A Fatal Eclipse Of Trust

Sorry, guys, we’re not all going to die of Ebola. I know, I know, we’ve been hoping for so long for the Sweet Meteor of Death that the Sweet Pandemic of Death would do, right?

But life is full of these little disappointments, and we’re going to have to live and – being us – rebuild the republic.

Which is a problem, because while we’re not all going to die of Ebola, Ebola has revealed how far gone we are in lack of civic trust.

No, I’m not accusing you of being untrusting. I trust you to be untrusting. I count on it.

The poor creatures who “trust government” much less those who think they “belong to the government” can only be kept alive, let alone safe, when surrounded by a lot of us jaundiced creatures who examine every statement of the government and who, if the government tells us our mother loves us, verify it.

But truth be told, even we trust the government, or at least the structure of society in a hundred different ways every day, unless our antenna go up at the indication of duplicity.

Things for which we used to trust the government, if not exactly to at least be in the right ballpark: Unemployment, inflation, the state of the economy, the state of the population, disease statistics, warnings about what was safe and unsafe (yes, sometimes we got the alar scare, but the truth is, it usually erred on the side of two much caution), the state of the world, the state of our enemies’ forces, the state of our forces.

There are more things I’m not calling to mind now, a myriad points that informed us that civilization was in fact still working, that statistics were still being gathered, and that we could – through them – know the state of the world that we couldn’t verify on our own.

This is not – ah – to say that we, we particularly who tend to hang out in this blog, believe in these things in whole or even implicitly. No, but we did believe in them more or less, and kind of. We would say things like “Of course, the census overestimates the uncounted in the big cities, but—” or “They’re having a panic fit over the disinfectant in smokeless cigarettes, ignore that.”

However, for the big things, important things, we trusted government. You know, weather alerts, forewarning the economy was about to take a dive, election results, that sort of “big thing.”

What Ebola has shown is that this trust has eroded to the point it’s practically non existent. It’s also revealed why.

The clown show that has been the CDC handling of it, and then Obama appointing yet another czar – a position not provided for in our constitution – and one who is JUST a political operative, shouldn’t feel anyone with confidence. And it won’t.

It doesn’t mean we will die screaming, but only because we are – relatively – lucky. As Rand Paul (who is a doctor) said the disease is highly infectious (by which I mean that you can catch it from a relative low volume of virus) but not highly contagious (by which I mean that you have to be pretty close to someone and that they’re only contagious in a small window.)

Also our hospitals are among the best in the world (still) even if under pressure from Obamacare.

I don’t mean to say that more people won’t catch this, or that we won’t be made very uncomfortable. I also don’t mean to say it’s a good idea not to institute quarantines for people coming from the affected countries and not to delay visas for those not on urgent business.

Other countries in Africa are completely closing their doors to people from those countries, and there is absolutely no reason we shouldn’t at least ensure those coming in are healthy.

Yes, it would be a bit of trouble/expense, but not as much as the stupid questions at airports and the taking of temperature (which I live in fear will keep me from coming back from Portugal, because one thing I can guarantee, after two weeks in an unheated house, where the temperature hovers between the thirties and the forties I’m going to be ill. I plan for recovery after my return.) And certainly not as much as ending up with 800 people being monitored. Which is part of the problem because we didn’t monitor/restrict the movements of the relatively few originally.

And I’m not saying we’re not going to see more cases. We are. Probably a couple hundred, or I’ll be very surprised. And those couple hundred cases will be cases that could have been avoided.

What I’m saying is that, because of the nature of the illness and the fact we have sanitation and hygiene practices, as much as because our hospitals do still function in some manner, we’re NOT going to have a pandemic.

That’s not to say things can’t get bad enough. A couple hundred cases, if they come close enough together could be enough to ignite a panic. And if you’re thinking of a panic in terms of riots and fits – oh, there will be those too, likely – you’re missing the most important point. First person – first – who catches it through traveling with an infected person, and our airlines face a crisis that will make the post-9-11 one seem like child’s play. And if you think “well people can just drive” you’re missing how much we depend on air transport for business. Yeah, true, business meetings can go virtual and so can other such things, but deliveries can’t.

But as bad as that could get, it’s not TEOTWAWKI and it will pass.

What won’t pass is the reason we’re at risk for it. And that’s the symptom of a far greater disease.

After Summer of Recovery six; after the best unemployment statistics ever, which in fact aren’t, because no one is reporting on the fact our work force participation is smallest since women joined the work force in droves; after ISIS as a JV team; after Benghazi; after the IRS scandals, which even if not fully reported have made it through, like a trickle under the door, to pollute public trust; after Fast and Furious; after journalists joining in presidential debates AND LYING in favor of the administration; after the purposely inflated stock bubble; after global warming; after the press has finally reversed itself on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (after spending years telling us Bush lied); after the secrecy and rumors about the current president’s past; after, after, after…

Even the sheep are restless. Trust in our institutions let alone our leaders is at a minimum.

Of course the leaders’ think if we, the goats, just stop showing where they lied, then everything would be hunky dory. But it’s not like that.

Even sheep realize when you tell them the economy is booming and everyone they know, even the relatively well off are struggling. They’re not stupid. The only people doing well have been those riding the stock market and that might be coming to an end.

So—Why is that a problem?

It’s a problem because in modern life we can’t gather information by ourselves about everything, and because we have to trust two things: the media, and the government.

The government mostly as a collector of facts, something it has done since ancient times. And the media to tell us the truth, no matter how unpalatable.

If we can’t trust them, where will we go? How will we gather true info?

Even I can’t. And I have more experience than most, both of research and of living under untrustworthy governments. But I see movements, like the recent one in real estate in this area and I wonder what is going on and precisely what it means. Is it because more people have better paying jobs? But that doesn’t accord with any statistics. Is our good neighborhood receiving the run off of neighborhoods that crashed? And why is Denver real estate running hot and as a seller’s market?

I read at an economic blog that the government is reinflating the real estate bubble, but I don’t even GET the reasons they say that. And economics is my hobby.

And meanwhile I see what I saw at the beginning of the crisis: Top and bottom restaurants closing (the middle holding fast.) Rents climbing (because so many people can’t buy.) And, because I have a kids in their early twenties, a multitude of young people with high debt, locked out of our economy.

None of this accords with “the economy is getting better.” I lived through the eighties. I know what that looks like.

So what the heck is going on? I don’t know, and neither do you. The government won’t tell the truth and the press won’t report anything that hurts this government. (One reason to vote Republican is that while they can be just as corrupt and venal, the press doesn’t protect them. And after this administration that’s reason enough. Though the fact the press outright lied about WMDs doesn’t help either way.)

And that’s a problem. In a country as complex as ours, in a world as complex as ours, the individual needs to be able to trust signals and facts he can’t gather himself.

When those are corrupt, you end up with an entire society in an hallucinatory state, and behaving like people who hallucinate will: we’ll respond to things that aren’t there, and fail to see the ones that aren’t.

And some of those might kill us, if not now not very far off, if not physically then as a society.

Ebola might cost us as many as a hundred lives (a pessimistic prognosis on my part, btw) and it might throw our economy into greater chaos.

But the lack of trust in anything our government, our media, our institutions say? The DESERVED lack of trust I might add?

That could cost us everything we still have of the republic and send us to third world status in a decade.

And all we can do about it is strive to elect trustworthy people, call the press on their lies and omissions and try to build a network of information composed of individuals.

It’s time we did the job our institutions won’t do.

Until we can supersede them.

In the end, we win, they lose, but let’s shorten our time in the wilderness.

They’ve lost our trust. Let’s rebuild parallel networks of trust.

 

260 responses to “A Fatal Eclipse Of Trust

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    In _The Last Centurion_ John Ringo’s character talked about “High Trust” societies and “Low Trust” societies.

    In “Low Trust” societies, you can only trust people you know (or are related to) and you’re considered a fool if you don’t.

    The US, in general, is a “High Trust” society and it’ll be a Bad Thing if we completely lose that.

    Right now on Baen’s Bar, I’m ignoring the posts of some individuals. Not just because their opinions “piss me off” but because I can’t trust them to tell me the truth about “who they really are and where they actually stand”. [Frown]

    • High trust and low trust are functions of the social structure, though. They’re not dependent upon trust in government.

      And, fortunately, we are a long way from shifting to a low trust society (I’m not sure we could function as a low trust society, we’re too heterogeneous).

      • “High trust and low trust are functions of the social structure …”

        Agreed, but the government can make choices, such as playing favorites among groups or exploiting social tensions, that help erode those bonds.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          No argument. However, the degree to which the government’s actions erode is related to the degree of trust placed in the government.

          Since I don’t trust the government to turn on the air conditioning without seeking advantage, I don’t find my societal trust suffering from learning of things like, oh, Solyndra.

          I don’t trust Solyndra as a result of the debacle, but my trust in other companies is not likewise hampered.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I don’t mind John writing books, but dammit! Who said he could write the *headlines*?

      • Agreed. Although I was looking at a used copy of Kratman’s _State of Disobedience_ yesterday and thinking, “You know, today I can totally see a whole bunch more of this than I could five-six years ago.” Although on health grounds alone I doubt Hillary will get into office, or stay there for very long if she were to be elected, so that little detail’s off.

    • In “Low Trust” societies, you can only trust people you know (or are related to) and you’re considered a fool if you don’t.

      ‘s part of what scares me silly about the REAL blaming the victim stuff that goes on– “it’s OK to target those guys, because they make it so easy.”

      Part of why we’ve got so far is that we’re not like that. Thugs are like that; in that society, you can’t build as much because it will be taken.

  2. Pingback: A Fatal Eclipse Of Trust | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  3. (One reason to vote Republican is that while they can be just as corrupt and venal, the press doesn’t protect them. And after this administration that’s reason enough. Though the fact the press outright lied about WMDs doesn’t help either way.)

    I like that. I intend to steal it.

    As for trust in this admin, I was reading this just before reading your post.

    Gee, why would we not trust this gov’t?

    • And Here is another take on that Sacbee reported story

      • The guys at the widely read Powerline blog have also picked up on that tale: Government case implodes as its former lawyers allege fraud against Holder DOJ.

        I don’t expect Instapundit to long overlook it. And Fox and Limbaugh will soon be shouting it. This may push Ebola off the front pages and require a new national crisis to change the topic. This administration is giving a whole new meaning to crisis management.

        • they do manage to go from crisis to crisis

          • It is our fault, you know, that there are so many crises. If we would just get with the agenda, acknowledge their brilliance and stop insisting on asserting our “liberty” they would not have to lie about what they are doing and would not have so many wardrobe malfunctions crises to manage. After all, there really is just one crisis: the imperative to keep the public distracted and uninformed.

            • That is why they hate voter ID (outside the need for fraud). They need people too stupid to get a valid ID voting to keep them in power.

              • Sigh. Your naivete is charming. They don’t need actual people to vote and have been perfecting methods of mass production of votes for some time now.

                Yes, I did once look up the definition of “cynicism” and found nothing but my own picture.

                • ah, but they need the fig leaf to cover the nekkid actions.

                • In inner city voting precints where there are no functioning civic organizations, where there are no school parent-teachers organizations, no youth groups,where half the people you stop on the street probably can’t give you todays date (unless its the day the EBT card gets filled again), etc etc etc, every election day 100% and sometimes more of all registered voters, which consist of slightly more then 100% of voting age adults, manage to find their way to polls. Truly an amazing feat. But, the Democrats tell us time and time again, there is no voter fraud. I’m not sure I believe them.

                  • It sorta depends on your definition of “voter fraud,” doanit?

                    I am convinced Democrats believe that no vote for them can possibly be fraudulent.

                    • as long as its for them they aren’t

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      But but… If it wasn’t for the scare tactics of the Great Right Wing Conspiracy, the People would always support the Glorious Democratic Party!!!! [Sarcasm]

              • Of course, most of the people that they *say* can’t get or afford ID have to have ID in order to get their welfare benefits, EBT cards, etc etc.

        • Bloodpressure warning: Mmmm, maybe not bump ebola, but tie into it: http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/14/president-obama-already-has-an-ebola-czar-where-is-she/

          Scroll down to the Pearlman bit.
          /Bloodpressure warning off.

          • Yeah, there’s been some chatter about this. iirc, one Dem in the House even voted against the new “czar” because we already have one.

            Of course, given the potentially lethal baggage attached to the “infectious diseases” woman, there’s a very good reason for the administration to make sure that she’s out of the spotlight.

        • Holder’s DOJ commit fraud? It can’t be, just can’t be.

        • Hoe much y’all wanna bet that and communications from higher regarding this, including holder himself, are either going to have been ‘deleted and not backed up’, ‘lost in a hard drive crash’, or ‘covered by executive privilege’?

          As a note, any private corporation that tried either of those first two stunts in court would be doing very long terms for destroying evidence.

          • We all know that subpeonas are the cause of hard drive crashes.

          • As I understand the legal principle, failure to provide subpoenaed documents requires the court opt for the interpretation most injurious to the failing party.

            Of course, in some cases “most injurious” is still less injurious than what the *cough*eighteen minutes*cough* “lost” documents might reveal.

  4. Maybe I have a circle of cynical friends, but I haven’t seen much trust in Government in well over a decade. What I do see in the Ebola media circus is the almost inadvertent exposure of the clownshoe incompetence of the current administration.

    On the other hand, I don’t think the epic level of corruption will be evident to anyone who cannot examine the external signs to see the probable intentions beneath for at least 20 years, as it will take that long before it is all uncovered.

    • sized 24 EEEEE clown shoe quality when they say we shouldn’t stop direct flights from afflicted areas because they will then just come here illegally.

    • I see enormous trust in the government among my friends and relatives–ever since a Democrat took office. Their faith would be touching if it weren’t sliding a hand into my pockets, looking for spare change.

  5. Reblogged this on Quasi Renaissance Man and commented:
    Lots to think about in this post from “According to Hoyt.” Especially of personal concern is the new “Ebola Czar.” At best, there will be no impact, at worst, another layer of bureaucracy and reporting to go through. Lucky us.

    • what? You mean the appointment of a highly partisan political hack of a lawyer doesn’t fill you with confidence a medical issue is going to be handled in the best possible way? Inconcievable!

    • The new Czar serves the very important purpose of adding yet another layer of protection between real world events and the President.
      As I’ve pointed out here and elsewhere any number of times over the last six years, once a Chicago political hack, always a Chicago political hack.
      As Sarah so eloquently points out these two terms of a liberal progressive president are creating damage that will take years to recover from. The real question is whether some or most of that damage is irrecoverable.
      Were I king the lot of the bastiches would be in irons, but only briefly while awaiting the gibbet.

      • I look at the news, look at the clause about “defend and protect”, look at the news, and growl, that low, back-of-the-throat sort of growl.

  6. Trust the Government,? It feels like I have fallen into “1984”.

  7. How many Ebola patients at, and spawning from, a hospital will take it out for any other purpose? The current history of the Dallas Ebola Magnet Hospital of Excellence is sobering.

    In truth we have 4 hospitals set up for a disease this bad, with perhaps 11 beds available minus 4 in use right now (they have a total of 23 isolation beds, but are saying they can’t treat that many Ebola patients). They’re getting patients they know ahead of time have Ebola, and only Emory has passed the acid test as of yet (Montana has never treated any patient for anything in their three beds).

    Getting back to your trust theme, our CDC director assured us that:

    “Essentially any hospital in the country can take care of Ebola. You don’t need a special hospital room to do it,” Dr. Tom Frieden said Oct. 2. “You do need a private room with a private bathroom.”

    Which of course no ER room has. While there’s the potential, even likelihood that non-specialist hospitals will up their game, and for example provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that covers caregiver’s necks, as the Dallas hospital systematically failed to do, even for treating the 1st nurse who got infected there caring for Duncan.

    The point I’m getting at is that it won’t take many more Ebola Tourists to throw a great monkey wrench in our medical system and beyond, no doubt bankrupting more than a few, likely killing some people with normal aliments who’d otherwise be able to get treatment. Your posited pessimistic worst case of a couple hundred would be terrible, albeit not apocalyptic. (For the latter, imagine it getting a foothold in Latin America and/or other 3rd World regions; who will be blamed if a billion or two die?)

    So I see many potential knock on consequences of our policy to freely admit Ebola Tourists. Your take that we might go full Third World in a decade could be optimistic. There’s “a great deal of ruin in a nation”, but we’re running out of margin.

    • My day job revolves around contamination control, albeit radioactive rather than biological, and for the life of me I cannot figure out what the fuck the medical establishment is thinking. Gowns that tie in the back and one piece Tyvek suits with integrated hoods are impossible to remove alone without contaminating yourself, but it also doesn’t seem like they have suited up people to help unsuit the workers. And why the hell isn’t everyone coming out of the warm zone not going through a disinfectant shower? Ebola on the skin isn’t a problem, as long as you get it off and break it down before it gets anywhere moist.

      • There is definitely no such thing as overkill when trying to prevent this stuff from infecting you after you’ve knowingly dealt with a sufferer. I too have been wondering why.

      • Ebola on the skin isn’t a problem

        People are not generally willing to play a game of “You Bet Your Life” on that proposition. The infectious dose is estimated to be 1-10 viri (!!!), broken skin is thought to be an entry, and intact skin has not been ruled out (and cannot be at this time). We’re pretty certain mucus membranes are an entryway (and remember we’ve got one right above our legs).

        I get the impression that best practices include using a dilute bleach spray as indicated, but showering is right out.

        You might be led astray from the very different characteristics of radioactive contamination; don’t most/nearly all/all I’ve studied in the nuclear war context that are survivable… allow for showering them off, as long as you don’t ingest any?

        • As I understand it, ebola is a relatively large virus, so it’s unlikely to migrate through the skin. Since you don’t have any live cells on the surface there isn’t anything the virus can do. The danger is that your skin is a less hostile environment for the virus, so it will remain viable longer. Long enough for you to scratch the contaminated portion, pick up a particle or three, then rub your eye. Bam! You’ve got ebola.

          I wasn’t suggesting taking a regular shower, but rather using something – like bleach – that would render the virus immediately non-viable. It all depends on the necessary chlorine concentration. If it’s what you’d find in a swimming pool or hot tub, there’s no reason it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be great for your hair, but neither is hemmoragic fever. If the concentration is closer to what you’d find in a bottle of bleach, then we need to focus on spraying down the protective clothing prior to doffing. But it needs to be a liberal hosing down, this is definitely one of the situations where Maxim 37 applies.

          • A reference I looked at earlier mentioned dilute bleach needed greater than or equal to 10 minutes to kill Ebola. It’s an enveloped virus, so I’d imagine the general rules would apply, zap bilipid layer it stole from the wall of the cell it budded off of and you’re probably half-way there.

          • Sounds great until you irritate your skin raw from the constant bleaching, and then…

            #OREGON HOBO#

      • Because they never built rooms with floor drains and showers or spray equipment as part of the isolation rooms. I imagine it cost too much.

        • Bah, give me a camp shower, a good sized Rubbermaid tub, a drill, 50′ of tygon tubing, a drill, some fittings, a big drum half full of bleach, and a rotoflex pump and I’ll have you a portable decon shower in less than an hour.

          • Emory learned the entity handling its waste water wasn’t willing to accept raw Ebola sewage, it had to be treated with bleach or a quaternary detergent first. So that kludge would need a bit more, or might need to empty into drums which would get the treatment and then get dumped.

            • The drum half full of bleach would be the waste receptacle, that guarantees you a max dilution factor of 2. You could also hook the tygon intl a length of metal pipe and route the waste into an incinerator. Actually, if you had a compressed gas or air source you could hook up a jet pump which would eliminate the risk of the rotoflex wearing through the tygon. Run that into a combustion chamber and barbecue the little buggers.

        • It’s the whole package – if you are building an infection disease ward, you need negative pressure patient rooms with attached bathrooms, roomy anterooms for staging outside of the immediate pateint area, and dedicated labs and such as noted upthread, all surrounded by airlocks and changing/decontamination rooms. It’s not trivial and nobody save the four sites in the US has done it.

          The “any local hospital can treat Ebola” trope assumes that converted standard treatment rooms, cobbled-together plastic sheeting airlocks and decon areas, and unpracticed PPE and procedures, are “good enough.” To put it mildly based on the Dallas experience, that appears to not be the case.

          We’re actually kind of lucky this is Ebola and not a killer airborne virus like the 1918 influenza – if this were airborne, the failures in Dallas would have yielded an infected count in the thousands if not tens of thousands by now, instead of two.

          • Sounds like a job for the mothballed hospital ships. Minor reworking to provide negative pressure.

            • There was some good discussion of potential use of our two in service military hospitals on ProMED-mail, and they’re not good candidates. They have stacked bunks, and given the messiness of Ebola patients, only the bottom one could be used, so out of a nominal 1,000 beds only 250 could be theoretically. They’re oriented for treating trauma, not something ultra-infectious like Ebola. In the context of West Africa they were a non-starter. In the US, I’m sure you’d be better off doing stuff on land, starting with most anything. Assuming you could get the regulators to look the other way….

        • Actually in chem labs, they build the showers but not the drains. The chances of something going wrong with the drains meant it was better to occasionally clean up the flood than deal with the drains.

          Probability matters, to be sure.

    • The regional hospitals up here are setting up a special ebola/nasty bug protocol and treatment center with the proper (at least for the moment, until the CDC pulls another rabbit out of its . . . hat) protective equipment and safe transportation options. They’ve had one spook already, and were already talking about “what ifs”. So as I’d suspected, its going to be local over-preparation that will contain things, rather than wisdom from Atlanta and D.C.

      • Do they have the architecture to do this?

        It takes more than just will, supplies (which if not in short supply will be fairly soon) and the right knowledge (which CDC has been very bad in supplying; fortunately they just withdrew their bogus Ebola PPE recommendations).

        You need a room immediately outside for disrobing, I’ve been told the vestigial alcoves for that are iffy. Emory also realized you need an adjacent lab, and to minimize the number of tests you do, for a spill of something this pathogenic in your main lab would require shutting it down until decontaminated, which would be bad for other patients in the hospital.

        And speaking of those other patients, until a non-specialist hospital shows they have a ^%&!ing clue, expect people to have a similar reaction to the one they’re having towards the hopeless Dallas Ebola Magnet Hospital of Excellence is getting. Even then, they’ll wonder what the next hospital will be like.

        It’ll take some time for this to shake down, assuming non-specialist hospitals are able to pull it off, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us stopping travel before then.

        • I suspect they do. I am not directly involved in the project, only tangentially through a relative, but apparently they are setting up a highly compartmentalized treatment, lab, receiving, and decontamination/hazmat containment facility. They are used to drills involving nuclear-contaminated patients, so I would not be surprised if some of that is also being brought into the mix.

        • We haven’t designed hospitals to cope with mass pandemics for a long, long time.

