“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mexico shuts down Mexico. Obama leaves border open. Where's the common sense?

In Mexico City, a metropolis of 20 million, all schools, restaurants, nightclubs and public events have been shut down to try to stop the disease from spreading, bringing normal life to a virtual standstill, yet when Obama was asked about closing the US border, the all knowing one said, "At this point, (health officials) have not recommended a border closing," ... "From their perspective, it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States.

Think about this. 

All roads point to Mexico. The Mexicans in their desperation and wisdom say,  "hold commerce and travel for five days." The President of Mexico, Calderon, states, "There is no safer place than your own home to avoid being infected with the flu virus."

Bush was harshly criticised for not acting promptly after Hurricane Katrina. Obama has chosen not to act swiftly and decisively with a common sense approach being used by the Mexicans in Mexico. The borders should have been closed. There were still plenty of infected horses left in the barn. A horse's ass on a thoroughbred is still a horse's ass.

Swine flu prompts Mexico to shut down economy

Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:37am EDT
By Catherine Bremer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon told his people to stay home from Friday for a five-day partial shutdown of the economy, after the World Health Organization said a swine flu pandemic was imminent.

Calderon ordered government offices and private businesses not crucial to the economy to stop work to avoid further infections from the new virus, which has killed up to 176 people in Mexico and is now spreading around the world.

"There is no safer place than your own home to avoid being infected with the flu virus," Calderon said in his first televised address since the crisis erupted last week.

Eleven countries have reported cases of the H1N1 strain, and Texas officials said a 22-month-old Mexican boy had died in Texas while on a family visit, the first confirmed swine flu death outside Mexico.

Switzerland confirmed on Thursday its first case, saying a man returning from Mexico had tested positive for the flu.

The WHO raised the official alert level to phase 5, the last step before a pandemic.

"Influenza pandemics must be taken seriously precisely because of their capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world," WHO Director General Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

"The biggest question is this: how severe will the pandemic be, especially now at the start," Chan said. But she added that the world "is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history."


Mexico's peso currency weakened sharply early on Thursday after the government called for chunks of the economy to close. The peso fell 1.6 percent to 13.83 per dollar.

But world stocks struck a four-month peak, powered by gains in Asia on Thursday, as investors took heart from signs of improvement in the U.S. economy.

Markets earlier in the week had taken fright and fallen on worries that a major flu outbreak could hit the struggling global economy. Almost all those infected outside Mexico have had mild symptoms, and only a handful of people have been hospitalized.

In Mexico City, a metropolis of 20 million, all schools, restaurants, nightclubs and public events have been shut down to try to stop the disease from spreading, bringing normal life to a virtual standstill.

Spain reported the first case in Europe of swine flu in a person who had not been to Mexico, illustrating the danger of person-to-person transmission.

Both U.S. and European officials have said they expect to see swine flu deaths.

President Barack Obama said during an evening news conference at the White House on Wednesday there was no need for panic and rejected the possibility of closing the border with Mexico.

"At this point, (health officials) have not recommended a border closing," he said. "From their perspective, it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States."

Obama also praised his predecessor for stockpiling anti-viral medication in anticipation of such an outbreak.

"I think the Bush administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond," Obama said. "For example, we've got 50 million courses of anti-viral drugs in the event that they're needed."


Masato Tashiro, head of the influenza virus research center at Japan's National Institute of Infectious Disease and a member of the WHO emergency committee, told Japan's Nikkei newspaper it appeared the H1N1 strain was far less dangerous than avian flu.

"The virus is relatively weak and about the same as regular influenza viruses passed on via human-to-human contact. I don't believe it will become virulent," he was quoted as saying.

"The threat to health from the avian influenza and its fatality rate is much greater than the new flu," he said.

"I am very worried that we will use up the stockpile of anti-flu medicine and be unarmed before we need to fight against the avian influenza. The greatest threat to mankind remains the H5N1 avian influenza."

