03 May 2009

And This Little Piggy Flu All the Way Home: An Analysis of the Swine Flu


Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine, 30 April 2009
Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009

This is a developing story, and from the standpoint of news, the who, what and where of what I write here will be outdated by the time it is published.

I learned about the swine flu while sitting in the doctor's office on Monday, 27 April 2009, looking at a commuter paper called yisraél hayóm, Israel Today. The front page displayed a headline in Hebrew, "Security [Defense] Minister: 'We will handle the swine flu!'" This is the typical bragging style of Security Minister Ehud Barak.

Inside the newspaper was a map of the world showing where cases of swine flu had broken out as well as the locations of suspicious cases, the ones in Europe which have since proved to be swine flu.

Mexico, where pork is an important food, led the list with over 60 dead (this was Monday's paper) and at that time there were cases in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and -- wouldn't you know it -- one case here in Israel, in Netanya, where the pork-eating Russian immigrants abound. Apparently there is a price to be paid when you have an achin' for bacon, one that goes beyond heart attacks and high cholesterol. Another case was reported Monday on the 12:00 Voice of Israel radio news and was confirmed to be swine flu by health officials here.

According to Alex Jones reporting on Saturday, a doctor at a Mexican hospital sent an e-mail to the BBC, telling them that the real number of deaths from the pig flu was over 200 (as opposed to the then-reported 60). It wouldn't be a surprise to discover that the Mexican government was massaging the numbers in reporting the number of dead. The Egyptians and Pakistanis did the same when the bird flu was killing their people a while back.

But the really interesting data came at the Recombinomics website, which reports that this is evidently a human-to-human variation of the H1N1 virus, mixed with the H1N1 swine flu virus; very similar, in other words, to the 1918 Spanish Flu.

On YouTube there were also various video updates from the BBC, from stations in the States and elsewhere, all talking about the severity of the swine flu in Mexico (over 150 deaths reported) and how the swine flu is attacking young and healthy people.

In addition, there was a conspiracy type "video" -- actually a podcast with no pictures that could be seen. The narrator explains in some detail about viruses and flu virus generally, and how it his belief (reflected on the Alex Jones video as well) that this virus is being released slowly into the population by the government, and that what is going on right now is really a "pre-pandemic" situation, a test, in other words. The narrator notes a key bit of data: that the flu season is over, and yet this flu is spreading. He observes that when the flu season, October until April, hits, this flu will hit as a pandemic.

Taking the "conspiracy" angle out of this podcast and treating this as a natural event, the information reflects this raw footage from WPXI, a TV station in Pittsburgh, PA, of an interview with Dr. Henry Niman of Recombinomics. This is a video I strongly suggest you watch.

There are some essential points to be understood here. The first is that the World Health Organization (WHO) has a rating system for pandemics, running from Levels 1 to 6, with Level 6 being a sustained pandemic. According to Dr. Niman, the WHO reworked the definitions of these levels a year or two ago, saying they would not go upwards from Level 3 unless they saw a sustained pandemic with human-to-human transmission. In effect, the WHO eliminated Levels 4 and 5, but did not discard them publicly. According to the video, the WHO raised the alert level from 3 to 4 on Monday, 27 April 2009, meaning that they believed that there was a sustained pandemic going on.

The second point to understand is that this virus is traveling quickly through transit hubs and it is a waste of time to shut national borders - although according to an Alex Jones caller located in northern Mexico, just such a thing was being attempted in that country, with the northern states closing their borders to the southern and central states, where infections were highest. The reporter doing the interview with Dr. Niman expressed the thought that what was going on was the barn door being shut after the horse had gone.

The third point, related to the second one, which needs to be clearly understood is that the tracking of this swine flu is trailing the actual infections. By the time someone is tested for any of this, it is probably a month or so too late.

Dr. Niman cited the fact that the first infections showed up in Mexico in March, but the deaths didn't start to come until mid to late April. This means that while there have been no fatalities yet in the United States or Europe, as time progresses, there will be. When asked by the reporter from WPXI if this wasn't an alarmist view, Dr. Niman replied that if one reads the reports of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO carefully, one sees the same facts presented, but packaged in such a way as not to cause a general panic. Indeed, when looking at this report from WPXI, we learn that Dr. Donald Burke, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, is spearheading the formation of a group to deal with the flu when it does show up in the Pittsburgh area. According to Dr. Burke, the threat the swine flu poses is “big enough that we’re going into emergency mode and putting together a task force.”

