Ebola continues to ravage the western part of the continent:
Yet another set of ominous projections about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was released Tuesday, in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave worst- and best-case estimates for Liberia and Sierra Leone based on computer modeling.
In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.
If that’s the case, then containment would seem all but impossible.
However, if it is able to be contained and everything goes to plan, there is a “best case” scenario:
In the best-case model — which assumes that the dead are buried safely and that 70 percent of patients are treated in settings that reduce the risk of transmission — the epidemic in both countries would be “almost ended” by Jan. 20, the report said. It showed the proportion of patients now in such settings as about 18 percent in Liberia and 40 percent in Sierra Leone.
Unfortunately, best case scenarios rarely if ever come to pass. They assume too much goes well with “the plan”, communication, cooperation, behavior and many other human activities, and rule out people acting on misinformation and self-interest contrary to the “best case” scenario’s plan. That’s not to say epidemic can’t eventually be contained … or burn itself out. It’s to say betting on the “best case” scenario puts you at odds with human nature.
There’s another reason not to expect the “best case” scenario. The agencies who are spouting all the stats really don’t know the actual extent of the outbreak:
The World Health Organization acknowledged weeks ago that despite its efforts to tally the thousands of cases in the region, the official statistics probably “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”
The report does not include figures for Guinea because case counts there have gone up and down in ways that cannot be reliably modeled.
The point? We’re going to hear a lot of happy talk about how the world’s effort is going to contain this outbreak and, at least for a while, they’re going to point toward the best case scenario as their goal. And it is a worthy goal. But you have to remember that as with many government or quasi-government bureaucracies, their worth is measured in how successful they are – or report they are. It’s how they receive funds. So the propensity is to “happy talk” and favorable stats. And, as we’ve all learned with “climate change”, models can be monkeyed with.
As an example of why the best case scenario is unlikely, the plan for containment relies on “effective methods” to contain it – such as treatment centers where patients go and allow the problem to be isolated. But in reality, there aren’t enough beds to do that:
At least one aid group working in Liberia is already shifting its focus to teaching people about home care and providing materials to help. Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I believe inevitably this is going to move into people’s houses, and the notion of home-based care has to play a more prominent role.” He said there could be 100,000 or more cases by the end of 2014.
“Where are they going to go?” Mr. Isaacs asked. “It’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.”
He’s right. And so isolation, a key portion of “the plan”, is put in severe jeopardy.
Key take away? Beware of all the happy talk. This isn’t a time for propaganda and misleading stats. But we are dealing with bureaucracies, spokespersons and the like. This is a time for honest, above-board information so the public can stay informed about something that could threaten their lives.
Let’s see what we actually get.
So, when you hear Obama and the alarmist bleating incessantly about the crisis of “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever phrase they choose to characterize the hoax they’re trying to perpetrate on the people of the country, ensure you point out that not even their own data supports their claim:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.
Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor siting issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.
According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.
But, but, that’s only the US … yup, and that supports the observation that globally there has been no warming for the past 17 years. The models are wrong. Just flat wrong and it’s time we started saying that. There is no credence to be found in their predictions and certainly nothing to support the alarmist’s claims.
Carly Fiorino, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and a senate candidate remarked this weekend on the cobbled up “war on women”. On CNN, she pulled out a fortune she’d gotten from a fortune cookie and said:
“‘Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause,’” Fiorina read. “And that’s exactly right. The War On Women is shameless, baseless propaganda. There’s no fact to it. But it’s worked because it’s scared women to death. Enough.”
Substitute the alarmist’s “climate change” for “war on women” and it describes precisely what is going on with them. They have no case, only propaganda, and their only “argument” is to call the other side names and call for violent action against them.
Meanwhile, the case against the alarmist cause just keeps on getting stronger and stronger, not that it will slow them down or cause them to decrease the volume of screaming. It’s not about science, it’s abotu power and money … and they want both. More power over the way you live and more money to use against you to enforce their edicts.
Here, we’ve all wondered – for years – why journalists are so willing to toss their credibility in the waste bin and go “all in” for this guy Obama. It doesn’t take a particularly bright individual to note how totally nonresponsive they are to stories that, had the perpertrator been on the right or, God forbid, George Bush, how differently they would have responded. To say they’ve sold their collective “journalistic ethical” souls is, frankly, a huge understatement. They are, or have become, a propaganda arm of this administration (well, all except the hated FOX, which keeps pointing out the emperor has no clothes).
