Free Markets, Free People

Bruce McQuain

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Here comes reality to slap some faces

Funny how reality always wins:

Black voters’ disappointment with President Barack Obama, who they so eagerly embraced for so many years, could be costly on Election Day to Democrats, who badly need a big African-American turnout to win Senate and gubernatorial races in key states.

Instead, many African-Americans see an unemployment rate well above the national average, continuing problems with crime in many neighborhoods, and a president more interested in trying to help other voting blocs that didn’t give him such unwavering support.

He talks about same-sex marriage in a nod to the gay and lesbian community. He discusses immigration and its benefits, an issue particularly important to the Latino community. He fights for equal pay, a vital issue to the women Democrats so avidly court.

The black community, which gave Obama support like no other group, too often doesn’t see the investment paying off.

“People in this community just don’t think anything is going to change,” said Akua Scott, a Miami-based labor organizer.

Well you can see why they’re disappointed.  Those that rely on politicians to make things “change” are always going to be disappointed.  And Barack Obama is and always has been a self-promoting politician.  The only thing I’ve seen the man show any sort of loyalty toward is his ideology.  But constituent groups – we’ll he’ll talk a good game but if you really expect action, you’re mostly screwed.
It has apparently taken blacks 6 years to figure this out.  Some of his supporters still haven’t figured it out.
However, the point of all of this is that this sort of problem is one that bodes ill for Democrats during the mid-terms.  Because, as noted, for 6 years an overwhelming majority of blacks have loyally supported the Democrats and almost religiously turned out for them on election day.  But if they’ve mostly given up on Obama, that certainly has to be seen as a real negative for the left’s midterm hopes.  Add to that the declining female vote and the news that women don’t feel safe with Obama in office and Dems have a real dilemma.  Oh, and then Obama’s tone deaf “hurt little boy” remark about Democrats avoiding him, even though they’ve been supporting his agenda the whole time he’s been in office.
Reality … she’s one spiteful “B”, isn’t she?  Let’s see how GOTV goes this Nov. 4th for the Dems.
~McQ

The executive end run

Want to know what the Berghdal investigation found?  You’ll have to wait till after the election.  Want to know what your new health insurance rates will be?  You’ll have to wait until after the election.  Why?  Because it appears they both will be unpopular with most of the citizenry.

Interested in what is happening on the immigration front?  You’ll have to wait until after the election … however there does seem to be some prep going on as AP reports:

The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants living illegally in the country to apply for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Associated Press that it has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.

USCIS, the Homeland Security agency that oversees immigration benefits, produces about 3 million work permits and Green Cards annually, so the new contract would at least provide the Obama administration with the flexibility to issue far more work permits or green cards even if it chose not to exercise that option.

So they’re either ordering a 10 year supply or something is up.  ABC’s Rick Klein reports:

Republicans can thank the reliable old federal bureaucracy for their latest little gift-wrapped present. The AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security is soliciting millions of new green cards – yes, the physical paperwork needed for legal status – “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” That’s right: The federal government is already ordering as many as 34 million new cards over five years to accommodate legal changes that haven’t been announced, much less approved by Congress. If and when this factoid makes its way into a campaign ad or a stump speech, it will be another reminder of the questionable political strategy of the White House deciding to delay immigration action until after the election. You don’t get full credit for not acting if everyone knows you’re about to. And the idea that tax dollars are set to be expended to support a sweeping new policy, before that policy is even announced or enacted? How better to confirm voters’ mistrust in government?

Congress? This president don’t need no stinkin’ Congress.  And certainly not one that is run by Republicans.  Nope … instead that will provide the perfect excuse (despite the obvious premeditation) to blame the GOP and take unilateral action.

And what will Congress do about such an end run?  Well, likely nothing if their history is an indication.

So here we are with a wretched economy, the lowest labor participation rate in decades, stagnant wages and what does it appear our brilliant President is about to do?

That’s why you have to wait till after the election to find out.