According to the report at the WPXI website, the swine flu task force held its first meeting on Tuesday afternoon, 28 April 2009, and Burke is now planning a public meeting of city officials to which residents can come and address any concerns they may have.

According to Dr. Niman, what we are seeing is a replay of the 1918 flu pandemic with an early breakout in spring and summer, and a severe return during flu season, starting in October. The CDC website has an article, "The 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics" From the article:

In the 1918–1919 pandemic, a first or spring wave began in March 1918 and spread unevenly through the United States, Europe, and possibly Asia over the next 6 months[...]Illness rates were high, but death rates in most locales were not appreciably above normal. A second or fall wave spread globally from September to November 1918 and was highly fatal. In many nations, a third wave occurred in early 1919. Clinical similarities led contemporary observers to conclude initially that they were observing the same disease in the successive waves. The milder forms of illness in all 3 waves were identical and typical of influenza seen in the 1889 pandemic and in prior interpandemic years.

n retrospect, even the rapid progressions from uncomplicated influenza infections to fatal pneumonia, a hallmark of the 1918–1919 fall and winter waves, had been noted in the relatively few severe spring wave cases. The differences between the waves thus seemed to be primarily in the much higher frequency of complicated, severe, and fatal cases in the last 2 waves.

So, put simply, the big question here is "will the swine flu return in October?"

According to Dr. Niman, the swine flu strikes at those whose immune systems are strongest, appears as a typical case of the flu and then turns into what he termed "atypical pneumonia;" this is what has been killing those who have died from the swine flu. Tamiflu, the vaunted drug of choice against this disease, will not work according to Dr. Niman. A new vaccine will have to be found. The good news is that if there are a lot of cases of swine flu, there will be lots of samples to look at to see how the virus mutates, evolves and recombines. The bad news is that in emergency conditions, governments will enact triage conditions, and deal only with the serious cases.

As for surviving this flu, according to medical authorities, there are certain basic precautions to be taken:

1. Frequent hand-washing. This most basic tool of hygiene can save your life.
2. Stay away from crowds and places where this flu can be transmitted.
3. Stock up on medicine, canned goods and water to
reduce the need to be where you can catch the flu.
4. Stay away from pork, particularly raw uncooked meat. If you do eat pork (or any meat for that matter) make sure it is cooked to a kill temperature of at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 85 degrees Celsius.

And last, but certainly not least, if you have religious belief, pray.

Stay safe - stay alive.

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Reflections of Remembrance Day in Israel while Waiting in the Doctor's Office


Originally published at Blogcritics Magazine, 27 April 2009
Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009

We still go to a doctor in Jerusalem, even though we live in the mountains to the north in Ma'ale Levona. It's a 2½ hour trip and a pain in the neck, but being the old codgers we are, we stick with folks we know and trust.

In spite of having gone to the same family doctors for nearly eight years, it still took me a while to realize that the male half of this practice likes good music from the '40s and '50's. The female doctor comes in and there is silence.

Behind the round, seemingly placid face of the Frenchman who is our doctor on duty today lies a painful tale. Like any good parent, he poured his love into his daughter. But one day, she was in downtown Jerusalem and a terrorist bomb ripped her to shreds. I'm not sure of the exact attack where she was killed. He never mentions this and we only found this out from (now former) neighbors who use him as a family doctor as well. But no matter which particular Arab bastard murdered his daughter, she is still just as dead, just as lost to her father and mother.

I only thought about this because today is Remembrance Day in Israel. We remember the soldiers who fell defending this country — and we remember the innocents blown to bits by our bloodthirsty neighbors.

I don't know if my doctor will go to a public ceremony — or merely visit his daughter's grave-site tomorrow. But I can bet my bottom dollar (we still have five of them, in fact) that he'll burn a memorial candle for the girl he lost eight years ago.

Twenty two thousand, five hundred and seventy souls sacrificed themselves for this land. And this young girl, cut dead in her youth, was one of them. May G-d comfort all those who grieve in Israel, the sons and the daughters, the brothers and the sisters, and the mothers and the fathers.

