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Should transparency about pandemics be enforced by law?

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GuessTheAltAccount
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Should transparency about pandemics be enforced by law?

Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:05 pm

https://www.history.com/news/first-plag ... california

In November 2019, this website first posted this article about how attempts to conceal a plague's arrival in the USA more than a century ago allowed the disease to spread fast and far enough that it still has yet to be fully eradicated to this day.

The timing of that article couldn't have been more on the nose, in light of what would begin a few weeks later.

Imagine if there were something enshrined into law to which even Presidents had to be accountable, let alone lower levels of government. Something that would punish officials more severely for attempts to conceal a pandemic; or the severity thereof; than the consequences of word getting out ever could. Wherein every official is given incentive to rat out any colleague who attempts to conceal a pandemic or its severity, and that no one has any incentive to play along with a coverup attempt. Would future pandemics be prevented from spreading as far as quickly? Why or why not?

I'm thinking the only tradeoff would be "what if it causes a panic"? Well, maybe they will. We need to figure out how to deal with that. Because trusting those who'd downplay it to handle it properly hasn't been working. And if people panic over every new disease, maybe that's because so many officials have tried to downplay them that people have learned to assume the worst.
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Postby Sundiata » Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:17 pm

I believe so.

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Postby Rusozak » Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:59 pm

Are we just talking about the USA? Because Chinese censorship of information had a role to play in where we are now...
Last edited by Rusozak on Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Izandai
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Postby Izandai » Sun Aug 01, 2021 6:39 am

I'm huge fan of sources of information lying about important issues being illegal.
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Sun Aug 01, 2021 7:32 am

Rusozak wrote:Are we just talking about the USA? Because Chinese censorship of information had a role to play in where we are now...

I'm not sure how well such a law could be enforced internationally. (I'd be all for scrapping the WHO and replacing it with something only run by democracies given the WHO's track record of sugar-coating multiple new diseases' severity when they come from China, but that's another story for another day.)

But even just on a local level, something that wouldn't let Trump downplay it could've saved a lot of lives.
Northern Socialist Council Republics wrote:Christian “charity” is morally at par with fascist soup kitchens; a transparent bid to buy goodwill for their reactionary beliefs.

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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:50 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:https://www.history.com/news/first-plague-outbreak-united-states-california

In November 2019, this website first posted this article about how attempts to conceal a plague's arrival in the USA more than a century ago allowed the disease to spread fast and far enough that it still has yet to be fully eradicated to this day.

The timing of that article couldn't have been more on the nose, in light of what would begin a few weeks later.

Imagine if there were something enshrined into law to which even Presidents had to be accountable, let alone lower levels of government. Something that would punish officials more severely for attempts to conceal a pandemic; or the severity thereof; than the consequences of word getting out ever could. Wherein every official is given incentive to rat out any colleague who attempts to conceal a pandemic or its severity, and that no one has any incentive to play along with a coverup attempt. Would future pandemics be prevented from spreading as far as quickly? Why or why not?

I'm thinking the only tradeoff would be "what if it causes a panic"? Well, maybe they will. We need to figure out how to deal with that. Because trusting those who'd downplay it to handle it properly hasn't been working. And if people panic over every new disease, maybe that's because so many officials have tried to downplay them that people have learned to assume the worst.

What possible law could have changed the Trump administration's response to covid? Trump and his people broke the law all the time.
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:03 am

Ifreann wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:https://www.history.com/news/first-plague-outbreak-united-states-california

In November 2019, this website first posted this article about how attempts to conceal a plague's arrival in the USA more than a century ago allowed the disease to spread fast and far enough that it still has yet to be fully eradicated to this day.

The timing of that article couldn't have been more on the nose, in light of what would begin a few weeks later.

Imagine if there were something enshrined into law to which even Presidents had to be accountable, let alone lower levels of government. Something that would punish officials more severely for attempts to conceal a pandemic; or the severity thereof; than the consequences of word getting out ever could. Wherein every official is given incentive to rat out any colleague who attempts to conceal a pandemic or its severity, and that no one has any incentive to play along with a coverup attempt. Would future pandemics be prevented from spreading as far as quickly? Why or why not?

