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Ebola Isn’t a Matter of Politics

It’s time the Obama administration handled the crisis without petty finger-pointing.

by Peter Roff   •   US News & World Report

Ebola Disease VirusMixing the possibility of a deadly pandemic together with the incompetence of the Washington bureaucracy produces a cocktail that is poisonous to public confidence. No one gets high marks for the way the Obama administration has handled the arrival of Ebola on American soil – especially the president.

It’s times such as these, when little is known and even the slightest misstatement could cause a general panic that the American people look to the president for leadership. Instead, what they are getting is more of the arrogant, self-confident, “smartest guy in the room” pronouncements and hectoring for which President Barack Obama is now famous.

Instead Obama has failed time and again to demonstrate he has a firm grasp on the situation. He’s not taking concrete steps – using his phone and his pen – to prevent the disease from spreading. Instead he’s letting his subordinates – no doubt thoroughly schooled in the Saul Alinsky arts of manufacturing or at least using a crisis to force the political system to give in to your demands – make outrageous statements intended to turn a potential public health catastrophe into a weapon of political leverage in the closing days of the current campaign season.

The worst thing yet said is perhaps the contemptible charge leveled by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins that if it weren’t for budget cuts insisted upon by congressional Republicans, the agencies under his direction might already have come up with a cure for Ebola.

The data contradicts his statement (the National Institutes of Health have had plenty of money since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided to plus up its budget back in the 1990s), but was an otherwise effective misdirection. [Read more...]

Spectacular incompetence turns deadly

Ebola Virus Diseaseby Joseph Curl   •   Washington Times 

It was only a matter of time.

President Obama, a short-term college professor and failed community organizer who became a mostly absentee state senator and then an all-but-invisible U.S. senator, has Petered out. Per the Peter Principle, he has risen to his level of incompetence — some would argue far beyond it.

The president — and the president alone — let Ebola into America. He could have made one phone call (even on Saturday, when playing his 200th round of golf as president) and said one sentence to protect all Americans from the usually fatal disease: “No one from West Africa gets into the country.”

Done. That single sentence would have kept Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who had carried an Ebola sufferer back into her home after she was turned away at a hospital, out of Dallas. While he lied on an airport questionnaire about whether he had had contact with anyone suffering the disease, and while hospital workers blundered badly even though they knew he has been in Liberia, the bottom line is Duncan would not have been in America had the president banned visitors from Ebola-stricken countries. Simple. [Read more...]

White House Approving & Disapproving Content of Press Reports

by Paul Farhi   •   Washington Post

mediabiasWhite House journalists are creating an alternative system for distributing their media “pool” reports in response to the Obama administration’s involvement in approving and disapproving certain content in official reports.

A small group of reporters initiated an online forum this month in which they shared “pool” information among themselves, without White House involvement. The forum was set up by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), which negotiates with the White House’s press staff over access for journalists.

Pool reports — those summaries of the president’s public appearances that go to the news media at large and are used in countless news stories — are filed by a rotating group of journalists whose work is intended to be free of content changes by the White House.

The pool journalists, however, must submit their reports to the White House press office, which distributes them via e-mail to hundreds of news organizations and others. The White House maintains the list of recipients.

Reporters have complained that the Obama White House exploits its role as distributor to demand changes in pool reports and that the press office has delayed or refused to distribute some reports until they are amended to officials’ satisfaction. [Read more...]

Obamacare is in hiding until after the election

How the Administration is obscuring facts about your health insurance until after the election.

by Robert Laszewski    •   USAToday 

ObamaCare Cancelled PoliciesThe second Obamacare open enrollment is scheduled to begin on November 15th and end on February 15th. Instead of learning critical lessons from the mistakes of the first open enrollment fiasco, the Obama administration appears to be trying to silence potential critics.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration sent an email to the insurance companies participating in Obamacare telling them to keep their mouths shut about the testing of the new health law’s enrollment system saying, that unlike last year, they would require “all testers (the insurance companies) to acknowledge the confidentiality of this process” before they would be allowed to participate. The administration reminded insurers that their confidentiality agreement with the Obama administration means that insurance executives “will not use, disclose, post to a public forum, or in any way share Test Data with any person or entity, included but not limited to media…” This includes any “results of this testing exercise and any information describing or otherwise relating to the performance or functionality” of the Obamacare enrollment and eligibility system. [Read more...]

