But would it be counterproductive?9:29 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Amid increasing calls for a travel or visa ban on those trying to enter the United States from West African nations ravaged by the Ebola virus, the federal government continues to be steadfastly opposed. But why? Officials continue to argue that the travel ban would make it more difficult to track potentially infectious people who somehow enter the U.S. anyway.
On ABC's This Week Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the public face of the NIH, why the U.S. shouldn't institute the ban. Stephanopolous pointed out that countries in Africa neighboring those Ebola-stricken nations have imposed travel restrictions with success. "If it was working in Africa, why wouldn't it work here in the United States?" he asked.
"Well, George, I think one needs to understand that, people who say that, we respect that opinion, and we understand that there's some rationale for that," Fauci says. "But when you look at what the possible side bad effects [sic] would be in the sense of counterproductive, is that when people come in from a country, it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from. But what you do if you then completely ban travel, there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in."
Watch the video below:
Later in the program, the boss debated the issue with Tavis Smiley, Mary Matalin, and Stephanie Schriock. The panel also discussed the political implications of the Ebola outbreak.
Watch the video below:
8:55 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
A day after President Obama appointed Ron Klain as Ebola czar to deal with the potential spread of the virus in this country, the Centers for Disease Control updated its website that contains recommendations for hospitals dealing with known or suspected cases of Ebola. In place of detailed recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospital personnel, the page was changed to say "PPE Recommendations are forthcoming." Here is a screen capture of the page from Friday, October 17, 2014:
Here is the same section the following day, Saturday, October 18, 2014:
Fox News reported this morning that "[n]ew guidelines for the treatment of Ebola expected to be issued Monday," but as of Monday morning, the website still lacked any PPE recommendations, and the page indicates it was last updated on October 18. The AP reported Sunday that "CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials."
An email Monday morning to the CDC, asking when the new recommendations would be out and what should hospitals do in the meantime, was not immediately returned.
Admits he lives in a "bubble."7:45 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama does not want to be a Supreme Court justice. He calls it "too monastic" for his own personality. Besides, in an interview with the New Yorker, President Obama acknowledges that he needs to get out of the "bubble" after what will be eight years as president of the United States.
“I love the law, intellectually,” the president tell the New Yorker, which says he sounds "tempted" at the idea of being on the Court. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
Here's the full anecdote from the lengthy piece on Obama and the courts:
As Marine One thundered overhead, about to land on the White House lawn and take Obama to a series of political fund-raisers, I asked him if, like William Howard Taft, he entertained thoughts of serving as a judge later in his career. “When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he said. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” But he sounded tempted by the idea.
“I love the law, intellectually,” Obama went on. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
7:52 PM, Oct 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, President Obama urged the crowd to make sure "cousin Pookie" voted in November's election.
"[I]t’s not enough just for you to vote. You’ve got to get your family to vote. You’ve got to get your friends to vote. You’ve got to get your coworkers to vote. You’ve got to get that cousin Pookie sitting at home on the couch," Obama said to laughter from the crowd, "he’s watching football right now instead of being here at the rally -- you’ve got to talk to him and let him know it is not that hard to exercise the franchise that previous generations fought so hard to obtain. If we do that, then you’re not only going to be able to continue a great legacy here in Maryland, but you’re also going to have one of the finest young public servants leading the charge here in Maryland."
The rally was for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who's running to be the next governor of Maryland.
The overflow crowd was for those who weren't able to find an empty seat in the main hall where President Obama spoke. But inside, once Obama got going, some in the main crowd began to file out.
6:21 PM, Oct 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
As President Obama tried to rally Democrats in Maryland, the crowd began to leave. "Remarks are open press, but one unusual thing that fellow veterans of campaign rallies confirm: some in the crowd started leaving as soon as Obama started speaking and by the time he was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool's tables as folks tried to exit the gym," reports the White House pool reporter.
Via the pool:
Remarks are open press, but one unusual thing that fellow veterans of campaign rallies confirm: some in the crowd started leaving as soon as Obama started speaking and by the time he was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool's tables as folks tried to exit the gym. As that was going on, a young man started shouting. Pool couldn't tell what he was saying but as he was taken out of the room, we could see his sign, which read "#not1more," a reference to the deportation of immigrants. As the man screamed, the crowd drowned him out, chanting, "Obama! Obama!"