I'm thinking the only tradeoff would be "what if it causes a panic"? Well, maybe they will. We need to figure out how to deal with that. Because trusting those who'd downplay it to handle it properly hasn't been working. And if people panic over every new disease, maybe that's because so many officials have tried to downplay them that people have learned to assume the worst.

What possible law could have changed the Trump administration's response to covid? Trump and his people broke the law all the time.

I don't think the legal system was fully prepared to handle something as brazen as colluding with foreign leaders. Until 2016 Republicans were more hawkish about Russia than Democrats, not less. It stands to reason people on both sides of the aisle underestimated the risks and got complacent.

If you designed a law to require its own enforcement and cover all possible scenarios (including the ones people arbitrarily presume "won't happen") then it would be harder to get away with breaking it.
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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:32 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Ifreann wrote:What possible law could have changed the Trump administration's response to covid? Trump and his people broke the law all the time.

I don't think the legal system was fully prepared to handle something as brazen as colluding with foreign leaders. Until 2016 Republicans were more hawkish about Russia than Democrats, not less. It stands to reason people on both sides of the aisle underestimated the risks and got complacent.

If you designed a law to require its own enforcement and cover all possible scenarios (including the ones people arbitrarily presume "won't happen") then it would be harder to get away with breaking it.

Require its own enforcement how? "It is illegal to break this law"?
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:43 am

Ifreann wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:I don't think the legal system was fully prepared to handle something as brazen as colluding with foreign leaders. Until 2016 Republicans were more hawkish about Russia than Democrats, not less. It stands to reason people on both sides of the aisle underestimated the risks and got complacent.

If you designed a law to require its own enforcement and cover all possible scenarios (including the ones people arbitrarily presume "won't happen") then it would be harder to get away with breaking it.

Require its own enforcement how? "It is illegal to break this law"?

Require record-keeping, provide rewards for ratting out anyone skimping on the record-keeping, require surveillance footage and audio to be scrutinized for any sign of coverup attempts caught on tape, make sure everyone involved has as many incentives as humanly possible to expose and undermine any attempts at a coverup and as few incentives as humanly possible to go along with one.
Northern Socialist Council Republics wrote:Christian “charity” is morally at par with fascist soup kitchens; a transparent bid to buy goodwill for their reactionary beliefs.

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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:52 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Require its own enforcement how? "It is illegal to break this law"?

Require record-keeping, provide rewards for ratting out anyone skimping on the record-keeping, require surveillance footage and audio to be scrutinized for any sign of coverup attempts caught on tape, make sure everyone involved has as many incentives as humanly possible to expose and undermine any attempts at a coverup and as few incentives as humanly possible to go along with one.

Record keeping by who? People who work for the government? Presumably those same people will also be operating the surveillance system as well. Having the government held to account by people who work for them obviously isn't going to work. And I doubt it's possible to offer rewards for exposing government corruption of greater value than what can be obtained through successfully perpetrating government corruption.
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Postby Galloism » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:44 am

Ifreann wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:Require record-keeping, provide rewards for ratting out anyone skimping on the record-keeping, require surveillance footage and audio to be scrutinized for any sign of coverup attempts caught on tape, make sure everyone involved has as many incentives as humanly possible to expose and undermine any attempts at a coverup and as few incentives as humanly possible to go along with one.

Record keeping by who? People who work for the government? Presumably those same people will also be operating the surveillance system as well. Having the government held to account by people who work for them obviously isn't going to work. And I doubt it's possible to offer rewards for exposing government corruption of greater value than what can be obtained through successfully perpetrating government corruption.

We should setup a mirror government that is elected and has access to all intelligence etc, but can't act except to prosecute this law.

It would also inject money into the economy.
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Diahon
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Postby Diahon » Sun Aug 01, 2021 5:39 pm

yes, but how transparent do you want it? would one like constant updates, or else a delay in newsbreaking till the science seems secure enough, or...?

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Postby Kerwa » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:26 am

Governments generally believe that transparency hinders good governance.

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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:42 am

Diahon wrote:yes, but how transparent do you want it? would one like constant updates, or else a delay in newsbreaking till the science seems secure enough, or...?

The science is never "secure enough". Not while the funding and the special interests are providing an abundance of incentives, some known, some unknown, to distort it. If anything, constant updates might give us a chance to find out what they were saying before some official tried to shut them up.


