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20 October 2014

Crying ‘Racism’ On Ebola: Stop Treating The Disease’s Arrival In America As An Opportunity For Allegations Of Bigotry.

First responders in Dallas wear biohazard suits to investigate a suspected Ebola case. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Stop treating the disease’s arrival in America as an opportunity for allegations of bigotry.

In the grittier, less sanitized adaptations of Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” it is not only the sheep that lose their lives but the eponymous “boy” as well, his repeated mendacity and ill-timed attention-seeking leading, ultimately, to his death. Behavior, readers learn, breeds behavior, dishonesty begets mistrust, and gratuitousness fosters insensitivity, for “Men bileve not lyghtly hym whiche is knowen for a lyer.” Alarm, that most useful of things, operates on broadly the same principle. If everything is terrifying, eventually nothing will be. And then what is to become of us?

Over the past few decades or so, “racism” has become one of Aesop’s wolves, “racist” having been converted into such a depressingly quotidian charge that even those who believe racial injustice to be ubiquitous have come to resent the frequency with which it is alleged. Conservatives have long rolled their eyes at the wanton manner in which their ideological opponents have sought to tarnish them with the word — Peter Brimelow famously observed that, in so many instances, the definition of a “racist” is a “conservative who is winning an argument” — but, of late, we have been joined in irritation by other fair-minded sorts who have just about had enough. Earlier this year, George Will noted correctly that on college campuses and beyond, the charge has “become a joke among young people” — to the extent, even, that discussions of the topic are being received with “mirth.” Their inquiry? “What wolf”?

This, I’d propose, is a mixed blessing. Insofar as we are seeing pushback against the silliness, the development is a welcome one. But, beyond that narrow victory, the trend is culturally catastrophic. This is not a perfect world, and we are still in need of a word to describe those few among us who genuinely do come to ugly judgments on the basis of nothing more than the color of a man’s skin. If, as has started to happen, the term “racist” becomes too diluted — or, indeed, if it comes to be thrown around with such a lack of care that nobody is quite sure what it means anymore — both our language and our intellectual life will have been significantly impoverished. All of us have an interest in making sure that this does not come to pass.

Just as Aesop’s shepherd had a responsibility to reserve his clarion calls for times of genuine crisis, then, America’s race-relations watchers can be said to have an obligation to avoid frivolous and ill-considered charges of hostility. Alas, such discernment seems rarely to be in evidence. Writing in the Guardian last week, Hannah Giorgis proposed seriously that the Western world’s pronounced fear of Ebola was merely a proxy for “fear of a black patient.” The man who brought Ebola into the United States, Giorgis noted correctly, “was black, he was poor, and he was African” — and this, she suggested, really matters. After all, Giorgiscomplained, “a Dallas hospital turned away” the patient — an “uninsured Liberian immigrant” named Thomas Eric Duncan — “after an initial exam concluded he suffered only from a ‘low-grade viral disease.’” Simultaneously, “the media turned [Duncan] into the unsympathetic, undeserving face of a contagion with which the west is frantically grappling.” Far from being individually notorious for having brought a lethal disease to the United States, Giorgis suggested, Duncan and other West Africans with Ebola have “become nothing more than disease vectors responsible for infecting innocent western health workers.” So too “Amber Joy Vinson, the second healthcare worker diagnosed with the virus,” who Giorgisbelieves has been criticized because she is black. Meanwhile, Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Presbyterian who contracted the disease while treating a patient, is apparently immune from criticism, presumably because she’s . . . Asian?

