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What they’ve done to public health: a laughing matter (if it weren’t so deadly)

“You cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus,” the President said.

…which would be true, unless, say, someone with Ebola were to cough on you. Then it wouldn’t be true.

How infectious is Ebola? So infectious that a nurse in Spain was, officials say, infected by touching her face while removing her gear. So infectious that the average patient infects 1.5 to 2 other people. If unchecked, that would mean that it would spread to every person on earth in 20-34 iterations, in less than a year. No, that won’t happen, but the World Health Organization is projecting 10,000 cases per week in Africa by December. (By the way, WHO’s projection in September for the number in late October was overly optimistic; it fell short by a factor of three.) Each patient requires 20 health workers to care for him or her, at a cost, if the most up-to-date technology were used, of $500,000 per patient. In Africa, the average income is about $2,500 a year, and the continent, with 24 percent of the population, has three percent of the healthcare workers. By the math, we are skewered.

How infectious is Ebola? Scientists studying the virus in the laboratory are supposed to do so in what are basically spacesuits, completely sealed with their own oxygen supplies, with airlocks and ultraviolet lighting and showers and other aspects of “BSL-4″ (Biosafety Level 4) laboratories, the most secure labs known to man. Only smallpox, which is believed extinct in the wild, and the viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Hantavirus, Machupo, and Ebola and its cousin Marburg are treated this carefully. Rabies and yellow fever are only BSL-3.

How infectious is Ebola? Jonathan V. Last notes in The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/six-reasons-panic_816387.html):

In August, Science magazine published a survey conducted by 58 medical professionals working in African epidemiology. They traced the origin and spread of the virus with remarkable precision—for instance, they discovered that it crossed the border from Guinea into Sierra Leone at the funeral of a “traditional healer” who had treated Ebola victims. In just the first six months of tracking the virus, the team identified more than 100 mutated forms of it. . . .

By the by, that Science article written by 58 medical professionals tracing the emergence of Ebola—5 of them died from Ebola before it was published.

 

One of the legitimate responsibilities of government is to protect the public health—that is, to protect us from infectious disease and from disease caused by a common environmental source. But President Obama has appointed, to public health positions, Prohibitonists rather than public health experts: the likes of

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Labor Watch: “Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal / Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions

 “Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal

Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions (PDF here)

By Alec Torres

Summary: The Veterans Affairs scandal shocked the nation, and as further revela­tions of widespread corruption and failure became public, they showed the natural failure of socialized medicine. But one part of the scandal has not received the attention it deserves: the role of special privileges for union officials, who spend their time serving their self-interest, rather than serving the nation’s ailing veterans.

As bad as the VA scandal seems, it’s actually worse. While veterans of the U.S. armed forces wait for health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is paying hundreds of its employees to work full-time for labor unions.

First, a summary of the facts behind the scandal:

The VA boasts that it “operates the na­tion’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities.” Yet officials at as many as 42 VA facilities have come under investigation for allegedly keeping two sets of books, appar­ently in order to hide long wait-times (and protect bonuses that are paid if wait-times are short). After a patient requested an appoint­ment, administrators would wait to enter the request into the electronic records system until the point at which a doctor would be available within 14 days.

After the scandal broke, first reported by CNN, the VA conducted an internal audit that found that over 57,000 patients had to wait more than three months for their initial appointments at the VA. Around 70 percent of all VA facilities had used an alternative to the official appointment schedule in or­der to deceptively minimize the reported wait-times.

When the scandal became public, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared himself “mad as hell,” while President Obama declared himself “madder than hell.” Shinseki was fired and replaced by former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald.

The scandal takes on added significance because the VA has been cited in the debate over health care. As members of Congress considered the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” the VA system was often cited as a model for healthcare in America. [See the sidebar by Steven J. Allen Read all »

That Lyndon Johnson quote (Part 2)

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Last week, at http://capitalresearch.org/2014/10/we-have-lost-the-south-for-a-generation-what-lyndon-johnson-said-or-would-have-said-if-only-he-had-said-it, I took a look at that story that has circulated in recent years as, in essence, a smear of Southern Republicans: that President Lyndon Johnson, after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, said that “We have lost the South for a generation.”

