Free Markets, Free People

Government

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Absurdity upon absurdity

The more I watch our current government work these days the more absurd its works become.

Here’s the story.  Governors Cumo (NY) and Christie (NJ) imposed 21 day quarantines on health care workers returning from countries with ebola epidemics.  That’s right, these poor souls have to spend three weeks being monitored in an area isolated from the general public so if they’re possibly infected they won’t have an opportunity to spread the infection – you know, like the doctor who passed “enhanced screening” at JFK did last week.

Now the first thing I expect to hear is, “whoa, wait – you’re a libertarian and you’re agreeing that the government should have the authority to hold someone against their will?”  What I’m agreeing with is a medical protocol that has stemmed epidemics for hundreds of years – at least since we’ve discovered it was germs and viruses, not “ill humors” that brought various plagues.

And, its not like we’re talking “imprisoning” them or this taking years or even months.  3 freaking weeks.  3 weeks in some sort of center where they can be medically monitored to ensure they aren’t infectious before they’re given the okay to again join the general population.

Instead we get two reactions.  One from a “health care worker”:

Hickox, the first nurse forcibly quarantined in New Jersey under the state’s new policy, said her isolation at a hospital was ‘inhumane,’ adding: ‘We have to be very careful about letting politicians make health decisions.’

Hickox is now suing and has now hired Norman Siegel, a high profile civil rights attorney, to challenge the order.

Well, of course she has.  Because one of the things we see more and more of is “we have rights!” but it is rarely followed by “and we have responsibilities that go with those rights”.  You know, like taking the precautions necessary to ensure you don’t infect others.  By the way, she’s complaining that she tested negative for ebola.  I’d remind her, so did the doctor who is now down with ebola in NYC.  Nope, this is all about “her rights” – screw yours.

Now contrast that with this bit of word salad from the NIH:

‘The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers, so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci made the rounds on five major Sunday morning talk shows to argue that policy should be driven by science — and that science says people with the virus are not contagious until symptoms appear. And even then, infection requires direct contact with bodily fluids.

He said that close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient, and warned that forcibly separating them from others, or quarantining them, for three weeks could cripple the fight against the outbreak in West Africa — an argument that humanitarian medical organizations have also made.

‘If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it and then the epidemic will continue to roar,’ Fauci said.

A) It doesn’t have to be “very, very uncomfortable”.  They’re health care professionals.  It’s kinda like a deep sea diver saying he’s not going to spend the decompression time necessary to avoid the bends because it’s “uncomfortable”.  Of course he is, because that is part of the freakin job!   Anyone remember this: “first do no harm”.  Until you are sure you are ebola free – that’s after 21 days – then you can’t be sure you’re fulfilling that part of your pledge to those you serve, can you?

B) While the best way is obviously to stop ebola in Africa, it certainly does no good to let infected members to return and reintegrate with a population that isn’t infected.  That’s how freakin’ epidemics start!  So certainly stop it in Africa.  But also take the common sense precautions necessary to stop it before it gets here.  Is that too much to ask of a “health care professional” and an agency charged with protecting us from health care threats such as ebola?

C) Because the people “volunteering” are indeed “health care professionals” they should understand the need for quarantine upon returning.  It should be a part of the entire process.  I simply don’t understand the resistance.  I have to wonder if they keep suspected ebola patients in the same wards with regular patients.  Well, no, of course not.  They quarantine them, even if the chance of them infecting others is very small.  Why, oh why, is it too much to ask those who’ve been exposed to the virus and may be infected (but asymptomatic) to have a little regard for others and understand the need for separation for a period of time? Oh, and by the way, if the virus mutates (and health care officials say it might, given the amount of infection seen in Africa) then what?  Suddenly it’s a whole new kettle of fish, isn’t it?  And what they’re asking us to let them do is close the barn door after the ebola cow has left.  Stupid.

So what does the leadership in DC do?  Well it talks the governors out of doing what is common sense and relying on the “wisdom” of a system that promised ebola would never reach the US.

Absurd.  Stupid.  Unthinking.  Dumb.

Don’t know how to say it any other way.

