Free Markets, Free People

To the Shepard Smiths of the world, STFU!

Smith has essentially jumped the shark by lecturing the audience to remain calm and not to believe most of the media hype surrounding the Ebola scare.   And Smith should know about media hype being one of the main purveyors of it during the Hurricane Katrina coverage.  Anyone remember that?  Yeah, me too.

But here’s the point.  I’m remaining calm.  I’m not panicking.  However I am more than a little bit angry about the fiasco, the circus, that surrounds the US case of Ebola.

Here’s a hint about why the CDC has been so blastedly inept in its handling of a single freaking case:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a public-health agency, and public health is an uneasy combination of two very different things: emergency disease containment and nannyist do-goodism. It is a field that exists to save us from the plague and to tell us to drink less soda. To expect the same agency, and many of the same people, to be very good at both of these missions is a lot to ask, and the CDC is much better at the second than the first. Since (thank God) we don’t experience many plague outbreaks, public health spends most of its time on that second mission: preaching the virtues of green vegetables and contraception. So the CDC is for the most part an agency engaged in a kind of low-grade, often silly social activism much of the time. When we confront a disease outbreak or similar public-health emergency, the CDC turns to the other part of its mission, and has an impressive core of experts and resources to call upon in doing so. But the turn is no simple matter, and the fact is we (thankfully) just haven’t had much experience with public-health emergencies on American soil, so the people charged with handling them haven’t had much practice here. It is not hard to imagine how all of this could lead to failures of the sort we have seen.

And who is the head of the CDC?  The same guy who helped NYC’s mayor Bloomberg impose tobacco bans, try to ban Big Gulps and chase your salt use.  That’s right, a “nannyist do-gooder” who hasn’t the faintest idea, or so it seems, on how to address the core mission of the CDC (i.e. the mission for which it was originally formed).  Shouldn’t we be angry and upset about that? After the initial whining by the bureaucrats about how “funding” was a problem we learned about how they prioritized the funding they got (which, by the way, was more than adequate).  It certainly wasn’t primarily spent on the core mission as is now very obvious.

Ever hear of Dr. Nichole Lurie?  Yeah, me neither.  But she is the defacto “Ebola Czar”.

…Dr. Nicole Lurie, explains that the responsibilities of her office are “to help our country prepare for, respond to and recover from public health threats.” She says her major priority is to help the country prepare for emergencies and to “have the countermeasures—the medicines or vaccines that people might need to use in a public health emergency. So a large part of my office also is responsible for developing those countermeasures.”

Or, as National Journal rather glowingly puts it, “Lurie’s job is to plan for the unthinkable. A global flu pandemic? She has a plan. A bioterror attack? She’s on it. Massive earthquake? Yep. Her responsibilities as assistant secretary span public health, global health, and homeland security.” A profile of Lurie quoted her as saying, “I have responsibility for getting the nation prepared for public health emergencies—whether naturally occurring disasters or man-made, as well as for helping it respond and recover. It’s a pretty significant undertaking.” Still another refers to her as “the highest-ranking federal official in charge of preparing the nation to face such health crises as earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and pandemic influenza.”

Lurie is the Asst. Secretary of HHS for “preparedness and response, whose job it is to “lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters, ranging from hurricanes to bioterrorism.””

Really?  Where IS she?!  Instead, CNN reports, we’re getting a different Ebola Czar:

President Barack Obama is expected to name Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to two Democratic vice presidents, as the country’s Ebola czar, knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper today.

Klain is a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and also to former Vice President Al Gore. Klain is currently president of Case Holdings and General Counsel of Revolution, an investment group. He has clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court and headed up Gore’s effort during the 2000 Florida recount.

Yes, that’s right friends, we’re getting a lawyer and political hack inserted into the mess.

Meanwhile, off the coast of Belize, a Carnival cruiseliner is being barred entry to a port because one of the healthcare workers who treated our Patient Zero is on board (so far no symptoms, thank goodness).  I guess it was too forward thinking to sequester all those workers to ensure they weren’t infected and didn’t pose a threat to others.  I mean, you know, Epidemic Prevention 101 is so 20th Century … or something.

So Shep, STFU.  You’re an overpaid news reader.  Confine yourself to doing that.  Talking about panicking because of media hype is about as hypocritical as anything you can do, given your history.

As for me, I’ll remain outspoken about how poorly this particular event has been handled and continues to be handled.  It is all about ineptness and lack of leadership at many levels and in many bureaucratic agencies.  It is the poison fruit of big government.  The only silver lining in all of this is the media coverage is keeping that front and center for the public to see.

I’m fine with that.


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39 Responses to To the Shepard Smiths of the world, STFU!

  • as I said elsewhere this morning…. Unintended consequences will eventually overcome government efforts, no matter how well intentioned. Such happens faster when the government agents are incompetent.

  • Oh… and as for Smith, it amazes me that anyone with over two braincells takes him seriously.