More from my investigation of this quote:

► Almost all uses of that version of the quote are from the past 10 years. However, I found a close variation in a 1988 Washington Post article by Patricia Brennan in which she quotes Johnson aide Ben Wattenberg. (Wattenberg was one of the first “neoconservatives” in the original sense of the term, a New Deal liberal who came to recognize the failures of Big Government policies.) As quoted by Brennan, Wattenberg said that, even during Johnson’s 1964 landslide, “there were six states that Barry Goldwater kept: Arizona and five states in the South. You trace it forward and you see that they never came back. They were out because of civil rights and they stayed out. . . . The day they passed the civil rights bill, LBJ said to Bill Moyers, ‘You know, I think we gave the South to the Republicans.’”

I suspect that Wattenberg, apparently speaking off the cuff, paraphrased another Moyers quote of Johnson (about which, more below). Further garbled over time, as in the Telephone Game, that quote in the Washington Post article may have been the source for the lost-the-South-for-a-generation version. Or it’s possible that the quote originated as an indirect quote, one without quotation marks, that appeared in the magazine The Economist in 2002. By 2004, the quote was appearing in articles with quotation marks. I can find no direct reference to Johnson saying it or to whom it was said. It is always used as a quote that, well, everyone knows.

 

► In the early 1990s, another version of the story held that the Johnson statement was “There goes the South.” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald used that version November 4, 1992.

Timothy Noah of the left-wing online magazine Slate (then affiliated with the Washington Post) wrote (January 27, 2004, posted at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2004/01/forget_the_south_democrats.html):

“There goes the South for a generation,” Lyndon Johnson is said to have predicted as he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. Actually, it’s been two generations, but otherwise Johnson was dead-on. For 40 years, the Democratic Party begged Southern Democrats to return to the fold.

Considering that all Southern states except Virginia voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, while Carter was losing the rest of the country as a whole, and that, with the exception of in 1964, the South was significantly more Republican than the country as a whole beginning in 1988 at the presidential level and in 2010 at the local and state level, the fake Johnson quote was hardly “dead on.” Still, I suppose that Noah deserves credit for only half-lying because he qualified his use of the fake quote (“Johnson is said to have predicted”).

 

► The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2000, published an interview with Johnson aide Harry McPherson and Jack Valenti in which McPherson was quoted as saying that another Johnson aide, Bill Moyers “came in on the evening of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.” (Note that he referred to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 rather than the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

. . . Johnson, having had a wonderful day signing the bill, everybody around him praising him, was sitting, Bill says, with his head in his hands at his desk. Bill said, “Mr. President, it’s the greatest day of your presidency.” Johnson said, “Yes, and it’s the day we gave the South to the Republican Party for the rest of our lifetimes.”

Interestingly, Valenti wrote an account of the passage and signing of the Voting Read all »

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Liberal religious organizations make amnesty pay

Your Tax Dollars At Work:  Liberal religious organizations make amnesty pay

By James Simpson, Organization Trends, October 2014 (PDF to come)

Summary: The federal government is spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars a year to underwrite private care for persons who have entered the country illegally. Much of the money flows into religious nonprofits. The nation’s laws receive less consideration than the appeal of “free” government subsidies, and the causes and harms of illegal immigration are brushed aside.

Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has aggressively sought amnesty for persons who are in America illegally. When an amnesty bill was not forthcoming from Congress, Obama began issuing directives to federal agencies that defied both federal law and the will of Congress. Deportations were curtailed, and in 2013 over 36,000 criminal aliens (as they are termed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE), including 193 murderers, were released from jail, ICE reports.

In June 2012, without congressional authorization, President Obama created a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under DACA, persons in the country illegally who were born after June 16, 1981, and arrived in the United States before their sixteenth birthday may obtain work permits and permission to remain here for two years, and then reapply for an additional two years. DACA applicants must also meet additional criteria:

*Must have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007;
*Been present as of June 15, 2012, and when they applied for deferred action;
*Be currently in school, or have graduated from high school, or obtained a GED, or been honorably discharged from the military;
*Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses;
*Been 30 years of age or younger as of June 15, 2012.

The problem is, if someone is here illegally, how does government verify many of these questions? In practical terms, DACA allows virtually any illegal resident who is approximately 30 years of age or younger to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. Furthermore, both in word and deed, this administration has sent an unmistakable message south: Come on up, you won’t be turned away.

Persons interviewed at the border frequently cite this reason for heading north. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) confirmed this as well. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this July, Inhofe stated that through Obama’s DACA program, Obama is essentially saying:

“‘Come here, we’ll take care of you,’ and they all believe this… I talked to them individually… All of them were programmed to say that they had relatives here, they’re invited to come up here, they’re going to stay here—at the same time the HHS says, ‘We’re not going to send them back.’ So long as they have that assurance, more are coming in.”

