Friday, October 24, 2014

Cartoon Round Up

 

 

 


Ebola! Ebola! Yawn

By Alan Caruba

How is Ebola spread? Two ways; one, by letting anyone exposed to it in West Africa into America when they fly here and, two, by assuming that medical professionals and others who have been exposed to it would quarantine themselves from contact with others once they are here.

The latest case is Dr. Craig Spencer, an American to whom the travel ban would not apply, identified as potentially having Ebola after treating victims in Africa and who totally ignored the potential of spreading it to others as he made his way around New York on subways, went bowling, and likely had dinner at a restaurant.

Earlier a NBC news crew that had been exposed to Ebola was issued a mandatory quarantine by the New Jersey Health Department, but its chief medical editor and correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, while symptom-free, decided to break the quarantine. One of the crew, Ashoko Mokpo, did fall ill and is being treated at the Nebraska Medical Center.

What does it tell you when two medical professional behave in this manner? It tells you that even those who know they can infect others were indifferent to the risk. It tells you that airport staff armed with thermometers are no defense against anyone coming in from the Ebola hot zone in Africa.

It tells you that the failure to impose a ban on all flights from West Africa should have been imposed weeks ago.

It tells you that sending three thousand active duty soldiers and another thousand reservists into the Ebola hot zone is a senseless act that exposes them to the disease and countless others on their return unless they are all held in quarantine until no signs of the disease are detected. The risk still remains even after the twenty-one days that the Center for Disease Control cites as the time in which victims would show signs of the disease.

The two Dallas nurses who acquired the disease have been treated and one has been released. As of October 23, there were eighteen cases of Ebola in Europe and the U.S. Unlike Africa, Western nations have responded quite well to the threat.

In New York, the Mayor, Bill de Blasio, was joined by the Governor Andrew Cuomo to hold a

press conference that seemed to this observer intended to exonerate them of any charge they were not taking Dr. Spencer’s foolishness lightly and to avoid public panic among a public that is clearly not panicking.

Given the continued news coverage of Ebola, it is amazing that Americans have absorbed the fundamental message that the disease has not affected those outside the healthcare community with the exception of the NBC crew and that steps have been put in place to identify and isolate those who had it. Moreover, while a deadly virus in Africa, it has been treated and cured here in America.

So far, so good.

The real challenge will be the flu season when lots of people will show up at hospitals with flu symptoms that resemble Ebola symptoms. If you haven’t been vaccinated, get one! How hospitals deal with this is going to be a real test of their judgment and skills.

I am hopeful we may be spared more press conferences that don’t tell us anything more than what we already know. I surely don’t want to hear President Obama tell me that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Visitors? Count'm at 3.8 Million

Warning Signs has passed a new milestone--3.8 million visitors. This blog averages 70,000 visits a month at this point and for that I am very thankful.

I always aim to produce a commentary, one of five each week, that provides documented information and useful analysis to understand a very complex world.

For that the donations received are especially welcome and important to help cover office and IT costs.

Here's a special THANK YOU to those who have given donation in the past and I hope I can count you as one in the future.

 
Alan Caruba

The Islamic Madness Persists


By Alan Caruba

The lull in the coverage of all things Islamic was broken by two terrorist attacks in Canada, a reminder that so long as the world does not unite to destroy the Islamic State, we shall all remain vulnerable. A “lone wolf” terrorist can kill you just as dead as one in a terrorist organization, particularly one encouraging these attacks.

While the media’s herd mentality continues to report about Ebola in West Africa and gears up for massive coverage of the forthcoming November 4 midterm elections, the Middle East remains in a low state of boil, never failing to produce bombings, skirmishes, and the usual inhumanities we associate with Islam.

Americans pay attention to the Middle East only when blood is flowing and at the present time the only element generating that is the Islamic State (ISIS) which continues to attack Kobani in northern Syria and assault the Yazidis and other targets in Iraq. The U.S., Britain and France are bombing ISIS forces, largely to protect and assist the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the only fighting force of any consequence.

