Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cruising the Web

The administration is getting lost in their excuse-making about why soldiers who are, according to them not working with patients, should still undergo quarantine when they return, but medical workers who have been in direct contact with Ebola patients, don't need such quarantine. They're trying to argue that the military aren't volunteering to go to West Africa so we can treat them differently. Josh Earnest gives the example of the haircuts that those in the military must undergo in contrast to civilians. As Noah Rothman writes,
I’m not trying to be reflexively contrary, but how does it make any sense that soldiers whose movements and mission is “circumscribed” should be isolated and monitored, but voluntary health care workers, who cannot be tracked, should not be avoid being quarantined if they are suspected of displaying Ebola-like symptoms?

Moreover, if the aim is not to scare health care workers from voluntarily traveling to West Africa, what does he think an involuntary quarantine of American troops will do? Did I miss the conscription act that the president signed into law? Why wouldn’t think cavalier disregard for the interests of American troops serving at their own discretion overseas have a depressing effect on future enlistments?

The White House’s logic simply does not make any sense.

In the fight against this Ebola outbreak, the United States and the West in general are winning a number of victories. The spread of the infection appears to be slowing in West Africa, and health care workers who are treated at an early stage of Ebola infection in the United States have made remarkable recoveries.

The administration’s defensiveness on the issue of quarantine, and the partisan and inconsistent way in which it has attacked those who have embraced this precautionary measure, only saps the public of more faith in government officials to be able to contain the spread of this disease dispassionately and with a modicum of competence.

Maybe this is why people are suspicious about plans to allow returning medical workers to isolate themselves in a responsible manner.
The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.

Dr. Craig Spencer at first told officials that he isolated himself in his Harlem apartment — and didn’t admit he rode the subways, dined out and went bowling until cops looked at his MetroCard the sources said.

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

Officials then retraced Spencer’s steps, which included dining at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village and bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, no one can find our new Ebola Czar, Ron Klain. But he was available for that first-day photo op.

Oh, and don't trust blood tests to tell us whether a person is going to develop the virus. It only shows up in the blood just about the time when the infected person is about to be infectious.

Jeffrey Goldberg has an eye-opening article in The Atlantic about how the Obama administration really regards Bibi Netanyahu. Apparently, they just can't stand the Israeli prime minister. One senior official calls him "a chickens**t." They blame him totally for the fact that there has been no peace concluded between the Palestinians and Israel.
Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickens**t” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
So the U.S. pressured him not to attack Iran and when he doesn't, they conclude that he's a “chickens**t” That makes sense. They just can't hate Netanyahu enough. We don't hear this sort of characterization from leaks about what the administration thinks of Hamas leaders or the leaders in Iran or Turkey's Erdogan or any other leader in the Middle East. Only our ally gets this sort of disdain. Netanyahu is the world leader who "frustrate[s]" the White House and State Department the most. How telling.

Wouldn't a story like this perhaps put Putin on the list of most frustrating world leaders?
Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion.

Bret Stephens explains why Israel is, in turn, so fed up with this administration.
The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side. Since coming to office in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political base, to (1) recognize a Palestinian state; (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze; (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges; (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians; (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran; and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.

In exchange, Mr. Kerry publicly blamed Israel for the failure of the peace effort, the White House held up the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war, and Mr. Obama is hellbent on striking whatever deal the Iranians can plausibly offer him.

Oh, and Mr. Kerry also attributes the rise of Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe if the Israelis grovel a bit more, Mr. Obama will oblige them by recognizing a Palestinian state as his parting act as president. Don’t discount the possibility.

The CW is that Obamacare isn't an issue in this election. But are people really going to forget this fact?
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable, but a newly released study of insurance policies before and after Obamacare shows that average premiums have skyrocketed, for some groups by as much as 78 percent.

Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday....The premium increases for 30-year-olds were almost as high as for 23-year-olds — 73.4 percent for men and 35.1 percent for women — said the study, titled “Without Subsidies Women & Men, Old & Young Average Higher Monthly Premiums with Obamacare.”

D.C. McAllister proposes how to reach "Wal-Mart moms."

Typical. Harry Reid's PAC is trying to connect Thom Tillis to Trayvon Martin's death. And they don't care if they distort the facts in the case in order to make their tendentious claims.

The WSJ explains how "Obama soaks the rich, drowns the middle class."
The curse of the U.S. economy today is the downward trend in “take-home pay.” This is the most crucial economic indicator for most Americans, but when President Obama said in a recent speech at Northwestern that nearly every economic measure shows improvement from five years ago, he conspicuously left this one out.

Most workers’ pay has not kept up with inflation for at least six years. Even as hiring picked up over the past year, wages and salaries have inched up by 2%, barely ahead of inflation. This probably explains why half of Americans say the recession never ended. They are experiencing what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week described as “stagnant living standards for the majority.”

Why aren’t wages rising? There are several reasons, including that many jobs today don’t pay as well as the ones lost during the recession. ObamaCare has made health insurance more expensive for businesses—as the nation’s biggest employer, Wal-Mart , recently reported—and that takes a bite out of take-home pay. Yet one factor is often overlooked: the tax increase on “the rich” at the beginning of 2013....

The overall effect of the 2013 tax hike was not minor. The highest income-tax rate on small business income has risen to almost 42% from 35%. That’s a 20% spike in the small business tax for successful companies. When the government takes more, there is less to plow back into the business or invest elsewhere.

This may help explain the paradox that even as American businesses today are generally efficient and highly profitable, they aren’t reinvesting in new plants, equipment and technology or hiring more workers at the pace they normally would. Business investment was up last quarter—a hopeful sign—but over the recovery the trend has been sluggish.

Bruce Fein argues for something I've always believed in. We should stop electing judges.

Mickey Kaus has fun mocking the MSM's desire to pretend to be running a neutral story that isn't actually a neutral storyline, what he calls a NSL.
The “gridlock” line isn’t neutral, of course. What would ending gridlock look like? Maybe, to the MSM, a non-gridlocked agenda is as “obvious” as it is to David Brooks. But it’s still an agenda. Front and center in this agenda currently is some kind of immigration amnesty deal. Sure, you could break the immigration gridlock the other way — with a focus on border enforcement before amnesty. But that’s not the break the MSM has in mind — and anyway President Obama would never sign it. So “voters want to end gridlock” translates smugly into “voters demand what the MSM, including NBC, wants,” if not precisely what the Democratic president wants.

Does it matter that this may in fact get the reality of the midterms 180 degrees wrong — voters seem poised to vote against amnesty and for an focus on border security, for example, against breaking the gridlock the “obvious” MSM way?

There's good news and bad news for each party in the early vote data. One might as well read tea leaves. Unfortunately for pundits, we won't know until after the election if the early-voting totals correlate at all with the entire election vote totals.

Millennials want jobs and having rap stars pander to them isn't enough.

According to Gallup, the issues that the Democrats have been pushing such as gun control, global warming, or a supposed "war on women" are not issues that voters are concerned about.