Gone This Week

At a family reunion (my wife's side) all this week.  Joy.  May or may not get to blog.

  • TomG

    Well, I hope you have a good week, Warren.

  • Tommy facy

    Research Shows Controversial Illness is Real and Treatable

    CHARLESTON, S.C., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Policyholders of America (POA) released a consensus statement written by treating physicians and researchers in the field on the mechanism and treatment of illness found in people sickened by exposure to water-damaged buildings. This illness has been the subject of heated debate that has resulted in harsh allegations being lobbed at patients by experts hired by industry to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the illness. Today however, so-called "Sick Building Syndrome" is now unveiled to be very real; it's a chronic inflammatory illness that is easily identified with available lab testing and treatable using FDA-approved medications. The research paper is the first in the field written by physicians with experience treating the illness. Thorough and rigorous, the paper references governmental agency opinions, current published literature and an extensive review of patient data that has made this subject a political and legal hot potato obstructing patient care.

    Nearly six months ago, a distinguished and credentialed panel of medical doctors and researchers, all from outside of POA's membership, were assembled and charged with developing a consensus statement on the diagnosis and treatment of a growing public health problem across America: illness acquired from water-damaged buildings. The consensus statement was then peer-reviewed by other medical doctors and researchers. The research paper is being released to help physicians and their patients understand the mechanisms, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment protocols available for sickened patients.

    After reviewing hundreds of peer reviewed studies, analyzing hard data from research conducted on thousands of patients, and incorporating published results of treatment of thousands of patients, the authors embarked on this massive assignment with eyes wide open -- knowing that if the resulting research did not lessen liability of the powerful stakeholders involved, industry would likely attempt to discredit the findings.

    With the research now concluded, the mysterious illness now has a name: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or "CIRS", and when the cause of the illness can be directly linked to a water-damaged building, or ("WDB"), it is called "CIRS-WDB".

    Says Co-Author, Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, of Pocomoke, Maryland, "This statement builds consensus by debunking false ideas about illness from water-damaged buildings and establishes the basis by which practicing physicians can assess the complex illnesses these patients experience. We don't have to guess what might be wrong when we have the labs to prove what is abnormal. Patients don't have to suffer any longer after being given incorrect diagnoses such as allergy, stress or depression."

    Co-authors included Laura Mark MD from Williamsburg, Virginia; Scott McMahon MD from Roswell, New Mexico; Jack Thrasher PhD of Oakland, California and Carl Grimes HHS, CIEC, President of the Indoor Air Quality Association, from Denver, Colorado.

    The 161-page research paper can be found, in its entirety, at: http://www.policyholdersofamerica.org/doc/CIRS_PEER_REVIEWED_PAPER.pdf

    A layperson's summary of the research paper follows:

    •CIRS-WDB is a multisystem, multi-symptom illness acquired following exposure to the interior environment of WDB. It exists as a recognizable syndrome that is identifiable and treatable;
    •CIRS-WDB is identified as immunologic in origin, with differential inflammatory responses seen according to (i) genetic susceptibility and (ii) unique aspects of host innate immune responses.
    •CIRS-WDB consistently involves loss of normal control of inflammation and the resulting "inflammation gone wild."
    •Treatment of human illness that is acquired following exposure to the interior environment of WDB involves a series of steps, each correcting the physiologic problems one by one.
    •CIRS-WDB can be readily identified by current methods of clinical diagnoses. This process of diagnosis is supported by (i) identification of unique subsets ("clusters") of symptoms found in epidemiologic cohorts of affected patients; (ii) identification of unique groupings of biomarkers, such as genetic markers, neuropeptides, inflammatory markers, and autoimmune findings.
    •Patients with CIRS-WDB are often given incorrect diagnoses such as depression, stress, allergy, fibromyalgia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and somatization. Those conditions, when actually present, will not improve with therapies employed in CIRS-WDB.
    •CIRS-WDB is acquired primarily from inhalation of microbial products that are contaminants found in the complex mixture of WDB.
    •Re-exposure of previously affected patients will bring about immunological host responses that are enhanced in their rapidity of onset and magnitude, such that these patients are "sicker, quicker."