Nick Gillespie at Reason explores all of this in his recent article. A snippet:
It’s sad, though never unexpected, when leaders such as Obama flip flop like a fish on the sand once they ascend power. Cromwell did it, the French revolutionaries did it, Castro did it, the Sandanistas did it, and on and on. It’s one of the oldest plots in history and infinitely adaptable to new conditions. How else to explain, as Jacob Sullumn notes, that candidate Obama rejected the Bush adminstration’s position that it could detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without pressing charges while President Obama claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without laying charges? The guy may not be able to pass a budget but christ, give him credit for ingenuity and brass balls.
But Obama is a politician – what do you expect? Politicians are not just the bottom of the barrel – they’re what’s under the bottom of the barrel, right?
So what then explains the contortions that journalists fold themselves into like so many carnival sideshow rubber-men in defending their hero? Mike Riggs points to comments by rising liberal MSNBC pundit Toure that suggest just how far explicitly pro-Obama liberals are willing to go in excusing the president’s declaring himself and his crew judge, jury, and executioner. As Riggs explains, it seems pretty clear that Toure isn’t up to speed on specifics, especially when it comes to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son:
When his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, “Al Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back.” On Twitter Touré simply said, “He’s the Commander in Chief.”
Al Qaeda is the new Communism, dig?
Or something. Yesterday we had Chris Rock claim that we should all obey Obama because, he’s “our boss”. Un, no Chris, he’s not our boss.
He’s our freakin’ employee. He works for us. He was hired by the people (much to my chagrin) and he has to follow the law just like everyone else. He’s not the “boss” or our “Dad”.
But Rock’s BS points to the difference between the left (and their apparent desire for strong authoritarianism) and the right who still, at least in small pockets, see government as a dangerous but necessary evil to be controlled by the people. It also shows why to them, politics isn’t just a system, but it is a cult, a religion, their way of transforming a nation and the world in an image they imagine will be better.
Yet history shows us that no matter how wonderful the fantasy that drives groups like this to collectively use force to social engineer a population toward their utopia, it never, ever ends well.
And now we have journalists engaged in precisely the work that propaganda arms of totalitarian governments have always done. If once, their job was to question government, keep it accountable and investigate anything that smelled at all fishy, they’ve abdicated that in favor of selective blindness, cheerleading, advocacy and pure unadulterated fantasy.
It is the usual path a nation takes towards it’s demise.
And we’re well down that path, folks.
With much fanfare, President Obama announced an executive order which directs a regulatory review that ostensibly will remove conflicting, unnecessary and onerous regulations, streamline the reporting process by moving much of it online and further, get rid of regulations that aren’t needed and are impeding business from hiring.
That’s the official line, or should I say, ‘spin’. However, as Conn Carroll points out over at the Heritage Foundation, some context should be given this airy promise. And when put in perspective, it again points to an administration on the one hand saying one thing and on the other doing exactly the opposite.
In fiscal year 2010, the first full fiscal year under the Obama Administration, the federal government issued 43 major new regulations. According to the Administration’s own estimates, the total cost of these rules was $28 billion. Only two of the new rules reduced measured regulatory costs, and then by only $1.5 billion. On net, the Obama Administration inflicted $26.5 billion in new regulatory costs on the economy last year, an all-time record. This was on top of the $1.75 trillion in existing regulatory costs already inflicted on the U.S. economy by the federal government.
The 2,319-page financial regulation bill requires 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies. The 2,700-page Obamacare bill contains more than 1,000 instances where Congress instructed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to regulate the health care industry. And, in the ultimate example of power-hungry federal regulators providing “solutions” where no problem currently exists, for the first time in the history of the Internet, the federal government will begin to regulate service providers with “net neutrality” regulations.
Message? Take this Obama promise with a grain of salt. It’s more posturing than reality. Don’t believe me? Well the devil’s in the details isn’t it?