~McQ

 

A little reminder

A short one today, but I thought it instructive to bring up the fact that despite the claims of Democratic operatives and media types, the GOP isn’t the reason that Barack Obama’s Surgeon General nominee isn’t in that office.  Byron York explains:

There are 55 Democrats in the Senate. Since Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to kill filibusters for nominations, it would take just 51 votes to confirm Murthy. Democrats could do it all by themselves, even if every Republican opposed. But Democrats have not confirmed Murthy.

 

In other words, the claim is worthy of 4 Pinnochios if fact checkers were doing their job.

No, apparently the job is still vacant (yeah, I know there’s an acting SG) because apparently Democrats have a problem with the nominee.

Go figure.

~McQ

The obligatory “here come the midterms” post

Meh.  I’ve come to realize, given the last few wave elections, that if either of the two majority parties are in charge, little if anything will change significantly. Or said another way, for the next 2 years, we’re in for the same nonsense we’re suffering now and the only thing that will change is the name of the Senate majority leader.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of divided government. I like” do nothing” Congress, because divided government means fewer laws entailing government interference are likely to pass. However, that doesn’t change the fact that both parties are heavily invested in interfering with our lives. They simply have different priorities in that regard.

That said, let’s look at the mood of the country prior to the selection.  POLITICO starts us off with a handy chart:

politico_poll_generic_ballot

Too bad we don’t have the “none of the above option”.  Me thinks the gray wedge would be significantly larger.  As with most recent elections, there’s a large “hold your nose and vote” segment at play here.

However, that particular part of the poll isn’t the most interesting to me.  These results say more about the “mood” than any:

- Terrorism: Eighty-four percent of voters say the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant poses a “serious” threat to the U.S. homeland, including 43 percent who say it poses a “very serious” threat. Just 12 percent said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is not a serious concern.

This is an Obama made problem and he and the voters know it.  And if it is an Obama-made problem, then it is also a problem for the Democrats.  But more importantly, it reflects a belief is how poorly this administration has handled the terrorism problem.  They didn’t buy the “JV” wave-off and, it seems, are much more able than our security experts to see the type and possibility of the threat ISIS poses to the US homeland.   When you have an enemy that will go to any extreme to get to you and doesn’t mind if they die doing it, you have a formidable threat facing you.  And while you may have more of a chance of being hit by lightning or winning the lottery than being a victim of ISIS terrorism here, please don’t try to sell these people on ISIS not being a threat here.  This also reflects a tremendous amount of distrust the public in general have for anything this administration puts out there.

- Health care: Most voters believe their health care costs will go up under the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-seven percent said they believe their personal costs will increase, while only 7 percent said they will decrease. A third said their costs would remain the same. (At the same time, support for repealing Obamacare has continued to drop, now down to 41 percent.)

Here’s another huge trust in government issue that has been a disaster for Democrats.  This is one they own lock, stock and barrel.  Thus far they’ve been able to mostly manage the bad news to fall after elections.  But that’s unlikely to help them when 2106 rolls around.  ObamaCare has, for the most part, failed in every way possible.  We now have reports of less people availing themselves of routine health care because the deductibles are so large they can’t afford the visits.  If you don’t think this is a part of the mid-term calculations by voters then you have to believe there’s no reason to withhold the increases for insurance until after the election.

- Presidential management: Voters in the midterm battleground states are evenly split on whether President Barack Obama or George W. Bush was more effective at managing the federal government. Thirty-eighty percent named Bush, while 35 percent preferred Obama. A quarter of respondents said the two men were equally competent.

As hard as the left and Democrats worked to make Bush the poster boy for bad government, this one has to hurt.  All hail the new poster boy, and the GOP hasn’t had to even break a sweat selling this one.  Most, if not all of Obama’s failures have been via self-inflicted wounds.  Will there be a portion of the voters who use the mid-terms as a referendum on the President?  You bet there will.  This guy is about as bad as we’ve ever had, and voters are going to make that point in November.

That brings us to this last issue in this particular poll which pretty well makes an important point I want made:

- Ebola: Only 22 percent of respondents said they had a lot of confidence that the government is doing everything it can to contain the contagious disease. Thirty-nine percent they had some confidence, while a third said they had little or no confidence. The poll concluded Oct. 11, before the hospitalization of the second nurse who treated an Ebola patient in Dallas.