    Melinda Ballard, POA's president said, "About 25% of our members have experienced health effects after exposure to toxigenic mold and other organisms in their homes and of those, the vast majority put on the treatment protocol outlined in this paper have reported back to us that their symptoms have either subsided or vanished altogether. While our experience with these members is purely anecdotal, this research paper is not; the findings are irrefutable. Most importantly, the rigorous science in the paper offers hope to so many who are in desperate need of an effective and inexpensive treatment.

    POA is a nonprofit educational organization that, at no charge, helps policyholders receive adequate payment when a property insurance claim is filed. Since it was founded in 2001, more than 2.5 million people have joined, an unfortunate reflection on the manner in which claims are often handled by insurance companies. Its web address is: http://www.policyholdersofamerica.org. POA is a member of ACHEMMIC (the Action Committee on the Health Effects of Mold, Microbes and Indoor Contaminants), a group of scientists, researchers, physicians, indoor air quality experts, environmental engineers, industrial hygienists, structural engineers, teachers and advocates working to advance the understanding of the health effects of mold, microbes and indoor contaminants. ACHEMMIC's website is http://www.achemmic.com.

  • Curious

    When you get back, please explain the proper Libertarian response to the problem which provoked this news story:

    http://www.10news.com/news/24466161/detail.html

    The so-called "transients" camping in and trashing the wildlife sanctuary are, in fact, "undocumented workers," which is to say, they are illegal aliens employed by "libertarian" employers who are paying the workers what the market will bear-- which is not enough for said workers to afford proper housing. The willing employers of the willing workers are privatizing benefits and socializing costs. The workers get subsistence wages, the employers get the net proceeds of their businesses after paying said wages, and the public provides free camping in a wildlife sanctuary, free medical care in hospital emergency rooms (under EMTLA), free schooling for the illegal aliens' children, and so-forth.

    The best way to keep illegal aliens out of wildlife sanctuaries would be to keep them out of the US, don't you agree?

    I realize the initial, reflexive libertarian response is that the problem is all the government's fault somehow. Of course, many things are the government's fault, and we could certainly fix the problems of free medical care and education for illegal aliens by asking them to pay for services received. However, the problem of aliens camping in a wildlife sanctuary has almost nothing to do with the government.

    Illegal aliens camp in wildlife sanctuaries because low-human-capital (i.e., uneducated and none-too-bright) people cannot earn enough to pay for proper housing. You might say, well, the government is responsible for the shortage of housing at sufficiently-low prices-- if it weren't for zoning and building codes and developer impact fees and property taxes and so-on, there would be housing for all. But that is wrong too, because there are literally billions of people in the world (and millions of them within rafting distance of the USA, as with Haiti) who will work for less than the price of ANY solid-roof housing, even if it is tax and zoning and building-code free.

    Since there is an unlimited supply of workers willing to work for so little that they must spend their nights under bushes in a wildlife sanctuary, the only way to save the birds is to keep out the bums.

    (You might suggest stricter policing of wildlife sanctuaries. Hah. The "willing workers" are already there because it is the least policed place within walking distance of their jobs. If you ratchet up park policing, the willing workers will hide out in little old ladies' backyards, where some of them will commit crimes worse than trespassing. Even a libertarian can see that it would be cheaper, less damaging to citizen's liberties, and much more effective to police the national border than all of the wildlife sanctuaries, parks, shopping centers, and backyards in America.)

  • EconStudent

    Hey Curious,

    I'm no coyote, but I have a few things to point out to you:

    Firstly, without the price inflation driven by the current minimum wage and with fewer restrictions on housing, you could see them set up a group within small houses. Also, with more open immigration, you would see facilities come to life for just that need, the would probably be close to a hostel, with no privacy except in the bathrooms and basically a warehouse feel to it.

