By Dr. Mercola
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims their mission is to "collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health…"
And with a budget of $10.6 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2011, and a requested budget of $11.3 billion for FY 2012, they should be well equipped to fulfill said mission.
However, it appears yet again that the officials in charge of making important regulatory decisions that impact your health are masters of poor judgment calls, and in some cases, outright fraud.
A report released under the direction of Senator Tom Coburn, CDC Off Center, reveals that the agency in charge of "fighting and preventing disease" has frittered away hundreds of millions of tax dollars for outrageous purchases and unsuccessful prevention efforts, while at the same time failing to control disease.
This report was released in June 2007, but it got little attention in the press. And the truth is, most Americans still believe the CDC is doing a fine job at protecting their health. That's why I feel it's important to revisit this now, so more Americans can get a clearer picture of what the CDC is really about …
CDC Funds Used for Erotic Writing Classes, Bar Night, Porn Star …
The CDC's budget may not seem outrageous initially, considering the formidable task they are undertaking, but a closer review reveals lavish spending and questionable judgment are more the norm than the exception at the CDC. For instance, the report reveals the following about the CDC's spending habits:
- CDC's Arlen Specter Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center cost nearly $110 million – including $10 million in furniture
- CDC spent $106 million on the Thomas R. Harkin Global Communications & Visitor Center, when it already had one
- CDC built a $200,000 fitness center (inside a $21-milllion CDC building) that has $30,000 saunas, zero-gravity chairs, and mood-enhancing light shows
Perhaps you can justify the need for the preeminent health agency in the United States to have state-of-the-art buildings … but I challenge you to find a way to justify the spending of the CDC-funded Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco, California, which allegedly included:
- A "Men for Hire" event, with the featured speaker Joseph Itiel, who, according to the report it was advertised, "presents practical tips and covers the seven guidelines for safe and friendly relations with escorts."
- A two-hour workshop on how to "flirt with greater finesse."
- A four-part erotic writing workshop
- A magazine, which included such articles as "Party at BJ's," which explained how to have a "house party" and how much alcohol to serve
- A bar night for HIV-positive men. As the report pointed out, "To recap: a group that receives federal funds spends money to target not only a high-risk population, but one actually carrying the communicable disease HIV, and hosts the targeted event at a bar with alcohol, a known risk factor for spreading HIV."
Other groups have also used CDC funds to host a safe-sex event that featured a porn star dressed in a towel and cowboy boots, as well as, a transgender beauty pageant, As the report stated:
"Instead of focusing efforts on partner-notification, risk avoidance, early diagnosis through routine testing, and other proven epidemiological approaches for preventing the spread of communicable diseases, all too often many of CDC's largest grantees were hosting events that produced questionable, if any, results and in some cases promoted activities in direct contradiction with known risk-behaviors for spreading the disease.
One of CDC's largest HIV/AIDS grantees was cited for actually using CDC prevention funds to encourage sexual behavior. CDC guidelines for AIDS assistance programs direct that no funds are to "be used to provide education or information designed to promote or encourage, directly, homosexual or heterosexual sexual activity or intravenous substance abuse."
They further note that this shall "not be construed to restrict the ability of an education program to provide accurate information about … [AIDS], provided that any informational materials used are not obscene." After years of congressional inquiry, CDC finally sent a warning letter to the offending group whose activities were encouraging sexual behavior."
CDC Spends $1.7 Million for "Hollywood Liaison"
This is part of the CDC Entertainment Education Program, which makes sure that when your favorite TV shows feature a health topic, that information is accurate, or at least "CDC-approved." As the report notes, this includes consulting at a rate of nearly $6,000 per television episode, as well as:
"CDC officials persuaded producers of NBC's "ER" to place a condom poster on the set "as a roundabout way of getting the health message to TV viewers," and made sure that a bioterrorism 92 scenario on Fox's "24" is accurate. CDC also makes sure the proper federal agency is referenced in a show, trying to correct past mistakes where one show depicted NIH personnel doing tasks that would more likely have been the CDC's responsibility.
And all these resources are provided to the entertainment industry free of charge, courtesy of four federal health agencies spending American tax dollars."
