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The federal government has taken the lead in protecting Americans against Swine Flu. The harpies of the right Wing, however, have other ideas of how top protect America. Walter Brasch has a few suggestions for them.

by Walter Brasch

More than 230,000 cases of the Swine Flu have been confirmed world wide. About 2,100 persons have died. As much as one-fourth of America's workforce may be infected by Swine Flu when it peaks in Winter, according to studies conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC scientists isolated and developed the seed strain of swine flu. Working furiously to manufacture the vaccine are five major drug companies, which received about $1.8 billion in federal funding to produce the anti-virus. Leading the testing, analyses, and education campaigns about the swine flu, in addition to the CDC, are the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Federal Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addition to the Department of Health and Human Services, which developed the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza protection.

Testing of the vaccines on human subjects is being done at eight major U.S. universities and hospitals, which received federal funding. The federal government is also providing about $260 million in grants to state health departments to give the vaccine at no charge to people who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover vaccinations.

In several European countries, which are producing about 70 percent of all vaccines for a worldwide population, most research and production is being funded and carried out by government agencies.

But if you listen to the multi-millionaire conservative bloviators of talk radio and Fox News, or the shrill screeching of a minority of tea-baggers and conservatives at dozens of town hall meetings, you hear one theme. These right-wing loonies say they don't want the government involved in health care. No government. Get government out of their lives. Government is evil! The well-orchestrated campaign against health care reform focuses upon shouting over any attempt by members of Congress to present the truth about health care bills. Apparently, they believe the health care crisis is a sports game; whoever shouts the loudest to drown out everyone else gets the most points.

If these harpies of the right are all-so-determined to stop universal health care, if they don't want the government in health care, then I have a couple of suggestions.

First, because the baggers scream "socialist" at anything they don't approve, they should refuse to accept Social Security or Medicare when eligible. If they're veterans, they should refuse any VA medical programs, and reject any disability income.

Next, when the swine flu vaccines are ready for distribution in Fall, the opponents of health care reform should refuse to be vaccinated. That's right. They need to stand by their principles, and not get the vaccines. After all, by their bastardized strain of logic, anything with a government stamp on health care must be suspect. They may even believe the massive public education campaign by the federal government is just a scare tactic, that the vaccines—primarily researched, tested, and funded by the federal government—may even be part of a secret conspiracy by the federal government to control Americans' minds and make everyone Communists.

Nevertheless, whatever their beliefs, when the Swine Flu vaccine is ready, the opponents of the "intrusion" of the federal government into health care just need to say "NO"! but don't say "no" for the rest of us.

[Walter M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, social issues columnist, and the author of 17 books. His current book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available from,, and other stores. The book was a winner in the politics/social issues category of USA Book News awards, and a finalist in the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group awards. His weekly column was this year's winner in contests sponsored by the Pennsylvania Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists; his column received honorable mention in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Forthcoming in September is the critically-acclaimed third edition of Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture. You may contact him at or through his website,]

Originally posted to brasch on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 11:36 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  With due respect Prof Brasch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, oscarsmom

    I believe you're encouragement of some citizens to refuse recommended flu vaccination regiments for ideological reasons is unproductive, and possibly irresponsible should it be followed.  I understand what you're saying in terms of logical argument - and am entirely sympathetic to the frustrations.

    But any significant population refusing vaccinations per the recommendation of the WHO, CDC, Dept of Health etc could present a significant public health danger to other members of that community and country-wide.  The government will come out with a recommendation that promotes the best herd-immunity to protect those most at risk.  Increasing viral amplification with unvaccinated individuals out of that recommendation collapses the careful house of cards.

    •  I think in this particular case (0+ / 0-)

      there will be insufficient vaccine to fulfill the need or demand anyway. So when the time comes for vaccinations, the same number of people are going to be unprotected.

      If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

      by Angela Quattrano on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 02:40:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The point you are trying to make is obscured... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sc kitty the larger public health issue.  Of course, the anti-healthcare wingnuts haven't thought through their position.  Taken to an extreme, their ridiculous opposition to healthcare reform would lead them to refuse many of the government sponsored things society takes for granted.

    However, Swine Flu is an immediate public health concern.  Even wingnuts should get vaccinated if they fall into the categories the CDC has established.

  •  and here is the other side's response (0+ / 0-)

    ...a comment found on Moderate Voice:

    im sorry but this writer has not studied Baxter International and their connection to bio warfare, he has not studied the genetic questions about the 'naturalness' of this flu, he has not studied the military preparation for 'crowd control',.....

    you can't get away from crazy, i 'spose

  •  I've always said if it were not for government (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thestral, puzzled, Calamity Jean

    we'd have high cost Polio Treatment Centers and daily Small Pox Quarantines.

    For profit medicine cannot and would not eradicate disease.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 12:38:13 PM PDT

    •  good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There's no long-term income stream if a disease is eradicated.  There is from treating it.

      Cures--good for people/bad for profits.

      Public option or primary challenge? Your choice, Congressman.

      by puzzled on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 12:52:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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