UPDATE: in light of a statement today by dopy Donny Deutsch saying “we’re a nation of cowards” because … well because he believes there’s hysteria in the air … I want to make it clear what I say isn’t said out of “fear”.  It’s said in frustration.  Frustration about applied stupidity.  It’s as though all the common sense precautions we’ve taken in the past are “dated”.  Now we just wing it and make pronouncements about how it just can’t happen here, even though it has happened here.  Talk about arrogance.  And stupidity.

~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

Calmly angry.

The New York Times answers another call for help and pretends to do some scolding yesterday.

“Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama is said to Seethe”

A message sent out to the faithful.   The President is angry, his people have let him down, though we’re certainly not going to name names, or call for heads to roll.     To rip off the Saturday Night Live gag about Bush 41  “That wouldn’t be prudent” .

How refreshing.  Instead of the traditional, worn out, unacceptable story that ‘he found out from the news and he’s angry!’ that has played over and over for the last 6 years, they have a new plan.   Let the news tell us how angry he is.     Why, he even cancelled (a fund raiser) his  schedule on Wednesday to deal with this!    Big Fat Hairy Deal.  He was golfing on his 200th round of golf a mere 5 days ago.   So, now we’re supposed to be impressed that 3 days ago he cancelled a fund raiser?

5 days ago, he could golf, but 3 days ago he suddenly realized how very very serious this whole Ebola thing was, and he had to have a meeting and we’re supposed to understand he was angry in that meeting.

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting…He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.”

He was angry, but not panicked, is that clear?   Because he’s No Drama Obama.

It’s almost as if once again all of this comes as a surprise though.  Nearly a month since Thomas Eric Duncan entered the United States after the difficult task of lying on his documentation in Liberia about his contact with an Ebola infected individual there.  That was our safe guard, forms, and thermometers.  Oh, and a reliance on honesty.   This administration in particular should know how foolish THAT is.

Our President is angry, but apparently, he’s unable, as the holder of the most powerful office in the world, to do anything about this,  aside, that is, from being angry and acting calm while being angry and demanding answers and that it be ‘tight’.

At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame on the C.D.C., which provided shifting information about which threat category patients were in, and did not adequately train doctors and nurses at hospitals with Ebola cases on the proper protective procedures.

Notice, no names named, no one fired,  or resigned,  or reassigned, or given a transfer, or even put on extended leave pending investigation.    It was, most probably, 2 interns in Cincinnati that caused all this, or perhaps spontaneous rioters reacting to an Ebola video on Youtube.

Ah, Obama theater.

 

Now then, how are to fix this problem?    It’s been nearly a month since his assurance that Ebola would be unlikely to ever reach our shores and two weeks since his assurance that Ebola wouldn’t gain a foot hold here.

We must first understand he is alert in this time of crisis!  There are many other things they must deal with you understand, because this is practically like a job, this task of having to run the most powerful nation in the world!   If we make too much of this the ignorant populace might panic!  Now he’s wracked, torn, possibly in turmoil.  How to handle this, and still preserve his option to play a round of golf on Sunday without looking like he doesn’t give a rat’s back side.

Times to the rescue!   We discover the White House had a kabuki meeting, details and quotes from which just happen to be printed on the pages of the New York Times.

The answer ladies and gentlemen…

 

is to appoint a political hack lawyer to be the new Ebola Czar.

 

This is a move surely designed to instill confidence and give the nation a sense that someone who knows what they’re doing is NOW going to take the reigns and master this runaway virus.

“On Friday, Mr. Obama took a step to both fix that response and reassure the public, naming Ron Klain, a former aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, to coordinate the government’s efforts on Ebola.

We’re appointing a lawyer to manage what the certified medical professional head of the CDC ( who’s very sorry about all these mistakes and inconveniences you know)  could not.

“Part of the challenge is to be assertive, to be in command, and yet not feed a kind of panic that could easily evolve here,” said David Axelrod, a close adviser to the president in his first term. “It’s not enough to doggedly and persistently push for answers in meetings. You have to be seen doggedly and persistently pushing for answers.”

At this point I trust everyone has the sense of what the White House (I originally typed that as White Hose, and perhaps that’s not incorrect) thinks of the American public.    The most powerful job in the country, probably the world, and his job is to push for answers.