  • #Obama to name longtime political aide as ‘#Ebola czar,’ bypassing senior health official:

    — Fox News (@FoxNews) October 17, 2014

    Gorsh. I feel all safe and warm now. Could be an elevated fever and delirium…

    • Don’t fret; repeat after me:

      “Top Men……..Top Men……”

    • I’m sure this Klain character was a perfect fit for the job description, which probably looked something like this when Obama’s staff wrote it:

      “Must be skilled at deflecting blame for anything Ebola-related away from the White House. Ability to launch spurious lawsuits to shut up political opponents a plus. Must look good in suit. Must be able to go on CNN and say anything the White House desires, no matter how transparently ridiculous it might be. In the absence of instructions from the White House, must be able to make up meaningless blather with plenty of healthcare technobabble. Must be able to lie as necessary about not receiving instructions from the White House on anything that goes bad, and able to give credit to the White House for anything that goes well. Must be able to accuse political opponents of sabotaging efforts because they won’t give the administration an infinite amount of money. Ability to manage a slush fund a plus.”

      I’m thinking the compensation part looked about like this:

      “Generous salary, infinite travel allowance, allowed to divert slush fund to family and friends. In the event resignation proves necessary to shield the White House, a position will be found with a big-money Democratic supporting organization at a salary at least double the position’s salary. Presidential pardon is available if necessary.”

  • I have a short list of people who make me want to beat the living dog spit out of them on sight.

    Shep is on it. Twice, I think.

  • Speaking of fruit bats, some sources say that fruit bats are a reservoir of the Ebola virus. Fortunately we don’t have any bats in this country, so no worries. The CDC on the other hand says that the natural reservoir host has not been identified. It might be nice to prevent the disease from finding a reservoir host outside Africa.

    • The bat thing is entirely populist. Dogs and pigs are known carriers. Plenty of ferral pigs in the US South. Even some boars. It could be anything.

      Two talking points that seem to shut the progressive idiocy up.

      1) we could be responsible for the eventual spread to Central and South America which would fare little better than Africa
      2) We don’t know the vector animal or even all the animals affected. North American species could be devastated anything from grizzly bear to some obscure species of toad preventing a damn from being built.

      The progressives leave a discussion thread if you mention either of those.

      This is a classic case of ‘good intentions’ being more important than reality as well as the US is and evil dog that should grovel to the rest of the world and deserves to suffer a little like the Africans have. But once you show how this will harm other countries or other species, the progressive don’t know what to say.

    • Up to 20 percent of U.S. armadillos are infected with leprosy — and now a new study has found that these quirky little creatures may be transmitting the infectious disease directly to humans.

  • I can’t wait until all countries stop all travel from the US.

    • In fact, there are treaty obligation concerning contagious disease. Granted they are over 100 years old but no less we’re probably in violation or will be shortly.

  • Someone should sneeze on Shep and see how calm he remains.

  • “In many ways, it replicates the larger problem liberals have — it’s more complicated to be a liberal,” he said on Friday’s Morning Joe. “To be conservative, you simply have to say, ‘Look, commonsense says segregate these people off from us — leper colony — keep away!’”

    “On the Democratic side, I think there is sort of an implicit kind of sympathy — why do we want to do that to people?” Matthews added.

    Well. There you go. To be a loopy Collectivist, you have to consider a bunch of extraneous crap, while wallowing in oikophobia.

    • “On the Democratic side, I think there is sort of an implicit kind of sympathy — why do we want to do that to people?” Matthews added.

      >>>>I have plenty of sympathy for those sick people. But me and mine come first. I’ll never apologize for that. If liberals don’t value themselves and their families, that’s their problem. But what I really suspect is it’s just a case of moral preening. If Chrissie was in imminent ebola danger, guarantee you he’d do WHATEVER it took to remove the threat, sympathy be damned. But because people like us exist to do the dirty work of advocating this obviously unsympathetic, heartless, racist policy – which we all know WILL ultimately be implemented once it’s too late – people like him get to tut-tut and make pronouncements like this and show off to the world their self-styled moral superiority.

      Unserious as it gets. And dangerously stupid.

    • To be a liberal just requires that you can say “MORE” without the Oliver Twist “Sir”

  • Is the appointment of Klain at all surprising? The first action under Obamacare was to hire a slew of IRS agents. There isn’t a medical situation for which Obama doesn’t have a political solution. Sorry…”solution.”

  • Bruce, how can you be angry without the expectation of something better? It is no big surprise that the government bureaucracies are slow and inefficient. They’re only the quick and smart saviors of society in the movies.

    What exactly did you expect that isn’t divorced from reality? C’mon man! The government is rarely up to the tasks it is supposed to be doing.

    • I personally was hoping the CDC would be different.

      More than most other agencies their work is literally our life and death. Lethal pathogens don’t wait for investigations and paperwork.

      • You’d think they’d be a well-oiled machine implementing a 20 year old plan.

        Frankly, I’m a little surprised, especially after 9/11 and Anthrax.