Beginning in 2012 persons began streaming into the country illegally. That stream has now become a flood. Most recent entrants are from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, a part of Central America also called the “Northern Triangle.” A quirk in the law that allows for immediate deportation of illegal youths from Mexico also creates a much more prolonged process for deporting those from “non-contiguous countries,” thus increasing their chances to obtain asylum.

A June 2014 ICE document leaked to the press revealed a dramatic acceleration in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from these countries. In fiscal year 2011, ICE apprehended a total of 4,321 UAC. By FY 2013, that number had increased to 21,314. For FY 2014, the report projected 53,375 UAC crossing the border and 95,500 in 2015.

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“We have lost the South for a generation”: What Lyndon Johnson said, or would have said if only he had said it

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

“We have lost the South for a generation,” President Lyndon B. Johnson told an aide after he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Not really, of course. Johnson didn’t say that.

I’ve examined more than a hundred uses of that quote, going back to what seems to be its first appearance in 2002 (as an indirect quote, one without quotation marks) and what seems to be its first appearance as a direct quote in 2004. That would be some 40 years after Johnson supposedly uttered it. Some falsely attribute the story to Johnson aide Bill Moyers, but not one writer or commentator using the quote includes a citation that tracks back to anyone who heard (or claims to have heard) LBJ say it. The quote directly contradicts earlier versions that appeared closer to the event. So it can be said with a high level of confidence that the quote is fake. There is simply no reason to believe it.

Yet it’s part of left-wing gospel.

Every person who follows politics has heard some version of the story: LBJ made the comment at some point on the day they passed the Civil Rights Act, or later on the morning of the day Johnson signed the legislation (that legislation being the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or maybe the Voting Rights Act of 1965), or he said it that evening as he lay in bed, or he said it at the conclusion of the signing ceremony when he turned to a friend, or maybe an aide, and said, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” Or “for your lifetime.” Or “for a generation.” Or “We have lost the South for a generation.” Or maybe he said, “There goes the South.” And he was absolutely right: As a reaction to Johnson’s act of courage, the South turned Republican immediately, overnight, instantly, only 46 years later. Yessiree. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it. Read all »

The “Vast Left-wing Conspiracy”: George Soros’s Democracy Alliance remains a potent force in the 2014 elections

This special issue of Foundation Watch updates our previous profiles of the Democracy Alliance published in December 2006, January 2008, and December 2008.

The “Vast Left-wing Conspiracy”:  George Soros’s Democracy Alliance remains a potent force in the 2014 elections

By Matthew Vadum, Foundation Watch, October 2014 (PDF here)

Summary:  The political landscape in America is much different than it was in 2005 when the nine-year-old Democracy Alliance was founded.  The secretive club for radical millionaires and billionaires who want to turn America into Greece was founded soon after John Kerry’s unexpected defeat in the 2004 presidential election.  The outlook for the Left was bleak at that time but no longer.  The Left has regained its footing and is on the march, determined to dismantle the First Amendment and reorder society through Obamacare, a wealth redistribution scheme disguised as health care policy.  The Democracy Alliance, once determined to remain separate from the Democratic Party, is more partisan than it has ever been as its seeks to expand left-wing political infrastructure across the country.

The Democracy Alliance—a secretive, pro-Democratic Party funding powerhouse—is embracing more union bosses as members, amid growing fears in left-wing circles that Republicans are poised to take over the U.S. Senate in the November elections. This trend adds to organized labor’s already considerable clout within this elite fundraising empire, which claims to have funneled more than $500 million into liberal and pro-Democratic organizations. The invitation-only Alliance, co-founded by far-left billionaire philanthropist George Soros, calls itself a “first-of-its-kind partnership of change-makers who are committed to a stronger democracy and a more progressive America.”

It claims to be the “center of gravity” for left-wing funding and, “over the past nine years,” has “aligned leaders in the progressive movement and political infrastructure” in order to secure “victories at the ballot box and in policy fights. “

The Democracy Alliance funds many key institutions on the Left. One of them is Catalist LLC, formerly known as Data Warehouse. This for-profit company was created by Clinton aide Harold Ickes and Democratic operative Laura Quinn to help leftist groups get out the Democratic vote. It describes its mission as providing “progressive organizations with the data and services needed to better identify, understand, and communicate with the people they need to persuade and mobilize.” The chairman of Catalist is Democracy Alliance member Albert J. Dwoskin, a Virginia-based real estate developer. (For a complete profile of Catalist, see Organization Trends, November 2012.)