Little reason to battle against voter ID laws

Voter ID Fraud

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board

When they go to the polls in a few weeks, voters in many states, including Oklahoma, will be asked to show some form of identification. This is no thanks to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who made it his mission during six years on the job to undo a number of voter ID laws.

Holder, who is stepping aside soon, went so far as to compare voter ID laws to bygone Jim Crow-inspired laws designed to tamp down minority participation. The comparisons were beyond ridiculous, particularly given that in state after state, voter ID laws have withstood legal challenges from liberal interests. [Read more...]

ObamaCare: The Bad News Continues to Mount

by Robert E. Moffit     •     National Interest

ObamaCare Side EffectsOn November 15, open enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges begins again. Before the second act of our national healthcare drama commences, let’s review what we’ve learned in Act I.

For starters, everyone now knows that federal officials are challenged when it comes to setting up a website. But they’ve demonstrated the ability to dole out a huge amount of taxpayers’ money for millions of people signing up for Medicaid, a welfare program. And they’ve proved they can send hundreds of millions of federal taxpayers’ dollars to their bureaucratic counterparts in states, like Maryland and Oregon, that can’t manage their own exchanges. But there are many other lessons to be gleaned from Year One of Obamacare. Here are three of the most important ones.

1. Health costs jumped—big time. Huge increases in deductibles in policies sold through the exchanges were a big story in Florida, Illinois and elsewhere. While the average annual deductible for employer-based coverage was a little over $1,000, the exchange deductibles nationwide normally topped $2,000. [Read more...]

Making Harding Look Good

The Obama administration has tarnished nearly every major federal agency. 

by Victor Davis Hanson    •    National Review

Scandal NewsMany have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.

The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison. [Read more...]

Obamacare’s website still faces hurdles as year two approaches

by The Washington Examiner

Obamacare WebsiteA year ago this week, Healthcare.gov launched and set a new standard for costly technological disasters.

The portal for obtaining private insurance under Obamacare proved completely impenetrable for consumers in its first two months. The constant error messages, glitches and outages became fodder for late night comics, but the Americans forced to interact with the site after Obamacare pushed them out of coverage they already liked were not amused.

A year later, most of Obamacare’s outwardly noticeable technological frustrations are gone. Even though the law remains as unpopular as ever — at 25 percent support among U.S. adults, according to the latest Associated Press poll — consumers who log in when with the second open enrollment begins on Nov. 15 will probably have a less unpleasant technical experience.

But here’s the problem: Beginning with the website’s early failure, the Department of Health and Human Services has concentrated mostly on fixing the portion of the site that the public interacts with. They have not yet fixed major structural and security issues on the back-end, and testing for some of these only begins this month. [Read more...]

Climate Change Has Jumped the Shark

by Steven F Hayward     •     Forbes

Global-Climate-Change-environmentLay aside for now all of the arguments that can be made about the weaknesses of catastrophic climate change predictions. In fact, for purposes of discussion, let’s assume that the worst-case scenario is likely to come true. The paradox of climate change is exactly this: the more serious the problem, the more implausible are the remedies of the environmental community. That’s what ought to make the climate campaigners realize that last weekend’s mega-march in New York City represents the dead-end for their cause. Truly we can invoke that overused cliché that climate change has “jumped the shark.”

Here’s why: From the beginning 25 years ago the arguments over climate science have dominated the scene and distracted us away from the fundamental problem: the prescribed method for preventing climate change is essentially replacing nearly all hydrocarbon energy, in the space of less than two generations. Climate orthodoxy calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, by the year 2050, which would take the United States back to a level of hydrocarbon energy use last seen more than 100 years ago. For the developing world, it means remaining poor for several more decades. [Read more...]