    Secondly, if a private party owned the wildlife sanctuary and truly wanted to keep it just for wildlife and not for transients, they would work on a multi-part solution, one being to better control access to their park, but the other to be support a solution as hinted to above.

    The problem with your question is that you are asking us to figure out exactly how the billions of people in a private market would respond to a certain situation. We are only able to look at it individually based on our own experiences, so the one person who has a solution may not be me, or Coyote, or anyone on the blog. The solution would be found when the problem was made known and the person with said solution was allowed to profit on it.

    There are industrializing countries that have had this problem and have created solutions for the vast immigration of cheap labor. Heck, even places like New York tend to have group housing available for very cheap. But, as expected, you get what you pay for.

  • Curious

    EconStudent, thanks for the note. However, I don't think you grasp the actual problem. Coyote has argued for completely open borders and no minimum wage. Under such a regime people will come in until wages in the US drop to the same level, modulo transportation costs and local subsistence costs (price of food) and so-forth, as in the poorest possible source country. Take Haiti as an example of a very poor source country. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians live on a starvation diet (some eat dirt mixed with vegetable shortening-- Google for "haiti dirt cookies") under scraps of plastic in slums which are much less nice than San Diego's wildlife sanctuaries (Haitian slums are just fields of mud mixed with raw sewage). Since 10 cents/hour with a nice nearby wildlife sanctuary to camp in looks good to a Haitian, what's the proper Libertarian method of preserving the wildlife sanctuary? As I noted, "more cops guarding the wildlife sanctuary" isn't a very attractive option-- for one thing, who pays the cops' salaries? (If the wildlife sanctuary is private like many are, why should the donors who support it have to pay for 24-hour guards to keep out the willing workers of local employers who find that they can hire janitors for 10 cents/hour? If publicly-owned, why should taxes on citizens go up to guard wildlife sanctuaries against willing 10-cent/hour workers?)

    Obviously I think the answer to the problem is to exclude the very-low-value workers from the country. But if Libertarians want to bring them in, I think the Libertarians should explain how they're going to protect the wildlife sanctuaries. It's not enough to handwave "something will turn up." The problem has already happened. Nothing did turn up for the willing workers in the wildlife sanctuary in San Diego. Those unskilled workers cannot command high enough wages to afford housing, so they end up camping in the least costly place (there are plenty of public and private campgrounds near San Diego, but they all charge nightly fees, something Coyote knows all about, since he owns and manages a campground business). We know for sure that keeping very-low-wage people out of the country will keep them out of wildlife sanctuaries. Before we give up a method which we know, empirically, will work, I'd like to know what other method we're supposed to substitute. Wishful thinking doesn't count, though out of fairness I would accept any concrete plan which looks like it would work and doesn't involve charging any citizens more money to guard property against trespassers.

  • Curious

    Hmmm. Maybe I should clarify something which may not be obvious.

    Any housing solution for very-low-wage immigrants will cost something. Even plywood and tar-paper shacks without electricity or water cost something, not to mention the cost of land. If the cost is borne by taxpayers or charitable donors, well, that's either aggression on the taxpayers or unsustainable due to donor fatigue. If the cost is borne by the workers, even if it is just $1/day, then those workers will ask for wages higher than workers who camp in wildlife sanctuaries, and the shack-dwelling workers will lose their jobs to the sanctuary campers because the latter will strike a better bargain from the employer's point of view. That is the simple and inescapable supply-and-demand economics of open borders and employer-employee wage-bargaining freedom.

    Basically, the only way to make worker housing "profitable" for anyone is to give the workers enough bargaining power to demand wages which will pay for housing, and the obvious way to enhance their bargaining power is to reduce competition by excluding "new entrant" workers willing to work for less (less than enough to afford housing).