8:20 AM, Oct 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democrat Mark Udall may be trying to have it both ways on the issue of Common Core standards in education. In an interview with ABC-7 News in Denver, the senator from Colorado was asked a series of questions designed to elicit simple, one-word answers. Reporter Marc Stewart asked this: "Is Common Core good or bad for Colorado students?"
"Yes," replied Udall. Watch the video, from Friday, below:
It's not clear from Udall's campaign website what his position is on Common Core.
The interview did show Udall confirming his support for Obamacare, a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and "placing restrictions for gun buyers." The Democrat also struggled to name the three most influential books he's read.
Udall is up for reelection against Republican challenger Cory Gardner, who has led in the last four polls and has a 3-point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
6:30 AM, Oct 19, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In the wake of their passage of Obamacare, the Democrats have repeatedly claimed two things: Republicans don’t have an alternative, and in any case the health care debate is over. But a Washington Post editorial published Saturday makes it clear that neither of these claims is true.
The Post praises Republican Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie for advancing an alternative to Obamacare, even though the Post remains supportive of the president’s overhaul. (Gillespie’s opponent, Democratic senator Mark Warner, who of course voted for Obamacare, received the Post’s endorsement last week.) The Post writes:
“Mr. Gillespie’s proposal was developed by a conservative group called the 2017 Project, which, as the name implies, aims to provide templates for Republican policymaking after the next presidential election. It is a real plan, which is to be commended. But it would be worse than the Affordable Care Act.”
We at the 2017 Project accept the Post’s commendation, and we commend the Post in turn for engaging the debate. But we think the Post's argument for Obamacare and against the 2017 Alternative is easily rebutted.
The Post claims the alternative would be worse in four basic ways: It would help people get “catastrophic” insurance but not prepaid health care, it wouldn’t include enough government mandates to provide sufficient consumer protection, it wouldn’t be redistributive enough, and it would raise deficits. The last of these claims is false. The first three actually highlight the alternative’s virtues.
6:23 PM, Oct 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Friday, the White House announced Democratic hack Ron Klain as the point-man on the Ebola crisis. But despite his new role, which is being described as some as the Ebola czar, Klain was not in attendance at the White House meeting on Ebola on Friday.
At least 21 other White House officials, including the vice president, were either in attendance in person or via video conference. Including the White House communications director. But not
Here's the White House's readout of the meeting:
Readout of the President’s Meeting on the Domestic Ebola Response
The President this afternoon convened a meeting with members of his national security and public health teams coordinating the whole-of-government response to Ebola. The President’s advisors updated him on the status of the contact tracing process to identify and, as necessary, monitor all individuals who may have come into contact with the Ebola patients in Dallas following their exposure. The team also discussed plans to augment resources available to state and local authorities in Dallas. Specifically, in order to ensure the Dallas response is nimble and capable of leveraging effective coordination between the federal, state, and local levels—as well as with frontline healthcare workers—the administration, working closely with state and local officials, will support or designate the appointment of senior personnel to serve on the ground in Dallas. These officials include:
· An experienced Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinator to ensure all federal assistance is meeting the most urgent needs; and,
· A White House liaison to fulfill the President’s pledge to provide all necessary federal resources.
The President underscored that the domestic response to Ebola cases must be seamless at all levels, just as we continue to move forward expeditiously with a whole-of-government approach to counter the outbreak at its source in West Africa.
The Vice President
Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense
Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security
Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff
Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
John Podesta, Counselor to the President
Susan Rice, National Security Advisor
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Samantha Power, Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations (via secure video conference)
Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
Nancy Powell, State Department Ebola Coordinator
The Books & Arts Podcast is hosted by Philip Terzian.11:00 AM, Oct 18, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Books & Arts Podcast with Philip Terzian, on the October 13th Issue's Books and Arts section.
This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.
9:04 AM, Oct 18, 2014 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
The brief military career of 44-year-old Hunter Biden, Vice President Joseph Biden's younger son, seems to have ended after one month in the naval reserve. Biden is reported to have tested positive for cocaine use, and was immediately discharged. It was "the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy," he has said in a statement, "and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge."
Everybody makes mistakes, of course, and the younger Biden's humiliation must be profound. But it is worth noting that, while Biden's summary discharge occurred last February, it did not become public until the Wall Street Journal revealed the story this week. Biden's statement about "the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy" -- for one month! -- was issued through his lawyer.