Confidence in government and the competence of this administration are at rock bottom.  I welcome that.  Ebola just happens to be the latest issue to demonstrate both executive and bureaucratic fumbling and incompetence.  The only consistent thing this administration has done is demonstrate that.  The guy whose goal it was to make “government cool” again, has failed miserably.  I welcome that as well.  I’d like to see the point understood by more.  Instead of success, we’ve seen an increasingly intrusive but ossified bureaucracy fail time after time when tasked to do their job.  They may not know it, but that’s one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that 64% of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” We’ve seen how politics has subverted our public servants into servants of the party in power.  And we’ve also seen various government agencies hold themselves to be above the law in certain instances.  How changing parties at midterm will change any of that remains a mystery.

Usually at this point before an election, analysts have decided who will decide the election.  You remember “Soccer Moms” etc.  Well, this year it’s simply “women”.  Women will decide this.  And the implication is that women have always been more of a Democratic constituency than a Republican one … for various reasons.  Well, that may not pan out for the Dems this year and of all people, Tina Brown explains why:

But, you know, the fact is that Obama’s down with everybody, let’s face it, there’s a reason,” Brown said. “And I think that particularly for women. I don’t think it makes them feel safe. I think they’re feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody. So there’s a slight sense of that.”

If you’re not feeling unsafe with this clown in office, then you have no fear.  Security – safety – is one of the key reasons women consider a vote for a candidate (or so the experts tell us).   If that’s the case and we go with the “women will decide the vote” meme, then Dems are in even worse shape than I thought.

And I welcome that as well.

~McQ

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.

~McQ

Tired of being called “hysterical?”

Because that’s what all the elite would have you believe you are when you have concerns about their ability (and competency) to contain a virus with a 50 -70% death rate.  This is the same elite that told us the virus was unlikely to show up here (it has) and that air travel wasn’t a real threat (air travel is precisely how the virus arrived here).  And anyone who says differently is “hysterical”.

Now we learn we have a second infected nurse and, just to add to the irony, she traveled by air to and from Cleveland, OH the day prior to diagnosis.  So wait lets think about this … we had 75 health care workers come in contact with patient zero in the US and they were left to just resume their normal lives afterward with no thought to possibly holding them in some sort of loose quarantine to insure they weren’t infected?  And, as it turns out, at least two were.

Additionally, the plane remained in service and made two more round trip flights.  But, the CDC says, you’re not dangerous until you run a fever and she wasn’t diagnosed with the disease until after the flight. So, as our Top Men at the CDC said, she likely wasn’t infectious.  CNN burst that bubble today by reporting she was running a fever on the flight.

Folks, I hate to say it, but this sort of sloppiness and counter-intuitive activity is exactly how epidemics spread.  But we’re “hysterical”.

Then there’s plain old human nature to consider.  As a friend of mine wrote:

If you want to understand selfishness, look no further than the behavior of people caught up in the ongoing Ebola scare — a man who lied so he could board a plane from Africa, a nurse who boarded a plane even though she was at risk of getting Ebola because she treated that man, a journalist/doctor who is now under mandatory quarantine because she violated a voluntary one, family members who have resisted being quarantined while at high risk of contracting Ebola.

This kind of behavior is precisely why Ebola is an epidemic in West Africa, and Americans apparently haven’t learned anything from watching the news there. Or worse, they just don’t care. They aren’t willing to be inconvenienced for a few weeks in order to protect those around them.

Exactly.  Add that to the sloppiness of the so-called protocols, if they even exist, and you have the makings of something which could easily get out of hand.  But we’re “hysterical”.

Gerlado Rivera tweeted a question yesterday wondering if those who were calling for a ban on flights from Africa would now be for one on Texas since Ebola had now been found there?  Gerry’s never been considered a rocket brain surgeon, but this was dumb even for him.  And, of course, the irony of the situation – the fact that Ebola got to Texas via the air – was apparently lost on the poor boy.

