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Thursday, October 9, 2014
Privatised Health and Pandemic Stupidity
“There's no such thing as Society.”-Margaret Thatcher.
“Government IS the Problem.”-St. Ronald
The scariest disease on the planet arrives in Texas.
It is met with a near-failure of our Public Health System.
Nurses' computer systems can't talk to Doctors' computer systems.
A Nurse apparently doesn't know that Liberia is in West Africa, where Ebola lives.
Training for such an eventuality is haphazard, at best.
It took nine days for the Public Health System to finally get around to hiring a company to go to Patient Zero's apartment, and remove the soiled bedding and whatnot, and for the man's family to also be removed from that apartment, and into a more secure environment, a house in a “gated community”, apparently owned by the County Judge's buddies.
The CDC is scrambling to get up to speed, after “some people” saw fit to “pay” for exploding Tax Cuts by Cutting the budget of that Agency.
...and we're very busy closing Planned Parenthood clinics, attempting to outlaw Contraception....cutting taxes on very wealthy people...and continuing to Deregulate and Defund everything that still resembles the Commons.
For almost 40 years, a certain strain of Ideology has infected our nation....an Ideology that maintains it's Utopian Fantasy, that the Great God of the Market(World without end...) will solve all of our problems, if we just “get the Government off of our backs”.
The CDC, the NIH, Public Hospitals and other agencies and systems have been defunded-- their budgets cut to the bone—because those who worship “Free Market” are averse to anything Public.
Everyone is an Island, according to this hyper-selfish, Randian worldview.
Patient Zero is...”On his own”...
It's bad enough that, on a normal school day, folks have to send their virus shedding children to school, due to lack of affordable childcare...as well as being unable to take a day off to care for them, lest they lose a day's pay, or even their job.
That's what Market(Holy, Holy) requires of us...never mind the preventable spread of communicable disease.
A handful of ignorant and fearful folks are afraid of Vaccines...and old, nearly defeated diseases come roaring back...Measles, Pertussis...
Speaking of School...thanks to “Governor” Rick and the gang, cleaning staff has been cut severely...how clean are those doorknobs...water fountains?
Nurse's Aids and other essential support staff are some of the lowest paid folks in the country, and entirely lacking even the most basic Worker Rights and Protections.
Anything “Public” is seen with extreme suspicion, if not outright hostility, and the usual logical fallacies are brought to bear to oppose them.
Indeed, tune in next week for what I'm sure will be a fine example of Ad Hominem, Misdirection and the Appearance of Substantive Argument...all the while ignoring the Meat of what I'm on about.
The Ebola outbreak currently raging in West Africa is an excellent example of why Public Health is essential. A Robust Public Health System is what has eradicated Small Pox, Polio, Measles, Dysentery, Typhoid...on and on, for the last Century or more.
It wasn't Pfizer...and it sure as hell wasn't Goldman Sachs.
Public Health is what stands in the way of things like Ebola, or even the Flu.
The essential Primary Research and Development, and often the later “Ordinary” R&D, of many pharmaceuticals and especially Vaccines,comes right out of Taxpayer Funded Systems, and are then handed over to giant multinationals, who patent and profit from them with little or no acknowledgment of the Public on which they rely.
From Public Sewer Systems, to Public Water Supplies...even to Public Schools...Some endeavors are simply Not conducive to “Privatisation”.
A look at Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and , yes, Texas, should be enough to dispel the Mythology consistently peddled by some people, lo these past 40 years. The Results of the Experiment are in, and it sure looks like Dysfunction, to me.
All of that Dysfunction is the result of Choices, made by True Believers in the Great God Market. Those True Believers are currently attempting to cast blame on “Liberals” for every problem arising from their own Mythos ...as if Actual Liberals have had any power at all in my lifetime...unless perhaps one counts Richard Nixon....
It is not only quite Stupid, it is Dangerous, this surreal fantasy world.
So, no...in answer to a question asked of me a month or more ago...this is Barely Civilisation...rather, Civilisation is the thinnest of Patinas. The Maintenance thereof requires work, and funding, and commitment....as well as judicious application of Reason.
Our simplistic, bumpersticker “leaders” in Austin and DC have been found wanting, taking a sand blaster to that Patina of Civilisation, instead of reinforcing it with a few more coats.
To be clear, I don't expect Ebola to become that big of a problem in the USA...even in such “Third World-ish” parts of it like the Valley, or Alabama.
I worry a lot more about the Flu, and the random Gut Bug, and about the families who don't have the luxury of a stay-at-home parent, and must send their sick kids to school to mingle.
Given the constant irresponsible Fear mongering of Fox, et alia, and some of our congressional employees, we worry overmuch about the Wrong Things, and are hampered in any reasonable efforts to tackle the Right Things by an outdated Mythology of Hyperindividualism, and the continuing Destruction of the Commons.
Greg Abbott, and folks like him, share a poisonous Ideology that is much more of a threat to our collective Health than things like Ebola are ever likely to be.
Ego sum, Intrepidus,