ברוך דיין האמת
barúkh dayán ha'emét - Blessed is the True Judge

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We Do Not Forget - We Do Not Forgive: These are Luxuries No Jew Has


Originally published on 23 April 2009 in Blogcritics Magazine.

Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009

In March 1933, Adolf Hitler took power in Germany after a rigged election where his thugs had burned down the German parliament building and had blamed the main opposition, the Communists, in order to gain more votes. He instituted a dictatorship in Germany and tried to bring his country out of the economic depression that the collapsed stock market in New York in 1929 had led to.

Dictatorships occur from time to time in the history of all peoples — had Hitler been primarily interested in using a dictatorship to bring Germany out of an economic depression, I suppose he would be a national hero today. He succeeded in bringing his adopted homeland to a certain level of prosperity, as well as restoring Germans' pride in being Germans.

But, this was not Hitler's only goal. He had a vision for the world, one where Germans, styled Aryans, would rule the planet and all other peoples would be subject to their rule. And in his vision, certain people were to die. Gypsies, now called Roma, were regarded as a criminal class to be executed. Homosexuals were regarded as deviants to be executed. People who in one way or another did not come up to snuff were to be executed. But the most important group of people who had to die were Jews. In the eyes of the racist Nazi philosophy and religion, Jews were a race who stood against all that was good, and had to be exterminated, the way one exterminates cockroaches. Hitler was very clear about all this. His book Mein Kampf (My Struggle) detailed what he felt had to be done.

He proceeded to have laws passed that progressively impoverished the relatively prosperous German Jewish population. At first Jews thought they could ride it out in Germany, that this was just another of the many many Jew-hating Germans to rule Germany — that this too would pass. But by 1935, they realized the problem was not going away, and this man and his party were intent on destroying their community. They began to flee Germany, seeking desperately first to preserve their money, and then when they realized the mortal threat, their lives. Neighboring European nations began to see more and more German Jewish refugees and decided, at a conference at Evian, France, that the doors to these refugees would largely be closed.

At last, German Jews, desperate for a place to run to, began to run to Mandate Palestine; a few short years previous they never would have considered deserting the civilized Berlin for Mandate Palestine. But now they were happy to get out. Thousands of Jews settled in Tel Aviv and Haifa, giving a distinct flavor to the buildings they had erected.

However, while the Jewish Agency in Mandate Palestine was welcoming the new arrivals, happy to see the Jewish population of the country grow, Arabs under the leadership of the so-called "mufti of Jerusalem", Amin el-Husseini, first protested against the new arrivals, and then began a violent rebellion. From 1936 to 1939, the Arabs ran an intifada against the British and the Jews both, killing Jewish civilians and British soldiers and functionaries. The Jewish Agency, which had formed a territorial defense force to protect the kibbutzím, the collective farms, from Arab attack, found the British seeking to "legalize" this territorial defense force, known as the haganá, so that they could have police and soldiers to defend against Arab terrorism. Today, in Beit Agrón in Jerusalem, you can see photos of Jewish kids from the haganá training to serve as police for the British.

This was not the only British response. They called together a commission from the House of Lords, popularly known as the "Peel Commission" to investigate the situation and in 1937 it met and came up with a solution - partitioning the Mandate into Jewish, Arab and British cantons. This solution was rejected by the cabinet in London, and a decision was made instead to restrict and to finally end Jewish immigration to the Mandate. According to the terms of the "White Paper" of 1939, each year 15,000 Jews would be allowed into Mandate Palestine for a period of five years. Afterwards, Jewish immigration to the Jewish homeland was to stop entirely. One can go into long histrionics about how this was a betrayal of the British Mandate - a Mandate of the League of Nations to erect a Jewish National Home - indeed, the British did betray their Mandate. But that is not for this article.

Between 1936 and 1939, at the same time the Arabs were rioting and committing terrorist acts in Mandate Palestine, the German state had re-occupied the Saarland, had annexed Austria, and had occupied and annexed Czechoslovakia, along with all the Jews that lived there. By 1939, thousands of Jews were extremely anxious to get into Mandate Palestine, and when the British effectively shut the door to Jewish immigration to the Jewish homeland, the vast majority of these Jews had nowhere to go. This inconvenienced the Nazis, whose original plan was to expel Jews to one central place (after robbing them of all their property), the Land of Israel, and exterminate them there. This is why when the Nazis took over Austria, they gave quite a number of Jews one way tickets to Mandate Palestine. I know a tailor in Jerusalem who received such a ticket from the SS.

