When Trust Betrayal Keeps Coming Back

Cobalt57 has a half-life of 257 days. The half-life of a bad divorce ranges from a few years to a lifetime.

And the half-life of betrayed trust is somewhere beyond that.

In fact, trust betrayed has a way of regenerating. Call it Zombie trust: when trust is trashed, it has a way of never really dying—it just keeps on coming back to get you.

Trust Betrayal and the Black Community

Two cases in point. From the early 1930s until 1972, a government sponsored study of syphilis in Tuskegee, Alabama systematically and intentionally lied to poor black sharecroppers about the “research” being done to help them. In fact, their infection was left untreated, so as to study the ravaging effects of the disease.

The study is pretty well-known in the black community, and is a powerful story about the depth, depravity and reality of racism in the USA.

Powerful enough that it has made black people afraid of taking part in medical clinical trials. It’s not hard to understand why. And yet, we have this news story:

In a report to be published in the journal Medicine online Jan. 14, experts in the design and conduct of medical research found that black men and women were only 60 percent as likely as whites to participate in a mock study to test a pill for heart disease. Results came from a random survey of 717 outpatients at 13 clinics in Maryland, 36 percent of whom were black and the rest white.

"The survey is believed to be the first analysis showing that an overestimation of risk of harm explains why blacks’ participation in clinical trials has for decades lagged that of whites. The results come at a time of increased recognition of racial differences in disease rates and treatments. Researchers point out that some kidney diseases, stroke, lung cancer and diabetes all progress more quickly in blacks and kill more blacks than people of other racial backgrounds.

"There is enormous irony that without African-American subject participation in clinical trials, we are not going to have tested the best therapies we need to treat African Americans," says study senior researcher, Hopkins internist and epidemiologist Neil R. Powe, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. "So long as the legacy of Tuskegee persists, African Americans will be left out of important findings about the latest treatments for diseases, especially those that take a greater toll on African Americans and consequently may not have ready or equal access to the latest medicines."

The Zombie of Trust Betrayed is at work here. The past abuse of trust was so horrific that it continues to wreak havoc, even when—ironically—researchers could be of help.

Robert Zogby and the Polling Debacle

Here’s another case. After the New Hampshire Democratic primary polling debacle, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show invited famed controversial pollster Robert Zogby as a spokesman for the polling industry.

Zogby held his own in the unwinnable format—but the Zombie of Trust Betrayed got him—bad—a week later.

In a post on January 16, Rick Rottman recounts a first-hand story from 1992, when he took a European history course from Zogby at Utica College. Long story short, as Rottman tells it, Zogby offered to raise everyone’s grade a point if they came in and volunteered for an 8-hour shift at his polling business.

At first, everyone agreed to it. Later, everyone reneged. Pressed as to why, they all said they felt it was unethical. Zogby, as Rottman recounts it, blew a gasket.

Worse yet, says Rottman, he had gotten an A on his midterm before these events. He never saw the results of his final exam (on which he thought he had done well), but his final grade was a C—implying an improbable F on his final exam. Understandably, Rottman is inclined to wonder why.

That was 1992. Now, 16 years later, Rottman is in the blogosphere saying “John Zogby is the reason I don’t trust polls.” And it’s not hard to understand why.

Note: I want to be very careful about spreading critical comments like this. If Zogby has something to say, he’s got white space here in this column to do so. And if he convinces me Rottman is a nut job, then I’ll strip his story entirely out of this blog. Until then, however, Rottman is writing quite clearly about a first-hand experience which sounds credible to me—or I wouldn’t be citing and linking to him here.

Final examples of the half-life of mistrust: look to the Russian-Chechen conflict; the feelings between the Sunnis and the Shia.

Trust lasts a long time. Trust betrayed appears to last longer.

5 replies
  1. Buffy
    Buffy says:

    The "Zombie of trust betrayed" is mighty and long lasting indeed.  My partner and I have experienced it with Barack Obama this election cycle, and find ourselves unable to vote for him because of it.  His ongoing work with bigots of the "Ex-Gay" variety while paying lip service to equality is hypocrisy and betrayal that cannot be overlooked. 

  2. Rick Rottman
    Rick Rottman says:

    To me fair, my wife tells me that I’m a nut job on a fairly constant basis.  That shouldn’t be a factor in determining whether my account of my experience with Zogby is true.  I assure you it is all true. 

