November 2009 Archives

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Post Promotes Pig Pandemic Panic . . . and promotes and promotes . . .

By Michael Fumento

From an unpublished letter to the editor of the Washington Post.

"Panic is what we want," declared Anne Applebaum of the swine flu in the Post Opinion pages in May. "Panic is good." The next month John Barry told Opinion readers to expect "89,000 to 207,000" swine flu deaths. In August, Opinions ran Jorge R. Mancillas' piece warning of "between 9 million and 10 million" swine flu deaths worldwide.

There have been no Opinions pieces critical of swine flu hype.

Now the CDC estimates that in five and a half months swine flu has killed 4,000 Americans, while plain old seasonal flu annually kills about 36,000 over a five-month season. Worldwide, as of November 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) says only that swine flu is known to have killed over 6,250 people in seven months, even while it estimates seasonal flu kills 4,800 to 9,600 every seven days.

Aha! But Post economics writer Alan Sipress warns Opinion readers that if the do-nothing avian flu (the WHO says it's been infecting poultry and hence making bird-human contact since at least 1959) were to combine with the lazy swine flu, the outcome could be "savage," a "real nightmare."

Yes, and if Godzilla could rise from the deep he could destroy Tokyo!

Enough already! The point is made. And it says nothing about the swine flu but
everything about the Post Opinions page.

[Not incidentally, I know the Post refuses to run anti-panic pieces because I sent it two, one of which was rejected but later appeared in the much-larger circulation Los Angeles Times.]

November 26, 2009 05:00 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

Global warming email scandal: Warmist expert's email totally contradicts congressional testimony

By Michael Fumento

"It has become evident that the planet is running a 'fever' and the prognosis is that it is apt to get much worse. 'Warming of the climate system is unequivocal' and it is 'very likely' due to human activities. This is the verdict of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), known as AR4 . . . . Warming of the climate system is unequivocal as is now clear from an increasing body of evidence showing discernible physically consistent changes."

- Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research and a lead author of the warmist bible, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, congressional testimony of February 2007.


"We can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't," and "any consideration of geoengineering [is] quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!"

- Kevin Trenberth, unintentionally released email to various recipients, October 14, 2009.

November 26, 2009 10:01 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Lack of global warming is "hot" issue

By Michael Fumento

"Climatologists baffled by Global Warming Time-Out" declares the headline in Germany's Spiegel Online.

"Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents."

Whatever the cause, it remains that there's been no time out in the production of so-called "greenhouse gases." More are being pumped out worldwide and the atmospheric concentration is higher than ever. Yet even while "The planet's temperature curve rose sharply for almost 30 years, as global temperatures increased by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the late 1990s," it's gone nowhere since then.

It what may a poor choice of words, Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, told Spiegel, ""It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community."

November 23, 2009 12:13 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Global Warming

Flu Report Nov. 21 and my piece on the epidemic peak in NRO.

By Michael Fumento

"Swine flu has killed 540 kids, sickened 22 million Americans," screamed USA Today’s page 1 headline, sub-headed "CDC: Cases, Deaths are Unprecedented." Swine flu cases in the U.S. are rising at the fastest pace for influenza in four decades," breathlessly declares a Bloomberg News article lede. Another article's title referred to a "national swine flu spike."

CAPTION

Scary stuff! Phony stuff! And a desperate effort to distract from an alarmist media's greatest nightmare: That the epidemic has peaked, as I write in National Review Online.

Yet the mainstream may possibly, maybe, sorta, be starting to catch on.

"Health officials say swine flu cases appear to declining throughout most of the U.S.," reports AP.

But, making evident its reporter hadn't actually bothered to look at the data or try to comprehend it, the story concluded "They say it's hard to know whether the epidemic has peaked or not, and many people will be gathering - and spreading germs - next week at Thanksgiving."

Well, there you go, there is a possible exception to the rule of infectious disease epidemic curves known as Farr's law. It's called "Thanksgiving."

November 20, 2009 08:42 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

Senseless scent hate mail

By Michael Fumento

Subject: Where's your scientific backup?

Wendy Webb wrote:

Dear Michael,

How about drinking your bottle of cologne and letting me know how that goes for you? Put your opinion where your mouth is (instead of its current southerly location) and show us all how harmless cologne is and that our fears are baseless. Harvard will be particularly interested in your discovery that perfume holds no danger. They can then remove the statement "Just two ounces of perfume can cause severe poisoning in a young child." from their website. If a couple ounces of your favorite smelly fluid can kill a human - then please explain how it is unbelievable that it can make other humans sick from exposure. Are you just a bit slow or are your articles funded by those who profit from your lies?

In all truth - I wish you were correct and that perfumes/fragrances were safe for all to use and be exposed to. Start talking to people you know and believe in Michael . . . I bet you'll find a few who have had reactions or know someone who does. Know anyone that works in a hospital? Talk to them, they may have some information for you too. And be careful about the karma you invite . . . the universe has a wicked sense (or scents) of humor and you may one day find yourself the sickened victim of a perfume bomb.

Say hello to Karma! (Actually my wife.)

Good luck with that!

Wendy

Dear Wendy:

Can you not distinguish between modes of exposure, namely drinking versus smelling. Personally, I don't like the smell of feces but I'd certainly rather smell it than consume it. Or to put it into toxicological form, I wouldn't mind dabbing a little cyanide behind my ears and on my wrist - though I dare say it would do nothing to attract the fair sex. But I wouldn't drink cyanide. Likewise you could hold plutonium in your hand and it would be harmless. You could eat it and it would be harmless. But inhale it and you're asking for lung cancer. It speaks not well of you that you don't understand this.

As for inviting Karma, I already have. She's coming for dinner tonight and I really don't care what you have to say about that either.

November 20, 2009 02:45 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Chemophobia

"Not fit for combat," my article in Forbes

By Michael Fumento

It's not exactly what Pogo meant when he said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." But it works out that way. The greatest threat to our national security isn't terrorist groups, rogue nations with nukes or China. It's an inability to stock our armed forces with top-quality men and women because too many applicants are uneducated and overweight.

About three-fourths of the nation's 17- to 24-year-olds can't join the military, largely due to these problems, says a report from Mission: Readiness, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. It's one reason President Obama is dithering over whether he should order an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Today we have just 1.4 million people in the active military, whereas in 1944 we had over 2 million serving in France alone, out of a U.S. population less than half its current size.

Read my Forbes article to find out how our public education system is a serious threat to national defense.

November 19, 2009 09:34 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Education ~ Obesity

Not sure what DDT does to birds, but I know how it helps people

By Michael Fumento

There's been much in the news lately about the brown pelican being delisted as

DDT delousing in Naples

an endangered species since its recovery from the effects of DDT. There are people whose work I trust who disagree as to whether DDT actually thinned bird eggshells and thus led to declines in various species. That said, all of them are agreed as to the value in saving lives in poor areas - including parts of Africa today.
A poignant reminded comes in Rick Atkinson's wonderful history of the Italian campaign in World War II, The Day of Battle. He first describes the typhus epidemic in recently-liberated Naples that carried off a fourth of its victims. "Carts hauled away the dead at night, as in medieval times. Typhus, which had killed three million people in Russia and Poland during and after World War I, is spread by lice, and 90 percent of the civilian population in Naples reputedly harbored head lice."

Then:

Mass delousing was planned for the entire populations, which would be spayed "on the hoof" at fifty "public powdering stations." Transport planes brought emergency supplies of . . . DDT . . . and eventually sixty tons would be shipped to Italy. At one commandeered palazzo, MPs carrying sacks of the stuff stood by with spray guns . . . . "The men were sprayed from head to foot," [as one witness described it]. "The women were shot down their bosoms and backs and were sprayed back to front." Other spray teams prowled caves and shelters, and soon the typhus epidemic ended.
November 18, 2009 01:42 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment ~ Pesticides

Obvious answer to electric car "range anxiety" - gov't handouts!

By Michael Fumento

What's the greatest fear of the owner of a purely electric car? Running out of juice, of course!

Feed the fat cats!
Not even a tiny gasoline engine to chug on home or to the nearest gas station. This not only eliminates long trips but can induce a nervousness even around town dubbed "range anxiety." But fear not; there's an answer! Installing recharging facilities - and lots of 'em because juicing up a car battery is a sloooooooow process. (Car owners, bring a book. Like "War and Peace.)

On Monday, reports the Washington Post, a coalition of companies including "Nissan, FedEx, PG&E and NRG Energy issued a report calling for billions of dollars in government aid to support the transition of the U.S. vehicle fleet to cars that run on batteries. The group is asking for $124 billion in government incentives over eight years including $13.5 billion for tax credits to build public charging stations."

What shock! (Pardon the pun.) Aren't government handouts, including corporate welfare, the answer to all problems? And everybody knows about the big fat surplus the Obama Administration is running. Meanwhile, buyers of electric cars are already getting a fat $7,500 write-off.

Message to electric car sellers and buyers about "range anxiety": Sounds like a personal problem.

November 18, 2009 11:12 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Energy

"Flu cocktail plague" hits Ukraine!

By Michael Fumento

"A cocktail of three flu viruses are reported to have mutated into a single pneumonic plague, which it is believed may be far more dangerous than swine flu," reports London's Daily Express. "The death toll has reached 189 and more than 1 million people have been infected, most of them in the nine regions of Western Ukraine."

According to the paper, President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko said: "People are dying. The epidemic is killing doctors. This is absolutely inconceivable in the 21st Century."

That's right! Heretofore, taking the Hippocratic oath immunized you against the flu. Or at least in the 21st Century. Not any longer!

As to that death toll, it may possibly be above that of swine flu but it's well below that of good ol' garden-variety seasonal flu. And no, there's no such things as a cocktail of three viruses. How do I know? Trust me, I know. Among other things the president reportedly refers to one of the viruses as "the California flu."

No such animal. Er, virus.

Ah, hysteria! Nothing like it!

November 16, 2009 06:54 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Flu Watch Nov. 14 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing This Week

By Michael Fumento

Yes, even as the media twist and turn the numbers in the new CDC estimate (about which I'll be publishing an article) the evidence continues to come in that swine flu in the U.S. has peaked and is sliding down the right side of the epidemic slope.

Swine flu infections have plummeted
Swine flu infections have plummeted

Here we see a sharp decline in both new deaths and hospitalizations.

Last week there was a massive decline in samples submitted to the CDC surveillance labs and a small decline in those testing positive. This week the bottom fell out. Samples submitted have gone from about 26,000 to 21,000 to just 13,000. Almost 39% of those samples were positive two weeks ago; now it's just 30%. Put another way, the CDC labs received 10,076 positive samples two weeks ago, 7,557 last week, and just 3,834 this week. That's a plunge of over 60% in just two weeks!

Even hysteria seems to have peaked - if only ever so slightly. Last week just under 8% of all emergency room visits were for those ubiquitous "flu-like symptoms." This week, it's just under 7%. Not exactly a 60% drop in the last three weeks, but then the media are laboring mightily to prop up those figures.

College infections have are still essentially flat.

In other countries, at least, it seems people are starting to catch on. London's Independent newspaper asks: "Pandemic? What Pandemic?" It gives the following figures:

65,000
Number of deaths in worst-case scenario for Britain published in July

19,000 Revised worst-case scenario outlined in September

1,000 Revised worst-case scenario last month

154 Number of deaths in Britain so far

4-8,000 Average annual death toll in Britain from seasonal winter flu

But in America we remain with wool firmly pulled over eyes. Still, some are having fun with all this. Check out this neat swine flu music video, "The Swine Flu Blues!"

