STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Swine Flu Another Impetus for Creeping Radicalism of American Officialdom
By Staff News & Analysis - September 03, 2009

A "pandemic response bill" currently making its way through the Massachusetts state legislature would allow authorities to forcefully quarantine citizens in the event of a health emergency, compel health providers to vaccinate citizens, authorize forceful entry into private dwellings and destruction of citizen property and impose fines on citizens for noncompliance. If citizens refuse to comply with isolation or quarantine orders in the event of a health emergency, they may be imprisoned for up to 30 days and fined $1,000 per day that the violation continues. – World Net Daily

Dominant Social Theme: Serious times, serious actions.

Free-Market Analysis: What's strange about all this is that swine flu has not been shown to be especially deadly, at least not as compared to other diseases with obviously severe mortalities. For one thing, people over the age of 55 are said to have some immunity to this particular flu. This means that the usual demographic that is most prone to dying from the flu – older people – are actually less at risk than for regular flu. Likely for this reason, children are said to be more prone to suffer from swine flu than adults. But how much more at risk is still an open question.

That has not stopped dire warnings from being issued on a regular basis. And now, seemingly as a result of those warnings, Western bureaucracies are reacting. What's noteworthy indeed is the reaction in America, where many states are apparently getting ready for swine flu by contemplating various sorts of quarantining. World Net Daily lists some states where action is being taken:

Florida – the Florida surgeon general suspended distribution permit requirements, Florida statutes to allow wholesale distribution of Tamiflu and Relenza. The state has also distributed a series of blank quarantine order forms, including a voluntary home quarantine agreement, a quarantine to residence order, a quarantine to residence order (non-compliance), a quarantine to facility order, quarantine detention order, quarantine of facility order, building quarantine closure order and area quarantine closure order.

Iowa – In addition to the facility quarantine order listed above, Iowa has also made available forms for voluntary home confinement, home quarantine and home isolation.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts lists its own procedures for isolation and quarantine.

North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a draft isolation order that would provide for imprisonment for up to two years and pretrial detention without bail for any citizen who fails to comply with an isolation order.

Washington – Washington grants authority to local health officers to issue emergency detention orders causing citizens to be immediately and involuntarily isolated or quarantined for up to 10 days.

In addition, governors and health commissioners in the following states have declared a state of emergency since April following concerns about the H1N1 virus: California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

World Net Daily also speculates that the hysteria surrounding swine flu is leading up to a move for enforced vaccinations in the United States and elsewhere. In the Internet era there has been increased controversy surrounding vaccine programs. The criticisms range from questioning about the efficacy of vaccine programs themselves to suspicions that some of the elements in vaccines, specifically mercury, cause reactions that inevitably injure some individuals. World Net Daily reports on some issues that ought to be considered before launching a massive vaccine program in the US or worldwide:

Barbara Loe Fischer, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, referenced the controversial Massachusetts bill in her commentary, "Swine flu vaccine: Will we have a choice?"

Fischer said, "Public health doctors have persuaded legislators to pass pandemic influenza legislation that will allow state officials to enter homes and businesses without the consent of occupants, to investigate and quarantine individuals without their consent, to require licensed health-care providers to give citizens vaccines and to ban the free assembly of citizens in the state."

She said World Health Organization doctors "immediately went into high gear" within days of identifying the new swine flu virus emerging out of Mexico and declared a public-health emergency. Now, Fischer says, the CDC is taking the opportunity to exercise unprecedented power.

"Whenever the CDC now declares a public-health emergency, that declaration allows the Food and Drug Administration to permit emergency-use authorization for drug companies to fast-track creation of experimental drugs and vaccines that do not have to be tested as thoroughly as vaccines that go through the normal FDA-licensing process.

"In this case, Congress responded to the public health emergency declaration by giving a group of drug companies $1 billion to fast-track experimental swine flu vaccines that may include whole, live or killed, or genetically engineered human and animal viruses, chemicals and potentially reactive oil-based adjuvants that manipulate the immune system to boost the vaccine's potency. People who already have sensitive immune systems, such as those with allergy and autoimmune disorders, may be at special risk."

Furthermore, Fischer said 80 percent of all flu-like illness in a normal flu season is not caused by type A and B strains of influenza contained in annual flu shots.

While Fischer argues that citizens should be given the opportunity to voluntarily submit to flu vaccinations, she said, "Vaccine-acquired immunity is temporary while immunity gained after recovering from influenza is longer lasting."

While World Net Daily reports on swine flu and fairly Draconian actions that officials are contemplating to combat it, there are other articles in the news that seem to show official activism – especially in the United States – continues to grow. An article in PC World addresses the issue of such activism when it comes to American security issues. Here's a sample:

If You Care About Your Data, Leave Your Laptop at Home … The Obama administration clarified its rules about border searches of laptops and other digital gear … The chorus of folks singing "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" just got a little bigger and louder yesterday, after the Obama Administration issued "new" rules for border laptop searches that bear an uncanny resemblance to the old rules.

To recap: Last August, the lame-duck Bush Administration codified a longstanding policy that allowed Department of Homeland Security officials to seize travelers' laptops and other digital gear at the border — with no questions asked and no guarantee of return. Earlier this week the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit demanding, among other things, to know whose laptops were seized and what happened to them.

Perhaps coincidentally, a day later DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano issued "new directives" regarding electronic border searches. The new rules are not a total stiff — they put limits on the kinds of information DHS cops can look at, how long the DHS can hold onto your gear, and more oversight over the process. But many who'd hoped for a significant change in the way civil liberties have been abused by our Uncle over the last eight years are probably outside right now scratching the "Yes We Can" stickers off their bumpers.

Even the ACLU says border searches are necessary to ensure our safety. But like me, the group has more than a few problems with the how, the why, and the what.

What's wrong with this picture? Well, let's start with the lack of probable cause. The Obamanistas have left unchanged a Bush policy that allowed DHS agents to search any device of any traveler at any time — no reason necessary. Look the wrong way at an airport security agent who's having a bad hair day, and say adios to your laptop, cell phone, iPod, digital camera, or virtually any other device more complicated than a hair dryer for up to 30 days.

Problem No. 2: What exactly are they looking for? One of the biggest problems with laws designed to "enhance national security" is that they're often used to circumvent restrictions on law enforcement abuse (like, say, the Fourth Amendment) in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism. Just ask the guy who got arrested earlier this week for trying to smuggle child pornography over the Canadian border. He's one of an unknown number of pervs caught in similar circumstances, either by U.S. or foreign customs officials.

No one here is defending the right to carry kiddie porn, but what exactly does that have to do with national security? And if the feds are going to perform a digital cavity search for porn, why not pirated movies and music? Where is the line drawn and who draws it? …

Having just traveled over an international border with a laptop that is a) full of recent work that can't be easily duplicated, and b) not actually mine (it's a review unit), I can attest that having to surrender that machine for up to 30 days and get it returned to me wiped clean — after having done nothing wrong or even suspicious — would tick me off rather a lot.

Despite all of the above, I do not agree with those who will leap upon this as evidence the Obama administration is the second coming of Stalin. Remember, this stuff has been going on long before the O-man took office. The problem is that many us hoped for something better, not just more of the same.

These two articles above highlight disturbing trends that – undeniably — seem especially prominent in America, which has ordinarily been known for respecting individual rights. It is the overarching determination of officialdom not just to offer solutions but to implement them on a non-voluntary basis that is increasingly alarming to those such as the writer of the above excerpted article.

After Thoughts

The trouble with government solutions and government in general is that official belief structures and official practices are just as likely to be wrong as right. Shocking? It is an unfortunate historical fact. The sun does not revolve around the earth, there are more elements than earth, wind, air and fire and nobody can prove a witch by drowning her. These and other beliefs have gone by the wayside only to be replaced by global warming, peak oil and war-on-terror memes. These dominant social themes, in the opinion of the Bell, may prove as incorrect in the future as any others – and in these cynical times may be promoted by a monetary elite that knows they are not accurate. Nonetheless, they will be combated through a variety of solutions that range from the ridiculous to the dangerous – including apparently mandatory vaccinations for illnesses that are far from mortal for most. It is an unfortunate trend, especially in America.

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