  3. David Marshall
    David Marshall says:
    The U.S. Senate’s Department of Defense (DOD) "experiments that were designed to harm" [9] needed for treatment evidence is: 1. Not in a subject’s Medical History, so that they never the wiser become. And 2. The resulting alerting injuries are not in "The court may not review the schedule of ratings for disabilities…"(Emphasis added)![5] There is no, "Veterans Right to Know…".[10] After honorable service Congress still has not given back to veterans those rights that convicted rapists and murderers keep![7]

    In honor of those that serve, on 5 May 2009 the U.S. House passed, "Resolved, That the House of Representatives strongly urges Americans and people of all nationalities to visit national cemeteries, memorials, and markers on Memorial Day, where the spirit of American generosity, sacrifice, and courage are displayed and commemorated."[1] Despite the efforts of some members of Congress, do the ignored U.S. Senate proven DOD "experiments that were designed to harm" continue?[9] Under the 2006 established Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) "NATIONAL SECURITY MISSIONS", now ongoing are these DOD conducted on "hundreds of thousands" [9] of Veterans lessons learned?[11] In October 1995 is the history of human experiments 15 January 1994 U.S. President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) Report.[3] On December 8, 1994 is the U.S. Senate REPORT 103-97 "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century.", i.e., its many "designed to harm" DOD experiments conducted on "hundreds of thousands".[9] The 1987 U.S. Supreme Court STANLEY [4] determined that their 1950 FERES also protects the government from its "designed to harm" acts. The 1950 U.S. Supreme Court FERES Doctrine decided that the U.S. Government can not be held accountable for injuries "incident" to U.S. Military Service.[2]

    "IT WAS NECESSARY "TO CONCEAL THESE ACTIVITIES FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IN GENERAL," BECAUSE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE" UNETHICAL AND ILLICIT ACTIVITIES WOULD HAVE SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS IN POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC CIRCLES AND WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS MISSION." Footnote 4, U.S. Supreme Court 1987 STANLEY military experiments case, Page 688.[4] This case confirms their FERES Doctrine [2] decision that correction is through the U.S. Congress. After STANLEY Congress passed the 1988 Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA). Established was the Legislative, Article I severely restricted, Veteran’s Court with Congress’s, "The court may not review the schedule of ratings for disabilities or the policies underlying the schedule.", i.e., the needed for treatment "designed to harm" evidence.[5] In 2009 the U.S. Congress still has not corrected the U.S. Senate’s 1994 reported 50 years of a DOD "experiments that were designed to harm" policy. The Veterans Court Chief Judge stated, "The Court simply identifies error made below by a failure to adhere, in individual cases, to the Constitution, statutes, and regulations which themselves reflect policy — policy freely ignored by many initial adjudicators whose attitude is, "I haven’t been told by my boss to change. If you don’t like it — appeal it."[8] Given to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the Judicial Branch’s final authority on "the policies underlying the schedule" questions of law![6] Accordingly a sham, politically correct with ‘no teeth’ Veteran’s Court. The "to harm" experiments were performed under the secrecy cover of our past wars. They were in direct disobedience of the DOD Secretary’s 1953 TOP SECRET order. This order was unclassified twenty two (22) years later.[3] In 1953 and since known by the Secretary’s of all Services, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the DOD Research and Development (R&D) Board and the U.S. Congress.

    The "Veterans Right to Know Act" to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.[10] A "to harm" subject’s right to get the needed for treatment evidence never became law.

    Each deliberate "to harm" project completes the R&D process. Prior R&D is reviewed. The resulting Scope of Work defines what each experiment is "designed" to accomplish. The how, where, when and who is identified. The conducted RESEARCHED cause and effects are closely followed and recorded. From the results are DEVELOPED safe production, use, treatment and protection.


    NOTE: Copies of all documents have been downloaded. If any of the links are not active, on request they are available as PDF or wpd attachments.

    [1] 2009 – U.S. House 5 May 2009 to honor veterans act. H. RES. 360. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action

    [2] 1950 – Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950). LINK: http://supreme.justia.com/us/340/135/case.html

    [3] 1953 – DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiment’s Memo pages 343-345. George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, "The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). In REFERENCE [8] as NOTES 72, 168 & 169. The provided Link is to the U.S. President’s established 15 January 1994 Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) resulting October 1995 Report. Chapter 1: The Department of Defense: Consent is Formalized. Go "Page Down" 15 times to the DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 Memo. .

    [4] 1987 – U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT.. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S., SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710). In REFERENCE [8] cited in NOTE169. http://supreme.justia.com/us/483/669/case.htmlhttp://laws.findlaw.com/us/483/669.html

    [5] 1988 – Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA), Pub. L. No. 100-687, Div. A, 102 Stat. 4105 (8 December 1988) DVA-Chapter 4 and http://law.jrank.org/pages/6784/Federal-Courts-Court-Appeals-Veterans-Claims.html#ixzz0MIKbF8ND

    [6] "United States Code (USC) Title 38, 511. Decisions of the Secretary; finality." US CODE: Title 38511. Decisions of the Secretary; finality

    [7] 1994 – U.S. State Dept., "U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7". Second and Third Periodic Report of the United States of America …

    [8] 1994 – Chief Judge and colleague statements, Court of Veterans Appeals, Annual Judicial Conference, Fort Meyer, VA., 17 & 18 October 1994. http://www.firebase.net/state_of_court_brief.htm Chief Judge Frank Nebeker’s Statement

    [9] 1994 – December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century." Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session. With NOTES 1 to 170. Senate Report 103-97

    [10] 2005 & 2006 – "Veterans Right to Know Act" to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress. H. R. 4259

    [11] 2006 – Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Bill S. 3678 2006. Signed into law 16 December 2006. Cloaking BARDA – The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog


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