Virtually unreported are the 18 million Muslim refugees throughout out the Middle East. The U.N. reports that these and internally displaced persons reflect the turmoil in Afghanistan, Iraq. Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. To grasp this, think about what either the U.S. or Europe would be like with a comparable number of refugees.

As David P. Goldman, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Wax Family Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, noted October 20 on the Forum website, “That is cause for desperation: unprecedented numbers of people have been torn from traditional society and driven from their homes, many with little but the clothes on their backs.”

“There are millions of young men in the Muslim world sitting in refugee camps with nothing to do, nowhere to go back to, and nothing to look forward to…never has an extremist movement had so many frustrated and footloose young men in its prospective recruitment pool.”

So what does John Kerry, our Secretary of State, think is the greatest problem in the Middle East? While discussing the ISIS coalition with Middle East leaders, Kerry expressed the opinion a week ago that the Israeli-Palestine situation was the real problem. Apparently he is unaware that there is no Palestinian state and never has been. The one on the West Bank exists thanks to Israeli support and the one in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, provoked Israeli defense measures by rocketing it for months.

Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a Shillman/Ginsberg fellow at the Middle East Forum, has a quite different point of view. “In reality, however, the novelty of the Islamic State, as well as the magnitude of the threat it poses, are greatly exaggerated.”

Noting that many of the Arab states have “failed to modernize and deliver basic services” Prof. Inbar has little anticipation that ISIS could do that either. Moreover “Much of the fragmented Arab world will be busy dealing with its domestic problems for decades, minimizing the possibility that it will turn into a formidable enemy for Israel or the West.”

What has seemed to escape Kerry’s and the President’s attention is the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The negotiations to encourage Iran to step back from its efforts to create the warheads for its missiles do not appear to promise a favorable outcome. Iran managed to get some sanctions lifted and that was likely why Iran entered into them. They don’t care what the West or the rest of the Middle East wants.

Neither Israel, nor Saudi Arabia are as na├»ve as the U.S. In March, Richard Silverstein, writing in Tikun Olam, reported that “the level of intense cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in targeting Iran has become clear. Saudi Arabia isn’t just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel. It’s actually financing a good deal of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran.” A recent explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility suggests that the campaign is still quite active.

Noting “airtight military censorship in Israel”, Silverstein pointed out that information about the Israeli-Saudi relationship would not have been reported in an Israeli daily newspaper, Maariv, if both governments did not want Iran and the U.S. to know. In effect, the Saudis have replaced the U.S. as a source of support given President Obama’s barely concealed dislike of Israel.

“But Israel,” wrote Silverstein, “isn’t going to war tomorrow.” Israel will watch the outcome of the U.S.-Iran negotiations and determine what action to take or not at that point. Meanwhile, it will keep the pressure on Iran with its covert program.

At some point the news media will begin to pay more attention to the Middle East. It will not get much cooperation, however, from ISIS because the Islamic State has made it clear that only journalists that obey its rules and write what it wants will live very long.

The “religion of peace”, Islam, has not produced much peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world for the last 1,400 years. 
 
© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Ebola Panic Despite Media Hysteria


By Alan Caruba

One man has died of Ebola in the U.S. and he came here from Liberia. Two of the nurses that tended him are in intensive care and likely to survive. A third was thought to be infected, but wasn’t. That news has been sufficient to keep most Americans calm as the media has done its best to exploit Ebola-related news.

The public absorbed the facts and came to their own conclusion.

An October 8 Pew Research survey found that “Most are confident in Government’s ability to prevent major Ebola outbreak in U.S.”  That reflects the way we have all been conditioned to look to the federal government to solve our problems, but the public mood had not changed by October 20 when a Rasmussen Reports analysis of a survey concluded that “Americans are keeping their cool about Ebola, but some acknowledge that they have changed travel plans because of the outbreak of the deadly virus in the United States.” 

Wrong. There has been no “outbreak.” One dead Liberian and two nurses is not an outbreak.

Fully 66% of the Rasmussen respondents said that Ebola is a serious public health problem, including 29% who deemed it very serious, but few believe it is an active public health threat here in the U.S.  

All this was occurring as spokesmen for the Centers of Disease Control tried to both warn and reassure Americans, managing only to evoke a measure of derision. President Obama also sought to reassure Americans, but fewer and fewer believe anything he has to say these days.

Then he appointed an “Ebola czar” who had no medical or healthcare background whatever to qualify for the job. Add in Obama’s failure to institute a travel ban and the likelihood is that Democratic candidates will pay a price for this on Nov 4. 

I suspect the President’s advisors are telling him the Ebola problem has been a blessing because the media will not be reporting any of the stories that could harm Democratic candidates. Starting with the fact that the nation’s voters are evenly divided between a liberal or conservative point of view that means that independent voters will be the deciding factor and they are independent because they pay more attention to events and the news.

One of the stories that are being held back from the news is the outcome of the U.S. Army investigation of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was traded by Obama for five top Taliban leaders to secure his release. Members of his unit unanimously say he deserted them and, if that is the Army’s conclusion, it makes the swap look dubious, if not treasonable.

The news after the midterm elections will be filled with reports of employers cutting healthcare insurance to both full and part-time employees. Wal-Mart has already announced this for its part-timers. There is already news of the fact the ObamaCare, the Affordable Patient Care Act, is proving to be very expensive for those who signed up. This includes news about its higher deductibles and premiums.

Robert E. Moffit, a senior fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies, recently reported that “Thanks to ObamaCare, Health Costs Soared this Year”, noting that “On November 15, open enrollment in the ObamaCare exchanges begins again.” Among the lessons learned from Year One of ObamaCare is that “Health costs jumped—big time.” Compared with employer-based coverage, the average deductible of a little over $1,000, doubled to more than $2,000.

Obama promised that the typical family premium cost would be lowered by $2,500, but it has actually increased and ObamaCare actually reduced competition in most health-insurance markets. We do not know how many Americans are actually insured. Despite predictions of millions who would be insured, the administration “now concedes that there are 700,000 fewer persons in the exchanges.”

The claim was that ObamaCare would reduce U.S. health spending, but a recent Health and Human Services report—delayed as long as possible—found that its Accountable Care Organization element has increased costs. States are dropping out of ObamaCare exchanges as a result.

The Obama administration has been very quiet about his intension to by-pass Congress to impose an amnesty program for the eleven million or more illegal aliens in the US. Most polls demonstrate widespread opposition to amnesty. Obama is expected to try to institute one anyway.

Lastly, unless the Islamic State shows up at the gates of Baghdad and takes control, there is likely to be little news from an Iraq that exists now in name only.

The results of Obama’s six years in office have been a disaster in many ways and the outcome of the midterm elections will have a dramatic effect on Obama’s ability to continue his destruction of the U.S. economy and other policies.

Essentially, a majority of Americans, including many of his former supporters, have concluded that there is no Ebola crisis and that Obama’s time in office has been the very opposite of what he promised. The change they want is to see an end to Obama’s term in office. A start in that direction is the November 4 midterm elections.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The "Malaise" Has Returned


By Alan Caruba

The joke is that Jimmy Carter is happy that Barack Obama has replaced him as the worst President of the modern era.  It is a supreme irony that Obama’s campaign theme was “Hope and Change” when Americans have lost a great deal of hope about their personal futures and the only change they want is to see Obama gone from office.

Elected by a narrow margin in 1976, Carter managed in his one term to see his approval ratings fall to twenty-five percent by June 1979. The lesson Americans have to learn over and over again is that liberal policies and programs don’t work.

In six years, the kind of dependence on the government to take care of people from cradle to grave has left the nation with 92 million unemployed or who have stopped looking for a job, entitled 45 million to food stamps, and there is still talk of a “minimum wage” in the interest of “fairness” that simply kills jobs, especially those that used to be filled by young people just entering the workplace. The worst part of Obama’s presidency is the lies he tells in the belief, apparently, that most Americans are so stupid they won’t see through them.

