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

Saturday, October 04, 2014


This week Glen Reynolds reports that the book How to Prepare for Ebola skyrocketed on the Amazon bestseller list to #70. At the same time, the 3m N95 Mask used to protect the wearer from inhaled particles [even though Ebola is not (yet) airborne] is currently the #3 bestselling product on the site. It's not hard to conclude that people are skittish about the continuing (bad) news about the often-fatal hemorrhagic fever and that an Ebola-infected individual has entered the U.S and has had direct and indirect contact with about 100 people—some of whom have been quarantined. Others are now being "watched."

The CDC and the NIH tell us there no cause for wide-spread concern, and the Obama administration echos that sentiment. But over the past few years we've seen government agencies lie to the American people. We've also seem multiple instances of an administration that makes decisions based solely on ideology rather than what is best for the nation. The media is reporting the Ebola story, but seems remarkably sanguine given that they would normally be hysterical over the however-remote prospect of a fatal epidemic.

J. Christian Adams discusses a topic that I suspect is on the minds of many people. He writes:
As the Ebola epidemic has spread through West Africa over the last several months, President Obama has not used legal powers he possesses to help prevent the deadly virus from entering the United States.

Federal law gives the president the power to issue a proclamation to seal the borders to any class of aliens who pose a threat to the United States. The law is broad enough that Obama could have issued a proclamation months ago denying entry to any foreign national from the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria or Liberia. Under the law, such a proclamation could have also included any passport holder who visited those countries as evidenced by visas or entry/exit stamps on the passport.

Section 1182 (f) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act gives the president this power, which the Obama administration has refused to use even as Ebola threatens Americans. The law states:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
This means that Obama could, in the time it takes to write out a few paragraphs, stop the flow of people into American communities who have been exposed to Ebola in West Africa.

As I previously reported, four direct flights from Ebola ravaged nations fly into the United States. Passport checks could be conducted prior to boarding aircraft bound for the United States from foreign destinations.
The administration tells us that is is impossible to seal our borders, and that is true. But it is possible to reduce the probability of additional foreign nationals (or even US citizens) entering the country with Ebola. Yet, with the upcoming push to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, I suspect that the administration looks at any news that might mitigate against their position as poison.

The passport checks suggested by Adams are a relatively easy first step, followed by in-depth questioning of anyone who has visited West African countries, an in situ medical exam if warranted, and in the extreme, a quarantine period for anyone from West Africa who desires entry into the United States. This would last only as long as the Ebola epidemic rages in West Africa.

The President of the United States is sworn to protect the American people. To do this, he must jettison his perception of political correctness or his desire for political advantage. It's bad enough that he refuses to secure our borders from illegal immigrants, but it is unconscionable that he has done little to protect the citizens of this country from those legal or illegal visitors who may be very sick.

There is no reason to panic, but there is a compelling reason to exercise caution. It appears that the Obama administration, in what has become its modus operandi, is late in acting decisively and effectively and then has to clean up the mess that its inaction has caused. In the case of Ebola, the mess could be very, very bad.

We're told there is no cause for alarm and that the chances of an epidemic are vanishingly small. That's probably true, but we were also told by the same administration that we could keep our existing insurance plans and our doctors as Obamacare kicked in. For many Americans, trust in government is at an all-time low, and the early actions of the Obama administration with respect to Ebola and our borders do not provide any reason for that trust to grow.

The inimitable Peggy Noonan nails it when she writes:
The other day, during the big Centers for Disease Control news conference on the Dallas Ebola case, a man from one of the health agencies insisted in burly (and somehow self-satisfied) tones that the nation’s health is his group’s No. 1 priority. And I thought, just like a normal person, “No, your No. 1 priority is to forestall a sense of panic. To do that you’ll say what you need to say. Your second priority, connected to the first, is to assert the excellence and competence of the agency with which you are associated. Your third priority is to keep the public safe.”
Everyone who spoke was very smooth. “I think ‘handful’ is the right characterization,” said the CDC director to a Wall Street Journal reporter who asked if the sick man had contact with others before he was hospitalized. (That became “up to 100” the next day.) The officials were relentlessly modern-bureaucratic in their language. They have involved all “stakeholders.”
Was the sick man an American or a foreign national? “The individual was here to visit family.” Oh. The speaker’s tone implied he’ll tell us more down the road if he decides we can handle it.
What about those who traveled on the same plane as the man, and which flight was it? “Ebola is a virus. It’s easy to kill if you wash your hands,” said CDC chief Thomas Frieden . You are only infectious once you are sick, not before.
Ebola will not, all agreed, produce a full-fledged American epidemic. “We are stopping it in its tracks in this country,” Dr. Frieden said.
That may be true. But nobody thinks it because government doctors and professionals said it. Americans do not have confidence in what The Officials tell them anymore.
This is not only because we live in a cynical age. In this case it’s because people know the truth always contains uncomfortable elements, and in the CDC news conference very few uncomfortable elements were allowed.
They say the only thing you have to fear is personal contact, but they shy away from clearly defining personal contact. They suggest it has to do with bodily fluids, so you immediately think of the man sneezing next to you on the train. They do not want to discuss the man sneezing next to you on the train.
They did not want to discuss who the sick man was, his nationality, exactly what flight he came in on. They are good to their global masters! Sorry, just reacting like a normal person. There was a persistent sense the professionals had agreed to be chary with information that might alarm America’s peasants and make them violent. 
Of all the  damage that has occurred as a result on the Obama presidency, nothing is more serious than a pervasive feeling by many that the government and it spokespeople can no longer be trusted.