Not to take action on THIS issue….no, push doggedly for answers.     Pretend this is the one thing in the world, of all the other things he pretends to be master of, pretend in this case he’s at a loss about how to handle it.  Even though the protocols have been in place for years, the methods of isolation for years, the disease itself, known for decades, the historical methods of quarantine known for centuries.   Pretend on THIS one, they’re just all kinda stumped, but are fiercely pushing for answers.

Push for answers!   Not take action.

After all, if you’re going to take action, for heaven sake do it by granting executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.  Do it by letting the executive agencies under your command investigate, harass and if possible destroy your political enemies.   Do it by running guns to Mexico, do it by stonewalling valid Freedom of Information Act requests into various government activities.   Do it by allowing the IRS to destroy documentation without so much as an angry sniff.   Take action by banning flights to Tel Aviv when a mortar round hits too close to the airport.  Take action by sending DOJ investigators around to see if Civil Rights have been violated only in hot button cases.  Push for action by sending representatives from the White House to funerals of thugs when you can’t be bothered to send them to the funeral of Maj. General Harold J. Greene, or even a representative of the Administration to the funeral of a well respected ally leader like Margaret Thatcher.

Lord knows, let the planes continue to fly out of West Africa directly to the US.    Don’t fire the head of the CDC or quietly and politely demand he resign so he can spend time with his goldfish or kids, or brush up on methodologies for handling communicable diseases like Ebola.     Take action by appointing a lawyer to head up a medical crisis.   That will certainly bring an air of calm to this whole sorry mess.

 

It’s a durned good thing most Americans, and almost all of the people I see around me in Dallas are NOT panicking, and I continue to pray that no crisis that demands a yes/no, go/no-go NOW, “you have less than 2 hours to make a decision Mr. President”, EVER presents itself.  Because if that happens, the New York Times may not be around to write an excuse ridden story about how calm but angry the President is 4 weeks later.

Meanwhile, if the President wants a course on calm un-panicked anger, he should come to Dallas.  There are plenty of instructors available right now.

 

UPDATED:

Well, now that didn’t take long did it.    I missed it by a day….And you wondered why he was so suddenly wanting to look concerned about Ebola.   Valerie must have told him, no Ebola solution, no golf!

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

Update – Still not Serious

Original post – Seriously UnSerious

10 Days later – The average time for Ebola incubation is 8 to 10 days.

“Less than two weeks later, Frieden admitted that the government wasn’t aggressive enough in managing Ebola and containing the virus as it spread from an infected patient to a nurse at a Dallas hospital.

“We could’ve sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on with the hospital from day one about exactly how this should be managed,” he said Tuesday.

Frieden outlined new steps designed to stop the spread of the disease, including the creation of an Ebola response team, increased training for health care workers nationwide and changes at the Texas hospital to minimize the risk of more infections.

“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient — the first patient — was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection,” Frieden said.

Read the rest of this maddening, excuse ridden, inexcusable, hot mess job FAILURE here.

Don't PanicBoy was I silly, I thought the CDC HAD that kind of team on the ground once they realized Ebola Zero had been sent home and then re-admitted a couple of days later.   You know, a team of experts directing all and sundry, overseeing the team, or being the team, for the first Ebola case in the United States.

Nope.

Well, you just have to give them credit for not panicking don’t you?

They were so un-panicked, they didn’t observe that the nurses gear might not have been Ebola proof?   Medical tape?   Wrap 4 or 5 pieces on and you’re good to go!

Ebola is hard to catch!   HAZMAT suits are for sissies!

Years ago I was a Scout Leader, occasionally you let the kids try things you already know aren’t going to work because you want them to think critically and make discoveries and learn. This IS NOT that kind of situation.

If the CDC was observing why the hell didn’t they observe what’s being described as nurses without proper gear and waste matter stacked to the gunwales?

Anyone want to disagree that with my assessment 10 days ago that they weren’t taking this seriously?

Do you think they ARE now?

UPDATE (Dale): I have edited this post to correct the formatting, replaced the text of the original post with a link to it, and deleted the enraging line of equal signs that ran off the edge of the page.

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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