Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Fear! Fear! Fear!

  1. Nov 1, 2005 #1
    Is it just me, or is Bush's timing on sounding Bird Flu alarms a little coincidental?

    "Bait and switch" and "distraction" and "Politics of fear" and "plummeting approval" all come to mind.

    http://www.islandpacket.com/24hour/front/story/2861218p-11522755c.html [Broken]

    Good God. Could the timing be any more obvious?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2005 #2
    Doesn't this sort of thing happen all the time with all sorts of politicians?
  4. Nov 1, 2005 #3
    Well, it is just about to be flu season, and people should be somewhat worried I suppose.

    It'd be alot more suspicious if he did this in the spring or something.
  5. Nov 1, 2005 #4
    I haven't seen any reports indicating that a mutation to a more humanly-contagious form is more likely to happen during flu season.
  6. Nov 1, 2005 #5
    Does this excuse the behavior? If people are being baited, wouldn't they like to be aware of it?
  7. Nov 1, 2005 #6
    Personally I just take the propaganda for granted. I don't see anyone out there in the political arena genuinely saying that they are done with it. I have become jaded and don't listen to politicians any more because I want to hear facts instead of spin and propaganda.
    The day someone says "Hey check this guy out! He's completely honest and tells it how it is!" I just may start paying attention. Until then I'll stick to reading or listening to the news.
  8. Nov 1, 2005 #7
    Unfortunately, that would be political suicide in the first 5 minutes.
  9. Nov 1, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I believe the NY Times is reporting that Canadian health officials have detected the virus in their country. I wonder why you haven't criticized every other politician who has done this... well I know i know, i don't actually wonder, i already know... its just a hypothetical question.

    If he didn't say anything, I'm utterly convinced you would say "Why hasn't Bush said anything about the flu????"
  10. Nov 1, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I feel Bush needs to address pandemic disease and preparedness. Recent increase in outbreaks justifies the timing, IMO. I’m glad to see his focus move off of military quarantine to vaccinations, though I question the plan on this, and how comprehensive his plan is. I assume there is review of medical facilities, etc., but haven’t heard.

    As for timing, I find his appeasement of the religious right on his SC nomination more questionable. An all out civil brawl is almost as good as a war to distract people from poor performance and/or scandals.
  11. Nov 1, 2005 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    As much as I support Bush, I am seeing a pattern here:

    When things get tough, start spending money.

    But, it could turn out to be one of those things that we sure would hate to not have in place if it becomes needed. He has been burned enough for not being prepared for crap.
  12. Nov 1, 2005 #11
    The report I heard has said that it likely isn't H5N1.
    ?? Done what? Asked for 7.1 billion dollars immediately following White House scandal, for an unrelated threat that has held roughly steady over the last year? As far as I have seen, every other country has been talking about bird flu ever since it was found in Asia in early 2004. Bush hasn't, until today. In other words, they weren't spinning it, and he is using it to bait you.
    As bird flu has been in the news ever since the SARS scare, one would think I have had plenty of time to say such a thing, and yet I haven't.

    But as soon as Bush proposed this bird flu scare, I spoke out - and the reason I speak out is because of the timing. He is playing the American people. It's unconscionable. Wake up.

    Please don't put words in my mouth. I certainly don't do that to you. I expect an apology.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2005
  13. Nov 1, 2005 #12
    What outbreaks? I don't believe the frequency of human cases is increasing over a year ago, for example.

    Bird flu hit the scene spring of 2004. Human cases occur with steady regularity. If there has been a recent increase, can you point me towards towards a reference demonstrating such?
  14. Nov 1, 2005 #13
    Also, the scientists have maintained all along that they will not be able to predict when bird flu will mutate. It could take years.

    Bush is making a gamble, and if nothing else it might be interesting to see how it plays out in the next election cycle or two.
  15. Nov 1, 2005 #14
    Hallelujah! We agree. :) I'd say when things get rough, he also sounds terror alarms. To boost support.

    Remember how many code orange/yellow/red/alerrts we had in the months before the elections? We have only had one scare since then, in New York (and was there even a terror alert issued???)

    Agreed. Just like the possibility of human - driving of climate change. Be a shame to realize too late that we didn't prevent it when we could.
  16. Nov 1, 2005 #15
    I think that one problem is that nobody is using the right terms.

    Bird Flu

    So what are we talking about folks?

    Just becasue I have a dead canary on my doorstep doesn't mean I am going to get sick.
  17. Nov 1, 2005 #16
    Still, I'd feel a lot better if the Surgeon General were the one letting us know what's going on instead of, you know.
  18. Nov 1, 2005 #17
    Point taken ... where is he anyway?

    You'd think this was within his scope and yet you have Bush flapping his gums as if he knew something about it.

    Probably find that the Surgeon General is like the Head of FEMA and once read the back of a Contac-C box.

    They're going to drop Halls lozenges and Vicks inhalers into Montana.
  19. Nov 1, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Let’s not forget there already was a shortage of flu vaccine during Bush’s watch. And yes, he seems to throw money (yours and mine) at problems to make himself look better.
    Outbreak was probably not the best word—I think there have been 65 deaths so far—mostly in Asia. How many total cases in how many countries in what time frame is a good question.

    In this evening’s news, there are some in the media who feel Bush is capitalizing on the situation. The speech is old news in that congress already addressed this last week, and the word pandemic was repeated numerous times in his speech. So though concern about pandemics is legitimate, it appears there is some continuation of the fear-mongering MO of this administration.
  20. Nov 2, 2005 #19
    As I understand it, H and N refer to particular proteins on the Avian Influenza A virus. The lethal form of avian influenza (bird flu) has the version of H that is called 5, and the version of N that is called 1. So, that strain is called H5N1.

    The canadian birds that appeared healthy and yet had an influenza infection, did not appear to be carrying H5N1, but rather a different influenza.

    There are other bird flus, which are of less concern. Presumably there are *lots* of other bird flus. Viral "species" outnumber bacterial species, by boatloads. - to give you an idea of how many viruses we live with on a daily basis.

    The virus that caused the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 shares genetic similarity to H5N1 Avian Influenza.


    SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is also caused by a virus - but a completely different one. In this case, the disease is caused by a coronavirus (a different viral family, from Flu.)

    There have been over 8,000 reported cases of SARS, and 774 fatalities. There have been close to 200 cases in the US alone.

    http://www.wadsworth.org/resnres/bios/wentworth.htm [Broken]

    These numbers indicate that SARS is a greater health threat than Bird Flu. Although the mortality is "only" around 10%, it spreads from person to person with fair ease.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  21. Nov 2, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    <offtopic>It wasn't, for one Paul Wellstone. </offtopic>
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2005
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook