A disease far more dangerous than influenza

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

According to Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal the origination of the swine flu (or A/H1N1 influenza) is still unknown Germ Sleuths Stalk Origin of Killer Flu

A picture is now emerging of how U.S. and Mexican officials, with a key assist from a Canadian government lab, first realized they faced a new type of disease and began racing to isolate its earliest origins. Until recently, Mexico was widely assumed to be ground zero. Now, however, some California doctors are questioning that.

The four earliest confirmed cases are divided evenly between California and Mexico. In fact, it appears two children in California got sick in late March, several days before the first two known Mexico cases in early April.

"Pinpointing the disease's origin is proving to be tricky. The fact that some people have gotten sick without needing hospitalization suggests the virus may have floated around undetected before late March."

ChickenLittle

But this post is not about influenza. It is about a far more dangerous disease. It is a mind-wasting disease that destroys brain matter and renders the infected individual a danger to him or herself and to society. It is the disease of racism, bigotry and hatred. Its source is fear.

I strongly suspect that had this influenza virus originated in Asia as is typical, it likely would have received the usual level of media attention that avian influenza and SARS received in recent years. It was most unfortunate that this influenza virus may have originated in North America and the first large-scale outbreak occurred in Mexico.

"Mexico" was all that the hatemongers in the right-wing media needed to hear to dovetail into their daily dehumanizing of immigrants from Mexico. Suddenly the conspiracy theory that this was a devious biological terrorist attack on the United States using "illegal" immigrants spread like wildfire in the right-wing media. It was most disheartening to hear members of the White House press corps actually pose this as a serious question this week. The right-wing talking points that drive our mainstream news media turned the flu outbreak into a 24/7 media frenzy.

Media Matters documents several outrageous examples of right-wing media figures blaming Mexican immigrants for the spread of swine flu into the United States Paranoia pandemic: Conservative media baselessly blame swine flu outbreak on immigrants Boston talk radio hatemonger Jay Severin has been suspended indefinitely for his outrageous comments calling Mexican immigrants "criminaliens," "primitives," "leeches," and exporters of "women with mustaches and VD," among other incendiary comments. Severin suspended for comments about Mexican immigrants

Reality check: The first reported cases of influenza in the United States were American tourists who had recently traveled to Mexico on vacation and brought the influenza virus back with them. Sorry, wingnuts, no invasion of Mexican bioterrorists crossing the border into the United States. It would have been far more effective from a prevention standpoint to prohibit Americans from traveling into Mexico on vacation or business.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann also documented some of the right-wing media hysteria. This video is from April 29, 2009 ("Grand Old Pigotry"):

Of course, our own Sheriff Joe Arpaio couldn't resist getting in on the conspiracy theory that "illegal" immigrants are biological terrorists. David Neiwert reports at crooksandliars.com (video)

Crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio — who is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for his wanton racial profiling as the chief law-enforcement officer in Maricopa County, Arizona — was on Neil Cavuto's Fox News program yesterday to talk about the swine flu outbreak and how it's being caused by illegal immigrants. (For some reason, Cavuto didn't bother to mention the DOJ investigation.)

Cavuto: Should we close the border. There are many folks who say, Enough is enough, let's close the border.

Arpaio: Well, I'll tell you one thing right now, we should be stopping and inspecting and searching every vehicle coming across that border. Washington is not talking about all the illegal immigrants coming into our country, they're talking about checking at the airports and at the ports. Why are they not talking about all the illegals that circumvent that area coming into the United States?

[snip]

Arpaio: I'm going to say it again: My deputies arrested 900 human smugglers. Guess what? Ninety percent have come through the Mexico bordering states into our country. It takes seven days to come from Mexico City to our county — seven days' incubation period. We have 28,000 people we checked into jails. We have TB, we have chicken pox, and a majority have come from south of the border. So we have a problem with this illegal immigration.

Cavuto: So if you're right, and this disease takes awhile to incubate and show itself, you could have many, many more cases than are being reported now.

Arpaio: Yeah, but once again, I'm saying, I'm not just blaming illegal immigration. I'm concerned Washington is not talkin' about it! Why don't they talk about all those that evade the checkpoint? Someone should be checking them out!

Cavuto: And you don't think we're doing enough of that.

Arpaio: Nobody's talkin' about it! Nobody's bringing up the illegal immigration and all those hundreds of thousands who sneak into our country that could be diseased.

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