November 13, 2009 06:08 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Military ~ Swine Flu

Yes, I will be posting about the new CDC swine flu estimates

By Michael Fumento

At a glance, though, the estimates look okay; it's the spin and the lack of perspective that I have trouble with. And while the media have missed it, they also show an extremely low case-fatality ratio compared to seasonal flu.

According to the CDC, seasonal flu causes 15 to 60 million infections yearly with 36,000 resulting deaths, for a fatality rate ranging from 0.06% to 0.24%. It now estimates that since the swine flu outbreak began there have been 22 million cases causing 4000 deaths, for a fatality rate of 0.0182%. So the death rate from seasonal flu is about three to 12 times higher.

It estimates there have been 540 child deaths - those under age 18. But if just 3% of seasonal flu deaths were in children it would come out to 1,080 deaths.

Once again, it's much squealing about very little.

November 13, 2009 10:36 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

Not without honor except in his own home . . .

By Michael Fumento

I'm a hit in the Czech Republic, a land renowned for beautiful architecture and even more beautiful women. Well, at least I got mentioned in a Czech language publication, CDN.CZ, which roughly states:

Other data collected by Michael Fumento from the Washington Times, reveal that people are panicked in the U.S. to seven percent of all visitors to clinics! Most of those who not been affected by H1N1 virus. And they have struck again with such weak signs that do not require hospitalization. By going to the crowded hospital, may greatly help the spread of disease.

Actually, it never occurred to me that mildly ill people going to emergency rooms were spreading the disease to the worried well. But obviously that must be the case. It's a false attribution I embrace! God bless the Czech Republic!

And those beautiful women.

November 12, 2009 11:28 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Fumento ~ Swine Flu

What haunts combat vets? Read my Forbes piece: "Veterans' Ghosts"

By Michael Fumento

Many of my feelings about what combat was like were difficult to describe but one was impossible until I read this quote from a Vietnam vet:

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class (Sea, Air, and Land) Michael Monsoor in combat in Ramadi, 2006.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class (Sea, Air, and Land) Michael Monsoor in combat in Ramadi, 2006

There's a love relationship that is nurtured in combat because the man next you - you're depending on him for the most important thing you have, your life, and if he lets you down you're either maimed or killed. If you make a mistake the same thing happens to him, so the bond of trust has to be extremely close; and I'd say this bond is stronger than almost anything, with the exception of parent and child. It's a hell of a lot stronger than man and wife - your life is in his hands, you trust that person with the most valuable thing you have.

And what happens when that person dies, whether in your presence or later on? You may end up believing in ghosts, like the ghost of Michael Monsoor. Here's my story of the first Navy SEAL to win the Medal of Honor in Iraq.

November 11, 2009 09:55 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Military

The government forgot about hiring the vet

By Michael Fumento

With unemployment up yet again, it must be reassuring to Americans that job-seeking veterans are being helped so much by the government, and by all those Web-based organizations with such names as VetJobs.com, MilitaryHire.com, RecruitMilitary.com, HireVeterans.com, and Military Job Zone.

Except that they're not. Remember the expression "Don't forget; hire the vet"? We've forgotten.

Read my Philadelphia Inquirer piece, "No Medals for Hiring Vets," and be enraged.

November 11, 2009 08:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government ~ Military

"The Swine Flu Boogeyman," my piece in Forbes Online

By Michael Fumento

"The boogeyman will get you!" parents sometimes tell misbehaving children. With about 40% of parents saying "no!" to vaccinating their kids for swine flu, apparently health officials think turnabout is fair play. And the media seem happy to help.

Of the many things that might harm your baby, swine flu is thankfully way down on the list.

Of the many things that might harm your baby, swine flu is thankfully way down on the list.

You see it in such headlines as "CDC Shocker: Swine Flu Killing Young People at Record Rate!" And in lines of panicked parents queued outside vaccine clinics like fans trying to score tickets to a Paul McCartney concert. And in schools closing willy-nilly, which could cost the nation tens of billions, according to a recent Brookings Institute study.

