American Elephants


The Obligatory Daily Ebola Post, Continued. by The Elephant's Child

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What is a quarantine, and what is not, and what is inhumane treatment that requires a lawsuit to escape?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs health workers returning from West Africa to monitor their health for 21 days and that “during the time that you are monitoring your health, you can continue your normal activities.” Only after a health worker’s temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit does the CDC advise that he or she go to a doctor, “limit your contact with other people” and “avoid public transportation.”

A lot of people were shocked to hear that when Ebola-infected doctor Craig Spencer returned to New York City from Guinea, after serving there with Doctors Without Borders, he went for a three-mile run, stopped at a coffee stand,  ate at a meatball restaurant, rode on three New York subway lines, met friends at a bowling alley and used an Uber sedan to return home — none of his actions violated CDC directions. and he apparently felt fine.

The president has consistently treated Ebola as a crisis of public relations, that can be fixed with a new manager  or a more fortuitous choice of words. Instead of telling us up-front what we know for sure and what we don’t know for sure, the CDC has consistently attempted to pacify rather than take firm precautions.

Obama promised Americans that his administration was taking the necessary precautions so that someone with Ebola didn’t get on a plane, which Thomas Eric Duncan did just four days later, and due to much confusion about CDC protocols managed to infect two nurses before he died of Ebola.

Kaci Hickox returned from West Africa after tending Ebola patients there, and immediately began complaining when she was quarantined. Inhumane treatment! she shrieked, and threatened to sue. When she was sent home to Maine with a promise that she would carefully self-monitor and remain at home, immediately decided that self-quarantine was unnecessary and went out.

Ebola is not easily cured, and has something like a 70% death rate. One would think that staying home for 3 weeks would be easy if  you knew that you were preventing your fellows from catching a fatal disease from you. File under lack of character.

Australia has simply shut its borders to citizens of the countries of Ebola Central. That followed  decisions by the U.S. military to quarantine soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission (including one General). The U.N. and the afflicted countries say all this is unnecessary and might stop people agreeing to volunteer just when they desperately need thousands of volunteers. Dr. Frieden, head of CDC called for isolation of “people at the highest risk for Ebola infection” but said most returning medical workers would require monitoring without isolation. Frieden said:

At CDC, we base our decisions on science and experience … And as the science and experience changes, we adopt and adapt our guidelines and recommendations.

File this under “I’m a doctor, don’t doubt me.”

The hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan died and two nurses were infected, was unprepared, had not trained for the possibilities, nor studied the protocols. The media keeps talking about the “mass panic” — which has not yet appeared, and ignoring the anger — which has appeared.  Ebola has appeared in Africa for many years. We gave extra funds to the CDC, the office in HHS of the Ebola Czar, other agencies so they could study up and determine how best to address the disease. All the agencies were grateful for the extra cash and quickly spent most of it on frivolous grants and more fun stuff.

Research shows that certain strains of Ebola can remain on surfaces up to 50 days. It typically lives on a dry surface for a matter of hours, but in moist conditions like mucus, it is extended, according to the UK’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

The State Department had quietly made plans to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, according to an internal document  which argued that as the only way to get other countries to send medical teams would be to promise the U.S. as the world’s medical backstop. The Obama administration if furiously backpedaling, claiming they are not going to do it.

Since the administration will not be truthful about Enterovirus D-68 deaths, the connection to unaccompanied minors, nor just where the illegal children have been sent and what schools they are attending, they seem not to be aware that the lack of clarity about one health threat harms public attitudes about another health threat.



Keeping Warm in Winter: The People v. Barack Obama. by The Elephant's Child

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After 6o years of operation, Salem Harbor coal-fired power plant shut down permanently in June. Candidate Barack Obama said that under his plan for “cap and trade,” electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

He didn’t manage to get “cap and trade” through Congress, so he went through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get his way. The wishes of the representatives of the American people have never counted with this president, and this winter New England residents will pay the price. In 2013, residents of the northeast spent as much during the winter as they did in the whole of 2012.

There was a nuclear plant in Vermont, Vermont Yankee, that has been retired. Basic economics: less supply to meet demand — higher rates. The environmental loonies feel the demand to shut down any possibility of  a CO² – emitting coal-fired plant is so urgent that they can’t manage to replace the electricity it produced. And nasty nuclear — banished. They want more electricity from natural gas, but haven’t moved ahead to build pipeline capacity, which would take all sorts of permissions and environmental impact surveys.

National Grid, Massachusetts’  biggest utility will seek a 37% rate increase for the six months beginning November 1st.  In New Hampshire, the public Utilities Commission has already granted an average 47% rate increase to Liberty Utilities. In New Hampshire, Public Service of New Hampshire reports that their rates will remain pretty much the same. They are the largest utility in the state and have a large scale clean coal-fired power plant. Last  year they saved their customers over $100 million, and may be able to repeat that feat this winter — which may be even colder than last year.

Last year’s brutal winter meant that natural gas inventories are starting at 10.7% less than last year and 11.4% less than the five-year average. The green illusion that “renewable energy” can replace the kind of energy they do not like continues, but they are wrong. Wind energy cannot become a major supplier of energy because it requires too much land. To keep up with world energy demand, you would have to add 4 times the current wind capacity— each year.

The John Kerrys and  Barack Obamas believe in renewable energy because — that’s what good Democrats believe. The EPA ‘lost’  the science they say their work depends on several years ago. Nobody reads the science or studies up, Republicans are knuckle-dragging deniers and have no interest in saving the planet, and what more do you need to know?

Cold with higher energy cost is deadly. In the UK alone over 35,000 excess winter deaths have been recorded since 1998. Cold affects mostly the poor or elderly, and is associated with flu, respiratory and circulatory disease. Many have to choose between heat and eating. Governments in Europe have stopped the subsidies for renewables. Germany is building 24 coal plants and reinstating nuclear power. 600,000 Germans had their power turned off  because they could not afford to pay their bills. NASA keeps forecasting warmth, but according to their own data, US winters have been cooling for 25 years.

Remember that next time you see the loonies out protesting coal and fossil fuels, fracking and pipelines. The probabilities are bleak, and will expose major errors once again in government climate and energy policy.



Just What You Thought! Silicon Valley Billion-Dollar Firm Pays Illegal Workers $1.21 an Hour. by The Elephant's Child

About those Silicon Valley claims that they just can’t find enough talented STEM workers in this country:

Although there is a surplus of American high-tech workers, high-tech companies continue to clamor for more guest-worker visas to lower the wages of their workers. Companies like Microsoft have lobbied for massive increases in foreign workers even while laying off 18,000 American workers.

Electronics for Living is a billion-dollar manufacturer of computer peripherals with sales of $727 million last year. They apparently have an operation and employees in Bangalore, India. The company decided to install a new computer system and imported eight workers from India to do this work. The first arrived in September 2013, and the last left in December of that year.

The workers continued to be paid at their Indian wages plus  an apparently tiny bonus, in rupees, or 74 Indian rupees an hour. In American dollars, their total pay was $1.21 an hour. Oops! Temporary or not the were completely covered by both federal and California minimum wage law, the latter calls for at least $8.00 an hour and time-and-a-half  for overtime. At least one of the workers was forced to work 122 house in a week, but details for the others are not available.

They were busted, but while both workers and corporation were egregiously violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act. they got off with a minor slap on the wrist. The Dept. of Labor figured the difference between $1.21 and the state’s minimum of $8.00 an hour plus the missing overtime payments came to about $20,000. Labor did double that figure, and each worker got about $5,000 or $40,000 all together. And they added in a $3,500 administrative  fee to the total. Electronics for Living  said “We unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local U.S. standards.”

When India-based Infosys was called into court for multiple violations of the INA, they were smacked with a $34 million fine. The two cases are separate, but if you look upon whines from Silicon Valley about their inability to find satisfactory STEM graduates in this country with a bit of a jaundiced eye, you cannot be blamed.

Importing foreign workers pushes the wages for available jobs downward. Massive increases in guest-worker visas will cut off opportunity for American workers to enter the middle class through technology jobs.



Yoo Hoo, Mr. President! Yoo Hoo, Tom Frieden! by The Elephant's Child

Take the time to watch the whole thing. Straight Talk, for the first time!

A Sane Man Speaks on Ebola:
“If West Africa is a gas can that was waiting for a match,
the rest of Central Africa is a gasoline tanker waiting for a match,
and nobody anywhere has a Plan B for what happens
if this gets out further….”

This is Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), originally aired on C-SPAN.

Finally, straight talk! Contrary to the emanations of the media, the American people have not been “panicking” about Ebola. Most of us have not been to West Africa nor do we know anyone who has. But we do recognize that it is a hell of a nasty virus, and in Africa, a very large percentage of the people who get it — die in a nasty way.

We want to believe that our government grasps the worst potentials of this disease, and is truthful and straightforward with the information they give us, and knows what they are talking about, and knows what they don’t know. And is just not trying, once again to cover their own behinds and avoid any blame for mistakes. That really isn’t asking too much. We are quite as much adults, if not more so, that the elites in the nation’s capitol.

(h/t: Vanderleun)



Point by Point Climate Talking Points: Climate Truth File 2014 by The Elephant's Child

Do you find yourself arguing with true believers in environmental panic? Are you taken aback when Secretary of State John Kerry pronounces, as he did this week, that there is no link between Islam and extremism as practiced by the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) pointing instead to factors such as poverty among youthful Mideast populations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and climate change. (emphasis added)

And that brings us to something like climate change, which is profoundly having an impact in various parts of the world, where droughts are occurring not at a 100-year level but at a 500-year level in places that they haven’t occurred, floods of massive proportions, diminishment of water for crops and agriculture at a time where we need to be talking about sustainable food.