Analysis of the EO Obama signed says nothing real will be happening, and if it does, it won’t be soon. And then there are the exemptions:
First of all, the President’s executive order doesn’t actually require federal agencies to identify harmful regulations during the next 120 days. It merely requires that they submit a “preliminary plan” for reviewing regulations sometime in the future. This is not an order to reduce a single regulation. It is an order to plan to plan to maybe someday reduce regulations! Second, the order exempts “independent” agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Finally, even if an existing rule is found that stifles job creation, it will take years to actually repeal it. Kauffman Foundation Vice President Robert Litan tells The New York Times: “It’s more of a talking point than a policy. Even if you find a rule you don’t like, and they probably will, then they’re going to have to go through rule-making and then it’s going to take a year or two or longer.”
Triangulation has begun in earnest. The move to the center is on. This, like many of the administration’s programs, sounds great, but in reality it is all smoke and mirrors. There is no real plan to identify and kill harmful regulations, there is no plan to reduce them and some of the worst offenders of onerous and intrusive regulation are exempt.
All in a day’s work for the political propaganda machine that is the White House. We’re now in “whatever It takes to win in 2012” whether or not it is real or even desirable, it will be promised in some form or another (just words) to make the current occupant of said White House seem more centrist and appealing.
Fool me once, shame on you …
While it comes at no real surprise given how they behaved during the presidential campaign, the MSM has finally decided to go all in with its support for the President. Next Wednesday night, June 24, ABC News will host a program about health care reform from inside the White House, but only one side will be presented — i.e. Obama’s. The Chief of Staff for the RNC is not happy about this decision and sent the following letter to David Westin, the President of ABC News:
Dear Mr. Westin:
As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC’s astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.
Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party’s opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.
In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff
This comes on the heels of a Politico report about how Obama has been “wooing” the New York Times (as if it needed wooing), and further evidences a disturbing level of acquiescence to the White House. It’s one thing to have a broadcast from inside the White House, although it does strike an appearance of impropriety, but its another thing altogether to so blatantly snub an opposing views when the production is supposed to be one of news reporting. Presenting the view of those in power without question or examination, and refusing to allow any other voice, is pretty much the textbook definition of propaganda.
Since there is sure to be an uproar over this in the blogosphere, however, I’m wondering whether ABC News will back down and either allow some token opposition voice, bring on a known opponent of the President’s plan to raise some issues, or allow some questions of the President from actual reporters (Jake Tapper does still work for ABC News, doesn’t he?). Either way, its awfully pathetic that the MSM can’t seem to figure out how to get it right the first place. They are so blinded by their fascination with all things Obama, apparently, that any semblance of actual news reporting has gone out the window, and is being replaced with unabashed cheerleading for The One.
UPDATE: Oops! I didn’t realize that Bruce was writing on the same topic until after I posted. See his take below as well.
“For anyone who questions why the President has offered this plan, these pledges will be the answer.”
Obama’s army of cultists is very hard at work.
Like (I assume) most other news junkies who closely followed the election, I am still receiving emails from Obama’s political action people. Much of it is aimed at getting the recipients to participate in the “Organizing for America” politicking. It has always seemed a little creepy to me because the election is over. I mean, why the endless campaign unless the real purpose is to propagandize the voters? But I also figured that my biases made it seem worse than it really is. That is, until viewing this video:
Neo-neocon provides an excellent analysis of why this sort of White House driven organizing just seems wrong. For example, she notes the rather troublesome fact that the Obama administration intends for people to simply pledge blind support to his agenda:
Some of the most disturbing things about this video are its vagueness, its focus on Obama himself in what I can only call his cult of personality, and its use of the word “pledge” (at minute :56, note the words, under “The Pledge” and next to a check box, “I support President Obama’s bold plan….”)
The vagueness comes from the fact that whatever people are pledging to support is never described in any detail whatsoever. The petition, or pledge sheet, or loyalty oath, or whatever you want to call it, is very short. It appears that each policy area—energy, health care, education—has but a single sentence describing it.
Think about this for a moment: people are blindly pledging loyalty to policies about which they know virtually nothing except the fact that Obama is behind them, and he says it’s for our own good.
Moreover, reasonable dissent from Obama’s agenda is not possible according to the training video:
The trainer gives only one reason that “the establishment in Washington” would oppose this: opposition to change. Never mind principled opposition; there is no such thing where Obama is concerned. Never mind the cost of these policies in a recession.
Never mind; just sign on the dotted line. And is anyone else as perturbed as I am by this statement: For anyone who questions why the President has offered this plan, these pledges will be the answer.
I think that definitely qualifies as creepy, biases or not.
[HT: Bird Dog]