Which is so sad, because this boogeyman is not much more substantial than the legendary one. And adding the proverbial insult to injury, parents are told they must get their children vaccines that - because of the shortage and despite Obama administration promises - they can't get.

Read about it in my new piece in Forbes Online.

November 8, 2009 06:51 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Flu Watch Nov. 7 - What Swine Flu ISN'T Doing This Week

By Michael Fumento

Well, what swine flu isn't doing this week is apparently less than what it wasn't doing last week. In other words, it appears to have peaked.

http://www.openmarket.org/wp-content/themes/gazette/thumb.php?src=http://www.openmarket.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/laboratory-confirmed-influenza-associated-hospitalizations-and-deaths-national-summary_1257549777424.png&h=175&w=255&zc=1&q=95
CDC data show both hospitalizations and deaths going down.

How do we know?
Here we see it's going down the right side of the bell curve both in terms of deaths and hospitalizations.

And there's both a massive decline in samples submitted to CDC surveillance labs and a small decline in those testing positive.

College infections have essentially gone flat.

And finally we see from the Australian swine flu data in figures 1,2, and 7 that swine flu does indeed resemble the normal epidemiological curve. Once cases start going down they keep going down.

Unfortunately, the "hysteria curve" as indicated by emergency room visits is still at the highest level in the century. You can probably credit the Obama administration declaration of a "national emergency" for that.

November 7, 2009 07:02 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government ~ Swine Flu

Just what IS in those enormous health care bills?

By Michael Fumento

With the House version stacked bigger than Dolly Parton at about 2,000 pages, anybody who says they know for certain is lying. It's not just the verbiage but how it will be interpreted in the years to come. Still, there's more than enough to be alarmed enough to want to kill the bills off.

Maybe Dolly Parton can't be stacked too high, but legislation can.
Maybe Dolly Parton can't be stacked too high, but legislation can.

"Rather than overwhelm you with arcane details of each bill," writes Robert Bidinotti in an engaging and highly annotated essay, "it is more important that you understand in principle what ObamaCare will mean for you and your family." Going into detail (but not too much), he says they include:


  • Outrageous Costs.

  • Soaring Taxes.

  • Perverse Incentives.

  • Government rationing.

  • Broken promises.


He states:
A single-payer, government-run program of socialized medicine is the stated objective of those who designed this legislative monstrosity- from President Obama, to the vast coalition of unions and advocacy groups, to the congressional leaders who drafted these bills. They explicitly intend to bankrupt the private-insurance marketplace, so that only the government option remains. Far from adding "choice and competition," then, ObamaCare aims at imposing on us a government health-care monopoly.

Urge your congressman to vote for Dolly Parton instead.

November 4, 2009 09:02 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Health Care

Poll shows little faith in government, media

By Michael Fumento

CAPTION
A new Harvard poll, in a ranking of 13 leadership categories, found Congress and the media ranked 11th and 12th respectively. They probably would have been even lower had there been a category for used car salesmen.

November 3, 2009 04:06 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government ~ Media

Swine flu "survivor" speaks out on media hype

By Michael Fumento

From a letter to the editor of the Washington Post:

NAME PHOTO
It is ridiculous that The Post has dedicated so much of the A section the past several weeks to the swine flu outbreak. Being a young "survivor" of the swine flu, I have to say that it was the most anticlimactic experience I have ever had. No deathbed, no fever.

The way the media continue to portray the virus is creating unnecessary panic around the world. Many people infected with the virus don't even know they have it. The public should be outraged at news outlets that have caused mass hysteria and a mad rush for vaccines, medication and hand sanitizer.


Unfortunately, right now they're too busy being outraged at the lack of the promised vaccine. But hopefully the day will come. Until then, you can read my bevy of swine flu anti-hype articles.

November 3, 2009 12:00 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu