Link for 10/30/09 – A scary scary man

Today’s link is a clip of Ruth Limbaugh discussing the latest outbreak of the H1N1.   He critiques the Administration claim that the vaccine is a result of less-than-expected yield from manufacturers (how could anything be the fault of the private sector) and references a CBS report which suggests that the H1N1 flu is being improperly diagnosed and that those with a “probable” or “likely” case of the flu probably didn’t have it.  From there, he blames the government for this misdiagnosis because they tabulate results and goes into his main point that the CDC and the Obama administration are using the Swine Flu as a tool to convince people to support the Obama healthcare plan.

Ok, so let’s start back at the beginning.

1. Rush- Not getting expected yield is ABSOLUTELY possible and, in fact, likely.  According to foxnews, Novartis, one of the main manufacturers was getting only about 23% of expected yield.  Other firms, including GSK and Sanofi, saw similar problems which were mostly attributed to an ineffective seed virus.  The fixes that Rush mocked Kathleen Sibelius for are actually a replacement of the seed virus which has caused significant yield increases (up more than 40% at Novartis).   I know you think that, somehow, President Obama must have snuck in (probably using his kids as a decoy) to labs across the world and altered the seed virus just enough to cause the low yields and is now trying to blame that poor defense-less private sector but, uhh…you’re wrong.

2. The CBS report is certainly a troubling one and an important one to read.  However, no where in the report is there the slightest suggestion that the Obama Administration is trying to artificially pump up the number of H1N1 cases for political purposes.  In fact, according to the report, the CDC made the decision to stop counting and testing probable H1N1 cases because they had already made the decision that it was a pandemic and the resources were better used elsewhere (like getting more vaccines).  Even the states, like CA, that are gathering their own information, admit that they “support CDC policy to stop counting individual cases, maintaining that [they have] the resources to gather more specific testing data than the CDC.”  If you want to rail against something, Rush, why not talk about the fact that the CDC doesn’t have the resources they need.  Oh wait, that is a government program.  I forgot, you think they are all evil.

So this brings us to Rush’s main point.  That the Obama administration is somehow manipulating the public by creating a false sense of panic in order to push through policies that the public would never accept under normal circumstances.  What policies you ask?  Well the invasion of a country of course.  Oh.  That was the last president?  Ok, well how about a law designed to give the government unprecedented rights and strip citizens of many of the freedoms that this country was founded on.  That sounds like a Democrat with their big government….what?  Oh, that was the last president too?  A president Rush supported and never complained made these claims against?  That sounds hypocritical…  Well, I’m sure when Tom Ridge admitted that “he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004” Rush was ready to jump all over Bush right?  I mean Bush wanted to manipulate the public by creating a false sense of panic in order to cement his re-election and serve another four years as an unpopular president.  Rush – you claim that Obama is using Swine Flu as a “tool” to make the public do what you want them to do.  Even if that were true, isn’t that EXACTLY what Bush did with the terror alert.    Isn’t it worse to manipulate the public to send young men and women into harms way, than to manipulate them into getting better healthcare?  What am I missing here?  Why is this the battle you fight? 

In writing this, I have come to realize that it is not only Rush I’m mad at.  He is an entertainer.  He knows people only tune in because he says ridiculous things and he loves the publicity that comes with it.  I just wasted a whole blog post on a man who has the intelligence level of a piece of seaweed.   He and Jon Stewart are very similar (well only Jon is smart).  They both take extreme positions and entertain people in their defense of those positions.  However, Stewart is very open about the fact that his is a comedy show.  He isn’t trying to preach the gospel, he is trying to be funny.  Rush, on the other hand, either thinks he is preaching the gospel or has come to the conclusion that the way for him to be rich is to make people think he is.  And they flock to him.  And they don’t think for themselves, they just listen and believe….like some creepy cult.  And that my friends, that is a problem.


Posted on October 30, 2009, in Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You’d be surprised how many people believe this junk. Mark’s grampa thinks Rush is the be-all, end-all (as does his uncle). We don’t talk politics at Thanksgiving anymore after the uncomfortable debate over universal healthcare when the uncle accused me of marrying Mark for his health insurance. Awk. Ward.

    But back on topic, vaccine companies don’t make money off flu vaccines. So, they tend to undermake them. Just think about how many H1N1 vaccines are being given away for free! Even though we’ve had more fatalities in this area than the other Bay counties (as far as I understand; I could be wrong) we’re getting a lesser # of vaccines. I’m curious how this stuff gets distributed. They’re giving vaccines away at all the schools in Madison, but they had to halve the “high risk” group here in order to handle the demand.

  2. Wow. I beg to differ, pharmaceutical companies make hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars each year on vaccines. And it is a growth industry. The industry itself predicts that by 2020, parents will be spending $1225 per child for vaccines. I don’t have current statistics, but in 2004 it was $606. This would be acceptable if they actually worked, and were harmless. The science (yes, science, not the marketing department of a Pharma giant) says otherwise.

    Also, though I never thought I would agree with Rush Limbaugh on anything, I have to say that I do think the administration is priming the fear pump to get Americans to line up docilely for their injections. Do the research, go to the CDC’s very confusing website and notice that they are not separating H1N1 deaths from regular flu deaths. And doesn’t it strike you as suspicious that the CDC has told hospitals to STOP TESTING for H1N1?
    Please check out my post on my blog for a very different perspective on the vaccination debate, and links to websites where well-respected doctors question the H1N1 scare.

  3. In this post I am not defending (or questioning) the H1N1 scare. What I am concerned about is the implication that the Obama Administration is using the flu for political gain, which I do not believe. Why would they be “priming the fear pump” (which is a great metaphor by the way) when they don’t have the vaccines available? They come off looking worse when there are millions of scared Americans with no protection. If they were playing politics with this, they would tamp down the fear so people would not have noticed the delay and shortage.

    I’ll be honest with you – it doesn’t strike me as suspicious that the CDC has told hospitals to stop testing for H1N1 specifically. The test, at the doctor level, is the same. I believe (but again, I’m no doctor) that it is only with additional higher-level testing that H1N1 can be definitively diagnosed. Since the treatments are pratically the same and the danger isn’t in the flu, but rather in the complications, they have made a good decision to not needlessly diagnose a flu strain, but rather focus on learning more about, and preventing complications.

  4. And what is your blog website? It isn’t showing up and I’d love to check it out!

  5. I didn’t say that companies don’t make money in vaccines, just not in FLU vaccines. Flu vaccines change every year, require a lot of time and energy, and aren’t sold for very much, if even sold at all. The required vaccines really don’t change and cost much more, so it’s little work for the vaccine companies and a lot of gain (compare the free H1N1 vaccine to the $450 Gardasil vaccine).

    I do not believe the hype is coming from the CDC at all. They have been saying from the beginning that this is being blown out of proportion, and as a public health practitioner myself, I agree. The complications from H1N1 are potentially worse for a group of people that does not usually have complications from the regular flu, which is what makes H1N1 scary. However, the LOCAL media has taken the story and run with it. They’re reporting each death from H1N1 but not from the regular flu, which makes it seem like all these people are dying from H1N1 when really, the CDC reported earlier in the year that the deaths from H1N1 and the seasonal flu are about the same.

    The CDC has repeatedly told people to not panic about this and to just take normal precautions to avoid getting sick.

  6. Hi Bennylee and marfmom, my blog is and the post in question can be found under the “Swine Flu” category. I really appreciate having a civil conversation about hot button issues! Please note that I will be adding reference links to the post as time goes on. It started as a letter to the editor and got waaay too long!

  7. Bennylee, you made a very telling comment in your post: “the danger isn’t in the flu, but rather in the complications”. This does seem to be the case, with H1N1 and most flu viruses. If so, why the rush to develop a vaccine, and allow unapproved adjuvants such as squalene (suspected of being a causative agent with Gulf War Syndrome) to “stretch” the supply of the vaccine? Why not just focus on prevention, and dealing with the complications as they arise?

    To me, it is chilling that hospitals have been told to stop serological testing for confirmation of the spread of this virus that can only be called “pandemic” under the newly revised WHO definition of pandemic . If there is no lab confirmation, and the symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and other flu-like conditions, how do we know it’s not just the seasonal flu?

    Marfmom, the US government is spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to
    1. give grants to corporations for R&D on new vaccines;
    2. stockpile “pandemic” vaccines for pandemics that never manifest (SARS, Avian Flu, Anthrax);
    3. fund the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund. Yes that’s right. Up until this “State of Emergency”, the vaccine manufacturers weren’t liable for vaccine injury–we the taxpayers were. With the enactment of the PREP act, no one is liable. The citizens are on their own unless they can prove “willful misconduct”.

    To me, rushing a vaccine to market while not providing serological evidence that we are in fact in the middle of a pandemic, and ensuring that there will be ZERO liability in the event of vaccine injury or death, could be considered willful misconduct.

    If you check out my site, you will see within the body of the post several reputable sites that support or go far beyond what I report. Please don’t take my word for it, and don’t discount what I have to say without doing further research!

    I highly recommend Dr. Tim O’Shea’s book: The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination is Not Immunization

    Thanks again for a civil debate!
    To health!

  8. Rosa, I don’t disagree with you on some things for sure!

    Yes, I know the government is giving our grants to encourage pharma companies to develop flu vaccines, b/c like I said, flu vaccines aren’t inherently profitable for them.

    You wrote, “how do we know it’s not just the seasonal flu?” For one, there is no one seasonal flu. The seasonal flu vaccine covers several strains of influenza, and the CDC has said that if H1N1 had manifested itself a few months earlier, it would have just been covered in the seasonal flu vaccine as one of the several strains. However, the end result of H1N1 is slightly different from what we think of as traditional seasonal flu, which is how we know it’s different (that and its genetics). The “regular” flu tends to kill the elderly, very young, and chronically ill, but H1N1 has a high (well, as compared to the other flu strains) rate of making the young and healthy very sick/causing them to die.

    I don’t see the need to waste resources, both time and money, on testing everyone who comes in with a fever. Some of the initial symptoms of H1N1 are diff. from the seasonal flu, so that helps with diagnosis, but i think the approach to just treat as though it’s H1N1 makes more sense.

    I do agree I don’t trust all the ingredients of the vaccine. My son’s pediatrician advised us to not vaccinate him, although she said we could for the regular flu, so we did. In general, I strongly support vaccination. We use an alternate vaccine schedule for our son, so his are very spread out, but he’ll get all the required vaccines.

    My husband and I will get the H1N1 vaccine, just as we got the regular flu vaccine. Both of us are at high risk for complications, particularly my husband, and I’d rather chance the vaccine, where the risk of complications is minimal, than to see him spend a lot of time in the hospital, which is a fairly likely result of him getting the flu. Every family is different though.

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