          The old hospital designs were more suited to dealing with epidemic disease. An example of this is the Old Madigan complex at Fort Lewis, most of which is now torn down:

          That’s the best picture I can find, but you can see the differences between that design and current “best practices”. The wards were set up on a horizontal, primarily single-story plan. The reasons for this was so that they could isolate each ward, if necessary, and have some ability to prevent the spread of disease during pandemic situations. I’m told that there were portable decontamination facilities that were designed and tested to enable each ward to operate on its own, if need be. A hospital design like this is far more useful than the current “grand hotel” model that most of our hospitals are using. We thought we’d solved all the old epidemic problems, and I fear that our optimism is about to bite us in the ass. The old, modular designs would be a hell of a lot better for dealing with the outbreak of things like Ebola and other diseases. We may wan tto break out the history books and take a look at why General Leonard Wood laid the hospitals out the way he did.

          We should be breaking out the military portable medical facilities right now, and looking at them for what modifications would be necessary in order to safely treat Ebola. At one time, we had equipment sets that were intended to deal with NBC contaminated trauma victims. I’m thinking that if the decon sites were suitable for dealing with radiological and chemical weapons, they ought to work just fine for biological contaminants just as well.

          Be a good question to ask, whether or not they got complacent and failed to keep up with the NBC issues in all the new portable facilities they built since 9/11. I hope they haven’t, and I hope they are set up to be able to drop some orders and start producing a bunch of these portable facilities. What needs to happen is that when an outbreak of Ebola is identified, they drop several of these portable facilities into the parking lots of local hospitals to use for triage. Show up with potential Ebola? Go to the portable facility, get evaluated. No Ebola? Go to the existing facility. Ebola? Out you go, into one of the portable wards, and get treated in a facility that we can burn in an incinerator, if need be.

          The military has all this stuff on file, somewhere. Limited kits may have been procured, but there should be enough lead time to get more fabricated in a hurry. Training on using the facilities won’t take that long, either, but it will be necessary.

          Of course, doing this would mean the government would need to be pro-active, which they aren’t. Which is why I think we may be boned…

          • All that biowarfare stuff is cached at Ft. Belvoir in VA. Isn’t it? That’s where the pres is always golfing. It would be hilarious if they had to tear up the course to unearth some of this stuff.

            • Anything at Fort Belvoir is more likely to be subject to hazardous waste disposal instead of use.
              Gear like I’m talking about? Here’s the Canadian standard for portable field hospitals:
              http://www.weatherhaven.com/medical
              The current Army/Air Force program that would be most adaptable to this usage would likely be the CP DEPMEDS system, or the Chemically Protected Medical Deployment System. Google up the term, and you’ll find tons of links. Most of the setup is geared towards operation in a contaminated environment, but the system could probably be modified fairly quickly to provide a practical equivalent to Level IV Biosafety standards. It’d be better than what we’ve got, and it wouldn’t require the gutting/shutdown of current facilities.

              The more I think about it, the more certain I am that the way to go with this deal is a standing fleet of DEPMEDS units that can go where the disease is. Most of this gear is already designed, and should be readily producible.

              I vaguely remember someone telling me that there was an on-the-shelf plan for dealing with a nationwide pandemic situation. Someone ought to be pulling that out of the safe at the Pentagon, right about now.

    • Not a dig at you, but this has me boggling:

      You don’t need a special hospital room to do it,” Dr. Tom Frieden said Oct. 2. “You do need a private room with a private bathroom.”

      General hospital wards don’t have those either. I know there are people who seem to imagine that the hospitals of the world are supposed to resemble the one in House MD, but then again, there are people who seem to have a problem differentiating between TV shows and reality (probably not helped by ‘reality’ TV shows.)

      • Most US hospitals today are wards composed of one person rooms or two person rooms, with one bathroom (toilet and sink, no shower) per room. The only wards with multiple beds per room are emergency rooms (which have curtainable alcoves and no patient bathrooms) or prep areas for maternity (waiting for delivery time, as delivery is in an operating or otherwise private room). Lots of doors and elevators, hard to isolate.

  8. I checked to make sure nobody slipped me an optimism mickey — doesn’t seem so, but…

    I’ve been taking the increasing distrust aimed in the general direction of the .gov as a positive societal trend. A good thing for our civilization.

    I hate the failure of the CDC, the illumination of yet another bumbling bureaucracy standing in place of an organization we need right now. Calm, competent expertise executing established protocols and leading the way, wouldn’t that be refreshing? More to the point, isn’t that the f@#4ing baseline in this country?

    As much as I hate it, though, I look on the lowering trust favorably.

    Nobody should be surprised to hear that I think we live in a society, amongst people (more importantly) who can weather the coming days. I don’t think I’m shaking out a shocking revelation by saying I think we, and our Republic, can pull out of the dive (it’ll be a nasty dive, in the meantime).

    Underlying that silly optimism, however, is the assumption that we start undercutting a particular pattern of belief and indoctrination in our society. I don’t see how we move forward into the next century with so many people’s thinking corrupted by elements and assumptions from a disastrously failed experiment. Dressing up broad swaths of the government in big shoes, primary colors and squeaky noses provides the opportunity to weaken the indoctrination.

    • Given our public schools indoctrination in believing multiple (and contradicting) impossibilities at once, my concern is that too many will think the cure for our present hangover is hair of the dog. Look at Dodd-Frank and its premise that the cure for politically driven financial mismanagement is to add more politics to the financial sector.

      Increasingly I see sound thinkers being driven to mutter about “The strawberries, ah, the strawberries — That’s where I had them” and losing their ability to focus on the oncoming storm.

    • The fact remains that part of American exceptionalism is that we have been a high trust society. That trust is being eroded on a daily basis by our elected officials, and the rot seems to be working from the head down.
      Ask pretty much anyone who has ever dealt with second and third world governments about the level of graft, corruption, outright theft that is standard operating procedure with such arrangements. Then consider what such would do to everything we hold dear in the US.

      • I mentioned it upthread, but — high trust and low trust societies are not dependent on the trust level in government. (Although, low trust societies can certainly be impeded by untrustworthy governments. And, it’s worth noting, the character of low trust societies frequently fosters corrupt governments {familial trust networks are served by relation to the government officials})

        We have never been a society that took the government with overmuch seriousness or placed huge orders of trust in same. There are recent philosophical trends and indoctrinations that have pushed the needle a fair bit, yes. But I’d still say the average American has limited trust in government. The recent debacles are undermining even the limited trust, but I still maintain this as a net good.*

        We are a high trust society not because American politicians are a special breed or American government is particularly favorable. We’re a high trust society because Americans tend to believe in and trust Americans.

        Efforts to undercut that trust concern me far more than evidence of government bumbling. (Yes, corrupted government {particularly law enforcement} can do real damage to our society. Unchecked it can fracture trust. If people believe the .gov more than they believe their neighbors.)

        *It only goes so far, of course. A complete lack of trust in the principles of our governing bodies would be catastrophic. But, so far, I still see most of the distrust being laid at the feet of people.

        • “Efforts to undercut that trust concern me far more than evidence of government bumbling.”

          You mean like telling people they can’t trust a “white” cop? Or a “male” boss? or a “straight” bake? It is hard to be “We the People” when We don’t trust Them because They don’t look/sound/have an inny-out/perform sexual acts like We do.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            How many people in your day to day world buy into the crap?

            Exceedingly few in mine.

            I’m not saying there are no idiots in society, just that their percentage of 314 million people is not the majority.

            • Quiet like here…Especially since the extremes tend to shout louder than the sensible people. Who tend to be busy getting on with their lives.

              • Getting on with their lives is a theme of mine.

                We hear the loud-mouths and despair. It’s easy to forget all the other folks getting on with their lives, and assess how they’ll react in extremis. I tend to have faith…

          • Eamon J. Cole

            But, yeah, those trends are of concern.

            So I fight them.

        • I agree. The existence of “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” as a joke shows the truth of your stance. If we trusted the government, that would not be a joke.

    • I’m inclined to agree with you, Eamon. Even in the younger set, the ones that have been swaddled in “trust the government to save you,” some of the people that I’ve been around recently are starting to get that “confused dog” look because of all the contradictions about 1) ebola and 2) not finding jobs. They’re not quite ready to dig any deeper, but they’re starting to wonder what’s really going on and why the government is acting so dumb. The bit about “oh, it’s racist/economic evil not to let planes from West Africa into the US” really seems to be that final straw.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        A straw I welcome.

        Ties back in to a conversation Dan Lane and I had a bit back:

        I still believe in the Americans down under the confusion and misled philosophy. But it’s going to take a few knocks to clean the dross off.

        This is such a knock.

  9. Regarding the real estate pumping now going on, I picked up a realtor’s sheet yesterday on a house in our neighborhood in southern AZ. Asking price was 350,000, and conventional loan was 20% down, so with closing costs, about $75,000 at closing. But a VA loan was $0 down, $5,000 at closing. Nothing like having skin in the game!

    • Part of the real estate pump is the inflated dollar. Expect the current stock market bubble to bleed money into other areas as people try to convert their virtual profits into secured assets. The problem with our present economic philosophy is that Quantitative Easing creates a Red Queen’s Race situation as we try to outrun the inevitable deflation.

    • One of the problems with the real estate market is that none of the core rules that caused the last bubble where changed. The government created the flawed rules to achieve social justice ends. So the government encouragement for bad loans is still there.

      Additionally no one important or even of moderate level got punished for their role in the last bubble. Oh a handful of people got in trouble but by and large no one actually got punished.

      With that kind of background is it a surprise that the problems of the last bubble are starting to happen again?

      • Where is Jamie Gorelick working today?

        That’s actually a serious question.

        • Private practice (partner level) at a DC law firm. I believe I saw it in wikipedia, but I remember following a link to the firm’s bio page on her (here, let me check…) Yep, see :http://www.wilmerhale.com/jamie_gorelick/.

          • I had to wonder given her trail of destruction during her tenure in government, from the intelligence wall, the the 9/11 commission trying to cover for the wall, to the millions of bonuses she got in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac right before they crashed after the accounting scandal. She must have really had the goods on someone in government.

            • Jamie Gorelick is either the unluckiest bureaucrat that the world has ever seen, or there’s something else going on with her. One time, I could accept. Twice? That’s possibly just coincidence. Three times? No way is that an accident.

              Let’s see:
              >Primary mover behind the separation of criminal and counter-intel data pipelines in the Justice Department. She wrote the rules that kept the criminal side from telling the counter-intel side about where the al Qaeda members they were tracking were, and what they were doing. Odds are that if the information that was reported to the criminal side about “strange people wanting to learn how to fly commercial aircraft, but who weren’t worried about landings or takeoffs…” had gotten to the counter-intel people in the FBI, 9/11 would probably have been rolled up sometime in the fall of 2000.
              >Created the policies in the Defense Department that led to Able Danger, the first experimental run at building an all-source intel analysis engine. SOCOM was running an experiment with that which is reputed to have identified Mohammed Atta as a suspicious party worth investigating. The program was shut down, and the guy who ran it was forcibly retired.
              >Picked to take part in the 9/11 commission, and forced on the administration by the Democrats. She should have been a witness, not running the damn thing. Tie-ins with Sandy Berger’s thefts at the National Archives are another thing she’s reputed to be involved in. I’ve heard reports that they were known to be meeting informally during that time period, and you have to wonder what the hell they would have had to talk about…
              >Worked at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with Eric Holder. Somehow wound up quite well-off, just like Holder did…

              Yeah, I’d probably have her in an interrogation chamber, if I were the Grand Inquisitor…

              • There is ample reason for Insty to call her “The Mistress of Disaster” … and yes, I’d love to know what she has on certain permanent Washington insiders…

                • It must be really, really good. Not just “cavorting nude in a fountain with Soviet spy” good, but you know, “is a deacon and on finance committee of a Baptist Church and volunteered to help with the Wisconsin deer cull” level of naughty behavior. 😉

      • They could not be punished. If tried, they would have argued that everything that they did that caused the problem was Required By Law (Community Reinvestment Act). The politicians could not afford that argument to be made, so there were no trials.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          I remember reading that if a death can be directly connected to an action that a business is required to do by law, then the business can’t be sued for wrongful death or tried for a crime.