On July 15, 1979, in an effort to encourage a greater sense of confidence, Jimmy Carter delivered a speech that became known as the “malaise” speech, but which did not include that word. What it did, however, is double down on all the bad policies Carter had pursued and blamed Americans for not accepting them. By then the economy was in decline, gasoline prices and interest rates had climbed to record levels, and the voters were understandably pessimistic. Iranians had taken U.S. diplomats hostage and they would not be released until Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.

Carter’s speech began by asking “Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?”  Quite literally there was no need then or now for an energy problem because, as recently noted by the Energy Information Administration, the United States has enough coal to last more than 200 years! With the development of hydraulic fracturing, fracking, we now have access to more oil than exists in Saudi Arabia.

Obama literally came into office saying he intended to wage a war on coal and he has; using the Environmental Protection Agency to institute regulations that have led to the closing a mines and the shutdown of coal-fired plants that used to produce 50% of the nation’s electricity; now down to 40%. He resisted allowing the drilling for oil in the huge reserves on our east and west coasts. He has refused to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. These policies have led to the loss of thousands of jobs during the time that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

In his speech, Carter said, “The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.” We would do well to remember that we have been through periods like this before and corrected course.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan would be elected to replace Carter and America prospered through his two terms, returning to being a major superpower, economically and militarily. That’s what conservatism produces.

Carter, however, blamed Americans for the problems of his times. “Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.”
 
One of Obama’s earliest acts was to visit foreign nations and blame America for many of the world’s problems. Militarily he pulled our troops out of Iraq and he intends to do the same in Afghanistan. He has cut the military budget to the bone and has now defined its mission as one to address “climate change”, not the enemies of our nation.

Obama spent his entire first term blaming George W. Bush for every problem that he did nothing to correct. Indeed, Obama has never seen himself as the real problem, finding anyone else to blame.

Those Americans watching Carter deliver his speech must surely have cringed as he announced that he intended to set import quotas on foreign energy resources. He said he wanted Congress to impose a “windfall profits” tax on the very energy firms that he wanted to get us out of the doldrums and dependency that was causing the problem. He wanted the utility companies to “cut their massive use of oil by fifty percent within a decade.” He wanted them to switch to coal and now we live in a nation whose President doesn’t want our utilities to use coal. Why? Despite massive evidence to the contrary, he has advocated “renewable” energy, wind and solar, neither of which can ever meet the nation’s needs.

“In closing, let me say this: I will do my best, but I will not do it alone. Let your voice be heard,” said Carter.
 
In the 1980 election the voter’s voice was heard. Carter was gone and Reagan was our President. With him came his infectious patriotism and optimism. By late 1983 his economic program had ended the recession he inherited from Carter. A similar program would have put an end to what is now routinely called Obama's Great Recession.

We are at a point not dissimilar from the days of Jimmy Carter and with an even greater sense of dissatisfaction and distrust of Barack Obama.

I reach back in our recent history to remind you that on November 4th in our midterm elections and in the 2016 presidential election we can repeat history by ridding the nation of those members of Congress that voted for ObamaCare and have supported President Obama. We must wait to see who the GOP will offer as a presidential candidate, but we have time for that.

We have time to “hope” for a better future and we have the means to make the “change” to achieve it.
 
© Alan Caruba, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Democratic Voting Bloc-Heads

 
By Alan Caruba

As this is being written, Rasmussen Reports says that 48% of likely voters approve of President Obama’s performance in office while 50% disapproved. Other polls indicate far more unhappiness with Obama, but in general one must conclude that half the voters are idiots. He is an enormous failure domestically and with his foreign relations.

In early July, a Quinnipiac University national poll found that Obama was regarded as “the worst president since World War II.” The only poll that counts will be the midterm elections on November 4th.

We know that Republicans and a significant percentage of independent voters will pull the lever for the change needed to save the nation from Congressional gridlock and whatever further mischief and idiocy Obama will seek to impose, but what do we know about the Democratic Party’s voting blocs? They say a lot about America today.

