In his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope”, then Senator Barack Obama laid out the argument against illegal immigration:
“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before.”
”Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote.
“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
So why is he now contemplating doing, in a down economy with high unemployment and high deficits (and stretched welfare system), exactly what he previously claimed was harmful to America and its workers? Has he somehow “evolved” in his thinking to a belief that his logically sound 2006 argument is now poppycock? That flooding the US with immigrant workers will somehow keep wages up and not put a strain on the “already overburdened safety net?” It seems pretty counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
But then, let us not forget that this is the guy who condemned George W. Bush for his use of executive orders and executive overreach and promised not to do it if he were elected to the presidency:
“I taught constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”
Of course, he hasn’t “reverse[d]” it, has he? And past public polls have shown an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t support the use of executive orders to circumvent Congress (and let us not forget that he had an overwhelming Democratic majority for his first two years in office and essentially ignored the immigration issue).
So there is no public will at work here. There is only the will to power of this White House.
Which is why the thinking liberal’s move, if this action goes forward, will be to invoke structural forces, flaws inherent in our constitutional order, to justify Obama’s unilateralism. This won’t be a completely fallacious argument: Presidential systems like ours have a long record, especially in Latin America, of producing standoffs between executive and legislative branches, which tends to make executive power grabs more likely. In the United States this tendency has been less dangerous — our imperial presidency has grown on us gradually; the worst overreaches have often been rolled back. But we do seem to be in an era whose various forces — our open-ended post-9/11 wars, the ideological uniformity of the parties — are making a kind of creeping caudillismo more likely.
But if that evil must come, woe to the president who chooses it. And make no mistake, the president is free to choose. No immediate crisis forces his hand; no doom awaits the country if he waits. He once campaigned on constitutionalism and executive restraint; he once abjured exactly this power. There is still time for him to respect the limits of his office, the lines of authority established by the Constitution, the outcome of the last election.
Or he can choose the power grab, and the accompanying disgrace.
And there’s little doubt, he will choose the latter and further add to his reputation as someone who has no political integrity at all.
Actually, the “American voter” wasn’t as stupid, as Jonathan Gruber claimed, because, as he admits numerous times, they had to resort to outright fraud to get the ACA past those voters. Brian Faughnan summarizes:
So Gruber is previously on the record saying Obamacare subsidies are available ONLY in states that set up exchanges – not in all states. He has also said the law was sold in a deceptive way to fool stupid voters. Now we see him claim that the Affordable Care Act was actually a way to get rid of employer-provided health care, but it had to be done secretly so the American people would go along with it:
“It turns out politically it’s really hard to get rid of,” Gruber said. “And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans…
Gruber explains that by drafting the bill this way, they were able to pass something that would initially only impact some employer plans though it would eventually hit almost every employer plan. And by that time, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the money that repealing the tax will take from the treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt.
“What that means is the tax that starts out hitting only 8% of the insurance plans essentially amounts over the next 20 years essentially getting rid of the exclusion for employer sponsored plans,” Gruber said.
But to these ethically crippled jerks, it’s not fraud, it’s “clever(ness)”:
A video that surfaced this week shows Gruber telling a Rhode Island audience in 2012 how the feds will collect a tax on high-end policies without families realizing they’re actually paying the tax via insurers: “(I)t’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
Basic “exploitation” – comforting to know that your government actually and purposely was deceitful with the aim of fooling the public into accepting something the law wasn’t. Name a fraudster anywhere who doesn’t think he’s “clever”.
Now tell me — what do we usually call such attempts?
And what do we do with those who attempt to defraud the public?
We put them in jail.
But, you know, that would be “accountability”.
We apparently don’t do “accountability” in the US. So fraudsters are free to brag about how they did what they did without worrying about facing any consequences.
And the left – well, here’s what they’re worried about:
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney told CNN that Gruber’s remarks in general were “very harmful politically to the president.”
