Arnold Ahlert / Oct. 21, 2014

Americans Are Angry, Not Hysterical

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear – because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts.”—President Barack Obama CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden apparently didn’t get the memo. Here’s his breathtaking response to a question about whether one could contract Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus. “I think there are two different parts of that equation,” he answered. “The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no. Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you.”

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear – because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts.” –Barack Obama

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden apparently didn’t get the memo. Here’s his breathtaking response to a question about whether one could contract Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus. "I think there are two different parts of that equation,“ he answered. "The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no. Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you.”

Utterly surreal. As for some “basic facts,” here is the most basic fact of all, Mr. President, courtesy of columnist Pat Buchanan. “Growing up in Washington in the 1930s and ‘40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster would be tacked on the door indicating the presence within of a contagious disease – measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever,” he writes. “None of us believed we were victims of some sort of invidious discrimination against large Catholic families. It was a given that public health authorities were trying to contain the spread of a disease threatening the health of children.”

The left’s reflexive response to the First Rule in terms of preventing an Ebola epidemic? Poo-poohing a flight ban. “There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone –and very few from other countries in West Africa," writes FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. "There are far more flights from West Africa to Western Europe instead. Duncan’s case was typical. Before arriving in the United States, he connected through Brussels.”

Later on in Silver’s piece, the most obvious light bulb finally went off. “Some of the proposals for a travel ban have suggested denying boarding to passengers on the basis of their nationality, rather than the specific route they’re flying,” he finally figured out.

Such an idea is so obvious and common sensical, it is almost axiomatic the left would still resist it. Thus, the cling to the contemptible notion that flying into and out of the disease-stricken nations in West Africa amounts to the same thing. They insist that airport screening in America – the same airport screening that failed miserably with regard to Thomas Eric Duncan – is sufficient. That’s not science, that’s politics.

What about sending aid into those nations? “It isn’t remotely realistic that we could charter flights that were cost effective and would coordinate with all the relief efforts that are ongoing and will ramp up," writes Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. "And advocates for a ban are assuming it would only be the US and US aid workers. But the US launching a travel ban would cascade around the world virtually sealing a whole region off.”

Imagine, sealing off a whole region consumed by a deadly virus. Who could be so “insensitive?” Apparently several African nations bordering those nations afflicted by Ebola didn’t get the PC memo. “Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, all of which share borders with at least one of the three most affected countries, have closed those borders," notes the Associated Press, which further explains "South Africa and Zambia slapped travel and entry restrictions on Ebola-stricken countries,” that included 21-day surveillance.

What about government-arranged transportation for workers to get into the afflicted nations? “It’s not as if assistance is this highly organized campaign, with all the necessary aid workers and their supplies lined up at Dover Air Force base, just waiting for C-17s to take them across the Atlantic," laments the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn.

Why not? Because a highly organized campaign might force our Commander-in-Chief-in-Name-Only to cancel a round of golf or two. Or, heaven forbid, another fund-raiser. Because the ever-expanding government worshipped by the left has been revealed as incompetent, out of touch and mired in the kind of despicable political calculations that trump any genuine concern for the health of the American public.

Perhaps one of the least-talked about aspects of President Obama’s and the American Left’s determination to "internationalize” Ebola is exactly that: despite the Constitution’s demand that our government protect American national security, Obama and his fellow trans-nationalists make no distinction between Americans’ concerns and those of the rest of the world. In a sick sense, Ebola must be given an “equal opportunity” to expand in the West, lest we be accused of being racist for preventing it from happening.

Don’t believe it? Try this from The Guardian’s Hannah Giorgis. “Ebola now functions in popular discourse as a not-so-subtle, almost completely rhetorical stand-in for any combination of ‘African-ness,’ ‘blackness,’ ‘foreign-ness’ and ‘infestation’ – a nebulous but powerful threat, poised to ruin the perceived purity of western borders and bodies,” she writes. "Dead African bodies are the nameless placeholders for (unwarranted, racist) ‘panic,' a conversation topic too heavy for the dinner table yet light enough for supermarket aisles.“

Giorgis was just getting warmed up. "To be black – African or otherwise – is to be born into a world that anticipates your death with bated breath (or botched execution cocktail, or vigilante bullet, or syphilis needle),” she insists. “It is to occupy a position of social death, to exist in a liminal space that guarantees neither rights nor recognition under the law. It is to be a perpetual contaminant in the body of the western world.”

Not to worry, Ms. Giorgis. The Obama administration is apparently sensitive to your concerns. One is hard-pressed to think of any other reason to explain why troops from the 101st Airborne Division being deployed to Ebola hotspots will not receive Hazmat suits. “They don’t need the whole suit – as such – because they’re not going to be in contact with any of the people," Major General Darryl Williams, the commander of US troops in Africa, explained.

What could possibly go wrong? "In one study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ebola virus lived on a surface in a perfectly controlled environment for up to six days,” CNN reports. “But the environment at an airport, for example, or a school is not perfectly suited to support viruses. Ebola is easily destroyed outside of the body, experts say. UV light, heat and exposure to oxygen all deactivate the virus over time.”

“Over time” is a pretty disturbing qualifier. So are a few more basic facts, courtesy of Drexel University’s Dr. Charles Haas, who specializes in microbiological risk assessment. He has released a research paper, “On the Quarantine Period for Ebola Virus” in which he posits that some patents may remain contagious longer than 21 days. He explains that time frame, recommended by the CDC and the WHO, is based on “potentially flawed” data arising from the 1976 Ebola outbreak in Zaire. His findings coincide with a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine that found 5 percent of those who contracted Ebola in West Africa’s current outbreak had incubation periods longer than 21 days.

Ironically, 5 percent is also the number of travelers from the afflicted nations who will receive no screening whatsoever when they enter the United States.

Yesterday, Politico released a poll revealing that 64 percent of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” One is left to wonder how oblivious the remaining 36 percent are – or how wedded they are to a leftist ideology that elevates political considerations above everything else.

Nothing speaks to that reality louder the the president’s appointment of Ron Klain as “Ebola Czar.” Klain’s track record as a political operative is long and tawdry. His medical credentials? Non-existent. His and/or the administration’s level of seriousness? He either skipped, or wasn’t invited to, two high-level meetings discussing the federal response to Ebola, last Friday and Saturday.

In the meantime, the media is once again more than willing to carry the president’s water. A CBS News report's title gives the game away: “Ebola panic spreading much faster than disease in U.S.”

Memo to CBS and all of the other leftist media lapdogs: “panic” is not the operative word. Panic aligns itself with the leftist worldview, as in Americans are too stupid to behave rationally when faced with one of the deadliest viruses on the planet.

Americans are not panicked, not nearly as much as they are angry and disgusted by an Obama administration, a Democrat Party and a mainstream media thoroughly invested in the notion that any deviation from leftist prescriptions for containment must be derived from panic and/or racism. They are rightly appalled by the plethora of unpreparedness, misinformation and outright lying that emanates from the Obama administration, seemingly on a daily basis. They are disgusted by the toxic stew of political correctness, bureaucratic incompetence and corruption that is putting their lives in unnecessary danger.

In fact, the only real panic is coming from the left itself. They realize that all of this nonsense is occurring less than a month before the voting public gets a chance to render their verdict on the administration’s performance – along with Democrat and media support for it. With any luck a massive “payback trifecta” is on the way.

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