Now we learn that the disease my have a 42 day incubation period which would make the CDC’s 21 day quarantine entirely inadequate.   We also learn that Patient Zero spent 90 minutes in the open among other patients in the Dallas hospital’s ER – and apparently no one is trying to run down those folks.  But we’re “hysterical”.

I guess we should all just shut up and follow Bill Quick’s facetious advice:

Not to worry, though. Even though she was running a fever, and even though she later tested positive for Ebola, there is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that she might have been infectious while on that plane.

How do I know this is undeniably true? Because Top. Men. at the CDC told me so.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Putting on my Alfred E. Newman face as I type and sitting back to watch our Top Men’s slow motion train wreck unfold.

Utter failure.

~McQ

The essence of “progressivism” distilled

Christopher Snowden writes an article that uses an example that is quite handy in defining the essence of the disease called “progressivism”.  He acknowledges that “liberal” has be coopted by the left but still has enough historical cache to be useful to both sides of the philosophical divide.  However, “progressive”, at least in the US, is uniquely the left’s.

Fast forward to a city soda tax under consideration in the “progressive bastion” of Berkley, CA where we find none other than little Robbie Reich (former Clinton Secretary of Labor) ensconced as Professor at UC Berkley and waxing enthusiastic about this proposed soda tax:

To see what the word progressive means today, consider the city of Berkeley, California. According to Robert Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley, it is‘the most progressive city in America’. It has also been described as a ‘liberal bastion’. How liberal is it? So liberal that it is illegal to smoke a cigarette in your own flat (sorry, ‘apartment’) and, at the city’s university, it is against the rules to chew tobacco or use e-cigarettes anywhere at all, including in the open air.

Berkeley is also seriously considering a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages – aka a ‘soda tax’. A public vote will settle the matter next month, and, in the view of Robert Reich, ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’.

Well, yes, that’s correct.  But Reich’s claim is also a very useful tool for a little word substitution to show the insidiousness (and true intent) of  “progressivism”:

Consider that statement for a moment. If you didn’t know what the word ‘progressive’ meant – and you knew nothing about Berkeley – what could you infer from the context? If the sentence was changed to ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most oppressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’, it would make sense. If words like ‘tax-hungry’, ‘anti-business’, ‘puritanical’ or ‘illiberal’ were substituted for ‘progressive’, it would still read correctly.

If, however, the sentence was changed to ‘if a soda tax can’t pass in the most tolerant city in America, it can’t pass anywhere’, it would be incongruous. Words like ‘permissive’, ‘libertarian’, ‘easygoing’ and ‘broad-minded’ would also be confusing substitutes for ‘progressive’ in this context, and yet these are all adjectives that appear in the thesaurus under the word ‘liberal’. From this we might conclude either that soda taxes are not terribly liberal or that progressives are not terribly liberal. Or both.

At this point I’m chuckling because Snowden has made a very good point.  Reich is all but giddy about oppression and feels it is “progressive” to champion it.  Because, you know, the elite know best and hopefully have hammered those who should appreciate them and their ideas enough to vote “yes” and tax themselves.

Then there’s this:

In economics, unlike politics, the word ‘progressive’ has a fixed meaning. A progressive tax is one that takes a larger share of income from the rich than from the poor. The alternative is a regressive tax, one that takes a larger share of income from the poor than from the rich. Taxes on fizzy drinks are highly and indisputably regressive, not only because the rate of tax is the same for all income groups, but also because the poor tend to consume more of them in the first place. So while it is true that Berkeley is a bellwether city when it comes to eye-catching ‘public health’ initiatives, the adoption of punitive taxes on soft drinks would be a step towards it becoming America’s most regressive, not progressive, city in economic terms.

Oh my.  Snowden then asks the question of the day:

This is what confuses us, America. If a ‘liberal bastion’ – your ‘most progressive city’ – is one in which the government effectively fines people for drinking the wrong type of soft drink, what on earth are your illiberal bastions like?

Berkley (and New York and … ).

Glad you ask.