This hypothesis — which has gained some currency in the sillier quarters of the cosmopolitan Left — carries about it all the hallmarks of a good old-fashioned conspiracy theory, convincing only to the unhealthily obsessed and the terminally ignorant. At first glance, one can just about contort oneself into imagining that Giorgis’s case might make sense. And yet, as with all ludicrous yarns, the whole kit and caboodle falls hopelessly apart at the first hint of inquiry. Thomas Eric Duncan was not the first person who has been misdiagnosed and turned away from a hospital, and he will not be the last. Moreover, that he was initially presumed to be suffering from little more than a “low-grade viral disease” is so unsurprising as to barely merit comment. The Pan American Health Organization records that the early symptoms of Ebola “can be easily attributed to several other diseases such as malaria, shigellosis, cholera, leptospirosisrickettsiosis, relapsing fever, hepatitis, typhoid fever, meningitis, the plague or a number of other viral hemorrhagic fevers,” and that “confirmation of the Ebola virus can only be confirmed by laboratory testing.” As far as we are all aware, the United States has never hosted an outbreak of this disease before. So what exactly did one expect a community hospital in Dallas to think when they encountered Duncan? “Gosh, this man has a fever, it’s probably Ebola?” Hardly. Indeed, had medical professionals looked at the man and, taking stock of his provenance, elected to treat him extra cautiously, would this not have represented precisely the sort of profiling that the Giorgises of the world love to hate?

Martin Luther King’s famous injunction held that we might judge others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. In which case, the salient question has to be: Can we make a solid case against both Duncan and Vinson purely on the basis of their behavior? Clearly, we can. The Associated Press — which organization’s rather insipid prose is not known for its racial overtones — has suggested that Duncan lied on a government form when leaving Liberia, assuring authorities that he had not come into contact with anybody suffering from Ebola. This, the country’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, suggested, was a disgraceful choice. “One of our compatriots didn’t take due care,” Sirleaf toldCBC, “and so, he’s gone there and in a way put some Americans in a state of fear, and put them at some risk, and so I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him.” Later in the interview, she described Duncan’s recklessness as “unpardonable, quite frankly.” Officials in Dallas County, too, have investigated the implications. “We are looking into whether or not Duncan knowingly and intentionally exposed the public to a deadly virus, making this a criminal matter for Dallas County,” spokeswoman Debbie Denmon told reporters last week. Are we to believe that this story would be different if Duncan had been from Prague?


The case against Vinson is almost identical, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Tom Frieden, having argued publicly that Vinson should not have chosen to travel on a thousand-mile-long commercial flight when she a) knew that she was getting sick and b) knew with which lethal and unpredictable disease she had recently come into contact. “She should not have been on that plane,” Dr. Frieden said bluntly. At no point did he mention her pigmentation. Are we to presume that she would have been given a pass if her race were different?

Being a sensible sort, Dr. Frieden appears to be hoping that no Americans will catch Ebola and die — an instinct that, in Hannah Giorgis’s peculiar little world, must surely be the product not of the universal human desire for self-preservation but of a racial animus so exquisite that it can only be revealed by monomaniacalGuardianistas. “Ebola,” Giorgis writes, “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.” On occasion, Mark Steyn has (half-)joked that all nations are capable of reaching a point beyond which they will become too stupid to survive. That “racism” was the initial reaction to the news that a lethal virus had reached America’s shores would appear rather to support his prediction.

All in all, we have a somewhat simple choice here. We can either regard the word “Ebola” as an opportunity for the promulgation of chichi sociology essays, or — preferably, I think — we can recognize that we are talking here about a serious problem that requires a serious remedy. I am nervous when I hear the word “Ebola” not because it conjures up in my mind images of people who have different-colored skin than I, but because it inspires images of a terrifying ailment that, per, begins with “a sudden onset of fever, general weakness, muscle pain, chills, headaches and sore throat,” quickly provokes “nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, bloodshot eyes, rash, chest pain and coughing, stomach pain, severe and rapid weight loss, bruising, bleeding from various orifices (most commonly the eyes), internal bleeding and impaired kidney and liver function,” and, eventually, ushers in death, typically after “a catastrophic drop in blood pressure resulting from the damage done to the blood vessels and massive blood loss.” Oh, yes: And it “has no cure.”

