Monday, June 27, 2005


Even when Morton Kondracke seems to be making sense he's full of crap. Consider his recent screed, "Avian flu may become top issue."

The first sentence at least isn't toxic:
While Washington, D.C., is consumed by issues ranging from the important to the downright petty, there's something huge lurking out there to really worry about: infectious diseases.
Then it goes downhill. Fast. A few sentences about the widely reported Foreign Affairs symposium, followed by:
The combined threat of infectious disease and bioterrorism presents a quandary for U.S. politicians. Do they urgently prepare for the worst, possibly wasting vast resources, or cross their fingers and hope that nothing happens?
Like taking off my shoes at the airport? Or like invading Iraq (Kondracke's favorite project)? There an even dumber "analysis" of the rivalry between Frist and Lieberman on who can give more away to Big Pharma in the name of combatting bioterrorism and "infectious disease" (no contest, by the way: Lieberman).
Frist and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are backing rival bills that offer tax, liability and other incentives to now-reluctant biotech companies to begin producing vaccines and diagnostics and to guarantee a market if they produce them. Lieberman contends that his bill is more comprehensive, and his aides question whether Frist is pushing various Senate committees hard enough to get legislation enacted this year.

"You have a fascinating conflation of presidential politics and serious substance at work here," said Chuck Ludlam, a former biotechnology lobbyist who's retiring this week as a top Lieberman aide.
Nothing "former" about it. Ludlum was Big Pharma's patsy and Lieberman was only too happy to lie back and enjoy it.
Whether a disease is spread by nature or by terrorists, Lieberman says, "we have essentially none of the diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines we need to treat those who might be exposed or infected.

"If we don't have these medicines, we are likely to see quarantines and panics, which will amplify the damage and disruption."
Besides being a bald-faced lie, this is straight out of Big Pharma's talking points for why they should be given truly obscene patent extensions of the very drugs they prefer to make instead of vaccines (Viagra, etc.). According to Mr. Kondracke, however:
Clearly, this issue transcends Washington's daily political games.
Oh, clearly. Very, very clearly.