Kevin Williamson explains why it should be no surprise that the Secret Service, a relatively small agency with a clear task, should be in such a mess. The problems we're seeing today in the Secret Service are the sort of problems endemnic to any large bureaucracy.
The branch of economic analysis known as “public choice” is based on the idea that people do not cease being self-interested actors once they are elected to public office or appointed to a government position. If you have any doubt about the validity of that insight, consider that Pierson’s predecessor, Mark Sullivan, pulled Secret Service agents off a White House patrol in order to have them protect his personal assistant, who was involved in a dispute with a neighbor. That neighbor was not Ayman al-Zawahiri.Exactly. And this is why Ron Fournier worries that, as the public sees incompetence among health officials dealing with the Ebola patient in Dallas, we will continue to lose faith in public institutions.
Given access to the best people in the field, ample funding, sweeping powers, and a relatively well-focused mission, the Secret Service repeatedly fails, literally falling down drunk on the job. (What happens in Amsterdam . . . )
Question to ponder: How good a job do you think that large, sprawling agencies, staffed with second- and third-rate representatives of their various fields, are going to manage to do when it comes to extraordinarily complex jobs such as regulating financial markets or trying to determine the “right” price for certain medical services? In the context of bureaucracy, even the best of the best often isn’t very good.
Do you believe Fauci? Do you trust Obama? Stipulate, for a moment, that they are right—that Ebola is a far less dangerous disease in a nation like the United States that takes sanitation and health care so seriously. It's important that we be able to trust these and other officials enough to 1) heed their advice to limit the spread of the disease, and 2) not overreact, which leads to panic in the short term and deepens mistrust in the long term.Maybe it's time to accept that we shouldn't have faith in any large entity to be more competent than the human beings are who make up that institution.
When the final outcome of events like these don't match the initial fear and hype (remember the so-called bird flu?), Americans grow a bit more numb, and more likely to let down their guard. It's the boy-crying-wolf syndrome that the Obama administration hopes to avoid.
Back to the stipulation: Is the Obama team right about Ebola? The fact is, nobody knows whether the disease will spread or mutate. Crises are, almost by definition, unpredictable—which is why we have institutions and leaders whom we must trust to adapt to what comes.
Trust. There's that word again. How much faith can the public summon toward an administration that used incompetence as a defense in scandals involving the IRS, Benghazi, and Obamacare; that lied about its surveillance of Americans; and that just recently acknowledged dangerous misjudgments regarding the Secret Service and ISIS?
And yet, it wasn't Obama who misled the public about Saddam Hussein or the Vietnam War or Watergate. The trust deficit runs deeper than one president—or even the presidency. While vast economic, social and technological changes buffet the lives of most Americans, those institutions that are supposed to shield people are failing to adapt.
This president is so often ready to use powers that are not granted to him by either the Congress or the Constitution. But in protecting the country from people entering who might have Ebola, he doesn't seem interested in using the powers that he actually has.
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 nonimmigrants, 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.
This president has what Peter Kirsanow terms a "peculiar tolerance for risk."
At the very time that the terrorist threat has never been greater — when a rabid, well-financed terrorist army proclaims its intent to strike on U.S. soil — this administration opens our borders to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens and refuses to tell us where they’re being resettled — by our own government, no less. It sends 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola but rejects sending even three National Guardsmen to secure our southern border, and dismisses any suggestion of travel restrictions from Ebola-stricken West Africa.
The public’s anxiety levels weren’t quite reduced by the news that the commander-in-chief misses 60 percent of his intelligence briefings. Nor were they lowered upon learning that the administration rejected numerous pleas for additional security prior to the 9/11 attack on our consulate in Benghazi. But it’s unclear whether regular intelligence briefings would make any difference. This is a president so comfortable with risk that he would ignore the counsel of his top defense and intelligence advisers to retain a military presence in Iraq, gambling that the global goodwill engendered by his mere presence in the Oval Office was sufficient to forestall the implosion of the Middle East.
And a nuclear Iran? No worries. They can be contained. It’s those Jewish settlements we need to keep an eye on.
Even videotaped beheadings of Americans created no sense of urgency within the administration. Until, that is, polls emphatically showed the American people expected urgency from their government.
And therein lies the limit to Obama’s tolerance for risk. A nation imperiled is one thing; a president or party imperiled is quite another.
How Obamacare is harming women.
Democratic senator Joe Manchin criticizes Harry Reid. Yeah, as if Manchin wouldn't vote for him to be Majority Leader if the Democrats maintain control of the Senate.