          Personally, I consider that a good principle otherwise a business would be faced with the choice of following the law and be guilty of “wrongful death” or violating the law and be guilty of violating the law.

          Mind you, something should be done about the laws/regulations that caused the problem but punishing people who had to obey the laws/regulations is not the solution.

    • Here’s the thing. The Fed has to keep interest rates near zero. If they allow rates to return to anywhere near normal, the costs of servicing the federal debt blow up the budget. This, of course, funnels money into the parts of the economy that feature lots of debt, such as housing.

  10. There are certain areas where trust remains. I trust Democrats to feather their own (and their cronies’) nests while declaiming about their great concern for the downtrodden. I trust Republicans to take threats (other than to their self-interest) more seriously than Democrats, while rewarding their friends and supporters. And I trust the MSM to act as Democratic operatives.

    I trust bureaucrats to enhance their power and do their best to ignore the will of the people (this is a not entirely bad thing, considering the will of some people. I trust lies to be predictable, serving like windage and allowing observers to make appropriate adjustments — the political wind blows from the Left, so adjust government and media statistics accordingly, and measure the amount of public (TEA Party or Occutards) outrage over scandalous doings with an eye toward the direction.

    I trust people (individually and collectively) to act according to their natures … and to be in self-denial about what their natures are. I trust folk to put a rosy shine on their actions no matter how disgusting and to accuse me of a) sharing their sins or b) sharing their sins but in denial about it. This last they call hypocrisy, although I do not think that word means what they think it means.

    • A bureaucracy, as a unit, exists solely for one purpose: to create data to be used to justify next year’s budget. There is no onus on the bureaucracy to be truthful or accurate in the data.

      A bureaucrat, on the other hand, is one who will do the least amount of work necessary while still getting a paycheck. “Least amount of work” means a strict adherence to policies and procedures that have no room for nuance. There is no room for honesty, as a bureaucrat must delude themselves continually that they are “helping” and “solving problems”. There’s no room for compassion, duty, honor… Those can not be quantified, they can not be incorporated into a p&p checklist… And they are dangerous to a bureaucrat, who bemoans “burn-out” while never running the risk.

      I seriously do not believe the American public will achieve the necessary distrust to actually change anything. We have had plenty of opportunities in the past 60 years, and haven’t managed it yet.

      The reason we have “Big Government” (or an inflated bureaucracy) is for several reasons. First of all, NIMBY. If the government is handling a problem, then you don’t have to worry about some NGO or local agency in your neighborhood handling it, and attracting unsavory elements. Second of all, people refuse to get off their Buts and handle it. “But I don’t have time” “But I don’t know where to start” “But I have a family to take care of” But, But, But. All in the name of deliberately out-sourcing our compassion and our social responsibilities (I hope that R word doesn’t get censored) to the government. We have out-sourced charity, orphanages, medical care, law enforcement, basic regulations, etc., all to the bureaucracies (including the corporations that have created their own bureaucracies with strict and unyielding P & P). And that applies to all of the bureaucracies, from local to county to state to federal.

      Unfortunately for all of those people who have clamored for this outsourcing, the more responsibility you pile onto a government, the more corrupt, ineffective, and oppressive it gets.

  11. I gave up on the MSM quite some time ago.
    Fox at least makes some effort at “fair and balanced,” though that often turns into them giving equal time to the rantings of both left and right extremists.
    Mostly I try to do a daily survey of several on-line sources, PJ Media generally being what I consider the most reliable.
    Anyone else remember, must have been Obama’s first or second SOTU address, when a congressman remarked “liar!” in the audience and got roundly castigated by everyone? Wilson I think it was. Be a real hoot how true his comment was, were it not simply a precursor to our current plight.

  12. Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
    (How serious people’s faces have become.)
    Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
    everyone going home so lost in thought?

    Because night has fallen and the Ebola has not come.
    And some who have just returned from the border say
    there is no Ebola any longer.

    And now, what’s going to happen to us without Ebola?
    It was, that disease, a kind of solution.

  13. (Though the fact the press outright lied about WMDs doesn’t help either way.)

    Could someone point me in the direction of what’s being referring to here?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      During George W Bush’s administration, the News Media was calling him a liar about Iraq having “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (which includes chemical weapons). Recently even the New York Times is talking about Iraq having chemical weapons.

    • Last week the NY Times broke news (similar to breaking wind but with more sulfur) that the Bush Administration covered up injuries and deaths resulting from our troops exposure to Iraqi WMD* between 2004 and 2007.

      *These WMD were in “empty” artillery shells and similar delivery devices found while securing the arms abandoned by the disintegrating Iraqi forces. They were found in areas now under ISIS control. Check Powerline’s recent blog posts for details.

      • Thanks. I’ve long thought it odd that any one questioned whether Iraq had WMDs since the Bush administration sold them to them. Seems like if Iraq was later found to no longer have them, wouldn’t that just raise the question of where they’d gotten to? Also, wouldn’t threatening a larger country with weapons one doesn’t have be akin to pointing a plastic gun at a cop?

        • Um. Bush never sold them to Saddam. One of the brushoffs of proof was most of those found were tagged for destruction in the 90’s … that saddam had lied about destroying them and had people working on more was no proof either.

        • Think Russia and France as sellers, rather.

          • And the UN inspection team had to keep three different lists of inspection schedules because the French members of the inspection team would keep tipping off Saddam’s regime as to when they’d be coming.

          • yeah … the Spetz mission was not to move weapons, but to sanitize paperwork pointing towards Moscow

            • You sure about that? Remember the convoy of Russian diplomats that got shot up at the beginning? They were coming back from Syria, and the interesting thing is that they were reputed to have left Iraq escorting a fairly large convoy of trucks that they picked up out at Al-Muthannah…

              The Soviets had plans that we know about for sanitizing any of their client states for evidence when it came to WMD production. That was part of the deal that was made. I’m pretty sure that the Russians were supervising the dismantlement and safe removal of everything that could be traced to them, because there wasn’t a damn thing left in Iraq that didn’t come out of the West, originally. And, we know the Soviets sold a bunch of chemical munitions production gear to the Iraqis. Didn’t find much in evidence of that, though…

              • tons of his stuff was soviet/rus. Scuds, the tanks, medical equipment (especially lab equipment) and what not. There was not a lot the Russians would worry about as even reactors (chemical ones, not nuke) are multi-use. Many of the reactors used to make the stuff I work with every day would also do nicely for mixing some of the weapons he had used. They always could lie and say “The Soviet Gov’t/We sold that to him for Medicine/Fertilizer/Whatever”. Everything I saw at the time pointed to the Spetz moving paperwork that pointed to them on how to make the stuff, and possibly a few technicians . Most of the equipment movement was handled by Saddam’s people. Whether they had any “advisors” for that is up in the air, but the move seemingly was done by Iraq. From what I had heard and read at the time, they went in rather light and left fast and light as well. The Hinds didn’t haul the equipment. It is a bit harder to deny printouts on more modern stuff pointing directly as Putin and his cronies.
                Now I might be mistaken, but the sources I saw at the time all pointed to that being the mission of the Spetz. Some was sent to Syria during the equipment and personnel move, some was destroyed on site, and some went back to Russia with the Spetz.

          • Now ask “Who’s been supplying Iran’s nuclear technology?” and “They’re planning on designating WHO!!!! to monitor Iranian compliance with any nuclear non-proliferation deal????”

            This week the AP’s George Jahn reported that the mullahs are mulling over our latest offer of capitulation to their nuclear program. According to Jahn, Russia would be the key to the deal. Iran would keep its centrifuges but ship out some enriched uranium to Vladimir Putin. What a friend we have in Vlad!
            http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/10/the-gathering-storm-part-clvi.php

            John Kerry — working to keep America safe since April 23, 1971.

    • We have had a few stories lately about soldiers getting injured by chemical weapons found in Iraq, and they are pointing to Karl Rove for blocking the knowledge because “We lost that argument” even though the proof wins the argument. I’ll hunt a link in a bit, unless someone beats me to it.

      • Proof does not “win” the argument in politics or, as I understand it from Heinlein, in marriage.

      • Drives me up a wall, because I’ve been showing people the news stories going back to that time with folks being injured by WMD, the stuff not being around, etc.

        Of course, usually the reason that I had to deploy those links is because someone said Rove set it all up and there never were any….

        A lot of these are dead, but here:
        http://www.freerepublic.com/~xmission/

      • Phil Fraering

        First off, I know a lot of instances of WMD finds in Iraq that were reported out on the net in the obscure corners that weren’t stopped by the Government but were ignored by the NYT. Second, the NYT and its brethren have been lying-by-ommision (at least) to us on this matter for about eleven years, five-and-a-half of which have been since Obama took office.

        But we’re supposed to believe them when they say it’s all Karl Rove’s fault.

        I don’t like Karl Rove, but they’re stretching credibility.

        • Heh — I first started reading NY Sun editor Ira (FutureOfCapitalism) Stoll when he was blogging Smartertimes[DOT]com back in 2000 and routinely citing instances of the NY Times getting such fundamental matters as Manhattan street orientations wrong. There is little reason to think the Times’ editorial accountability has improved since.

          SmarterTimes SAMPLE:
          Leaderless Protest With a Leader
          October 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm

          “Hong Kong Protests Are Leaderless But Orderly” — Headline, page one, New York Times, October 1, 2014

          “Joshua Wong Emerges as Unlikely Teenage Leader in Hong Kong Protests” — Headline, New York Times website, October 1, 2014
          It’s hard to see how both of these headlines can be accurate. The second story doesn’t claim that Mr. Wong became the leader of the protests in the past 12 hours. How can the protests simultaneously have been leaderless and led by Joshua Wong? Both articles carry the byline of Times reporter Chris Buckley.
          smartertimes[DOT]com/1291/leaderless-protest-with-a-leader

        • can’t say for sure it was him, but what I have heard since it would not surprise me if he did say to do that.

    • Walt, in the arguments leading up to the second Gulf War president Bush the younger used Sadam’s historic use of chemical and the possibility of developing nuclear WMD as one of the justifications for the invasion. Our and other nation’s intelligence organizations presented credible evidence supporting this. Our congress agreed.
      After we took Iraq reports were widely circulated in the media that no WMD had been found, that it was a lie perpetrated by Bush to justify the war, conveniently forgetting that the belief had been a consensus by just about all the players. This meme has been used and pretty much beaten to death to criticize Bush’s entire administration and blame it for an unjust war.
      The thing is, thousands of rounds of chemical shells had been found, tons of yellowcake uranium stock were recovered, Iraqi officers swore that convoys of trucks took material and hardware out of the country and into Syria ahead of the invasion. Somehow none of this ever made the news here at home. It was just too disturbing and did not fit with the very politically correct story that Bush lied.
      We are now seeing accounts of soldiers suffering from exposure to chemical weapons when Iraqi supply depots were destroyed. An Iraqi general was quoted as telling our intelligence about the Syrian convoys.
      And our mainstream media? Just listen to the crickets chirp.

