Swine Flu, The Panic That Wasn't. Alternate Title: Hamthrax FAIL and Why Tim Geithner is the *Real* Public Health Threat

pic credit: xkcd
it's only funny if you use twitter. duh.

First of all, maybe no one told you guys but since the Socialists are taking over, "swine flu" is considered offensive to pigs and pork farmers so it's been rebranded H1N1 since it last actually mattered.

As a person who understands the marketing spin required to apply some sort of change to an already popular "product," I feel the WHO's pain on this one. But that doesn't mean I care. Point being, you should probably stop calling it that lest Big Brother get angry over you refusing to adopt his latest PR campaign. H1N1.

The CDC insists 100,000 Americans could be infected with H1N1. Too bad, guys, numbers like 100,000 no longer scare us now that we hear "trillions" thrown around so flippantly during every news broadcast. Nice try though.

Via NaturalNews (no, I don't read it):

(NaturalNews) H1N1 influenza (swine flu) has spread beyond the ability of the CDC to track it, leading one of its health authorities (Daniel Jernigan) to admit that 100,000 Americans are likely already infected by the swine flu.

The CDC has only "confirmed" 4,714 cases of the flu so far, but by its own admission, the CDC's testing lab is so hopelessly overloaded that it has all but abandoned trying to identify every case of swine flu. All it can do now is estimate the likely number of infections through statistical modeling.

Well thank God the CDC has busted out the statistics. We have already seen how effective statistics are.

Krupo over at A Counting School surely remembers this gem
from Haight Street in SF (sorry, touristy I know)

So what happened to our pandemic, really?

Well people got worked into a lather. I'm over-dramatic so I even got the sniffles and was suddenly dying of this crazy zombie pig flu and quarantined myself in my apartment for two days. WTF?

Equate this to the panic caused over Washington Mutual in the weeks and months leading up to the moment JP Morgan and the FDIC went in for the kill. Oh, sorry. I mean "seemingly" went in for the kill. Here's one more angry "WTF is going on in commercial banking" site akin to GoldmanSachs666 - which is currently on hiatus while Mike Morgan ties up his loose ends in Goldman's ridiculous case against him - if you're interested in getting a different JP Morgan/WaMu picture.

Panic only induces more panic, especially in a society already frightened by the sudden shift in its reality. You can't freak the sheeple out like this again and again and expect some alternate result.

Mexico is now trying to rebuild already-bruised consumer confidence. Meanwhile, San Francisco cleaned up on boatloads of tourists diverted from Mexico cruises during the H1N1 panic, as I'm sure many other coastal American cities did. Score for us, sucks for them, right?

I'm not going to dive into the flu shot conspiracies (though one might wonder how safe these products are considering the potentially-fatal mix-ups, huge financial payoffs at stake, and seedy reputation of big pharma) but I certainly didn't line up for one. I got through zombie flu with DayQuil and red wine like any Midwestern-born girl would. Suck it up.

Swine flu made its fabulous debut to the collective American consciousness somewhere around April 26th (a Sunday) when the United States announced a public health state of emergency. Little surprise that the market didn't take the pandemic news all that well the following Monday.

Meanwhile what did we miss while we were knee-deep in pig flu panic?

A meeting between the IMF and World Bank, for one. Whoopsie, really should have been paying better attention.

Via Al Jazeera (do you see the problem with an America that has to get its news from these kinds of sources, kids? Come on, stay awake for this one) the Friday before swine flu:

As both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meet over the weekend for talks on the global financial crisis, Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo spoke to Gabriel Strautman, Brazilian economist and executive secretary of Rede Brazil - a network tracking international financial institutions - about the crisis, whether Brazil can help and how both institutions can reform.

Al Jazeera: Brazil, a few years ago, was in debt to the IMF by more than $30bn. That debt is now paid off, and recently Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, announced that Brazil would loan the IMF $4.5bn. Does the IMF deserve this money from Brazil?

Strautman: No. The IMF doesn't deserve to receive such a big contribution from a country like Brazil.

Al Jazeera: Why don't they deserve it?

Strautman: From a historical perspective the IMF and the countries that govern it - the countries of the "global north" - they are the ones that owe the Brazilian society and countries of the "global south".

Why? Because all the loans that the IMF gave to Brazil and other countries during the past decades were attached to a lot of conditions. Those conditions ultimately represented the deepening of neo-liberal policies that prevented the budget of Brazil, and other countries, from dealing with other needs of our populations. So the IMF owes a debt to Brazil.

Al Jazeera: Lula - who has been an outspoken critic of the World Bank and IMF for more than two decades - has said his country needs to lend to the IMF because that is the only way developing countries can gain influence within the organisation to bring about reforms. Do you think this will work?

Strautman: I very much doubt it. I doubt that will bring any changes to the IMF. If we analyse the institutions created from Bretton Woods, they had a clear mission: That was to create the basis of development of capitalism in the global south and to impose a mechanism of economic domination through creating debt

Ouch, harsh words from Latin America's rising star. Now that it has bought itself out of indentured servitude to the IMF, Brazil is thriving despite the economic plague oozing from the crippled United States financial system. I remind you here, dear reader, that our very own Treasury Secretary Timmy the Two-Bit Tax Cheat hails from the very same terrorist organization which bled Brazil dry and that the United States recently committed its part of a $1.1 trillion G-20 "global stimulus" to OMG that same IMF! Let's rename it WTF and call it a day. What the fuck is going on here?

(in fairness, US sources have also covered Brazil's quest for economic independence now that it is free from the IMF leash)

We also missed Tim Geithner's speech "on behalf of the United States" before the IMF (btw, he's still an IMF governor in case you didn't catch that part) the same Friday. Oh wait, Timmy boy was hanging with the World Bank/IMF boys! WTF!

I am not discounting H1N1 as a legitimate illness which warrants concern, however hype is never a necessary component when dealing with public health. Somehow, it feels as if we were tricked (duh). Here I am waiting for the pig zombies and what? Nothing!

Meanwhile, the WHO is looking to up its swine flu warning, despite concerns that level 6 (the highest phase level assigned to an outbreak by the organization) might cause unnecessary panic. I'm sure they are very concerned about this.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told The Associated Press she wanted more information on the proposal before taking a position, but that she was impressed how many countries supported it.

You may recall that HHS Secretary Sebelius is also OMGObama's 6th tax-paying-challenged cabinet member (the administration does not allow the use of the words "tax cheat" any longer) and the governor who ran Kansas' finances into the ground.

So can you buy the hype? No. You really shouldn't ever do that, it's just a bad idea all around.

What's the lesson here, kids? First of all, congratulations for getting through that whole post. And the lesson is no different than every other lesson I've ever tried to get across to you: these guys are fucking full of it. Bah.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Krupo said...

I do recall the valiant researcher - surely he'll save us all.

Though the flu, mercifully, is waning in our corner of the world, but Japan apparently had a nasty 70+ person outbreak of H1N1 and people are on edge about calling it off too soon.

Asians in particular, living in higher densities and with SARS a fresh memory, aren't taking any chances, and though there's some "curious" coincidental timing, I can't blame them for the approach. Better to overreact a bit then have a bunch of corpses - they say this type of flu is particularly nasty on young healthy people which is odd, to say the least.

The Brazilians could do themselves a favor and withdraw from the IMF. The IMF used to "stabilize" interest rates. In 1971 we got floating exchange rates when Nixon "closed the gold window". Ever since then the IMF has needed something to do so it has made itself a busybody in the the third world. The IMF should dissolve.