This day in (blog) history

Hey, remember H1N1? A year ago, it was all the rage. People were terrified of the disease, mass public immunizations were impacted by a yet-unexplained worldwide shortage, and after weeks of worry that conspiracy theories would keep people from getting the shot, Alberta's clinics were swamped.

Naturally, this was a field day for the opposition parties. As a sign of "the more things change", this year it was ER wait times. As the fall sitting of the legislature opens, it seems that there is no shortage of seniors that the Liberals or NDP can try to scare into voting against the Tories to save their own lives.

Which, of course, brings us back to last year's crisis. Another opposition politician scaring seniors that the Stelmach government was going to kill them. It wasn't ER wait times, which was surely a problem last year. It was the government reaction to flu clinic wait times that were an issue (as is normal for this, the issue was government inaction until action was taken, then the action itself was a horrific act).

Which is where Third Edge of the Sword came in. Last year, in a shameless attempt to scare high risk infection groups gullible voters, Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann, who claims to be a doctor, lied his ass off.

Yes I know I'm still linking to the post. David Swann is a liar. He used his alleged medical job to bring a (false) sense of gravitas to his claims, he outright lied to the people of Alberta and endangered the lives of real people who could have succumbed to the flu had he got his way.

Okay, you've had lots of chances to click the link now. Let's summarize. Seniors are not at very high-risk for contracting H1N1: in fact they are amoung the lowest. Of course, Swann could hardly say "hey easily frightened old people! Stelmach is right, you shouldn't be allowed to get H1N1 shots because to do so would risk the health and safety of women and children." It's true, of course. Which is why a Liberal would have so much trouble saying it.

So I said so. I pointed out the outright lie that had serious consequences for the health and safety of Albertans. Then for fun, I pointed out another lie by Swann that was more just for fun. Then, after some surmising that Swann had gotten his own shots, I proved that he promised he would be doing so earlier in the week. Much to the delight of Lib-NDP apologists, it transpired he didn't...which means that later on in the post I identified yet another lie by David Swann.

Here, let's read some highlights:
In Swann's blog today (yes, today, that will become significant later), he writes the typical tug-at-heartstrings stuff that Liberals are wont to say before they either bald-faced lie to your face and/or make a play for huge amounts of your money. To give away the ending here, Swann is about to do both.
In case you hadn't followed along so far, I'm noting that the elderly in fact have a reduced risk of H1N1 because before 1957 people's immune systems already contained antibodies to defend themselves against similar ailments.

It's okay, we don't expect leaders of minor struggling opposition parties to keep abreast of swine flu developments.
So there you have it, good people of Alberta. Either Doctor David Swann, the man who wants to be premier in 2012, knows less about H1N1 than some blogger who vaguely recalled that the elderly were not at risk from newspaper stories I glanced over weeks ago... or else the Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party is lying to the people of Alberta in order to scare a significant voting bloc into believing that the Government of Alberta is taking actions that will harm them. I leave it up to you to solve this mystery.
I also notice that Swann wants us to forget that 10% of the population have gotten immunized and its expected no more than 60% will get immunized, "at this rate" the vaccine will be delivered by Christmas, not Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, the shortages of vaccine compared to original assurances is something that Swann doesn't like mentioning either. This guy sure doesn't seem to know a lot about the vaccination program he's promoting, does he?
This is the rationing argument. I've noted in Twitter that "Accessibility" in the Canada Health Act prohibits age or health-status discrimination in the provincial delivery of health services, so in reality Liberal Leader David Swann is proposing that Alberta violate the Canada Health Act. His contradictory hats are starting to be an issue now aren't they? It might be medically a good idea to violate The Act. On the other hand, as a Liberal MLA Swann hasn't exactly been keen on finding medically justifiable reasons to violate The Act now has he? If David Swann, M.D. wants to go on public record stating that he is in favour of any violation of the Canada Health Act which can provide health benefits for a subset of the population of Alberta I'm happy to stand toe to toe with him.
Spending more money again? Liberal solutions to healthcare crisis always seem to involve the province with the highest per-capita expenditures on public health somehow putting out money money. This time there's an added bonus to Swann: more publicly funded nurses mean more cash in the union coffers that keep his dilapidated party afloat. The extra angry bitches to protest in front of the leg grounds and/or star in deceptive political ads are really only an added bonus at this point.
Ahh, great stuff.

So, uh, you might see that the Alberta Liberal Party left almost as many blog comments as there are MLAs in their party. Amoung them, Ken Chapman went apeshit that I used ellipses to shorten one of the quotes, so I could fit it in a nice little info-box next to Swann's picture. They really jumped on that, which would have been impressive had I not already noted in the post that no matter which version (long or short) you read, Swann is a liar and/or an idiot. Chapman tried making strawman argument after strawman argument on Twitter. I got so tired of trying to fit responses into 140 characters (and also his tendency to accuse me of making up things that I already had linked to the proof of) that I just wrote another blogpost. It's got some highlights too, though less political and more just ripping into somebody who doesn't like his sacred cows being slaughtered by a master hunter:
I did link to proof: the TIME magazine article which discussed the actions being taken by CDC. If you don't think the Center for Disease Control is the world's best pandemic response team you can feel free to name another one. Hey, look out below! This blog takes comments!

(note, unlike the previous post I won't be linking to individual Twitter posts. Even when I did this I was accused of "making them up" so clearly I'm wearing down my "Ctrl", "C" and "V" keys unnecessarily)
I did post it all. I will post it all again:
I’ve heard from seniors with chronic disease, many with disabilities, who are not able to line up for hours due to their conditions. These are the very people most at risk and most likely to benefit from the vaccine!
Now to repost the same two links I used after the "misleading" and "edited" quote: seniors are the lowest risk groups (one lie) and least likely to benefit from the vaccine (two lies). If they aren't lies, then David Swann doesn't know anything about H1N1 and should stop waving his medical credentials around like a flag.
And at this point I think I'm pretty much done. In under half an hour the argument has gone from "you're making up all the various tweets you've linked to" and "once you add in a few extra words it magically makes Swann's lies into truths" into "just because he said he was going to get innoculated right away and said how important it was for people to do it doesn't mean there's any reason to believe he would" into "I didn't see you link to proof 26 times in a single blogpost and demand that you re-link things directly into my Twitter feed" into "why aren't you happy that Stelmach followed medical advice and David Swann pissed into the face of it for political points?" into "whoa, who said the CDC was a bigger expert than David Swann" into "well you didn't directly link to CDC only to a news story interviewing them and its old anyways" into "well you're not entitled to your own facts even though every fact you've already brought up has been blissfully ignored because they make David Swann look like a liar and an idiot".

A year later, with "ER wait times" the new emergency, what else has Swann been lying about? I neither know nor care to read up on the fine details of this "issue", so unlike H1N1 (where I had a specific reason to be concerned in favour of Swann: despite volunteering in a flu clinic my mother was not vaccinated -- even when interacting with potentially infected members of the public she was deemed not in a high risk group) I can't pick apart the public statements and promises in the legislature Swann has made. Though if past performance is any indication of future earnings, then David Swann is lying about ER wait times. And he's playing politics with your tax dollars and your health. Again.