties, bio tech companies, insurance companies, HMO's chemical and pharmaceutical companies that will surely do the rest of us in.

Dina J.Padilla
Future P&FP Candidate Dept.of Insurance Commissioner