And vulnerable red-state Democrats are also angry with Harry Reid. But they sure don't mind accepting money from his PAC.
Poor Harry Reid. His Senate Majority PAC has been vacuuming up cash in record amounts and sending it to candidates in close races, and this is the thanks he gets. The Nunn and Pryor campaigns, by the way, are among the beneficiaries of Mr. Reid’s largess—each has received at least $10,000 so far, and that’s not counting the much larger sums spent on ads attacking their opponents—which is something to keep in mind the next time you hear Mr. Pryor and Ms. Nunn stressing their independence.
The theme of "follow the money" continues. If you had any questions about how independent Kansas candidate Greg Orman might be, just check out the groups supporting his candidacy.
Mark Steyn wonders at our border guard priorities.
Thomas Eric Duncan has the distinction of being America's Patient Zero - the first but not the last person to develop Ebola symptoms in the United States.And here's a good question.
Is he a US citizen? No, he's Liberian.
Is he a resident of the United States? No, he landed at Washington's Dulles Airport on September 20th, in order to visit his sister and having quit his job in Monrovia a few weeks earlier.
So he's a single unemployed man with relatives in the US and no compelling reason to return to his native land. That alone is supposed to be cause for immigration scrutiny.
In addition, visitors from Liberia have the fifth highest "visa overstay rate" in the United States. That's to say, they understand very clearly that all that matters is getting in. Once you're in, they'll never get you out.
And, of course, Liberia is one of the hottest spots of Ebola's West African "hot zone". It's been all over the front pages, except apparently in The US Customs & Border Protection Staff Newsletter, where it rated a solitary "News In Brief" item at the foot of page 37.
Just to give you an example of how hard-assed the boneheads of America's immigration bureaucracy can be when they want to:
The legendary Gord Sinclair, longtime news director of CJAD in Montreal, had a ski place near Jay in northern Vermont, and he invited his engineer on the show to come down and visit him. "What's the purpose of your visit?" asked the agent at the small rural border post.
"Oh, just a relaxing weekend at my boss' place," said Gord's colleague affably, and then chortled, "although I don't know if it'll be that relaxing. He'll probably have me out in the yard chopping wood all day."
So the immigration agent refused him entry on the grounds that he would be working illegally in the United States.
They all had a good laugh about that back on the air on Monday, but it took forever to straighten out. A single man with contacts in the United States: He says he's coming for the weekend, but we all know any Montrealer would willingly trade a job at Quebec's Number One anglo radio station for casual yard work in Vermont, right?
And yet the unemployed guy from an Ebola hot zone gets in.
President Obama declared the Ebola outbreak a “national security priority.” That was three weeks ago. Yet, he has failed to treat it as such.
He could ban all travel into the U.S. of any person who has been in the affected West African countries. He has the legal power to do so.
Why hasn’t he?
....The deadly Ebola continues to ravage West African countries and threatens to escalate beyond the continent. If it is, as President Obama claims, a “national security priority,” why then has he failed or refused to make the health and safety of American lives a priority?
Politico examines the "Clinton Brand" and how Hillary just doesn't have the appeal that Bill did.
Hillary Clinton is likewise the product of a middle-class youth. But decades in power, millions of dollars in wealth and a private-jet lifestyle have reshaped the Clinton Brand. This was highlighted by her stubbed toe during the summer book tour about being “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, an interview she gave amid dozens of paid speeches for more than $200,000 each. But it is actually underscored just as much by positive headlines. The annual Clinton Global Initiative has become a kind of Manhattan Davos, filled with Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, and political and financial elites. Chelsea Clinton is primarily famous for her lineage, and the lavish coverage of her recent baby highlighted how the Clintons have become a kind of American royalty. The child was delivered in the same hospital where Beyonce gave birt
The WSJ explains why trimming the voting period in Ohio from 35 days to 28 is not discriminatory.
If limiting early voting to 28 days represents a substantial burden on minority voters in Ohio, what about the 14 states that allow no early voting? According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those states include such right-wing strongholds as New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Delaware.Such common sense is why opponents to Voter ID laws have been losing their attempts to block such laws from going into effect. After all, we have a U.S. Senator who was elected by voter fraud so it's hard to argue that such laws are unnecessary.
Democrats argue that the more early voting days there are, the better for minorities. The argument is more than a little patronizing, but it also ignores that a few decades ago early voting didn’t exist. It also wasn’t included in the pantheon of protections provided by the Voting Rights Act.