Here’s a pretty fair summary of the arguments, which you might want to print out and keep handy, for encounters with relatives, or members of the State Department. Or visit Watts Up With That and Climate Depot regularly. They tackle the climatista craziness regularly: “Climate Change Shrinks Goats?”, ” U. of Arizona Professor: Climate change now ‘irreversible’—Humans must ‘terminate industrial civilization



“The Myth of Carbon Pollution” by The Elephant's Child

Princeton Physicist Dr.Will Happer:

“Carbon Pollution” is a propaganda slogan for the campaign
against carbon dioxide (CO²)

It is not science.

Atmospheric CO² is not a pollutant but is essential for plant growth. Current CO² levels are far below optimum for most plants, and far below norms of geological history, when CO² concentrations averaged several times higher than present values.

Contrary to unambiguous computer predictions, there has been no statistically significant surface warming in at least 15 years. There is not the slightest evidence that more CO² has caused more extreme weather or accelerated sea level rise. Nor is there the slightest support for the notion that government control of CO² will ‘stop climate change.’

…………………………………………………………(from Marc Morano: Climate Depot)

On October 15, 2014, Dr. William Happer, Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, discussed  “The Myth of Carbon Pollution.”Here’s the video of his address. It is a little over an hour long, so you’ll have to plan ahead a little, but you’ll be glad you did.

Dr. William Happer is Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics (emeritus) at Princeton University, a long-term member of the JASON advisory group, and former director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. In addition to being a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt award, the Herbert P. Broida Prize and the Thomas Alva Edison patent award.

Ammunition for defeating the EPA’s radical power grabs.



Liberal Dark Money Group Tries to Blame GOP for Ebola Deaths. by The Elephant's Child

When the Democrats get desperate, they get pretty disgusting. The Agenda Project, a 501(c)4 organization and liberal dark money group is placing ads in various battleground states is attempting to blame Ebola on the Republicans. According to an email signed by the group’s founder, one Erica Payne, and titled “if you die, blame them,” the group is starting:

a multi-pronged blitzkrieg attack tat lays blame for the Ebola crisis exactly where it belongs — at the feet of the Republican lawmakers. Like rabid dogs in a butcher shop, Republicans have indiscriminately shredded everything in their path, including critical programs that could have dealt with the Ebola crisis before it reached our country.

Their internal polls must really be suggesting a Republican sweep. File this under “Guttersnipes.” Erica Payne has established a reputation for absurd attack broadsides against conservatives and Republicans. In 2010, she was responsible for an ad that accused Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) of killing senior citizens and a campaign to mock  Tea Party Americans who engaged in grassroots political activism called “Fuck-Tea.”

The Free Beacon notes that aside from the stupidity of the Ebola ad, it’s simply false. The U.S. Global Health Program budget has increased more than six-fold since 2001 and the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly approved a budget measure to increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $567 million, an 8.2 percent increase over the previous year.

Ten years ago the federal government created and funded a brand new office in the HHS department specifically to coordinate preparation for and response to public health threats like Ebola. As the Ebola Czar, Dr. Nicole Lurie’s job is to help the country prepare for emergencies and to have the countermeasures , the medicines or vaccines needed for a public health emergency.

Heard of her? Perhaps she is avoiding the public eye because there was a scandal a few years back. In November 2011, a front page expose in the Los Angeles Times described how a company controlled by a longtime political donor got a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist. The donor was Ron Pearlman, a controlling shareholder of Siga. The award was controversial in every way, including disputes about need, efficacy and extremely high costs. Even Democrats in tight election races were calling for investigations.

Last month Siga filed for bankruptcy after it was found liable for breaching a licensing contract. The company that fought the no-bid contract was Chimerix, which argued that their drug had far more promise than Siga’s. Chimerix’ Brincidofovir is antiviral medication being developed for smallpox, but also Ebola and adenovirus. Preliminary tests show some promise against Ebola, and the FDA authorized its use on Oct. 6 for use against some Ebola patients. It was given to Thomas Eric Duncan who died from Ebola.

The supposedly underfunded NIH has granted $702,558 for a study on the impact of televisions and gas generators on villages in Vietnam, $175,587 to the University of Kentucky to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail. $44.382 to study hookah smoking in Jordan and $592,527 to study why chimpanzees throw objects. Last year there were news reports about a $509,840 grant from NIH for a study that would send text messages in “gay lingo” to meth-heads. Preparation for an Ebola epidemic? Not so much.

And Erica Payne, and her Agenda Project? They have close ties to the Democracy Alliance, the Democrat’s billionaire donor club. Payne is a DA co-founder, and the Agenda Project is one of the groups to which Alliance donors can steer money to satisfy their annual $200,000 giving requirements.

We have had one Ebola death of a man who knew he had been exposed to Ebola, and lied to catch a flight to America. There are so many issues, important issues, facing the country that serious discussions would help to allay fears and to help the public understand why we are doing what we are doing, and if the administration is competent to manage our problems. Instead we get this, and a game of kick-the-can down the road till after the election, so maybe the people won’t find out.




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