Ifreann wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:Require record-keeping, provide rewards for ratting out anyone skimping on the record-keeping, require surveillance footage and audio to be scrutinized for any sign of coverup attempts caught on tape, make sure everyone involved has as many incentives as humanly possible to expose and undermine any attempts at a coverup and as few incentives as humanly possible to go along with one.

Record keeping by who? People who work for the government? Presumably those same people will also be operating the surveillance system as well. Having the government held to account by people who work for them obviously isn't going to work. And I doubt it's possible to offer rewards for exposing government corruption of greater value than what can be obtained through successfully perpetrating government corruption.

By that logic there might as well not be laws against bribery.

Look, there are people who went behind Trump's back to publish damaging audio recordings of their conversations. They either wanted the truth out there or wanted to get back at him; either can happen again if he gets back in, or can happen to future Presidents. Not everyone in government is in lockstep. There will always be people even within the party, let alone outside it if it's a multi-party operation, who wish to publicly speak out. What we need is, on the issue of pandemic management in particular, for some of that sort of thing to be actionable, rather than just "well, we caught it on tape, but there's nothing we can do about it".
Northern Socialist Council Republics wrote:Christian “charity” is morally at par with fascist soup kitchens; a transparent bid to buy goodwill for their reactionary beliefs.

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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:37 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Diahon wrote:yes, but how transparent do you want it? would one like constant updates, or else a delay in newsbreaking till the science seems secure enough, or...?

The science is never "secure enough". Not while the funding and the special interests are providing an abundance of incentives, some known, some unknown, to distort it. If anything, constant updates might give us a chance to find out what they were saying before some official tried to shut them up.


Ifreann wrote:Record keeping by who? People who work for the government? Presumably those same people will also be operating the surveillance system as well. Having the government held to account by people who work for them obviously isn't going to work. And I doubt it's possible to offer rewards for exposing government corruption of greater value than what can be obtained through successfully perpetrating government corruption.

By that logic there might as well not be laws against bribery.

Look, there are people who went behind Trump's back to publish damaging audio recordings of their conversations. They either wanted the truth out there or wanted to get back at him; either can happen again if he gets back in, or can happen to future Presidents. Not everyone in government is in lockstep. There will always be people even within the party, let alone outside it if it's a multi-party operation, who wish to publicly speak out. What we need is, on the issue of pandemic management in particular, for some of that sort of thing to be actionable, rather than just "well, we caught it on tape, but there's nothing we can do about it".

Trump was repeatedly caught doing actionable things. But the people whose job it is to take action refused to do so, because Trump was their guy, he was doing their agenda. What possible law do you think you can write to change that? What possible combination of rewards and punishments can stop Republican Senators from siding with a Republican President? And even if you can come up with such a law, how do you get those people to pass it? Why would Republicans agree to criminalise their own behaviour?
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:46 am

Ifreann wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:The science is never "secure enough". Not while the funding and the special interests are providing an abundance of incentives, some known, some unknown, to distort it. If anything, constant updates might give us a chance to find out what they were saying before some official tried to shut them up.



By that logic there might as well not be laws against bribery.

Look, there are people who went behind Trump's back to publish damaging audio recordings of their conversations. They either wanted the truth out there or wanted to get back at him; either can happen again if he gets back in, or can happen to future Presidents. Not everyone in government is in lockstep. There will always be people even within the party, let alone outside it if it's a multi-party operation, who wish to publicly speak out. What we need is, on the issue of pandemic management in particular, for some of that sort of thing to be actionable, rather than just "well, we caught it on tape, but there's nothing we can do about it".

Trump was repeatedly caught doing actionable things. But the people whose job it is to take action refused to do so, because Trump was their guy, he was doing their agenda. What possible law do you think you can write to change that? What possible combination of rewards and punishments can stop Republican Senators from siding with a Republican President? And even if you can come up with such a law, how do you get those people to pass it? Why would Republicans agree to criminalise their own behaviour?

Democrats are in charge now, not Republicans. The only question is how to incentivize Democrats to craft legislation that prevents them from doing the same. I think with the anti-Biden dissent of the likes of TYT you'll probably have more skepticism of Biden from liberals than you would have had of Trump from conservatives.
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:01 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Trump was repeatedly caught doing actionable things. But the people whose job it is to take action refused to do so, because Trump was their guy, he was doing their agenda. What possible law do you think you can write to change that? What possible combination of rewards and punishments can stop Republican Senators from siding with a Republican President? And even if you can come up with such a law, how do you get those people to pass it? Why would Republicans agree to criminalise their own behaviour?

