Readers can be helpful, and one just wrote in to inform us of a link that we had never imagined - Donald Rumsfeld, until he resigned and joined the Bush Administration, was the chairman of something called Gilead which just happened to make something called Tamiflu.

Now anyone who hasn't been on Mars for the last month or two, knows that there were only two things that were going to stop the human version of bird flu. One was a bird flu vaccine (which probably would work better if you were a bird) and the other was something called Tamiflu. Yes, that Tamiflu. In such short supply that the hundreds of millions of orders that have been pouring into Gilead probably won't be filled for another 12 months or so. But everyone has got to have it because somehow or other it became established that Tamiflu really worked.

This was the party line, anyway, for about a week, until word began trickling back in that maybe Tamiflu didn't work. In fact, the word on Tamiflu has always been positive at first and then eventually negative. It's a kind of pattern. We even find corroboration of it here on the, in what appears to be either a chat room or news roundup as follows, "Rummy was CEO of Gilead Sciences until named to the Bush cabinet and, like Cheney, still has ties that bind to the 'old company.' Now isn't it an 'amazing coincidence' that the drug Tamiflu patented by Gilead Sciences is being pushed by the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases as the NUMBER ONE choice for flu, which, wonder of wonders, is sweeping through in one epidemic after another."

The post from January '04 adds, "Tamiflu is now also being recommended to fight avian flu ... Scroll through this NIAID page and you will find Tamiflu listed as ahead of all other recommended drugs for both prevention and treatment of flu. Trouble is, Gilead has been accused of rigging the trials of Tamiflu as a preventive treatment. Meanwhile Gilead is making a killing."

The post then gives [a link to a reuters news story that has since been removed which was about the dramatic financial boom for Gilead].

We bet Gilead is still making a killing as is Big Pharma. Please notice now that the orders are in, the hysteria has died down a bit. Perhaps everybody is too busy counting the money. Or perhaps it was never about anything BUT the money. We weren't entirely sure, but we knew that none of it passed the old "smell test." In fact, in serial articles we claimed that bird flu probably wasn't going to turn into human flu anytime soon, that even if it did, it didn't mean that the world was in for a dose of 1918 influenza all over again. We just couldn't believe that the people bringing us Spanish Influenza Redux - with all the hype and horror - were remotely qualified to bring us even the opening of an envelope.

We questioned everything, even whether 1918 was all just the fault of a flu virus. Didn't seem likely to us then and doesn't now - especially since we've come to understand what hygiene was like for the soldiers coming back from the war, how vaccine providers apparently unloaded their stock after the war, lowering immunities, etc. and, finally how the new miracle drug, aspirin, was all the rage, prescribed by medical parishioners everywhere. Aspirin lowers fevers and allows flu to build until it bursts out all over the body with renewed and potentially mortal violence.

And that brings us to today. Bird flu still rages and, yes, it may mutate into human flu at some point and cause death, many deaths, or fewer deaths, no one knows. It may indeed sweep around the world. But of more worry immediately were moves of civil authorities to float trial balloons about mandatory vaccination and to start sending vials of superflu bugs around the world in the name of science. We demanded that our viewers call the Capitol Hill and get out the word that the government was to cease testing new vaccines, cease ordering TamiFlu and bird flu vaccine, neither of which work or will work against whatever it is that bird flu will turn into. Which at least some in government would love because then they could turn the President's apparent yen for martial law into reality. And Bush could use some martial law about now. Hell, he could use anything, maybe even a good book.

We hoped that this latest epidemic of hysteria would finally force the government to come clean about other remedies - super doses of Vitamin C and even the use of silver as an antidote. We're still waiting. Sigh.