There are times in which it is appropriate for a civilized people to ruminate on prevailing injustices, and there are times in which it is appropriate for them to attend to the basics and to shoo away maladies and hazards. By treating Ebola’s arrival in America as an opportunity for hollow contemplation and sophomoric allegations of bigotry, Hannah Giorgis and her fellow travelers have rendered themselves shepherds of the asinine, undermining the very cause to which they hope to draw attention and ensuring that, next time a wolf really is at the door, a few more of the townsfolk will pooh-pooh the warnings, roll their weary eyes, and leave the indignant messengers to their fate.

— Charles C. W. Cooke is a staff writer at National Review.

18 October 2014

Pic of the Day: Obola's Ebola Response Team

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Have I mentioned lately how absolutely thrilled I am that 'the adults are in charge'? ///

h/t Instapundit via WeaselZippers

More Liberal Lies Exposed: The #CDC & #NIH Had Plenty of Money, But Chose To Spend It On Things Other Than #Ebola

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

1. #1 Bonus of $63,845 went to the Donald Shriber, Deputy Director of Policy & Communication at the Center for Global Health in 2011.

2. CDC Employee Counts Up By a Quarter since 2007. The gross number of CDC employees increased from 8,325 in 2007 to 10,213 in 2013- this is an all-time high.

3. $1 Billion in total payroll at CDC in 2013, that’s up from $726,000,000 in 2007- that’s a 38% increase in total payroll spending.

4. $21.504 Million in 2013 salaries flowed to the Top 100 Highly Compensated Executives at CDC.

5. Isn’t it time to fire the Interior Decorators and other extraneous employees at CDC? Millions of dollars of salaries and bonuses have flowed into positions such as these since 2007.

Rep. Henry Waxman testified at yesterday’s recent congressional hearings that the overall CDC budget was cut or impacted during sequester, but it’s just not the case with the pay and perks to CDC employees. CASH COMPENSATION AND NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES HAVE ALL INCREASED FROM 2007-2013 AND STAND AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH.

Many of these taxpayer-funded studies are a combination of absurd, like spending $181,406 getting Japanese quail high on cocaine, and downright offensive, like one project costing $544,188 studying how to convince young girls to get the HPV vaccine. Surely, these two agencies could find ways to run their operations more efficiently. By way of comparison, the combined budgets the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, FBI, DEA and Secret Service came to nearly $1 billion less than the NIH and CDC combined budgets.
If NIH and CDC are still having trouble coming up with ways to fund their fight against Ebola, here is a list of 15 wasteful programs totaling $15,135,574,669.00 where they could have saved:

1. Telling Taxpayers How to Eat ($15 billion)

Yes, that’s billion with a “b” in front. In a massive overstep of government power, Obamacare carved out $15 billion for CDC to convince Americans to make “healthy” choices through “Community Transformation Grants” (CTG). The CTG program “supports efforts to modify behavior through anti-obesity campaigns, as well as anti-smoking and pro-sin tax regulations and legislation” at the state and local levels, according to the bipartisan Citizens Against Government Waste.

2. Grant Money to China ($90 million)

NIH awarded more than $90 million to Chinese researchers. This included $2 million to develop a vaccine for a parasite disease common in China. The Traditional Values Coalition asked, “As our country heads to fiscal ruin, why are we giving millions in taxpayer dollars to Chinese science — which benefits China and its institutions — when they hold more than $1 trillion in American debt?”

3. Duplicate Agricultural Programs ($22 million) 

CDC spent $22 million on their Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program. The problem? This project was nearly identical to efforts already underway at the Department of Agriculture. CDC even allotted $181,966 for developing a smart phone app for specialized farmers in Tennessee.

4. “Why Are Lesbians Fat?” ($2.87 million)

That’s one question NIH has decided to research for the last four years, spending more than $2.87 million so far on the project. The ongoing study is meant to explain why “women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic,” operating under the claim that “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese. First funded in 2011, the study is slated to continue into 2016.

5. Promoting HPV Vaccine for Young Girls ($544,188)

CDC provided $544,188 for a study on how to boost the number of young girls getting Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccinations in Los Angeles County. Although CDC says the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk, it counts 772 serious adverse side effects, including 32 deaths, among the millions of doses administered to young girls between June, 2006, and December, 2008. Parents have raised moral objections as to whether young girls should receive the vaccine, which covers four sexually transmitted diseases.