Concerning “climate change” and Obama’s “deal” with China, Roger L. Simon nails it:
1. Most Americans don’t think Obama tells the truth about anything, let alone something as controversial as climate. They just made that clear by voting him down in about 237 elections, if you believe Obama’s own assertion that his own policies were on trial.
2. No one really knows if “climate change” exists or, if it does, whether its danger is remotely worth the money to correct it, although we do know that “global warming” has not occurred for eighteen years and counting and there is, if anything, global cooling with record lows being set everywhere, the Antarctic ice cap also at record levels, etc. (Yes, yes, climate is not weather, blablabla. Climate is… anything you want to say it is.)
3. Anyone who still believes in “climate change” is likely to be: a. a profiteer (like the financial wizards who put together those “carbon exchanges” a few years back, making off with billions before they went belly up), b. a scientist looking for a handout, c. a bureaucrat or official of a Third World country looking for a handout, d. an official of the UN (virtually the same as c), e. a moral narcissist, preferably rich, who thinks he knows better than us idiots, scientific training not required (cf. Tom Steyer, this year’s George Soros wannabe), f. a true-believing liberal camp follower of the sort that doesn’t care when Nancy Pelosi says you have to pass Obamacare in order to know what’s in it (this is the largest group), or g. a journalist blinded by panic about losing their job if they dare to tell even part of the truth or wander off the reservation.
However it is the opponents of this scam who are reviled and called “deniers”.
The fact is, there is no proof that what the alarmists fear exists or will exist. Science doesn’t support their hypothesis and reality doesn’t support the conclusions of their modeling. But the man who said that “science” would take precedence in his administration has yet to demonstrate that. This is about control. Power. This is the crew that would tell you every step of the way how you should live your life. They’ve now gotten their claws into your healthcare. And this helps them control what energy you use and, by the way, literally creates a revenue stream out of thin air. Revenue streams are important, because that’s one way they exert their control.
As for China – they too know this man as Simon points out:
How do the Chinese figure in all this? Since they break into practically every computer we own, we can assume they also read our newspapers and watch Fox News (maybe even MSNBC, Heaven help them). Besides Obama’s being a lame duck who was clobbered in the last election, they are fully aware of his myriad lies and prevarications from “If like your plan…” to red lines in Syria. No one trusts him, even members of his own party.
The Chinese therefore know any deal with Obama is just for show, meaningless. But to make doubly sure, they arranged for the language in the agreement to say “intend” to reduce their emissions by such-and-such by 2020 — “intend,” the mother of all wiggle words. (I “intend” to win the Oscar in 2016, even though I have not written the script yet.) Actually, the Chinese, as usual, did a brilliant job of using Obama for their own propaganda, knowing full well that he was desperate to be back in the news for something positive, preferably as far from D.C. as possible.
January, 2017 can’t come soon enough.
Given this “deal”, Obama seems to be a used car salesman’s dream, but I’ve come to believe there is a method to this madness. And it is madness:
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. has set a new goal to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by between 26 percent and 28 percent over the next 11 years as part of a climate change agreement with China.
The new target is a drastic increase from earlier in Obama’s presidency, when he pledged to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020. By contrast, Obama’s counterpart, Xi Jinping, did not pledge any reductions by a specific date, but rather set a target for China’s emissions to peak by 2030, or earlier if possible. Xi also pledged to increase the share of energy that China will derive from sources other than fossil fuels. China’s emissions have grown in recent years due to the building of new coal plants.
“This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship,” Obama told a news conference in Beijing, with Xi at his side. “It shows what’s possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge.”
No. No it’s not anywhere near a “milestone” at all. If that’s the “deal”, he was owned by the Chinese premier. Instead it is another bad deal used to push an ideological desire. This certainly won’t be ratified as a treaty with a GOP Congress (if it is even submitted as a treaty). And anyone who thinks China won’t ignore, or unilaterally extend its 2030 peak use simply knows nothing about how China works.
