Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday Despair Blogging

The avian flu situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse, but the WHO nonetheless delivers a stern rebuke to our lyin' eyes:

The growing number of people with bird flu-like symptoms in Indonesia does not mean the outbreak is becoming worse, and there is no sign the virus can be passed easily among people, top U.N. health experts said on Thursday.
No sign, that is, except for the growing number of cases, which suggests that the outbreak is becoming worse.

Meanwhile, the CDC refuses to share vital information with researchers:
"Many in the influenza field are displeased with the CDC's practice of refusing to deposit sequences of most of the strains that they sequence," says Michael Deem, a physicist at Rice University in Houston, who works on predicting flu vaccine efficiency. Policy decisions, such as which vaccine to produce ahead of each flu season, are being made without the full data being available to the scientific community, he says. "The quality of their decisions, which can affect millions of people, cannot be checked."
As Revere says:
This Administration and its top water carriers at CDC are not just incompetent. They are a danger to the world and everyone in it. We all live in New Orleans now.
Too true. And in my opinion, the inexplicable decisions that have been made in regard to H5N1 will fuel conspiracy theories for generations. Just as Bush has undone years of sucking up to black churches with his response to Katrina, the inadequate and obfuscatory official response to H5N1 - if the worst happens - is going to fuel angry worldwide speculation about a planned, or abetted, die-off; the mistrust this engenders, rightly or wrongly, could have ugly and destructive results for years to come.

When the logical response to everything you see and hear is "No one could be that incompetent," it's not much of a leap to assume that there's a malicious policy of willful neglect in place. If enough people make this leap, everything from vaccination programs, to the distribution of birth control, to the mere presence of NGOs in certain countries could be greeted with suspicion and even violence. In addition to the lives that may be lost as a result of our incoherent policies, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we're maximizing the potential for long-term social destabilization.

4 comments:

Speechless said...

You my dear Philathetes are ever a clear and bracing voice, helping me make my meandering way, picking a strange path betwixt incompetence theories and conspiracy theories.

Even if you don't bring hope for the despairing, your ability to speak clearly serves as its own source of hope & comfort. It's a true public service.

I give you many thanks-- in fact, I'd gladly give you tax dollars to provide this service in the ad hoc gov't we'll probably need when all this crumpling infrastructue tumbles round our ears in the too near future.

Anonymous said...

With Bird Flu taking wing on the East and Rita barreling down the West, it appears that we are currently resting in the eye of a planetary storm that will be upon us shortly.

Your despair is the voice of an essential clarity that must become the prevailing norm -- for those available to it at all. I can only hope to be one, with the help of your ongoing example.

Kate said...

I fear you're right, Phila, that we are maximizing social destabilization, and I can't help but think that it is purposeful, just as Big Brother's endless wars against shifting enemies was purposeful.

There ought to be a bona fide impeachment movement. These people have got to go. They are a menace to our global society. Too much has already happened. They ought to be help accountable and forced out, and we ought to have an actual discussion in this country about what sort of leadership we require. A basic level of competence should be the first requirement, you'd think.

Another excellent post. Thanks for it.

mandt said...

The worst of it is that ordered chaos is very much like planned incompetence.