      • I used to have a large folder of links that were all about where the weapons went, and one of those was a guy who said almost all the planes flying “earthquake relief” to Syria in the lead up to the war were actually full of much of his papers and equipment for chemical weapons, and some of his nuke stuff was found buried in the sands. His hiding of cetrifuges that were ruined by the hiding was no proof he was working on nukes …. so I was told at the time. The word of the officer in charge of moving some of the chemical stuff was no proof either. Tons of Yellow Cake sent for processing in Canada was certainly not any form a proof. At the time, I decided the only proof the leftoid BDS sufferers would accept was a Chem and nuke tipped Scud landing in their back yard with a personal note from Saddam himself … and fully 90% of them would claim it was still false .

        • Unfortunately, the recent NYT article furthers the “Bush lied, people died” meme by acknowledging the weapons were *there* but were *old* weapons – i.e. mustard gas shells that were already 10-15 years old at the time of discovery.

          Thus, the lie becomes that Bush lied about *current* WMD production, and the discoveries were covered up because they proved that any WMD production was obsolete and limited.

          What NYT was very carefully did *not* mention was told to me by a 2-tour Iraqi vet who was in a position to know: “Those were not all old mustard gas shells that were recovered. Those were not all inactive labs that were unearthed.” Even as we had troops on the ground in Iraq, there were individual reports of *modern* WMD chemical labs built into trailers and CONEXs and lightly buried or discovered in wreckage of convoys that had been headed for the Syrian border. However, many of the discoveries were being made in the mid-to-late 2000’s not the early stages of the war.

          A much more likely reason the WMD discoveries were not reported goes back to the Valerie Plame affair. Admitting that there were WMDs would mean that Bush was right to question/reject the official report by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and that the outing of his wife Valerie Plame’s CIA career was a trivial consequence of the matter. Admitting that there were actual WMDs (albeit not necessarily nuclear – and yes, there’s evidence for that in the yellowcake uranium) would mean that Wilson did indeed lie and the MSMs pet scandal was likewise a lie. In fact, given the concept that the louder the yelling, the deeper the guilt, we might even discover that someone was paid off… which would be an embarrassment of Rosenbergian proportions to the MSM.

        • Unfortunately, the recent NYT article furthers the “Bush lied, people died” meme by acknowledging the weapons were *there* but were *old* weapons – i.e. mustard gas shells that were already 10-15 years old at the time of discovery.

          Thus, the lie becomes that Bush lied about *current* WMD production, and the discoveries were covered up because they proved that any WMD production was obsolete and limited.

          What NYT was very carefully did *not* mention was told to me by a 2-tour Iraqi vet who was in a position to know: “Those were not all old mustard gas shells that were recovered. Those were not all inactive labs that were unearthed.” Even as we had troops on the ground in Iraq, there were individual reports of *modern* WMD chemical labs built into trailers and CONEXs and lightly buried or discovered in wreckage of convoys that had been headed for the Syrian border. However, many of the discoveries were being made in the mid-to-late 2000’s not the early stages of the war.

          A much more likely reason the WMD discoveries were not reported goes back to the Valerie Plame affair. Admitting that there were WMDs would mean that Bush was right to question/reject the official report by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and that the outing of his wife Valerie Plame’s CIA career was a trivial consequence of the matter. Admitting that there were actual WMDs (albeit not necessarily nuclear – and yes, there’s evidence for that in the yellowcake uranium) would mean that Wilson did indeed lie and the MSMs pet scandal was likewise a lie. In fact, given the concept that the louder the yelling, the deeper the guilt, we might even discover that someone was paid off… which would be an embarrassment of Rosenbergian proportions to the MSM.

          • whoa … stereo Speakers! (~_^)

          • and much of what those links were were just those stories you refer. Yeah, they found lots of items tagged for disposal and lied about being destroyed (and that certainly was no reason to invade because they “probably” “Might Not” Work as well as new) but the links to his germ lady being caught, papers on works that were recent (iirc one was a conex lab emptied but paperwork showing testing done just before the Towers attack), etc.

            And they scan over the fact Plame was (non)outed by a Clintonista flaunting his insider knowledge.They claim it was Libby (and any links showing that as incorrect get ignored … of course)

            • I remember reading Joe Wilson’s Op-Ed and observing the guy’s logic failure. (Yes, there was a time I read the NYT for other than baseball coverage and movie reviews.)

              In the second place, he completely failed to recognize that the officials in Niger with whom he drank mint tea might conceivably have misled or even lied to him, the greatest intelligence failure in Western History since Harold Macmillan cleared Kim Philby.

              In the first place, nothing in Wilson’s column rebutted the “sixteen words” Bush uttered: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Wilson failed to address the claim about the British reports nor did his investigation cover all of Africa. His column was as relevant to the allegation as a bicycle is to a fish.

              • I remember reading about the three African nations where Saddam attempted to buy Yellowcake. Niger wasn’t one of them. I don’t remember all three, but the Republic of Congo was one of them.

                • It’s all in where you look after all …
                  “Birds do not fly south for the winter … I searched all over the Antarctic and found no robins, sparrows, etc. Therefore it must be a lie”

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        And all those anti-war types, who lectured us for years about “imaginary” WMDs, who brought them up at every opportunity? More crickets.

      • I also remember seeing (mostly on various milblogs) links to stories in 2002 about people doing overflights of Iraq and seeing convoys of trucks heading out of Saddam’s Iraq and into Syria. It was supposed at the time that many of Saddam’s chemical weaponry was going to be hidden in Syria.
        Naturally this got very little play in the NYT.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          I remember those stories. I also remember some veterans on Mike Williamson’s Facebook page mentioning finding gas shell stockpiles.

          The best part of this revelation is watching a decade’s worth of conspiracy theories crumble into nothingness.

          • C’mon, Chris — you know better than that. Conspiracy theories never crumble, they simply turn back around on themselves. They are the wyrms oroborous of theories.

        • Heck, I was in A school at Pensacola and I saw that– it was on the news the week before the invasion! (I think it was CNN?)

    • Guys the NYT article. And the Ace take down explaining that no, no one ever said “active manufacture” just stockpiles.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        This is the part that always makes me grumble. One of the (significant) contentions in the lead up to the conflict was that Hussein was not providing the documentation to confirm his compliance with UN mandates regarding the destruction of chemical agents we knew he had.

        Inspections following the first invasion confirmed the presence of WMDs and the supporting labs. Such was counted. Resolutions stated that this would be destroyed and documented. Saddam was playing cagey.

        Discovery of “old” chemical munitions is confirmation that Hussein was flaunting the will of the UN (*snort*).

        Oh, and, um — “old” munitions may present a higher risk to the forces using them (leakage, casing failure during firing operations, etc), but once effectively deployed the downrange suckage is not quantitatively less between old and new.

        The presence of any remaining stockpiles was justification. We found more than enough justification.

        And Karl Rove is an ass.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          There was a New Zealander on the Bar who pointed out that chemical weapons stored in the final form degrade pretty quickly. It was interesting that despite being supposedly an adult, and supposedly educated, he didn’t seem to understand the principles of a binary chemical shell. So I think it funny to cast aspersions at the quality of scientific education in New Zealand.

          If you have an unstable chemical like some nerve agents, it can make sense to find some relatively stable, and probably still toxic, chemicals to easily carry out the last stage of synthesis with. Do the mixing in a shell spun by the rifling of the artillery tube, and you have a binary shell. Sometimes when people talk about chemical weapons precursors they are talking about these more stable chemicals.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            If you referring to the New Zealander that I think you are, I got the idea that he was more interested in a fight than discussions of fact so would ignore facts that got into the way of the fight. [Frown]

          • The rate and type of degradation is also heavily dependent on climate; I seem to remember that in a desert environment the chemicals tend to get concentrated by evaporation

  14. I think I’ve said all of this before here. Certainly I have on other blogs around the internet. Still, it bears repeating;

    I have been reading/hearing complaints about media bias since I first became interested in politics (around the time of Nixon’s resignation). At first I went along with the tide, but once I hit 30 (30 hit back) I began to lose sympathy.

    The “Media” have always been biased, because the Media have always been run by and for humans. The newspapers cannot possibly print stories about every single thing that happened in the last 24 hrs, so choices will be made. When these choices are made, the person making the choices will necessarily be influenced by his personal biases.

    The media have also been deliberately dishonest, pretty much all the time, from the publication of the very first broadsheet. That’s simply the nature of the beast.

    If we don’t like the overall bias of the Media, then it behooves us to fund the creation of media that will cater to OUR bias. In other words, BUY SOME NEWSPAPERS.

    The reason that the ostensibly conservative politicians haven’t done so is that, for the most part, they actually like business as usual. They don’t want to go to the trouble, and they don’t want to catch the flak they would catch for busing a newspaper and dictating its slant.

    But the genuinely conservative have little excuse. Their problem is that they bought into the myth that an unbiased media is desirable, or even possible. A myth that, for sheer absurdity, is matched by very few others.

    As rank-and-file we may not have the resources to start up media outlets with our biases, but we should at a minimum do two things:

    1) Support anyone trying to get their own bias out, who doesn’t pretend that they have no ax to grind.

    2) Ridicule the “Unbiased Media” myth every time it pops its head up.

    • “If we don’t like the overall bias of the Media, then it behooves us to fund the creation of media that will cater to OUR bias. In other words, BUY SOME NEWSPAPERS.”
      Uh…yes and no. Create media, absolutely. This blog and hundreds like it for starters, sites like PJ Media as well.
      Newspapers? Oh, hell no. The few that still live have been taken over by the same liberal progressive crowd that run main stream media. And they have been extremely successful in turning what was once a proud profession into less than second rate fish wrapping.
      After being a loyal subscriber for almost 30 years I finally cancelled my subscription to the local rag at least a year too late. Should have done so much sooner as they went from seven to three day service, shrank fonts to conserve ink and paper to the point you needed a magnifier to read, and trended further and further to the left not only in editorials, but increasingly in their general reporting.
      So, I do agree. No media is unbiased. John W. Campbell did a piece on that more than 40 years ago in Analog. Everything is flavored by the reporter and by the institutional bias of their particular media. The encouraging thing is how well some have taken to the new opportunities for electronic communication. Folks simply need to be able to separate wheat from chaff, but wasn’t that always the case after all?

      • I found Mencken’s reminiscences about his days as reported and editor very enlightening. The Myth is that there was a day when any largish city could support two newspapers that made money, and that when the market shrank it became vital for the papers that remained to be “unbiased”. Mencken asserts that in his day, in Baltimore (a vibrant city at the time) there was a main paper that was pro the party in power (and got the government printing contracts, thus making money) and that other papers were divided into two classes. The first, and largest, class were 5specialty papers catering to the interests of a specific audience. In Baltimore, those were mostly German language papers. The Second was a paper or two kept afloat by a wealthy person with political ambitions, but who was not actually in power.

        See; Mencken’s autobiographical works, both those published while he was alive and the manuscripts he left for post-mortem publication.

        Now, I suppose that really big markets like NEw York might support more than one financially sound paper. But according to Mencken, most cities didn’t. This puts a totally new perspective on the Myth of neutrality.

        I think that another factor is that the Hearst papers, towards the end of the 1960’s, were (I’m told) blatantly Right-Wing biased, and both unsubtle about it and somewhat bizarre. That would have made it easy for politically Left leaning reporters and editors to sell themselves the story that they were LESS biased, and from there the myth that they were unbiased.

        In any case, what has to be done is to get our message (or at least SOME competing messages) out where the broad mass of the public can see/hear it. Blogs have to be sought. Papers may be passé, and TV channels a daunting bar to jump over, but there has to be something.