6. Drunken Monkeys ($3.2 million)

NIH spent $3.2 million getting monkeys drunk just to see what would happen. The agency apparently has quite a fascination with excessive drinking, since it also “doled out money in recent years for research on binge-drinking mice, inebriated gamblers and pilots seeking the sensation of flying drunk,” according to The Washington Times.

7. Bizarre Sex Studies ($1.5 million)

Congress voted to give NIH $1.5 million to spend on four obscure sex studies: “Mood Arousal and Sexual Risk Taking,” “Study on Sexual Habits of Older Men,” “Study on San Francisco’s Asian Prostitutes/Masseuses,” and “Study on American Indian Transgender Research.” NIH still received the requested funds from Congress, despite efforts by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., in 2004 to defund the projects.

8. Funds for Homosexual Activists in Public Schools ($1.4 million)

CDC gave The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the homosexual activist group, $1.4 million to create “safe spaces” in public schools starting in 2011. The funding will be distributed during a five year period, as GLSEN works in 20 targeted school districts across the country. GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard claimed in 2011 that safe spaces “are vital to these students’ health, success in school and life prospects.”

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

9. Centers for GUN DISEASE Prevention ($2.6 million)

CDC spent $2.6 million on studies that also seemed to favor greater gun control before when Congress defunded the research in 1999. Apparently Congress thought CDC had more important issues to study, like how to control actual diseases. For FY 2015, President Obama is asking Congress to grant CDC $22.2 million in new funding to study and prevent gun violence. Obama has made similar requests in previous years, though unsuccessfully.

10. National Institutes of ‘Gun Control’ ($5 million)

Separately from the CDC, NIH also handed out nearly $5 million for research promoting gun control as of October, 2009, according to an article in The Washington Times. NIH pursued research on “gun related violence,” despite the issue being well outside the organization’s typical domain. Grants included “$642,561 in taxpayer funds to learn how inner-city teenagers whose friends, acquaintances and peers carry firearms and drink alcohol on street corners could show up in emergency rooms with gunshot wounds.”

11. Cocaine Enhances Japanese Quail’s Sex Drive ($181,406)

No joke, this was a real study sponsored by NIH and slated to run through next year. Why quail? Because “quail provide a convenient and interesting alternative to standard laboratory rats and pigeons.”

12. Empowering Women to Choose Contraception … IN JAIL ($279,789)

Liberals have long battled to expand women’s access to contraceptives. So in June 2012, NIH allocated $279,789 “to improve contraceptive use for incarcerated women” as they neared the end of their jail time. The program, which ran from June 1, 2008, through on May 31, 2014, was ultimately intended to reduce unexpected pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among recently incarcerated women.

13. Bogus AIDS Experiments ($4.9 million)

Results of an HIV/AIDS vaccine study funded by NIH were faked by researcher at Iowa State University (ISU), calling into question $19 million in grants awarded to the same researcher over the years. “Inauthentic” samples throughout a period of four years made the vaccine reportedly appear far more effective than it actually was. Although NIH refused to pay ISU the final installment of the grant money, the university was allowed to keep more than $4.9 million after paying back the researcher’s salary – nearly three-quarters of the original grant.

14. Sex Workers Spreading STDs ($675,786)

Ever wonder why sex workers spread HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? The answer might seem obvious, but NIH is spending $675,786 to find out exactly how and why in an ongoing study. Researches are continuing the regular testing of 600 female sex workers on the U.S.-Mexico border for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.
15. Examining ‘Barriers to Correct Condom Use’ ($423,500)

It turns out “young, heterosexual adult men” weren’t using condoms as frequently as NIH would like. A study investigating the apparent problem in 2009 came with $423,500 price tag.