Evidently there was an effort, successful for eight months, to conceal this curious episode. But while the attempted cover-up is, perhaps, understandable from Vice President Biden's perspective, the real scandal here is not Hunter Biden's cocaine use, or his father's protection of an errant son, but the fact that Hunter Biden was commissioned in the naval reserve in the first place.
A year-and-a-half ago, Biden was selected for a direct commission in the Navy under a program that allows certain civilians, with no prior military service, to receive a "limited-duty" reserve commission after attending a brief course in military etiquette, drill, and history instead of boot camp. Such commissions are usually offered to non-combatant candidates with special qualifications or particular skills: In 1980, for example, Sen. Gary Hart became a lieutenant commander in the naval reserve at the age of 44.
In Biden's case, however, it is not clear what those qualifications might have been. So far as I can determine, he has had no connection, during his civilian career, either with the Department of Defense or with any defense-related agencies or private institutions. And while he was a public information officer during his brief reserve service, he is a lawyer by profession and a partner in an investment firm, with no background or experience in journalism or public relations.
Biden was also granted two waivers by the Navy, one for advanced age and another for a previous, unspecified "drug-related" incident. A waiver for age is not the worst thing in the world (Biden was eight years over the maximum for the Navy's program) and there are innumerable stories of men eager for combat who couldn't pass an eye test, or were too old to enlist, but somehow contrived to get into uniform. Hunter Biden, however, was evidently not headed into harm's way; and in any case, on September 11, 2001, he was 31 years old, a more appropriate age to sign up to fight. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he sought and obtained a naval commission for political purposes -- public office in his native Delaware? -- and that his status as a son of Vice President Joe Biden did him no harm.
12:00 AM, Oct 18, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Oh, woe! Ebola has come to America and 150 people from infected countries are landing here every day. ISIS is battering the Kurds, to whom we have not sent the weapons we promised, and will chase the Iraqi army out of Baghdad as soon as they finish taking over Kobani. Europe is headed into still another recession, its banks loaded down with bad loans as next week’s stress tests approach, Italy and France are basket cases, the mighty German growth machine is stalled, the central bank paralyzed by the inability of EU members to persuade German chancellor Angela Merkel to have mercy on their slumping economies. Three of the four once-touted BRICs are in trouble. Brazil, the world’s seventh largest economy, is in recession. Russia has bitten off a piece of Ukraine, whetting Vladimir Putin’s appetite for the Baltics despite an economy in chaos as a result of sanctions imposed by the West. China is in the midst of a property bust, another purge of enemies of the state, and experiencing a growth rate that has shrunk from over 7 to 6 percent (official data) or 3 percent (outside experts). Japan is reeling from the effect of tax increases. Our political class has no idea what to do about any of these problems. Panic. Sell, sell.
Or don’t. The world just might be too, too much with us, distracting attention from America’s underlying strengths and enormous resilience. According to the latest report of Goldman Sachs’s Private Wealth Management Investment Strategy Group, “The notion of U.S. pre-eminence … has gained momentum in recent years. Since our 2010 Outlook … we have held the view that the financial crisis ‘has not dealt a fatal blow to the US as the preeminent economic and geopolitical power.’” It’s worth taking a look at what the Goldman Sachs team calls “the unparalleled strengths and resilience of the US economy and US institutions.” Those advantages account for a widening gap between per-capita GDP in America and in China and the eurozone.
The easiest one to understand is the importance of our abundant supply of energy -- oil, low-cost natural gas, and coal.
That resource base might be there because America is blessed, or merely lucky, but full access to it is a testament to American technological skills. Fracking enables us to tap resources that until recently could not be reached economically, making America the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas liquids, and ere long converting the U.S. from a net oil and natural gas importer to an exporter. More important, our newly available abundance is driving down the price of gasoline, putting an average of $600 into the pockets of every household just as holiday-season promotions hit the shops, among other things inviting the kiddies to pick and lay-away their must-have toys right now. And because of what Ed Morse, head of Global Commodity Research at Citigroup, calls the “gritty robustness of our production base” anyone who thinks $80 per barrel crude will slow U.S. production are going to be unpleasantly surprised.
5:04 PM, Oct 17, 2014 • By ALLEN M. HORNBLUM, HARVEY KLEHR, JOHN EARL HAYNES, RONALD RADOSH and STEVEN USDIN
A front-page obituary of David Greenglass published this week in the New York Times is seriously flawed. Not only does it contain inaccurate statements of fact, it also misrepresents the views of historians about the Rosenberg atomic espionage case.
