The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


As unabashed champions of BIG (Big Intrusive Government), Barack Obama and his Democratic supporters believe that the federal government can efficiently and competently solve virtually all problems. In case after case we see that the opposite occurs, but that never changes their position. They are, despite claims to the contrary, proponents of large bureaucracies that are created to solve one problem, but rapidly expand to address many problems, most considerably outside their original charter and all outside their limited competency. Glen Reynolds addresses this when he writes:
"You had one job!" is the punchline on a popular Internet meme involving organizational screw-ups. Now critics are saying something similar about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response the agency's handling of the Ebola outbreak. Unfortunately, it's not true. While we'd be better off if the CDC only had one job — you know, controlling disease— the CDC has taken on all sorts of jobs unrelated to that task. Jobs that seem to have distracted its management and led to a performance that even the establishment calls "rocky." Going forward, we need to learn this lesson, for the CDC, for other agencies, and for the government as a whole.
The problem is that BIG has only one primary goal—to grow even bigger. That's why the federal government is heavily involved in everything from defining what should be taught to our school age children to who is talking to whom on the phone. Worse, during the Obama years, BIG has become malevolent, passing thousands of intrusive regulations that have little effect except to lead to the hire of more people to enforce them, and worse, targeting those who oppose BIG and the political class that supports it (e.g., the IRS scandal).

I'm hoping that the CDC response to Ebola will be the exception the proves the rule, but early indicators are not particularly encouraging.

Over the past few days, we've heard government spokespeople assure us repeatedly that the Ebola threat is virtually non-existent. That it "impossible" to effect a travel ban for vistors from West Africa, and that there's no reason to do so. These spokespeople have a smug reassurance that is simply not justified by either their recent bumbling actions or the facts. Richard Fernandez comments:
In early August 2014 “Ken Isaacs, a vice president with Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based Christian humanitarian organization,” warned that WHO was low-balling the [Ebola] figures. What’s the harm in a little delay? As it turns out, a great deal of harm, because when diseases expand at a nonlinear rate “too late” comes very quickly. Scott Gottlieb, writing in Forbes, says it must now be accepted that it can break out of West Africa. “The decisive risk to the U.S. will emerge in a few months. If the virus continues to spread in West Africa at its current pace, much larger global outbreaks will become likely.”

And if Ebola does decisively break out of West Africa, we may be unable to control the spread of the disease solely by conventional public-health tools of infection controls, tracking and tracing sick contacts, and isolating the ill. If this happens, we may face a global pandemic early next year.

[CDC Director] Tom Friedan asked, ‘how did Ebola spin out of control’? In the usual way, with the block being a second behind the arrival of the punch. In the time honored way. The collapse of a complacent bureaucracy in the face of an emergent threat usually goes through 3 phases. Denial. Confident half-measures. Panic. These psychological phases are remarkably constant throughout history.
"Denial. Confident half-measures. Panic."

That's the standard operating procedures for BIG agencies, no matter the situation or the people involved. The first order of business is to preserve the BIG agency—to show it is blameless and has things under control. But then, as the curtain begins to slip, we get half-measures (a la the current CDC and White House approach to Ebola) in which we're told that the authorities have everything well in hand and that an epidemic can't happen here. In a interview that can only be characterized as arrogant, the CDC's Dr.Anthony Fauci commented on the Ebola scare (summarized by
But Fauci emphasizes that the United States is different from African nations whose fragile health care systems have been overwhelmed by Ebola. Scientists know how to stop the virus from spreading with adequate resources, he says.

In the U.S., Fauci maintains, “We won’t have an outbreak.”

That’s not to say the first Ebola case diagnosed within the United States — a traveler from Liberia who began feeling the effects after arriving in Dallas — will be the only one.

The government took measures this past week to ensure hospitals are ready and is considering what more should be done.

Despite some initial missteps in Dallas, tried-and-true methods are underway: tracking everyone who came into contact with the infected man and isolating anyone who shows symptoms.
There's no doubt that we're "different" than African nations, and one of those differences is that we dedicate significant human and technical resources to every Ebola patient. We track down contacts, we quarantine as required. All of that takes people, lots of people, and it will work, unless the Ebola expected value rises to a level where more and more cases pop-up, causing the need for more and more people to manage those cases, until the BIG "system" for handling the disease is overwhelmed. Then, panic!

When pressed on the matter, Fauci stated that a travel ban for visitors from West Africa (whether citizens or non-citizens) was not in the nation's best interest. Really, not in our best interest? Exactly how is limiting the potential for additional Ebola cases not in our best interest? Because BIG spokespeople like Fauci tell us so?


Tammy Bruce comments further:
On Sept. 16, President Obama had a news conference about Ebola at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. After the president noted, “We have to act fast. We can’t dawdle on this one” (So, he’s dawdled on some other crises involving life and death?), he declared the Ebola situation in West Africa was “spiraling out of control” and then assured us the chances of Ebola coming to America was “extremely low.”

Well, apparently not so extremely low. On Sept. 20, Liberian Ebola carrier Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in the United States, just four days after the president’s comments that it would likely not happen.

Being honest with the American people includes admitting when there may be a problem in the future that is unavoidable. Mr. Obama’s refusal to suspend flights into the United States from Ebola-infected countries also made it likely the virus would arrive here.

Delivering platitudes and patronizing reassurances about life-and-death issues reveals a systemic culture that prefers to treat the average citizen as an infant, and certainly not worth treating as an equal.
It's not enough to "suspend flights." The administration must institute a travel ban for anyone who has visited West Africa (including US citizens) as well as anyone carrying a passport from a West African country. The ban doesn't care where you are now. If you have been in West Africa in the last 21 days (check entry and exist stamps on each passport), you are not allowed on any flight from any place that is headed to the USA until you have been quarantined in place for an additional 21 days. It's the only way to control occurrences of the disease in our country as the  the expected value of grows by the day. Using "it isn't a perfect solution" as an excuse not to do it is idiotic in the extreme. With Ebola, there are no "perfect" options, only good ones. A travel ban is a good one.