        • I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and what you say about one or two newspapers is very flagrant here. I walked past a row of newspaper boxes one Sunday, and was struck by the pure gall that was displayed.

          There were six different Bay Area newspapers displayed. With minor exceptions (besides the banner), every single front page was the same. The sole exceptions that I could see were the “highlights” section above the banner: all of them had the same information (and taglines), but there were minor variations in font, color, pictures/artwork, etc.

          I could not believe that the company that owned all these papers (and these were the ones that still had a paper in them, mind you) could be so brazenly blatant.

          Bias? Since before Nellie Bly, kids, and I’m not so sure I believe the hype about her, either.

          • As recently as the Sixties pretty much any town of population 75K or above had two papers: one morning, one evening. By that stage they often shared printing facilities as well as sales, marketing and administrative staffs. They usually had different political alignments on their editorial pages although to what extent that represented actual philosophical differences and to what extent it was simply marketing I cannot opine.

            Given the nature of the business — highly perishable product with significant wastage (unsold papers) dependent upon impulse purchases to increase profits above its subscription base, with significant (until the interwebz) barriers to entry the dynamics of the industry ought be predictable. In a highly homogeneous population such as San Francisco (which has through various economic means largely driven out significant portions of the populace) it is to be expected that all papers will compete for the same market niche.

            In more heterogeneous cultures each paper is able to target specific demographics and will shape its material accordingly.

  15. Signs of the times:
    http://www.the-american-interest.com/blog/2014/10/18/cry-havoc-and-let-slip-the-lawyers-of-war/
    Yes, we have combat lawyers. How could this possibly go wrong?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Could they just deploy the lawyers to the Ebola zone, and not the troops?

      (disclaimer: I am not wishing death on all lawyers) 😉

      • Fortunately for the military Bar, the president made a no-Florsheims-on-the-ground pledge for the African continent, so they can’t be sent to help out (even after 4 hours of training).

      • Patrick Chester

        Tom “Ghengis” Kratman is a lawyer, IIRC. So you’d better not be wishing death upon all lawyers. 😉

    • Who ever suspected all those hours playing “Mother May I” would eventually prove its worth as combat training?

  16. In related news, Obama today announced the appointment of William Jefferson Clinton as National Trust Czar to oversee the establishment of a progressive table of mandatory trust in government based on IRS and Census data…

  17. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I haven’t seen any decrease in trust for the media and government.

    Personally, I already had no time for them. For general news, I pay attention to people like Moe Lane and Richard Fernandez, whose filtering I understand somewhat, who seem somewhat acquainted with the truth.

    I am reclusive enough that those I’ve interacted with in person fall into a few categories. Those I don’t discuss politics with. Those already have a healthy skepticism. Those who are too mentally impaired to adjust in response to new data.

  18. Why don’t we just empty their bank accounts, divert their fund transfers, and generally ruin them economically?
    During the WW2 Pacific war, MacArthur was faced with the task of fighting and defending against an enemy that greatly outmatched his resources – in fact, the majority of resources, up until the surrender of Germany and for a short time beyond, went to the European theater.
    MacArthur was an egotistical, arrogant, overbearing, condescending SOB – but he was also a strategist. He couldn’t fight the Japanese forces head to head, so he broke their back financially.
    He didn’t send fighters and bombers against the carriers and battleships primarily – he went after the relatively undefended troop shps and totally undefended supply ships.
    When the Japanese invaded New Guinea and set up bases for further advances, Mac cut their supply lines. Armies use bullets, but must have beans as well. Without either, they are a toothless tiger.
    We face an adversary well entrenched, with nearly unlimited resources compared to our individual ones.
    BUt as Edward Snowden proved, and the Chinese practice, our governmental firewalls are porous indeed.
    All we need do is establish a Cayman account, and then identify and divert transfers from the government – or it’s lackeys – and their intended beneficiaries. CDD spending too much money on bogus ‘researches’? Divert the funding the next year. Parks getting too many bullets to run the Wilderness areas? Have the money for the bullets sent bye-bye.
    I think we could gin up enough hackers to set this up in months, then activate.

    And, of course, as everyone surely realizes I just doing a trial ballon for a plot twist on a novel.
    How — NOVEL.

  19. Sarah,

    There is a trigger in the Ebola event that has not been considered — fiscal meta failure of the hospital system. Patient Zero for example had no coverage for his situation. Now imagine, they have not announced the tally but I can guess it will be well over $3m. ICU treatment is expensive. Level 4 isolation is thru the roof cost wise. Living here in Dallas, Dallas Presby where Duncan was treated will not recover their costs. Now imagine if thirty or forty Ebola patients descended on this hospital. Its fiscal cascade failure of the first order.

    Several hospital administrators have already said they may in fact turn awat such patients. For example — http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/12/4229026_ebola-new-patient-in-dallas-new.html?rh=1 — Due to the presence of patient zero that same hospital had to shut its ER.

    Yes a couple of hundred cases does not a pandemic make. But it nearly guaranties a collapse of the hospital system on a regional basis. Allow for it.

    • Now our current admin would never stoop so low as to do something that could bankrupt the hospital system in the USA …
      Sadly, I can see the F~!@$#s doing just that, and that line of thinking coming to mind does not make me happy in the least

  20. It’s amazing that after alar, global warming, new methods of drilling for oil, a hundred different non-reasons to panic, the first thing they say about this real, who-knows-how-bad threat is “don’t panic.” With a snooty tone and an Obama-angle nose elevation.

  21. Hi, Sarah! We’re reading you next month!

    Our November book is Draw One In the Dark.

    And in interests of having our books all selected, I’m taking advantage of the free week to shift our nomination schedule a week forward — instead of nominating on the week that holds the first of the month before the reading, we will vote then, and nominate the week before.

    Nominate for December here:
    https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2048370-december-themes

    • Dunno. See. At least in CA, the real estate market is pretty easy to explain, along with low employment participation. So is the unemployment rate. Let’s imagine a 2-state nation, one ruled by a relentlessly capitalistic and corrupt elite with little respect for the rule of law and another overly bureaucratic nation with a strong history of predictable law. Also assume that, at some point in the recent past, the cost of a college trained engineer was 1200 USD in nation 1 and 80000 USD in nation 2, with similar scaling for disposable income.

      Even with my limited economic education, it seems reasonable to project steady deflation; massively increasing total economic output; and low wages and labor participation in nation 2. (Until wages equalize, roughly, problem is that, even absent minimum wage laws, people hate taking 94% pay cuts.) It also seems reasonable to project real estate spirals driven by newly wealthy in nation 1 safeguarding their wealth.

      Or to put it another way, on my last flight to China, the guy next to me explained that meth addicts cost him 19k in the USA and very bright engineers cost 1.2k, which was why he was closing his factory in the USA and starting one in China.

      And, nowadays, there are something like 1/3-1/2 as many rich people in China as the USA. Those people aren’t stupid – and fear instability in China far more than the US government. Of course they buy houses here.
      Imagine 8-10 million people buying real estate. Picture a market with something like 250 million properties, each changing hands once every 10 years.

      –Erwin

  22. I’ve said this elsewhere, but I think it bears repeating.

    This is not being caused by a crisis of confidence. It is being caused by a fundamental crisis of competence in our higher leadership.

    Look, people are still generally following quarantine orders, and government directed self testing routines, and the cases when they aren’t it is not because they think the government is misleading them; it’s been because they wanted to get sushi, and didn’t think that quarantine means, you don’t go out to get sushi.

    The escapes have been because the CDC didn’t bother to provide effective PPE instruction, or cleared sick people for air travel, and generally can’t seem to tell its head from a hole in the ground. If these people could, for one moment, acknowledge and learn from their innumerable mistakes, or step aside for those who could, or could do anything except be nakedly partisan hacks more concerned with their own appearance, than the welfare of the people under their care, this “crisis” would be over.

    The president is incompetent, and it is getting people killed.

    • I recall in the late Seventies, after the presidencies of LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter had all failed the MSM phrase of the moment was “the presidency is too much of a job for a single man!” In the Eighties they mocked Reagan for taking naps while president. Apparently he found that by focusing on the important stuff the presidency wasn’t so big a job after all.

      There are things in this world you can’t fix, and stupidity and incompetence are high up that list.

      “This life’s hard man, but it’s harder if you’re STUPID!”

      — Steven Keats as Jackie Brown, The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

  23. Here!

  24. Christopher M. Chupik

    All these czars. I wonder what happened in Russia after the czars . . .

    Oh.

    • Yeah, and it’s just a czar – if this had been really serious, he would have appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission that would thoroughly investigate and report back after the next presidential election.

    • For Elboa, it isn’t a real problem yet. But, um, viruses tend to mutate to become more infectious. Highly infectious viruses.have, historically, only been contained by vaccination. There is some evidence that some strains of Elboa are becoming more infectious.
      Typically, that is accompanied by a decrease in mortality (dead people spread disease poorly). But, given elboa’s long latency period, that won’t necessarily happen.
      Or to out it another way, funding effective medicines is quite important. Something I’d pay taxes for.
      –Erwin

      • How do more taxes solve the problem? Its a known fact that the FDA is a serious drag on new drug development.

      • They also tend to become less virulent. For the obvious reason that if you kill off all your hosts, it don’t matter how infectious you are.

  25. While pursuing research into my other hobby, I came across a piece of equipment called a Portuguese double corker. I couldn’t help but think “is that when Sarah tells a really funny joke?”

    Just a bit of passing nonsense

    • Probably not appropriate to include it into the more serious discussion above, darling hubby pointed me at the video for this amusing RTS game looking for funding on Kickstarter.

      By the way, I remember hazily that you wanted to talk to me about a book. send me an email at cutelildrow at livejournal dot com. (that’s my public email.) Cheers~!

  26. I want to focus on this:

    “They’ve lost our trust. Let’s rebuild parallel networks of trust.”

    First, I trust “my” Government and I trust the media. I trust them to act within their natures. This leads to…

    When in the hell did we get it into are heads (as a nation) that it is a good idea to or that we even should trust our government. Which leads to…

    We as a nation were never meant to trust our government. The Founding Fathers new that governments are like fire. Useful, but you play with it long enough you’re likely to get burned. We’re like children that think we can build a really large bonfire in the woods to keep the darkness at bay. Expecting it not to get out of hand and burn the whole forest down.

    Now I would like to ask,What is news, and what is editorial opinion or just opinion in general?

    To me News is asking and answering Who, What, Where and When questions. If you are are expecting the News to answer How and Why questions for you; then, you are lazy and and a Useful Idiot. This not to say you shouldn’t seek out others opinions as to the why and how of current events, but it is my opinion and belief that we should come to our own conclusions based on our own analysis of the News. Is the majority of what is put out as News, by all media new and old, News or Opinion? If someone is trying to tell you what to think about a subject they have a bias and an agenda (even me right now). If they are using emotionally charged descriptors they are giving you their opinion as to what to think about what happened emotionally. And again this leads to…

    Also, what is the Media’s roll supposed to be? Is it to inform or to influence? Is it to keep people honest by keeping their feet to the fire, or is it advocate for personal causes?

    Lastly! Trust is personal and must be based on relevant data of a prior relationship, if not it’s just faith. In my opinion trust shouldn’t be given blindly but based in reason. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt to trust till proven other wise.

    There nothing that says we can’t “Trust but Verify” as Reagan pointed out.

    • Well, eg, DARPA funded one of the possibly effective elboa antivirals…

      Unsurprisingly, not the NIH.

      Although GSK has a vaccine under test…which works in animals, so, yah…that is probably more important.