~McQ

Sometimes … most of the time … you just have to raise the “BS” flag

The latest reason for hoisting said banner is this apparent decision by political operatives on the left to blame Republicans for the ebola epidemic.  Because of them, so the meme goes, we’ve had a lack of funding.  And that lack of funding is blamed for the failure to have a viable ebola vaccine.   Per the NIH chief, they’d have likely succeeded in creating an ebola vaccine if only they’d had the money:

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

As the following chart shows, the problem wasn’t money at all:

-kaiser-family-foundation

Since 2001, tons of money have gone toward global health programs.  Tons.  And the upward move was made during Republican control.  So to say his point is BS is to be kind.

In fact, it is likely to have been all about priorities instead, and ebola wasn’t a priority.  Secondly, as Glenn Reynolds points out, it had to do with mission creep.

As The Federalist‘s David Harsanyi writes: “The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics.”

These other tasks may or may not be important, but they’re certainly a distraction from what’s supposed to be the CDC’s “one job” — protecting America from a deadly epidemic. And to the extent that the CDC’s leadership has allowed itself to be distracted, it has paid less attention to the core mission.

So money which could have been and should have been dedicated to the core mission was instead spent on ideologically supported nonsense.  Any wonder why “money” wasn’t available?  Because it was wastefully spent elsewhere in the structure of the CDC and NIH.

Gov. Bobby Jindal gives us more facts on the problem:

In recent years, the CDC has received significant amounts of funding. Unfortunately, however, many of those funds have been diverted away from programs that can fight infectious diseases, and toward programs far afield from the CDC’s original purpose.

Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent—$180 million—of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Especially given the agency’s postwar roots as the Communicable Disease Center, one would think that “detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats” warrants a larger funding commitment.

Instead, the Obama administration has focused the CDC on other priorities. While protecting Americans from infectious diseases received only $180 million from the Prevention Fund, the community transformation grant program received nearly three times as much money—$517.3 million over the same five-year period.

There are the numbers of funds available to the CDC for its core mission.  $3 billion dollars.  Spent on its core mission from that fund? $180 million.  So how again is that the GOP’s fault?

Instead the truth of the matter is we have a bureaucracy with a supposedly single mission (for heaven sake, its even in their name – “Centers for Disease Control”) which has instead done what bureaucracies always do … creep their authority out into areas where they don’t belong (with the approval of the administration, of course), doing things that mostly fulfill an ideological agenda instead of an agenda of real worth to the citizens it supposedly serves.  The money that should have gone toward heavy research into communicable disease threats such as ebola instead went to “fund neighborhood interventions like “increasing access to healthy foods by supporting local farmers and developing neighborhood grocery stores,” or “promoting improvements in sidewalks and street lighting to make it safe and easy for people to walk and ride bikes.”

So while we sit here and watch the left attempt this bit of BS (and watch a certain segment of the citizenry lap it up), let’s remember the reality of why there’s no ebola vaccine.  It has absolutely nothing to do with money and everything to do with political priorities.

In this case the priority chosen has put us in a position to be essentially defenseless in the face of a disease for which we should have developed a vaccine by now.  But I bet we have some great bike paths out there.

And that failure, friends, is clearly attributable to the administration in power which is responsible for that shift in priorities.

Utter failure.

~McQ

Utter failure

Stephen Hayes starts his article about Barack Obama’s failure as a president by pointing out what his big goal was to be:

A year before his first inauguration, Barack Obama laid out the objective of his presidency: to renew faith and trust in -activist government and transform the country. In an hourlong interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal on January 16, 2008, Obama said that his campaign was already “shifting the political paradigm” and promised that his presidency would do the same. His model would be Ronald Reagan, who “put us on a fundamentally different path,” in a way that distinguished him from leaders who were content merely to occupy the office. “I think that Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not. And in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”

If Reagan sought to minimize the role of government in the lives of Americans, Obama set out to do the opposite. “We’ve had a federal government that I think has gotten worn down and ineffective over the course of the Bush administration, partly because philosophically this administration did not believe in government as an agent of change,” he complained.

“I want to make government cool again,” he said.

Hayes then documents an incredible list of failures that have led most Americans (according to polls) to believe government is involved in too much.  Or said another way,  government still isn’t “cool”.  And big government is mostly a failure.

