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PRESS RELEASE


President Bush to Americans:
Drop Dead!

Oct. 21, 2004 (EIRNS)—The following statement was released today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee, which is circulating it as a mass-distribution leaflet in the final days of the Presidential election campaign.

Americans will die because George W. Bush's Administration has created a public health emergency in the lack of influenza vaccine, and refuses to acknowledge that emergency or take required Federal action against it. If the Bush-Cheney crew continues denying the crisis, refusing to take such actions, they will cause the avoidable deaths of thousands of especially older Americans. Lyndon LaRouche said on Oct. 19 that by reckless negligence in dealing with the flu vaccine crisis, Bush and Dick Cheney could cause more unnecessary deaths this year than in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

This is the same George W. Bush who, it's been revealed, intends an immediate post-election drive to privatize Social Security. This will turn the benefits over to Cheney's Wall Street cronies to manage, Enron-style, and push future senior citizens into the misery of poverty.

Bush's Treasury has already looted hundreds of billions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund to cover parts of his huge Federal budget deficits. Now he's told Republican fundraisers he'll go on an offensive after Election Day to privatize Social Security.

'I'm Not Getting a Flu Shot'

Rather than admit a mistake—that his Administration ignored clear public reports warning of a flu vaccine crisis in 2001, 2003, and August 2004—Bush would rather let thousands among us die needlessly.

As far as Bush, Cheney, and Health Secretary Tommy Thompson are concerned, the elderly Americans, disabled, and chronically ill citizens waiting night and day on flu-shot lines, can sicken and die before the Bush Administration will take any emergency public health action or "interfere with the vaccine market." Veterans in VA hospitals can go un-immunized; clinics and emergency rooms can close when their unvaccinated medical staff start spreading the flu among their patients; the nation's blood reserve can stay at just one day's supply.

Thirty million flu vaccine doses—more than half the total national supply—are simply being allowed to go out where the "free market" has taken them; at random, as NIH official Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted. The Federal government has Constitutional responsibility, and legal authority—passed after 9/11!—to redirect the national deployment of the vaccine to minimize the spread of the infection and the loss of life.

Medical groups, local authorities, and members of Congress are calling for government emergency action and warning of a "health catastrophe" if this does not occur.

But when asked in the final Presidential debate about the critical vaccine shortage, Bush gloated that he—healthy and fit—would not need a flu shot. "There's no health emergency; be calm and wait a few weeks," said Thompson, while he and Bush rejected vaccine offered from Canada and Germany as "not safe."

Dick Cheney, in Charleston, West Virginia last week, sneered, "Producing vaccine is just not a very profitable business."

Ignores Calls for Emergency Action

The demands for Federal emergency coordination to deal with the 2004-05 influenza season come from across the spectrum:

The American College of Emergency Physicians on Oct. 19 asked Thompson's Department of Health and Human Services to convene a "crisis summit" of Federal agencies, private health organizations, and other agencies. Dr. Arthur Kellerman of the Emergency Physicians said, "The goal ... must be to ensure that every American who falls seriously ill during the influenza season has access to safe, effective emergency care and, if necessary, admission to a hospital bed or intensive care unit." The Physicians called for Federal and state funding to open the maximum emergency-room capabilities—more than 1,000 ERs have closed in the last decade—and for vaccination of health workers so that the hospital system does not collapse from understaffing.

Dr. Anthony Iton, Health Director of Alameda County, California, where a 79-year old woman fell and died after spending four hours on a flu-shot line, said, "The Federal government has a responsibility.... The CDC's public message in the beginning was that this was not an emergency.... It took them much longer than it did us to recognize that this is an emergency."

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano on Oct. 19 called on the Centers for Disease Control to hold such a summit, to fix the vaccine manufacturing capability of the country and introduce new technologies into it. There have been shortages in four of the five years leading into this year's collapse. Chiron Corp. will not be able to produce vaccine for the 2005-06 season either.

Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey—a senior citizen himself—called on the President to invoke public health emergency law 42USC Article 247d for the powers to immediately import flu vaccines, and to "travel the world if necessary" to find available vaccine.

Senators Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Joseph Reed of Rhode Island introduced an Emergency Flu Response Act of 2004, which like Lautenberg's demand, would instruct the President to use the BioShield Act to get "flexible and expedited review" of all potential vaccine sources, as well as government reporting and control of all vaccine supplies during the crisis.

Representative Joseph McDade of Pennsylvania on Oct. 19 called for using "level of commitment we demonstrated in putting a man on the Moon," to achieve emergency public health preparedness for either a bio-warfare attack, or a public health emergency like the current flu crisis.

Officials of the Mayo Clinic and members of Congress have proposed the Federal government become buyer of last resort for a "reserve" portion of flu vaccine produced every year.

Take Action: Vote Them Out!

Bush, Cheney, and their Federal health officials are already lying that this flu season is going to be another "cakewalk." Reckless, unprepared, unconcerned about Iraq, they are now recklessly unprepared and unconcerned about the public health crisis brought on by their negligence.

Put Bush and Cheney's callous attitude towards the tens of thousands of Americans who could needlessly die from lack of flu immunization this winter, together with Bush's more and more obvious schemes to let the Wall Street securities industry loot the Social Security benefits fund by "privatization" of Social Security after the election, and you have a clear message from Bush to Americans: "Drop Dead."

If Bush, Cheney, and their subordinates refuse the needed emergency remedial actions by the Federal government—to minimize the loss of life from the vaccine shortage brought on through their negligence, and to secure the supply for next year—they deserve to be overwhelmingly defeated on Nov. 2, by voters with conscience and respect for all human life.


Will Bush Let You or Loved Ones Die of Flu?

Influenza and resulting pneumonia cause up to 40-45,000 deaths per year, depending on severity of the flu, vaccination-immunity level of Americans, and the preparedness of the nation's hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control has considered the following groups to be at risk, and therefore to be priority groups who need flu vaccine shots (This does not include police, fire, and other first-responders):

Those 65 or older 40 million
Those under 65 with chronic illnesses 45 million
Children 6-23 months 7 million
Health workers/caregivers 11 million
Women pregnant in flu season 2 million
Total 105 million
Total Vaccine Doses Available 58 million