      Overall though, capitalism is bad at making vaccines. Compare a modified hormone treatment for hot flashes to a vaccine for a deadly illness. At most one dose per person, liability risk, crazy antivaxxers. Or…10-20 years of treatments for half the population… I get the feeling that medical companies do vaccines mostly pro bono.

      –Erwin

      • alas, it isn’t that capitalism is bad at vax’s it is as you point out, regulation, combined with liability costs from those who are eager to get scads of free money. If there was a pandemic, and almost everyone on the planet got this, and there was a vaccine that had a 3% rate of fatality, even though the disease has a far higher death rate there would be numerous cases of lawyers getting rich on the backs of survivors. There isn’t a company in the world that would release it.

        • If this was true no one would invest in drug research.

          This is what warning labels and informed consent is all about.

      • You know, whenever I read the words “Capitalism is bad at x” my reaction is “As opposed to WHAT?”
        Capitalism sucks in comparison to the life of angels, which is perfect. In comparison to everything else, OTOH, it’s grand.

      • Erwin,

        “Well, eg, DARPA funded one of the possibly effective elboa [sic] antivirals…”

        Opinion of someone. “Possible effective” is also possible ineffective. Making this a null and meaningless sentence.

        “Unsurprisingly, not the NIH.”

        NIH conducts research themselves and funds outside researchers like GSK.

        breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/10/19/Top-NIH-Official-Budget-Cuts-Not-to-Blame-for-Lack-of-Ebola-Vaccine

        vox.com/2014/10/16/6987825/ebola-budget-nih-collins-vaccine

        politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2014/oct/17/was-ebola-vaccine-research-hindered-nih-funding-cu/

        “Although GSK has a vaccine under test…which works in animals, so, yah…that is probably more important.”

        Yes it is important. One of the leading was of contracting Ebola on is through contact with infected animals.

        http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/ebolamarburg/research/pages/default.aspx

        “Overall though, capitalism is bad at making vaccines. Compare a modified hormone treatment for hot flashes to a vaccine for a deadly illness. At most one dose per person, liability risk, crazy antivaxxers. Or…10-20 years of treatments for half the population… I get the feeling that medical companies do vaccines mostly pro bono.”

        –Erwin

        And governments are filled with Angels that “never” misspend our tax dollars.

        http://who.int/influenza_vaccines_plan/resources/session_10_kaddar.pdf

        What your economic analysis is not factoring into the equation is population numbers that will need or seek out treatment. Ebola is not a high priority because there are other things out there way more deadly than it needing a cure first. Supply & Demand even works in the medical field. Plus you have our beloved government funding research into some pretty stupid shit, if I do say so myself.

        Unless there is an actual need to be fielded private companies will not fund speculative research. The only reason in my opinion we are even discussing an ebola vaccine right now is because of the current outbreak. Which is worse than normal/previous outbreaks, but no where near the everyone panic stage of “Oh Shit! We’re all going to die.”

        • Plenty of companies fund speculative research. They’ve learned the hard way that the only way to stay competitive is to stretch out and see what you can catch.

          Tech and biotech companies thrive on speculative research. Without it, they can not survive. More companies are beginning to see it as it necessary.

          That said, pharmaceutical companies have to be the most venial corporations on the planet.

          Were you aware of how much the government has to subsidize pharmaceutical companies to produce medications that are needed by a small fraction of the population? I’m talking about medication that is required by less than 5000 people, or they would die.

          Every time I hear someone insist that companies would “do the right thing” without regulation, I think about pharmaceutical companies that hold those patients hostage for a check from the government.

          I know of six different medications, commonly prescribed, that suddenly ran “out of stock” in the last twelve months. In each case, doctors and patients were told that the company wasn’t making that medication anymore. Two of them were medications that can not be quit “cold turkey” without severe health risks – one of them, Lamotrogine, can be fatal. Doctors scrambled like hell to find alternatives and manage their patients’ health.

          In each case, the medication was back on the market within three months (six weeks was the minimum). No excuse or rationale was given. Some Big Pharma reps were rather rude about it, as well.

          Yes, the FDA sucks. They refuse to look at evidence on alternative therapies and medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, etc. (the Recommended Daily Allowance information you see on food packaging is from the USDA and the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences) They have a bad history of approving drugs with nasty side effects.

          FDA employees also have a nasty tendency to leave government service to be employed by the same companies they’ve allegedly been watchdogs over.

          But the alternative at the moment is worse. Nobody wants to see another generation of Thalidomide babies, and that’s one of the better outcomes of an unrestrained pharmaceutical industry.

          My disclaimer: My sister died of birth defects caused by a poorly-tested medication (my books are dedicated to her), and I went to school with three others who had been born with birth defects from similar causes.

          • Anyone who takes a drug made after 1980 should really think hard about it. Just listen to the disclaimers on TV — “…. may cause stroke or death in some patients…..” and what was the drug to alleviate? Depression. I think I would keep the depression.

            • Anybody who doesn’t realize those disclaimers have more to do with get-rich-quick lawsuits than a difference in quality shouldn’t be giving medical advice.

          • Rev. Mik,

            G… How I hate this argument. Especially when it comes from someone representing religion. Charity is supposed to be in the purview of the Church when did it become the Governments job force us and companies to take care of the needy?

            *Sigh*

            “Plenty of companies fund speculative research. They’ve learned the hard way that the only way to stay competitive is to stretch out and see what you can catch.

            Tech and biotech companies thrive on speculative research. Without it, they can not survive. More companies are beginning to see it as it necessary.”

            In R&D is most often lacking is D – Development. It has to be able to develop into a revenue stream, or the research is just a money sink that leads to nothing.

            “That said, pharmaceutical companies have to be the most venial corporations on the planet.”

            I do not think venial means what you think it means.

            “Were you aware of how much the government has to subsidize pharmaceutical companies to produce medications that are needed by a small fraction of the population? I’m talking about medication that is required by less than 5000 people, or they would die.

            Every time I hear someone insist that companies would “do the right thing” without regulation, I think about pharmaceutical companies that hold those patients hostage for a check from the government.”

            “Do the Right Thing” for whom? Shareholder, company employees, customers/patients? I get tired of people trying to use the government to turn for-profit companies into charities. For-profit companies are going to go where their is a greater demand or market. If there is a group of 5000 that need a specific treatment that for what ever reason companies are not helping why aren’t they forming a support group, pulling their resources together, starting an awareness campaign, and forming a Non-profit to fund research? Some do, and some just find it easier to whine to the government to do something. You want to treat them as helpless victims unable to solve their own problems without turning to an outside source to fix it for them. I want to treat people as thinking adults able to problem-solve and come up with solutions to life’s problems.

            “I know of six different medications, commonly prescribed, that suddenly ran “out of stock” in the last twelve months. In each case, doctors and patients were told that the company wasn’t making that medication anymore. Two of them were medications that can not be quit “cold turkey” without severe health risks – one of them, Lamotrogine, can be fatal. Doctors scrambled like hell to find alternatives and manage their patients’ health.

            http://www.medindia.net/drug-price/lamotrigine.htm

            So, you ‘re saying that 14 companies in the case of Lamotrinine stopped producing it and shipping it at the same time?

            “In each case, the medication was back on the market within three months (six weeks was the minimum). No excuse or rationale was given. Some Big Pharma reps were rather rude about it, as well.”

            This is a First World Problem.

            “Yes, the FDA sucks. They refuse to look at evidence on alternative therapies and medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, etc. (the Recommended Daily Allowance information you see on food packaging is from the USDA and the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences) They have a bad history of approving drugs with nasty side effects.

            FDA employees also have a nasty tendency to leave government service to be employed by the same companies they’ve allegedly been watchdogs over.

            But the alternative at the moment is worse. Nobody wants to see another generation of Thalidomide babies, and that’s one of the better outcomes of an unrestrained pharmaceutical industry.

            My disclaimer: My sister died of birth defects caused by a poorly-tested medication (my books are dedicated to her), and I went to school with three others who had been born with birth defects from similar causes”

            Sorry to hear about your sister, but the solution is not to rely on others, to live and die by their mistakes. It is to be an informed consumer. Instead of a government agency that can be brib… lobbied to gain approvals, what we need is several competing Medical Consumer Reporting Journals.

            Free-markets work, it only when governments and outside group try to pick winners and losers outside of the market forces of supply and demand that things get messed up.

            Look up Broken Window Fallacy for me please. (Fédéric Bastiat or Henry Hazlitt)

            • because private medical consumer reporting journals wouldn’t ever take money to not report something, push something on order to report a problem that doesn’t exist, or mis-test a problem so they can say that a problem doesn’t exist, right? (Both of the last two, Consumer Reports has done, probably repeatedly. My bet is that is who you are using as your benchmark for reliability and infallibility.)

              • There are no perfect solutions, but with multiple, competing groups, as Josh suggested, the incidence would be probably as low as can be reasonably expected.

                Then the insurance companies would also hire people to survey this kind of work to advise their customers, because the world has become too complex for individuals to be informed on every possible thing. These would be widely distributed, and likely to find such occurrences as the reporting agencies being bribed to produce fraudulent reports.

                • or copying others’ fraudulent reports? never happens.. (see: credit reporting agencies)

                  • So a single monolithic unaccountable fraudulent corrupt bureaucracy is somehow preferable?

                    • Only if it is run by the ‘right’ people.

                    • Well sure, run by the right people, totalitarianism is the perfect form of government.

                    • No, it’s supposed to be another check in the equation, especially since our government (most government actually) are hardly monolithic. The backstabbing and the infighting are things our founding fathers counted on, I suspect, to make the system self limiting. Every organization runs the risk of becoming corrupt (not just containing corruption).

              • Actually, he’s probably thinking Underwriter’s Labs.

                • and there’s UL listed items that shouldn’t have been approved by anyone…

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    I guess the question is – what’s your solution? Suggestions have been offered regarding ways to minimize such issues, but you have only criticized. I don’t see an offered suggestion of an alternative, unless you suggest that the current, really shitty one is best.

                    • I’m suggesting that the multi-sourced private solution isn’t going to be any better. I mean, if the threat of power of LAW, and prison time etc, isn’t enough to make these companies get their ducks in a row, why would the possibility of being ‘shamed by the market’ magically fix the problem?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Fraud would still carry legal penalties, and if the groups are not PART of the government, then said legal penalties would mean more to them.

                    • Draven,

                      Unless you believe you have the right to force people to buy your product, then the only way to get them to transfer money your way is if they trust you and feel happy in making the transation.

                      In a free-market you are free to spend or not. Or take your business to some that will meet your meeds.

                    • And if there’s only one supplier of said product?

                    • Wyrdbard,

                      The we need a regulated-mark to protect us from monopolies argument.

                      This is one of those situations where the solution is the cause of the problem. The only way you can have a monopoly is in a regulated market. In a free-market if someone or company is not satisfying a need then someone else is free to see an opportunity and move in to fill it.

                      You can only have monopolies in regulated-markets with gatekeepers.

                      Eg. Traditional publishing vs Indie Pub.

                    • Your argument is incomplete. We have historical examples of various forms of monoplies through out history, to use your own example. Indie didn’t become viable until the internet came around. Competition didn’t keep the publishing industry honest and it took some decades to actually correct. Translate that to something like medicine where the market is too small for companies to give a damn and you have a rather ugly body count rather than burned professionals that are now flipping burgers.