Take the ebola outbreak.  Anyone, how does one prevent an epidemic from spreading?  You isolate it.  That’s normally done through quarantine.  Part of the quarantine process is preventing those within a quarantine zone from traveling outside that zone.  Yet, for whatever reason, our government hasn’t done that.  Flights continue to come into this country from the countries in Africa which are suffering from the ebola epidemic.

Seems common sense, doesn’t it?  Even Democrats, not long on common sense most of the time, are wondering why this hasn’t been done.

The lawmakers accused Obama of attempting to “pass the buck” onto organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), which have advised against travel bans. Obama has said he would not ban travel unless the WHO reversed its position.

“[The WHO] has no duty to protect the lives and well-being of Americans, as you do. Furthermore, it has utterly failed to stem the epidemic through its own action. The responsibility for this decision is yours, not theirs,” they wrote.

As usual, Mr. “not my fault” is trying to pass off his responsibility to some other entity so, when it all blows up in his face – and it will, he can point the blame finger elsewhere.  Meanwhile flights continue to arrive in the US from the infected countries.  Upset airport workers charged with cleaning planes after they have arrived have struck in NY, so concerned are they with this lack of common sense.

My guess, if I had to make one, is Obama is trapped by his own political correctness.  Already the race baiters have been trying to tie the outbreak with racism.  If Obama prohibits flights he risks being branded a racist.  That’s much worse, in Obamaland, that not protecting the citizens of the country with which you’re charged Constitutionally to protect.  Instead we get airy promises that everything is under control.  After the airy promise that ebola would never reach here (see Dallas).

Meanwhile on the southern border, we have no freakin’ idea of who is crossing into this country.  And, of course, we’re ill prepared on that border to screen anyone.  Apparently, according to news reports, most air travel from those countries comes through 5 of our major airports and they’re now ramping up screening procedures to detect those who might exhibit signs of ebola infection.  No mention of how they plan on keeping those who are infected from possibly infecting fellow travelers and keeping those fellow travelers spreading it even further.  That of course would be a problem solved if they banned flights.

Then there’s Gen. John Kelly, US Southern Command commander who shines another light on the possibility of spreading the disease here  … primarily across our southern border.

He said the danger is two-fold: Not only might illegal immigrants from Africa enter the U.S. unchecked, but if Ebola spreads to Central America it could spark a new wave of illegal immigration to the U.S. that would make this summer’s surge “look like a small problem.”

“If Ebola breaks out in Haiti or in Central America, I think it is literally ‘Katie bar the door’ in terms of the mass migration of Central Americans into the United States,” the general said.

You think?!  And where would they head?  Well I think we all know where.

This is pretty basic stuff for any government, one would think. This is kind of like picking up the trash, fixing potholes and keeping the roads clear of snow for most municipal governments.  That’s what they’re primarily elected to do.  Oh, and protect the citizenry.  Yet here we have the “government is cool” gang again failing in its most fundamental function.

However, given their track record as outlined by Hayes, few should be surprised.  I still laugh at the left’s characterization of Bush as “incompetent”.  To describe this administration we have to come up with a completely different term which is far worse than “incompetent”.

I think “utter failure” works nicely.

~McQ

Of homeschooling and purple penguins

So I’m reading Kevin Williams National Review article about the state of Connecticut wanting to pass a law that requires homeschooling parents “to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction.”  This is in the wake of the Sandy Hook killings and implies that the problem was centered in “homeschooling” and not the fact that the killer was a mental case.  Not only that he was a well-known mental case having been in public schools until, as a last resort, he was home schooled.  Williamson then goes on to put forward the real reason the Sandy Hook excuse is being used.  And it is something any life long observer of the “progressive left” figured out years and years ago:

The Left’s model of society is still the model of Marx and Bismarck: one big factory to be managed by experts. The government schools are an assembly line for human widgets, who are in theory there to be taught what the state requires them to know in order to fulfill their roles as workers, administrators, and other bits of human machinery. That is the assumption behind President Obama’s insistence that “if you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself — you’re quitting on your country.” Students are also there to be instructed in the official, unspoken state ideology: submission to official power.