And let's also not forget the CDC has established an awards program for TV shows to honor those that feature accurate health themes, judged by none other than CDC and NCI health experts.
What about Disease Prevention?
Of course, the real question is whether the CDC is making a dent in the rising disease rates across the United States, and the answer appears to be a resounding no …
For instance, the report noted that after the CDC announced plans to eliminate syphilis, five years later the rate had increased 68 percent among men. Then there was the $335 million kid-targeted media campaign to fight obesity, which had unknown health impacts, and obesity rates are still rising.
The report explains:
" … while CDC has been given millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars to help prevent certain diseases among Americans, for many of these diseases the rates have not decreased, but have stayed the same or even increased under CDC's watch. In the case of HIV, despite spending billions of dollars, CDC cannot even report how many Americans have the communicable disease."
The CDC is also the mastermind behind many questionable public health initiatives … like the 2009 H1N1 swine flu debacle. As you may recall, the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic turned out to be a complete sham, with a fast-tracked and particularly dangerous vaccine being pushed as the sole remedy.
Children and pregnant women were the primary targets of this dangerous vaccine. The H1N1 flu was a perfect example of how the CDC can brazenly distort reality, and often ignore and deny the dangerous and life-threatening side effects of their solution. As a result of this bogus propaganda campaign, thousands of people were harmed (and many died) worldwide.
CDC is No Stranger to Fraud, Questionable Integrity
Unfortunately, the CDC's insults to taxpayers do not stop at lavish spending but rather extend to questionable ethics and integrity -- even outright fraud. For instance, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that since the 1970's, the dental health professionals in the CDC have had sole control over the agency's stance supporting water fluoridation.
The CDC is part of a larger administrative structure that provides intra-agency support and resource sharing for health issues that require the input from more than one area of expertise. Other offices that share information and expertise with the CDC include the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, and the Agency for Toxic Substances.
The general assumption has been that the agency used a broad range of expert input to evaluate fluoride before reaching the decision to support water fluoridation.
Yet the documents show that no CDC toxicologists, minority health professionals, experts in diabetes, or others outside the Oral Health Division had any input into the agency's position.
This flies in the face of what the agency claims, and what water, health, and political leaders have believed about the way the CDC operates. Without these additional experts from other fields, can we reasonably believe that the agency has properly assessed the research on whole-body harm from fluoridation? The documents have drawn attention to the CDC's and the EPA's fluoride safety statements, which appear completely at odds with current scientific knowledge, and the fact that no outside experts from related fields were ever included may very well explain this discrepancy.
Another shocking case involving the CDC is that of Dr. Poul Thorsen, who, after being found to have falsified documents, was indicted on fraud, money laundering and tax evasion after stealing somewhere between $1-2 million in research grant money from the CDC.
Here you might wonder why I'm faulting the CDC, as the organization was the victim of fraud.
The reason I fault them is because they hired Dr. Thorsen to debunk the link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism—which he did to their satisfaction. However, CDC officials may have played a significant role in "guiding" this research to their desired end, and now that Thorsen has been exposed as a fraud, the agency still upholds his research as being of high caliber. (Thorsen's research center, the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA), has also received $14.6 million from the CDC since 2002, according to The Huffington Post.
Many of the resulting "research" studies from NANEA have been used to support supposed vaccine safety.)
And then there is Dr. Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey, a top official with the CDC who has recently been arrested and charged with two counts of child molestation and one count of bestiality. Dr. Lindsey, who joined the CDC in 1999, is currently the deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office. She's second in command of the program office.
As an official in charge of CDC health recommendations for all American children, her alleged actions raise troublesome questions about her level of concern for the health and well-being of children in general.
Who is Holding the CDC Accountable?
It seems no one, and therein lies the problem, as it is the CDC who is supposed to be looking out for your health.
So, who can you trust?
I would recommend trusting yourself. Do your own research, and make your own decisions accordingly. I urge you -- for your health's sake -- to consider what the motivating force is behind the messages you hear, even if they come from "trusted" sources like the CDC. You've got to think about who's gaining what from their recommendations, and then ultimately use your own judgment.
I'm reminded of a popular quote by Buddha, which sums this up nicely:
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it -- even if I have said it -- unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."