The WHO's Chan urged companies who make the drugs to ramp up production. Two antiviral drugs -- Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline and Tamiflu, made by Roche AG and Gilead Sciences Inc -- have been shown to work against the H1N1 strain.

Mexico's central bank warned the outbreak could deepen the nation's recession, hurting an economy that already shrank by as much as 8 percent from the previous year in the first quarter.

France said it would seek a European Union ban on flights to Mexico. The EU, the United States and Canada have advised against non-essential travel to Mexico, and many tourists were hurrying to leave, crowding airports

(Reporting by Maggie Fox and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Jason Lange, Catherine Bremer, Alistair Bell and Helen Popper in Mexico City; Laura MacInnis and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Yoko Nishikawa in Tokyo; Writing by Andrew Marshall and Dean Yates; Editing by Bill Tarrant)


  1. Making decisions based on doctrine is not decisiveness, it is merely a doctrinaire response.

    Obama is a pure political animal. He waits for the scent to act. The panties on the press are slathering wet over Obama's hundred days, yet they miss the obvious that Obama dithers in making tough decisions. It is all show time. Potus and Totus for Photus.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The common sense is not in Mexico City.
    With the Pig Fever already out of the containment area, and having a 7 day incubation period, there is little reason to starve Phoenix of it's groceries, mostly produce.

    Since the Pig Fever has been found in New York, all air traffic in and out of that Region should be shut down, as well?

    It is not possible to "Close" the Mexican border, not at any kind of acceptable cost benefit ratio.

    Or 40,000 of US would not have died from Migrant Fever.

  4. Ground all the aircraft and close down the Interstate Highways.

    Let's shut down all traffic and transportation in the US for 14 days, just to be safe.

  5. We can do it!

    I mean, we have to do something, even if it is nonsensical.

    Think of the Children!!
    We have to act, now!!!

  6. Yeah, kinda weird for Obama and all his loser ways to be right, but he is, and the rest of the World has caught Swine Flu Derangement Syndrome.

    Every normal flu season enables the grim reaper to harvest 30k plus in the USA.

    I'm guessing this "Global Catastrophe"
    will exact fewer than that here, this year.

  7. 0 most likely to benefit from the
    Stopped Clock Effect.

  8. Swine flu is less severe than thoughtScientists are concluding it isn't as deadly as its 1918 counterpart, or even the average flu.

    Interactive map: Swine flu's spread

  9. Pig Fever, another Crisis that we cannot afford to waste!

  10. Swine flu isn't so scary
    National Post

    Published: Thursday, April 30, 2009.

    The outbreak of a new strain of swine-originated H1N1 influenza virus is a frightening phenomenon. But the rapid response to the outbreak also shows how far the world has come since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed up to 100 million people.

    The death toll in the current outbreak stands at somewhere between eight and 153 -- depending on how reliable Mexico's original data reports are taken to be. While no one knows how many people ultimately will die before the outbreak runs its course, we suspect the tally will be at least one -- and possibly two -- orders of magnitude lower than the 250,000-to-500,000 global deaths caused every year by garden-variety flu infections.

    The very fact that doctors and health regulators are already talking in an educated way about swine flu is itself a miracle of modern epidemiology and information technology. As we write this, on April 29, a mere 27 days have passed since the first confirmed patient -- five-year-old Edgar Enrique Hernandez of La Gloria, Mexico -- got sick on April 2. Two weeks after that, samples were already on their way to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control, which promptly released full genomic sequences through the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data. Already, we know that the swine flu is susceptible to at least two anti-viral medications -- Tamiflu and Relenza. In fact, one commercial pharma company says it may have a vaccine out as soon as this summer

  11. By obeying the basic laws of hygiene, and being vigilant for signs of infection, our society should weather this outbreak with a minimum of death and disruption.

  12. Obama's right on this one.

    To date:

    Normal flue to date (one year) 36,000

    Swine Flu: 0