The Left’s organizing principle is control, and the possibility that children might commonly be raised outside of its control matrix is an existential threat from the progressive point of view. Institutions such as free markets and free speech terrify progressives, because they are the result of arrangements in which nobody is in control.

This is just another attempt at exerting control over a segment of society which eschews that control and the indoctrination it entails.  And the thin gruel provided by the Sandy Hook tragedy was all the excuse necessary to try to exert control over this segment.  It also sends a message – “we believe homeschooling may be the bastion of extremists”.

More than anything exerting such control serves both a constituency and an ideology which identified education decades ago as the road to political success.

If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel. That this is now being framed in mental-health terms, under the theory that Lanza might not have committed his crimes if he had had the benefit of the tender attentions of his local school authorities, is yet another reminder of the Left’s long and grotesque history of using corrupt psychiatry as a tool of politics.

But take a moment to fully appreciate the absurdity of the Malloy gang’s assumption. Our public schools are dysfunctional, depressing, frequently dangerous places. Their architecture is generally penal, incorporating precisely the same sort of perimeter control as one sees in a low-security prison, with dogs, metal detectors, and the whole apparatus of control at hand. They are frequently run bynakedly corrupt, self-serving men and women who are not above rigging test scores to pad out their bonuses and who will fight to the end to keep pedophiles on the payroll if doing so serves their political interests, as in the case of California. They cannot even keep their teachers from raping their students, but they feel competent issuing orders that every family present its children for regular inspection in the name of the children’s “social and emotional learning needs.”

Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns. But they do more than that: They are the real-life version of those nightmarish incubator pods from The Matrix, and home-schooling is a red pill. We entrust our children to the state for twelve or thirteen years, during which time they are subjected to a daily regimen that is, like the school buildings themselves, more than a little reminiscent of the penitentiary: “bells and cells,” as one of my teachers used to call it. They are instructed in obedience and compliance, as though the most important skill in life were the ability to sit quietly and follow instructions; those children who are more energetic than the authorities care for are given psychiatric diagnoses and very often put on psychiatric drugs: Since the 1980s, the rate of antidepressant prescription for children has increased five-fold, while the rate of antipsychotic prescription has increased six-fold. Locking children up for the largest part of the day, in a dreary room with 20 to 30 other children all born within nine or ten months of each other, is a model that make sense — that is something other than insane — only if you think of children as batches — if you believe, as our president and those who share his views believe, that the children are the government schools’ product rather than their customers.

And that “product” is trained and expected to follow its indoctrination – you know, things like this:

A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.

“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises. 

The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”

“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.

The instructions were part of a list called “12 steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” developed by Gender Spectrum, an organization that “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.”

Other items on the list include asking all students about their preferred pronouns and decorating the classroom with “all genders welcome” door hangers.

If teachers still find it “necessary” to mention that genders exist at all, the document states, they must list them as “boy, girl, both or neither.”

Furthermore, it instructs teachers to interfere and interrupt if they ever hear a student talking about gender in terms of “boys and girls” so the student can learn that this is wrong.

“Point out and inquire when you hear others referencing gender in a binary manner,” it states. “Ask things like . . . ‘What makes you say that? I think of it a little differently.’ Provide counter-narratives that challenge students to think more expansively about their notions of gender.”

The teachers were also given a handout created by the Center for Gender Sanity, which explains to them that “Gender identity . . . can’t be observed or measured, only reported by the individual,” and an infographic called “The Genderbred Person,” which was produced by www.ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com.

But the real problem and danger is among the homeschooled.  Meanwhile, in the public schools, the enculturation continues unabated.  The product, if metaphorically beaten over the head with nonsense like “purple penguins” will learn to eventually pretend reality doesn’t exist and that “gender” is actually a figment of the oppressor’s imagination.  What they can’t risk is individualism – those who will pull the curtain back and reintroduce reality into the world.  Homeschoolers are one segment that threaten that exposure because they reject the indoctrination.  Time to get them under control.  Time to make it more and more difficult for homeschoolers to continue to do what they do.  Because as far as the left is concerned, the future belongs to “purple penguins” – as determined by their betters, of course.

~McQ

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