MORE things that the CDC/NIH would rather spend money on than working on an Ebola vaccine…

1. $2.4 million:

To develop ‘origami’ condoms designed with Japanese folding paper in mind [Origami Condom' creator Daniel Resnic is accused of spending NIH grant dollars on cosmetic surgery, a Playboy Mansion party and exotic trips, and using his friends as informal research subjects instead of holding a controlled human trial];
2. $939,000:

To find out that male fruit flies prefer to romance younger females because the girl-flies’ hormone levels drop over time;

3. $325,000:

To learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands;

4. $257,000:

To make an online game as a companion to first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden;

5. $117,000:

In taxpayers’ grant dollars to discover that most chimpanzees are right-handed;

6. $592,000:

Almost $600,000 more to find out that not only are most chimps right-handed, but those with the best communications skills are also the best poop-flingers;

7. $666,000:

To determine whether watching sitcom reruns like ‘Seinfeld’ or re-watching old movies helps older people feel re-connected with pseudo-friends from their past;

8. $181,000:

To study how cocaine use ‘enhanced’ the sex drive of the Japanese quail;

9. $548,000:

To find out if 30-something partiers feel immature after they binge drink while people in their mid-20s don’t;

10. $610,000:

Was used for a 120-nation survey to determine how satisfied people in different countries are with their lives;

11. $1.1 million:

Funded research into how athletes perceive their in-game surroundings, including one Purdue University study that discovered golfers can putt 10 per cent better if they imagine the hole is bigger;

12. $832,000:

Went to learn if it was possible to get uncircumcised South African tribesmen into the habit of washing their genitals after having sex;

14. $484,000:

Researchers explored whether hypnotists could help postmenopausal women avoid hot flashes.

15. $294,000:

To push yoga if hypnotists could not help postmenopausal women avoid hot flashes.

Progressive groups have also tried to falsely accuse Republicans of slashing funding for health agency, running ads claiming that “Republican Cuts Kill” even though the numbers do not back up their claims. IN FACT, IT WAS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S BUDGET THAT PROPOSED CUTS TO KEY PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCIES.
As the Atlanta Business Chronicle noted in a piece entitled 'CDC Wins In Budget Deal' dated 17 January 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) got an “8.2 percent budget increase for fiscal 2014, thanks to a $1.1 trillion spending bill announced by Congress Jan. 13.” In addition, the CDC received more funds than Obama had requested because of Congress. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the CDC’s $6.9 billion “is $567 million more than it received in 2013, “and “this is more than the agency anticipated, because the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for it was just $6.6 billion — a decrease of $270 million from fiscal 2012.

And as Reason observed:

'The Pandemic Preparedness Funding' in America's "Global Health Program' actually saw 'a decrease of $22.5 million (-31%) below its Fiscal Year 2014 funding BECAUSE OBAMA'S BUDGET REQUESTED THAT DECREASE.'

After reviewing the wasteful, inane and duplicate spending of both the CDC and the NIH, I repeat again, the dagger to the heart of those screaming "Republican Cuts Kills' stated in an Atlantic Business Chronicle piece entitled 'CDC Wins In Budget Deal' dated 17 January 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) got an '8.2 PERCENT BUDGET INCREASE FOR FISCAL 2014, THANKS TO A $1.1 TRILLION SPENDING BILL ANNOUNCED BY CONGRESS JAN. 13.'  

In addition, the CDC received more funds than President Obama had requested because of the 'obstructionists, who only care about the Evil, Greedy Rich and Big Corporations' a/k/a the Republicans. Once again, 'THE CDC’S $6.9 BILLION IS $567 MILLION MORE THAN IT RECEIVED IN 2013,' and 'THIS IS MORE THAN THE AGENCY ANTICIPATED, BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT’S FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGET REQUEST FOR IT WAS JUST $6.6 BILLION — A DECREASE OF $270 MILLION FROM FISCAL 2012.'

Our final shot comes from the pithy wisdom of Mr Joseph Rossell of 

‘Surely, these two agencies could find ways to run their operations more efficiently. By way of comparison, the combined budgets the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, FBI, DEA and Secret Service came to nearly $1 billion less than the NIH and CDC combined budgets.’