Amin el-Husseini, originally a sort of protogé of the British, decided in 1939 that he had enough of them and fled, eventually turning up in Berlin, trying to curry favor with his spiritual hero, Hitler. He tried to make himself useful to Hitler, organizing a pro-Nazi coup d'état in Iraq in 1940, and after the British suppressed that, el-Husseini trained Albanian Moslems in a division of the German army. In addition, he lobbied Hitler hard to exterminate the Jews in Europe, not in the Land of Israel. This was a major factor in the construction of death camps in Poland, rather than mere slave-labor camps to hold Ukrainians, Russians, Poles and other Slavs. We can reasonably state that the death camps arose from, among other things, an Arab desire not to see dead Jews littering up what they felt was to be their homeland. It is worthwhile to note that whatever excuses Egyptians and other Arabs gave later, they too, were fans and admirers of Hitler. This is especially true of Gamal Abd-el Nasser and Anwar el-Sadat. Amin el-Husseini, for his part, gave Hitler an honorary nom de guerre, Abu Amar. Yasser Arafat, the protogé of el-Husseini, took that exact nom de guerre, Abu Amar, for himself, indicating to his own followers that he would follow in Hitler's footsteps — and exterminate the Jews.

In spite of this Arab betrayal, the British were true to the Arabs, and kept the doors of Mandate Palestine closed — or as closed as they could manage. It is not that Tommy Atkins actually shut the gas chamber door and tossed in the Zyklon B himself — but by shutting the door to the best refuge that millions of Jews could get to, the British condemned many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews, to a terrible death. If it were merely the British, one could say, well, the British don't count for much in the world, dependent as they are on the Americans. So, let's look at the Americans.

The Americans went to war because the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii, and because the Germans declared a state of war between the United States and Germany. The Americans had already effectively allied themselves with the British and when they finally got war production up to a sufficient degree, they supplied the British with armaments and flew huge air-raids over Germany and eventually Poland. They fire-bombed German cities, leaving them in ruins, and eventually invaded France via Normandy. It was after the invasion of Normandy that the Germans could have deduced that the Americans had broken their Enigma Code (protecting this secret — that they had broken the German Enigma Code — was the excuse the USAAF used for not bombing the concentration camps). But the bottom line is that neither the British nor the Americans ever bombed a concentration camp, or even the train tracks to concentration camps. So between the British locking Jews out of Mandate Palestine, and Americans and British refusing to bomb either the concentration camps or the track leading to them, the Nazis had a relatively free hand in their determined attempt to exterminate my people.

So, in other words, for me now, it is not a matter of merely visiting Yad Vashem or another such memorial and seeing thousands of childrens' shoes and condemning the Nazis who snuffed out the lives of these children. There are also the Americans and the British, who by their omissions in refusing to bomb concentration camps, and by the commission of preventing Jews from reaching the best possible refuge, who contributed mightily to those deaths. The term "un-indicted co-conspirator" almost fits.

So in addition to remembering those who were heroes in attempting to save Jews' lives, the Schindlers and the Wallensteins, we must also remember those who by their actions contributed to their deaths.

Forgetting or forgiving is not a luxury the Jewish nation can afford when one third of its members have been exterminated. So, we cannot forget or forgive the Nazis; we cannot forget or forgive the millions of European collaborators in Nazi-occupied Europe; we cannot forget or forgive those who shut the doors of Mandate Palestine and who thereby condemned untold numbers of Jews to the most horrible of deaths; we cannot forget or forgive those who refused to bomb the Nazi death camps, or even the tracks leading to those death camps. Finally, we cannot forget or forgive the Arabs who lobbied so hard for the building of death camps in Europe - they are the true inheritors of the satanic Nazi cult today, and they carry it on today in cooperation with the new Jew-haters of Europe, Canada and America.

We cannot forget — we cannot forgive; and we Jews must do all we can to see to it that our enemies who rise against us today are killed so that we may live.

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