        • I’m not surprised at all. That’s based on my long-held belief that, as a first cut approximation, I expect any bureaucracy to decay into irrelevance, typically in about 25-50 years, no matter how well intentioned it is or how well designed it was by law. The variation in time is, I think, mostly dependent on how much money the bureaucracy controls. There are exceptions, but they are rare.

          The dynamic is an accelerating trend for the ones who stay in the bureaucracy to be marginal or incompetent at the bureaucracy’s core purpose, but good at navigating and manipulating a political system. The more such people are in the bureaucracy, the more that competent people tend to leave, and the higher percentage of people in the bureaucracy who are incompetent. Eventually all layers of the bureaucracy (except perhaps a few lower layers which still contain dedicated and competent people) become totally political and incapable of constructive work.

          The FBI showed signs of pervasive incompetence in the 1990s. NASA was on the short end of the scale, descending into incompetence by the 1980s, and note that they controlled large amounts of money.

          The VA has been known to be in the throes of incompetent performance for a while now. The National Park Service has recently shown how out of touch and politicized they have become.

          Recently, we’ve seen that the Secret Service and the CDC are no longer competent. I’m sure there are plenty more examples.

          It’s not just the federal level. I’ve had the lovely experience of assisting both my sons in getting driver’s licenses in the last year, and, given a few weeks, I could redesign the DMV to handle twice as many people with better reliability and security on information, using modern technology instead of the 1980s era crap they’ve got. One of the challenges we discovered in the DMV is rampant corruption in the form of selling fake driver’s licenses. They took away the ability for a license to be created on demand in the branches, which reduced but didn’t stop the problem. One of my sons never received his first license, even though their records showed it as generated and send. One guess where that license ended up.

          These are just mild examples of the same effects in the Soviet Union and other completely socialized economies. There’s no feedback to keep these bureaucracies on a sane course, so self-serving people eventually discover how to use them for their own purposes. It’s pretty much inevitable, and the only cure I know is to pull them out by the roots and re-create them if they’re still necessary, every thirty or forty years.

          • And the top of the cue for “root pulling” (I prefer “burning down”) should be the agencies MOST dangerous to the idea of freedom.

            My list starts with the IRS. Just behind, EPA.

      • The CDC was much better in the movie “Contagion”

  • The Collective is trying THIS red herring just now…

    IF we had a surgeon general, all would be well, but NRA…

    They actually know no shame. None.

    • Hey, their personal paper mill, the NYT tried to blow (and are still trying to) Ebola out of the headline with WMD left over in Iraq. BOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHH and ROVEEEE!!!!!!!!!
      Funny they don’t seem alarmed that Big Ears would have known that for, what, 6 years now and never mentioned it. Oh, right, 5:00 news on Friday evening, no one is as mad as he is, Booosh! Not me!!!!!

      Anything will do at this point – Maybe if they move some of the chairs from the Lido deck up to the deck around the stacks the water will stop rising…

      They’re finding it’s as hard to knock Ebola out of the headlines as it is to fix the problem the CDC is sorry they kinda caused.
      And Hero STILL refuses to implement a travel ban.

      <strong>Remember, this is the same guy that banned flights to Tel Aviv because a Hamas mortar round landed near the airport.

    • A while back, during the Bush Administration, there was a cry to dump the position of Surgeon General completely .. now, it is indispensable, or at least we are told.

      • Be honest, who doesn’t miss C. Everett Koops beard?

      • What’s MOST funny about this red herring…

        We HAVE a surgeon general. We ALSO have his superior in office.

        The idiots flaking that bs didn’t bother to look under the hood before simply aping the moonbat fallacy. Sorta reminds us all of Erp, don’t it….???

    • EJ Dionne @EJDionne

      POTUS would not need an #Ebola czar if the #NRA, Republicans had not blocked his Surgeon General appointee.

      Paul Levitt @Dipsys_pal

      @EJDionne You might want to catch up on the news – Reid killed the filibuster. Dems can approve any nominee with NO Republican votes.

      • And the truth is that DEEEEmocrat red state senators killed the nomination of that puke because they KINDA want to get re-elected, and he was ALSO a big supporter of ObamaDoggle which is RADIOACTIVE.

      • Plus, we HAVE an acting Surgeon General and have had since July.

  • Richard Fernandez, I think, nails the “czar” concept in the era of the Obamic Decline…

    But there is in fact, a substantive difference. They are a parallel system of command. As suggested by this article in Western Journalism, their chief qualification is political adherence to the president’s ideology and personal loyalty to him. In fact it may be argued that they are not ‘czars’ in the sense of inter-agency enablers. It will probably be the role of Klain — like Cass Sunstein, Todd Stern, John Holdren, Mark Lloyd, Eric Holder, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, etc — to make sure the bureaucracy knows who they are working for and for what ends. They’re not just ‘coordinators’ any more. They are a kind of enforcer. They work is better described by another Russian word: zampolit or political officer.”

    • Or Gauleiter. The whole concept is similar to the Nazi Gleichshaltung (trans: coordination) program, whereby government functions were brought under party control.