Democrats are in charge now, not Republicans. The only question is how to incentivize Democrats to craft legislation that prevents them from doing the same. I think with the anti-Biden dissent of the likes of TYT you'll probably have more skepticism of Biden from liberals than you would have had of Trump from conservatives.

Biden's made it clear that he's more concerned with bipartisanship than with actually accomplishing things.
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Postby Torisakia » Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:07 am

Not only with pandemics, but I believe that attempting to conceal any threat to the public, especially by government officials, should be severely punishable.
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Postby The Holy Therns » Mon Aug 02, 2021 3:53 pm

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Trump was repeatedly caught doing actionable things. But the people whose job it is to take action refused to do so, because Trump was their guy, he was doing their agenda. What possible law do you think you can write to change that? What possible combination of rewards and punishments can stop Republican Senators from siding with a Republican President? And even if you can come up with such a law, how do you get those people to pass it? Why would Republicans agree to criminalise their own behaviour?

Democrats are in charge now, not Republicans. The only question is how to incentivize Democrats to craft legislation that prevents them from doing the same. I think with the anti-Biden dissent of the likes of TYT you'll probably have more skepticism of Biden from liberals than you would have had of Trump from conservatives.


I'm not sure that says what you think it says.
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Postby Esternial » Mon Aug 02, 2021 4:00 pm

Torisakia wrote:Not only with pandemics, but I believe that attempting to conceal any threat to the public, especially by government officials, should be severely punishable.

I'm also sure the threat would like to know if the government is onto them.

Things aren't as cut-and-dry as this.
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Postby Usanguk » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:22 pm

Torisakia wrote:Not only with pandemics, but I believe that attempting to conceal any threat to the public, especially by government officials, should be severely punishable.


Howeveer, how can we actually punish the government? Through WHO?

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Major-Tom
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Postby Major-Tom » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:34 pm

Sounds hard to both enforce and qualify what accounts as "being disingenuous about a pandemic." From my point of view, a guy like Trump wasn't transparent about the COVID threat by any measure, but that would be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt from a legal perspective.

In an ideal world, we could "punish" our elected officials for being untransparent and for breaching the trust of the public. But in this imperfect world, we have an imperfect yet workable solution for those who want it. It's called the ballot box.
Last edited by Major-Tom on Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Usanguk
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Postby Usanguk » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:37 pm

Major-Tom wrote:Sounds hard to both enforce and qualify what accounts as "being disingenuous about a pandemic." From my point of view, a guy like Trump wasn't transparent about the COVID threat by any measure, but that would be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt from a legal perspective.

In an ideal world, we could "punish" our elected officials for being untransparent and for breaching the trust of the public. But in this imperfect world, we have an imperfect yet workable solution for those who want it. It's called the ballot box.


Trump was just highly skeptical of it, not wearing masks during any of his activities. He did suggest injecting bleach to cure COVID-19. :p

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Major-Tom
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Postby Major-Tom » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:38 pm

Usanguk wrote:
Major-Tom wrote:Sounds hard to both enforce and qualify what accounts as "being disingenuous about a pandemic." From my point of view, a guy like Trump wasn't transparent about the COVID threat by any measure, but that would be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt from a legal perspective.

In an ideal world, we could "punish" our elected officials for being untransparent and for breaching the trust of the public. But in this imperfect world, we have an imperfect yet workable solution for those who want it. It's called the ballot box.


Trump was just highly skeptical of it, not wearing masks during any of his activities. He did suggest injecting bleach to cure COVID-19. :p


I disagree that he was just merely "skeptical," but that alone does prove that OP's theory is ludicrous because you can't objectively measure things like this.

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Usanguk
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Postby Usanguk » Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:40 pm

Major-Tom wrote:
Usanguk wrote:
Trump was just highly skeptical of it, not wearing masks during any of his activities. He did suggest injecting bleach to cure COVID-19. :p


I disagree that he was just merely "skeptical," but that alone does prove that OP's theory is ludicrous because you can't objectively measure things like this.


Well, in a broad sense is what I mean. Of course, he could've had political plans of some sorts.

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