  • jay

    Curious: "Since there is an unlimited supply of workers willing to work for so little that they must spend their nights under bushes in a wildlife sanctuary, the only way to save the birds is to keep out the bums."

    You are missing the bigger cause. These people CANNOT join society in a traditional way because their 'undocumented' status prevents employment, housing, medical care, virtually any normal component of society. If they could get a job and rent a room, many of these would be gone.

    But the problem exists of the few left. Homeless (for whatever reason) people setting up where they are not wanted is a problem that has nothing to do with 'illegal immigration'. Plenty of squatters are fully legal citizens.

  • Curious

    Jay, YOU are missing the bigger point. The Libertarian position is open borders and no minimum wages. Under such conditions "those people" would not suffer any disabilities from being "undocumented" (not that they suffer any now, since private parties don't check immigration status and the current government regime doesn't either). Yet they would still be low-skilled low-wage workers, and with open borders as soon as any given low-skilled worker asked for a raise so he could rent a room he would lose his job to a fresh immigrant willing to work for less while camping in a wildlife sanctuary. Since limiting immigration limits competition between workers, i.e., limits the supply of fresh workers willing to work for less, it helps even citizens who could fill low-skilled jobs but would rather live off their girlfriends' welfare payments or commit crimes than sleep in the bushes.

  • EconStudent

    Curious,

    There are numerous problems with your questioning. First, it doesn't seem to me that you are open to other ideas about solutions. Libertarians and capitalists can't tell you what will happen in the future, because we don't plan it, we let it happen. The solutions that would arise are not visible now. Next, your assumption that businesses will jump to a person with lower wages as soon as someone asks for a raise is inherently false. As that is already possible today (I just got a raise, when they could have hired a new person to do my job and pay them $0.10/hr less). Keeping employees can be the most effective way to grow your employment, it provides a pool of potential management candidates as well as makes sure you don't have to waste money training new employees. Also, you are assuming everyone would move to the U.S. Many people would still not be able to afford to get here, or would not want to get here, as they love their home. As a libertarian and a capitalist, I see nothing wrong with freeing up immigration rules as well as removing the minimum wage, because it would allow companies to become more profitable and expand into other areas and thus hire more people.

  • Curious

    EconStudent:

    I dunno about Libertarians but capitalists plan all the time. They choose where to invest, and they plan their business moves. (I don't mean their plans always succeed, or that they all know everyone else's plan-- the marketplace sorts out which plans are most successful.)

    As I keep pointing out, the "willing worker" illegal aliens in wildlife sanctuaries problem is not a hypothetical or future problem-- it's a current problem. So it demands a current remedy. Saying "solutions would arise" is shameful issue-ducking-- we have a solution standing by, so the question is, can you propose a better one? If not, why do you oppose implementation of the best available solution?

    A new international Gallup poll finds that 165 million people, many of low education, want to move to the USA. If any significant number of them did, they would pull in many more.

    If your wages are, say, $20/hour for (I assume) skilled labor with a learning curve, then a 10-cent pay differential is bupkis, I agree, and won't outweigh other considerations for your employer. However, if your wages are $1/hour for unskilled labor (pushbroom pilot) with almost no learning curve, then a ten-cent pay differential is significant-- to the employer, as well as the employee.

    Why am I so confident of my analysis? Because that's the way it works now. Consider the example of janitorial labor in, say, Los Angeles, California. Janitorial work there pays a subsistence wage often less than the legal minimum wage. There are no raises, because there is a surfeit of willing workers. All firms "contract out" their janitorial work so that unionization is pointless-- every time some union organizes a janitorial company and tries to strike for higher wages, that janitorial company instantly dissolves because it loses all of its contracts. I'm not saying unionization is a good thing, I'm just pointing out that there is no "turnover friction" for labor at the low end. All the lowest-end workers are completely fungible and we know that for sure because we observe it in the real economy.