A website called Debt.org, offers a look at the “Economic Demographics of Democrats.” It offered the following conclusions:

# Generally, Democrats live closer to a coast—East or West—living more in cities than Republicans. Populated areas have a higher concentration of minorities who “overwhelmingly vote Democrat.”

# They tend to have more women in their ranks than Republicans and this is true as well of gays and lesbians.

# They support organized labor, unions, more.

# They are slightly younger than Republicans and “increasingly less religious.”

After years have telling Americans that Republicans are engaged in “a war on women” it should not come as a surprise that 37% of women are Democrats while Republicans have 24%. Unmarried women vote Democrat about 62% of the time, while married women tend to split between the parties.

What may well save the nation from the split between the two political parties is the fact that 43% declare themselves to be politically independent.

Economically, people earning less than $15,000 a year represent 31% of Democrat voters. Those earning $50,000 or more vote Republican or independent.  The average median household income in the U.S. is $49,777, right near the point where the Democratic advantage in numbers disappears.

While the President and the Democratic Party are forever complaining about the inequality of the wealthy while endlessly taking their money for campaigns, a review of the twenty richest Americans as listed by Forbes magazine found that 60% affiliate with the Democratic Party!

Would it surprise anyone to learn that Republicans are better educated than Democrats? Or that Democrats tend to be slightly younger, with an average age of 47. This voting bloc, 46 million, is anticipated of increase to 90 million in 2020.

Racially and ethnically, Republicans are 87% white as compared to Democratic supporters.
 
African Americans mindlessly vote Democratic and are literally taken for granted by the party though an Oct 18 New York Times article reported that a confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama “contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted ‘crushing Democratic losses across the country’ if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.” He said, “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”  That’s the kind of voter the Democratic Party has relied upon for years.

Jews as well give 80% of their votes to Democrats. Hispanics are the fastest growing group of voters and also tend to support Democrats, voting for them 60% to 70% of the time. They constitute 16% of the population and are expected to nearly double by 2050.

Observers of politics at this point note that Democrats are stepping up an aggressive push to woo single women, regarding of their age, level of education, or earning power, but they also note that many single women do not vote, especially in non-presidential election years like this one. The result is that older, white and more conservative women will vote more. One analyst, Jackie Calmes, notes that, according to the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, in the 2012 presidential election, 58% of single women voted, but is predicting that will slide to 39%.

In an American Thinker.com September commentary, Chad Stafko, wrote that “The African-American voting block has become powerless and irrelevant due to its decades-old blind allegiance to the Democratic Party and the growing likelihood (is) that the group will soon be eclipsed in size by the Hispanic voting bloc.”  The judgment of this bloc is best seen in the fact that African Americans have voted for Democrats for years to serve as mayors in “what are now some of the most economically-challenged cities in America.” Despite having voted for Obama at a rate of 93%, they have “received the brunt of the effects of the Obama-led stagnant economy.”

While there is much talk of the growing Hispanic bloc, but many are ineligible to vote and those that are often do not or are concentrated in noncompetitive districts and states. One observer, Nate Cohn, noted that “Hispanic voters will represent a tiny fraction of the electorate in the states and districts critical to the battle for control of Congress.”  Currently that represent about 17% of the U.S. population and a quarter of them are under age 18 and cannot vote. Only 69% of adult Hispanics are citizens as compared with 96% of adult-non-Hispanics.

In general, Democrats may have numbers, but those voters are just as likely to skip the upcoming midterm elections. When you add in concerns about Ebola and the economy, there’s even more reason to believe they are less motivated to vote. In contrast, Republicans and a large segment of independent voters are far more motivated.

The Democratic Party depends on voting blocs of less educated, less wealthy, more knee-jerk voters than the Republican Party, and thanks to a liberal news media the GOP has problems getting out its message and responding to the lies the Democratic Party incessantly repeat.

Even so, political pundits are predicting that the midterm elections will sweep Democrats from office and defeat their candidates. That’s the good news.

© Alan Caruba, 2014