The Democracy Alliance has also funded staples of the left-wing activist community including People for the American Way, EMILY’s List, ACORN, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Progressive States Network, Center for Community Change, Sierra Club, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, and the (now defunct) Secretary of State Project, which helped elect left-wing candidates to be the chief electoral official in at least nine states (these little-noticed officials become critical when vote fraud occurs).

The Alliance and its ultra-wealthy supporters drone on endlessly, wringing their hands about the importance of getting money out of politics as they pump millions of dollars into politics. As the Washington Free Beacon reports, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig told prospective donors to his Mayday PAC this year that attacking the First Amendment’s corporate political speech protections would be easier if those on the other side were gagged by new laws. “We have no protection for network neutrality because of the enormous influence of cable companies’ money in the political system,” he said. “If NN is your issue, then this is why you should see that politics is your issue too.” Lessig is also an advisor to the Fund for the Republic, a campaign finance reform organization that uses soothing, bipartisan language and reaches out to those on the political Right. The Fund acknowledges receiving financial support from Democracy Alliance members.

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Briefly Noted: October 2014

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is pressing Congress for answers about the Obama administration’s bungling in the deadly debacle in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Charles Woods, father of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who died trying to fend off the Islamist attack, said he can’t understand why the Obama administration won’t answer even the most basic questions about what happened. “When a mission is compromised, the warriors, they know they will be extracted,” said Woods, who was also a Navy SEAL himself. “During all of the hours that this attack happened, there was no attempt made to rescue.” The administration’s refusal to launch such a rescue mission stands in stark contrast to its willingness to swap Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who apparently defected to the Taliban in Afghanistan, for five members of the Islamic terrorist high command.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton says internal State Department documents have surfaced that show that three months before the Benghazi attack, security guards were fleeing their posts “out of fear of their safety.” Those documents consisted of emails obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act, which is “the best way to get information out of this administration—an administration that is committed to secrecy and stonewalling on something that would have taken down previous administrations,” Fitton said. “Which is the lying by a president and his officials, to protect his re-election, about a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.”

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Philanthropy Notes: October 2014

A coalition of nonprofit religious employers including nursing home operator Little Sisters of the Poor say they will carry on with lawsuits against the Obama administration’s constitutionally questionable contraception coverage mandate. The government tinkered with the requirement and said in the future that a religious nonprofit employer may object to providing the contraceptive benefit, at which point the government would order the employer’s insurance provider to offer the coverage free of charge. Lawyers for the Little Sisters of the Poor say the new rules “merely offer the Little Sisters another way to violate their religion and comply with the mandate.”

The U.S. Department of Labor collaborated with the White House over whether to make public hidden parts of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ schedule as she dealt with an FBI investigation into her allegedly illegal fundraising for President Obama, the Daily Caller reports. Cause of Action discovered emails in which the Obama White House thanked the Labor Department for “flagging” a public information request for “withheld” portions of the then-cabinet officer’s schedule. Solis allegedly did fundraising for the Obama campaign and headlined a fundraising event in her official capacity as a cabinet member, a violation of the Hatch Act.

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This is what “Al Qaeda on the run” looks like

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Now it’s the Intelligence Community’s fault. You know — that Clapper guy!

We know the President’s telling the truth because of how quickly he moved to fire that Clapper guy (James Clapper, the director of national intelligence). Which is to say, he didn’t fire him. When someone who serves at the pleasure of the President seems to be unfit for his or her office and doesn’t get fired, there’s a good reason. That person is the President’s fixer (Eric Holder, John Mitchell), or has information that could do the President in (Janet Reno, J. Edgar Hoover), or is the President’s fall guy. Given the state of the world (best summarized as “in flames”), the DNI makes a convenient fall guy. Read all »

Green Watch highlights corruption of Eric Holder & Company

Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general whose tenure has been marked by extremism, racism, and corruption, is preparing to announce his resignation today, according to a report by the government’s National Public Radio.

Here is a sneak peek at the upcoming Green Watch, which examines the record of Holder’s Justice Department on environmental issues. At the Obama/Holder DoJ, the first rule is: Punish your critics and reward your friends.

Click HERE for the October issue of Green Watch.