                      I’ve said before, and I’ll say again. The issue is balance. There needs to be enough government to keep bussiness and people honest and enough people and bussiness willing to go toe to toe with the system to keep the government honest. There is a ‘free market’ if you will, a dynamic tension, between the government and the people that makes society tick. Too much government you get tyrany and all that unpleasantness. Too much people you get gilliotines, gangs, looters, rioting, and assorted unrestrained chaos. On the bussiness side, too much government and you get a system bled dry. Too much bussiness you get the pennsylvania coal mines (16 tons song if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

                      You are willing to concede that the government is made up of falable, corruptable humans, why aren’t you willing to consider that corperations and individuals are made of the same materiel? If there are no rules, those who are strong will decree the rule is ‘they win’. If there are rules the clever will work to manipulate them. Just tossing people in a jar and going ‘sort it out’ has yet to end well. (consider that’s, essentially what all of history has been about. And we STILL haven’t sorted it out.)

                      Personally, I think the legal advantage needs to be on the bussiness/people side in most cases because the government has a sharper stick on average, but where that balance lies and how to enforce it precisely is a question far beyond the wisdom of this mortal.

                    • Wyrdbard,

                      It’s not about keeping people honest. It’s about having options.

                      It’s about promoting Antifragility , Self-Sufficiency, and having the freedom to pursue happiness.

                      It ‘s about…

                      artofmanliness.com/2014/10/21/5-tools-for-thriving-in-uncertainty/

                      Your argument boils down to that you need government to control people or stop them from doing stuff government doesn’t like. See…

                      I’ve said before, and I’ll say again. The issue is balance. There needs to be enough government to keep bussiness and people honest and enough people and bussiness willing to go toe to toe with the system to keep the government honest.

                      If business and people can keep government honest than they can keep themselves honest and don’t need government. What you have presented is a circular argument. We need government to keep us honest so we can keep government honest.

                      You are willing to concede that the government is made up of falable, corruptable humans, why aren’t you willing to consider that corperations and individuals are made of the same materiel?

                      They are and I have never argued otherwise. You still think that I think that an AC society will be some type of utopia. That it will some how be free of suffering and heartache. That is ridiculous, but what it will be is free. We as a people somehow came to the conclusion that Government can some how control people and protect us from the consequences of our actions (safety nets). In a free society we as a people will live and die by the consequences of our actions.

                      There is a ‘free market’ if you will, a dynamic tension, between the government and the people that makes society tick.

                      What you have here is an artificially created conflict. Rulers against Ruled.

                      We set up this parent child relationship. In stead of expecting people to act like adults and self-regulate/govern and to be able to determine what is right and wrong without turn to government to keep us in line; like, we are children.

                      If there are no rules, those who are strong will decree the rule is ‘they win’. If there are rules the clever will work to manipulate them.

                      Just tossing people in a jar and going ‘sort it out’ has yet to end well. (consider that’s, essentially what all of history has been about. And we STILL haven’t sorted it out.)

                      *Sigh* Who said there wouldn’t be any rules? We all live in the same universe where actions have consequences.

                      To live in an AC we would first have to do a better job of teaching life and social skills need to live independently to our youth, but we don’t do that we teach dependency. That, we need government to keep us in line. That, we are incapable of self-government, as long as we believe this then we will need an out side authority (Government) to keep us “in line.”

                      It is that we are fallible humans that we shouldn’t concentrate power in the hands of a few. Systemically speaking this makes us fragile. Errors of a few effecting the whole system. Where as if you decentralize the errors are mostly kept local effecting only a few.

                      Too much bussiness you get the pennsylvania coal mines (16 tons song if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

                      The Truth About the “Robber Barons”: mises.org/daily/2317

                    • If there is no authority, there are no rules, or more accurately the rules have no meaning. Power concentrates in the hands of those who will use it. There are always those who willl abuse it both in large numbers and small numbers, both as individuals or as an organized group. Whether that group is a corperation, a government, a gang, or an outlaw band. The advantage of the first two is they have a chance to be something other than destructive.

                      We’ve hashed through this argument (at my count) around 4 times, I think we’re hitting the ‘third base’ (to use an Abbot and Costello reference) repetition point. It boils down to this: You think humans will self regulate without anything more than just their word to go on. I think there needs to be some form of teeth behind agreements, and that teeth (however big or small) is the definition of government. We are unlikely to come to a consensus.

                    • Wyrdbard,

                      If there is no authority, there are no rules, or more accurately the rules have no meaning.

                      The rules I was talking about are the immutable ones. The ones based in reality the ones everyone must follow if they are to survive – natures laws. Not man made rules and laws, that are constructs of the mind.

                      You think humans will self regulate without anything more than just their word to go on.

                      No, I believe in Karma that the wheel turns that the secret to life is Self-Discipline… Governance… Regulate. That we will self-correct or the consequences of our actions will eventually catch up to us. It, also, pops up over and over as a determining factor when you look at truly successful people. They also chase excellence vs success. Success is just the by product a consequence of their quest to be the best them possible.

                      You are correct power does concentrates in the hands of those who will use it. There are always those who will use it to defend themselves and those weaker than themselves, both as individuals or as an organized group.

                      There is both the the potential for evil and good within us. Let’s not just focus on the negative but try to promote and developing that potential for good in humanity; while, minimizing the our tendency for evil.

                      Maybe this is naive on my part, but it’s what I want and choose to believe.

                      🙂

                    • Draven,
                      I guess since a large part of the fraud is done BY the government, and another sizeable portion is either overlooked or actively covered up BY the government; I fail to see how giving them MORE power and limiting other options is going to make things better (or even, ‘not worse’).

                      It is akin to paying Danegeld.

            • First of all, I don’t represent religion. I am a minister, not a preacher. It is none of my business what other people believe, no more than it is anyone else’s business what I believe. I do what I can to help other people, and I have never seen prayer (or political mud-wrestling) feed, house, or clothe someone in need.

              Second of all, charity is not the province of the (C)hurch. Charity is the province of individuals. If an individual wants something to be done, such as finding a home for a homeless child or helping disabled people learn new skills in order to secure employment, that individual had better be willing to step up or shut up. As I see it, the individual has a responsibility to do what it takes to fix a problem that they want to be fixed.

              And that is one (among many) point where our society is breaking down. Individuals are more than happy to point out problems, but finding a solution (much less acting on the solution) requires divine intervention by God, Country, and McDonalds.

              And hence, the out-sourcing of compassion and other virtues. We tell ourselves that by “centralizing” the efforts, we have made them more effective and less wasteful. Which is pure rot, in case you haven’t noticed.

              I am not a fan of the US government. I’m not a fan of any government, because I have yet to see one that does what it, or its minions, thinks it does. But I have yet to see a single suggestion that would be better.

              You are correct about “venial”, that was due to autocorrect. I meant to use the word “venal” facetiously.

              Regarding Lamotrogine, I am only stating what was told to doctors and patients by the pharmacies and the pharmaceutical companies. Another was Buproprion, which probably has more producers, yet it was unavailable for four weeks.

              As far as forming an NGO for researching a cure, what do you expect those 5000 people, spread across the US, to do in the meantime? And where do they get the funding for the research, since it is “such a small problem”? After all, the money could be more productively funneled into research proving that condoms cause pregnancy.

              And the “This is a First World Problem”? I expected a more reasoned argument. That comment is as divisive and nonsensical as vox populi.

              No, endangering people’s lives by manufacturing a scarcity to drive up prices is not a “First World Problem”. It is an unethical business practice, it is unethical on the individual level, and it is inexcusable no matter what or where you place your faith or beliefs.

              • Rev. Mik,

                First of all, I don’t represent religion. I am a minister, not a preacher. It is none of my business what other people believe, no more than it is anyone else’s business what I believe. I do what I can to help other people, and I have never seen prayer (or political mud-wrestling) feed, house, or clothe someone in need.

                How about St. John’s Hospital or any other number of Charities and Orphanages started churches to help children others in need.

                Second of all, charity is not the province of the (C)hurch. Charity is the province of individuals. If an individual wants something to be done, such as finding a home for a homeless child or helping disabled people learn new skills in order to secure employment, that individual had better be willing to step up or shut up. As I see it, the individual has a responsibility to do what it takes to fix a problem that they want to be fixed.

                And that is one (among many) point where our society is breaking down. Individuals are more than happy to point out problems, but finding a solution (much less acting on the solution) requires divine intervention by God, Country, and McDonalds.

                And hence, the out-sourcing of compassion and other virtues. We tell ourselves that by “centralizing” the efforts, we have made them more effective and less wasteful. Which is pure rot, in case you haven’t noticed.

                I am not a fan of the US government. I’m not a fan of any government, because I have yet to see one that does what it, or its minions, thinks it does. But I have yet to see a single suggestion that would be better.

                Purview – within the scope of something – not as you put province.

                I’m all for personal responsibility, but how is that supported by relying on government. I have pointed out what I think are better and proven solutions. You don’t like bureaucracy or corruption then move away from institutions susceptible to them. See the following:

                You are correct about “venial”, that was due to autocorrect. I meant to use the word “venal” facetiously.

                Next.

                Regarding Lamotrogine, I am only stating what was told to doctors and patients by the pharmacies and the pharmaceutical companies. Another was Buproprion, which probably has more producers, yet it was unavailable for four weeks.

                So, basicly you just trusted what they told you to be true and did try to verify independently.

                As far as forming an NGO for researching a cure, what do you expect those 5000 people, spread across the US, to do in the meantime? And where do they get the funding for the research, since it is “such a small problem”? After all, the money could be more productively funneled into research proving that condoms cause pregnancy.

                You can either petition people directly for suport of your cause or you can petition the government to appropriate money from people (taxes) for your cause. Do you think getting the government to pay for something is instantaneous.

                And the “This is a First World Problem”? I expected a more reasoned argument. That comment is as divisive and nonsensical as vox populi.

                Wasn’t an argument but an observation. Most of the rest of the world does even have access at all, and we are bitching about not having instant access.

                No, endangering people’s lives by manufacturing a scarcity to drive up prices is not a “First World Problem”. It is an unethical business practice, it is unethical on the individual level, and it is inexcusable no matter what or where you place your faith or beliefs.

                Do you have proof or is this just what you believe was happening?

                • I’ll point out that since BEFORE the potato famine, governments have been the best at manufacturing scarcity. Holodomor proves they can manufacture it and hide the consequences, too.
                  Private companies, like the Republican party have a huge advantage when it comes to my trusting them with power: the press hates them, so we’ll hear anything bad they do — amplified.
                  Same for private charities. The government has a REALLY funny way of deciding priorities. Right now it’s taking money from young kids without jobs to give it to older people with sinecure jobs, for instance. (How, mortgaging the kids futures. “College fully paid for?” for my son’s generation that is a pipe dream unless mom and dad have millions. Even kids who are working full time to pay for college still take massive loans. This is not the eighties anymore.
                  As for charity from government? well, you know, they hold grannies at gun point to pay for more welfare babies. (No? Then what do you call property taxes on often a quite small house that older, struggling people have?)
                  I trust government with providing for the common defense and a few tightly controlled rolls. Charity ain’t one of them.

              • As it happens, I take that, and no shortage was noted in Plano TX.

                • that = Buproprion

                  • Of course not, that is because TX is one of those evil capitalist states run by the Bush dynasty.

                    Oh and I have seen several veterinary drugs that become unavailable/are taken off the market for a time, every time it has been a result of the FDA forcing the manufacturers to quit manufacturing, NOT the manufacturers doing so to drive up prices.

  27. By the way, Sarah, was it your intention to have people read the title of this post to the tune of, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? Because I did.

  28. Personally, I think we should have been refusing travelers and communications from Nigeria and several other countries a long time ago, but that’s just my Spam filter talking.