The Pass-the-Buck Presidency

The president has a pattern of deflecting blame and denying responsibility. With military action against ISIS underway, that’s a dangerous habit.

by Josh Kraushaar     •     National Journal

Obama Failed PolicyThe time-tested strategy for Obama: Blame, deny, and wait-it-out When national security is at stake, politics should stop at the White House’s edge ‘The president is the captain of the ship and should assume accountability.’

September 29, 2014 In attempting to downplay the political damage from a slew of second-term controversies, President Obama has counted on the American people having a very short memory span and a healthy suspension of disbelief. The time-tested strategy for Obama: Claim he’s in the dark about his own administration’s activities, blame the mess on subordinates, and hope that with the passage of time, all will be forgotten. Harry Truman, the president isn’t. He’s more likely to pass the buck. [Read more...]

Obama Has Missed Over Half His Second-Term Daily Intel Briefings

by Wynton Hall     •     Breitbart News Network

Smug-ObamaA new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.

The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. [Read more...]

Obamacare Doctor Networks to Stay Limited in 2014

by Chad Terhune, Sandra Poindexter, Doug Smith     •    LA Times

Obamacare-DelayFinding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as frustrating for Californians in 2015 as the health-law expansion enters its second year.

The state’s largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company data. And the state’s insurance exchange, Covered California, still has no comprehensive directory to help consumers match doctors with health plans.

This comes as insurers prepare to enroll hundreds of thousands of new patients this fall and get 1.2 million Californians to renew their policies under the Affordable Care Act. [Read more...]

Holder’s Legacy of Racial Politics

The attorney general battled against state voter-ID laws, despite all evidence of their fairness and popularity. What will his successor do?

by Edwin Meese III and J. Kenneth Blackwell     •      Wall Street Journal

HolderAttorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation on Thursday, leaves a dismal legacy at the Justice Department, but one of his legal innovations was especially pernicious: the demonizing of state attempts to ensure honest elections.

As a former U.S. attorney general under President Reagan, and a former Ohio secretary of state, we would like to say something that might strike some as obvious: Those who oppose photo voter-ID laws and other election-integrity reforms are intent on making it easier to commit vote fraud.

That conclusion is inescapable, given the well-established evidence that voter-ID laws don’t disenfranchise minorities or reduce minority voting, and in many instances enhance it, despite claims to the contrary by Mr. Holder and his allies. As more states adopt such laws, the left has railed against them with increasing fury, even invoking the specter of the Jim Crow era to describe electoral safeguards common to most nations, including in the Third World. [Read more...]

Press Helps Obama Censor The News

Investor’s Business DailyMedia Propaganda

It’s not often that the press exposes its own bias. But a Washington Post story this week reveals both the Obama administration’s attempts to censor the news and the media’s complicity in that effort.

For decades, news outlets have relied on pool reports from a rotating group of White House correspondents who follow the president on his travels to public or semipublic events and file quick-and-dirty reports. Their stories are then distributed to other news outlets to use as they wish.

Pool reports can be inane, such as the Sept. 4 dispatch making note of the fact that, while in Wales, “Obama and Prince Charles posed for the cameras and laughed. Obama greeted a group of children who were gathered behind the rope line.” [Read more...]

Holder’s Legacy as Presidential Protector

The attorney general is stepping down and leaving a trail of troubling questions behind.

by Peter Roff   •   U.S. News & World ReportHolder Head

Controversial figure U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be stepping down from his post, it was learned recently, leaving the Obama administration as soon as his replacement can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Those who cannot see past race – and thus tend toward wanting to inflate Holder’s grade – are praising his tenure in office, lauding the attention he gave issues like civil rights and the manner in which, as NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested shortly after the news broke, managed to stay above politics.

In fact, almost every high-profile issue Holder took on had a political taint, especially his intervention in the civil rights arena where he and his department worked to thwart anti-election fraud reforms and to block reasonable photo ID requirements for voters. [Read more...]