So the “King” will, apparently, do further damage to the economy by using this bit of nonsense as his catalyst for umpteen executive orders because, you know he has a pen, a phone and an ideology.
Thank goodness that only lasts for 2 more years with a GOP Congress (assuming the GOP Congress has any fiscal balls when it comes to defunding the stupidity he commits to his “executive actions”). If you loved ObamaCare you’re going to rave about this bit of economic stupidity.
In the meantime, grab your wallets and bend over, here it comes again.
When it comes to the mid-terms, I’m about in the same place psychologically as McQ. But we might as well have some fun with this election. So I sat down and thought about what I expected from it, and came up with the following list:
- The Republicans will do well. They will likely retake the Senate and add at least a dozen seats to their House majority.
- Lots fewer people will care about that outcome than in previous cycles such as 1994 and 2010. More people are now cynical that the GOP doesn’t really intend to do anything of consequence.
The default strategy of the establishment GOP right now seems to be to give the Democrats a turn, knowing they’ll screw things up even worse. Then the voters will give the establishment GOP another chance, because they screw things up more slowly. Thus, the establishment GOP believes they are assured of another round of favoring their particular crony capitalists rather then the crony capitalists favored by the Democrats. Plus, they get the nice corner offices for a while.
- At least one Senate race will be close, and will go into protracted recounts. The Democrats will eventually win that race with questionable votes. (Bonus points on entertainment value if it’s Al Franken again.)
- The media will not report the questionable votes and tactics used to secure the Democratic victory in #3.
- The media will be surprised at the depth of loathing for Obama shown by the election. After all, everyone *they* know likes him.
- The media will only show a flicker of that surprise before they get back to covering for and pimping for Obama.
- At least one major media figure will use the phrase “temper tantrum” or a close synonym to describe what the voters did to cause the GOP gains.
- At least one incident at a polling place will involve blacks supposedly being denied the right to vote because of new voter ID laws. The media might have to manufacture, or at least exaggerate, that incident, but they’ll find one no matter how hard they have to search.
- There will be incidents of the opposite kind, like this one in 2008. Those will not be reported by the media, no matter how many there are or how egregious the violation of laws happens to be.
- November and December will see dozens of media stories on how the “ground game” failed for the Democrats. Some of those stories will infer that the Democrats’ ground game was sabotaged. There will be no stories in major media of how the Democrats and their ground game failed because Obama has become a laughing-stock.
- Opinion columnists in the major media will begin to excuse Obama’s almost total disengagement by blaming it on the new GOP dual majority in Congress. They’ll say things such as “Why should he even try, when they won’t cooperate with him?” (i.e. “bend over and do what he wants”) Some will push for Obama to use even more executive power to bypass the democratically elected majorities in Congress. Some of those will be the same ones who screamed about Bush’s “illegal war”, even though he sought and received authorization from Congress.
- Someone will attempt to spread rumors about an Ebola outbreak in key places to depress voter turnout by making people unwilling to go out in public. Either side is capable of this – both sides might do it.
- Ted Cruz will give a rousing speech shortly after the election on what the Republicans should do. It will be ignored by the major media, though they might run an out-of-context soundbite of it to try and make him look bad.
- Very stupid social science academics will shake their heads and wonder how the voters could dislike Obama since he’s such a great president. Then they’ll talk about how things go “back and forth” or “move in cycles” or some such meaningless blather, as if the GOP victories simply resulted from an inevitable force of nature and have nothing to do with Obama’s screwups.
- Allies of the establishment GOP, such as the bloggers at Hot Air, will immediately begin justifying why the new majorities can’t possibly do anything of consequence. I’m guessing their catchphrase will become “Don’t expect too much.”
- Allies of the establishment GOP will claim that the election results show definitively that the GOP needs to nominate a moderate for president in 2016. I can’t predict what tortured logic they will use for that conclusion.
OK, that’s enough for me. How about our astute and intelligent commenters add their own?
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:
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.
The New York Times answers another call for help and pretends to do some scolding yesterday.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.