The obituary stated that there is a “consensus among historians” that “the Greenglass-Rosenberg atomic bomb details were of little value to the Soviets, except to corroborate what they already knew, and that Ethel Rosenberg had played no active role in the conspiracy.” As five historians who have written six books on Soviet espionage, three specifically on the Rosenberg network and three in which the Rosenberg case was a major focus, we cannot fathom how that statement can be supported.
The obituary states that Greenglass, who worked in the Los Alamos machine shop that produced models of the implosion detonator for plutonium bomb designers, admitted providing to Rosenberg “a crude sketch” of the detonator, a key technical breakthrough by the Manhattan Project. It fails to mention that documents from the KGB archive made available in 2009 state that Greenglass gave Soviet intelligence the ignition cartridge of the detonator and a 33-page letter of details on the bomb that a KGB officer called “highly valuable.”
Soviet archival documents also show that Ethel Rosenberg hid money and espionage paraphernalia for Julius, served as an intermediary for communications with his Soviet intelligence contacts, provided her personal evaluation of individuals Julius considered recruiting, and was present at meetings with his sources. They also demonstrate that Julius reported to the KGB that Ethel persuaded Ruth Greenglass to travel to New Mexico to recruit David as a spy.
Julius Rosenberg’s spy ring provided an extraordinary trove of non-nuclear espionage on radar, sonar, and jet propulsion engines to the Soviet Union, but the Rosenbergs' contributions to the Soviet nuclear weapons program were also important. The information from David Greenglass and from a second nuclear spy recruited by Julius Rosenberg, Russell McNutt, was welcomed by the KGB as valuable and practical confirmation of data it was receiving from Klaus Fuchs and Ted Hall, the two major Soviet nuclear spies in the Manhattan Project. Further, their activities did not cease with the defeat of Nazi Germany. Believing that war between the U.S. and the USSR was inevitable, Rosenberg, Greenglass, and other members of their network continued to provide the Soviet Union with American military secrets until their exposure in 1950.
It is long past time that the New York Times stops abetting the continuing efforts by the Rosenberg sons and others who have spent decades misrepresenting the espionage activities of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
4:27 PM, Oct 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Matthew Continetti, writing at the Washington Free Beacon, explains why Republicans look poised to take over the Senate this year:
Something peculiar has happened. As I write, none of the Republican candidates for Senate has become a public embarrassment. On the contrary: For the first time in a decade, it is the Democratic candidates, not the Republican ones, who are fodder for late-night comics. That the Democrats are committing gaffes and causing scandals at a higher rate than Republicans not only may be decisive in the battle for the Senate. It could signal a change in our politics at large.
Yes, at any given moment, one of the Republican candidates could say something stupid, could be revealed to be unethical, could act like an idiot. These are human beings we are talking about. There is a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day—plenty of time for Republicans to screw it up. But the fact that the GOP field has come so far without committing unforced errors is news in itself.
Since 2006, when Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia referred to an Indian-American Democratic tracker as “Macaca,” GOP candidates have found ways to provoke, to offend, to annoy, to spawn unpleasant narratives, to let themselves become the story. In 2014, though, the Macaca moments aren’t coming from Republicans. They are coming from Democrats.
Read the whole thing here.
3:16 PM, Oct 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democratic senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina was emphatic earlier this week that instituting a travel ban on those attempting to enter the United States from West African nations ravaged by the Ebola virus was "not going to help solve the problem." Hagan's Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, had been one of the first candidates for office to suggest the ban.
"That's not going to help solve this problem," said Hagan Wednesday when asked about Tillis's position. "That's not going to contain the epidemic that we see happening in Africa."
But in a statement released Friday afternoon by her official Senate office, Hagan appears to have changed her mind.
"I have said for weeks that travel restrictions should be one part of a broad strategy to prevent Ebola from spreading in the U.S. and fighting it in Africa," said Hagan in her statement. "I am calling on the Administration to temporarily ban the travel of non-U.S. citizens from the affected countries in West Africa. Although stopping the spread of this virus overseas will require a large, coordinated effort with the international community, a temporary travel ban is a prudent step the President can take to protect the American people, and I believe he should do so immediately."
In that Wednesday press conference, Hagan also praised the CDC for "giving us great guidance" on the spread of the virus.
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