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Mark Caserta: Obama’s leadership divides the nation

27 Nov

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Nov. 27, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all, by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”

This long-standing American motto, originating in the 1768 patriotic ballad, “The Liberty Song” by John Dickenson, bears great significance to the times in which we live. For our country certainly seems more divided now than at any other time in recent history.

Americans have always been connected at the heart by their love of country. We’ve taken pride in being an exceptional nation built on the principles of the Constitution and sustained by the rule of law.

But it seems America is becoming increasingly divided. A recent Rasmussen poll showed 67 percent of voters say America is more divided as a nation than it was four years ago, with only 7 percent of those surveyed believing America is less divided.

I believe this waning of the American spirit is largely due to the dramatic change America has undergone the last few years and the lack of transparency with which President Obama has governed. His mission to fundamentally transform America has clearly destabilized nearly every sector of our lives and polarized good people genuinely seeking answers.

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While liberals champion the nation’s economic recovery, “Obamanomics” is simply an illusion of prosperity. President Obama insisted he would revive the economy by spending $1 trillion on the stimulus. But the money is gone, and the economy is still bad. What good is this so-called “recovery” when it fails to provide relief for the average American? Have you been to the grocery store lately?

And the government’s unemployment numbers simply don’t reflect reality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a large portion of the jobs being created are in food service and the retail trade. But even this statistic is misleading. The looming Obamacare employer mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance for employees averaging 30 hours or more per week is forcing workers out of their full-time jobs. As a result, they have to acquire multiple part-time jobs simply to survive. These are real people trying to make ends meet. They deserve better.

And while the BLS “official unemployment rate” is 5.8 percent, a more telling rate is derived from the Total Unemployed number of Americans which includes individuals employed part time for economic reasons along with discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work. At 11.5 percent, one can see the true nature of the jobs crisis in our country. In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.9 million.

In addition to the economic woes plaguing Americans every day, the Obama administration routinely employs divisive tactics which degrade America’s unity by extensively leveraging the race card, the alleged “war on women” and amnesty for illegal immigrants — simply to build a dependable voter base.

It’s not surprising Americans feel the way they do. A leader is someone who brings people together. Barack Obama appears to value executive power over a divided nation more than providing leadership to a united one.

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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

How to Rebuke a President

23 Nov

If not impeachment, then what?

Censure-plus.

Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By JAY COST

——————————————————————————————————————————

Cen·sure

 verb: 3rd person present: censures; past tense: censured; past participle: censured; gerund or present participle: censuring

  1. To express severe disapproval of (someone or something), typically in a formal statement.     
  2.  The expression of formal disapproval

For responding to a president who defies his constitutional limits, Congress is said to possess four powers: to impeach, to defund, to investigate, and to withhold confirmation of nominees.

obama censure

Gary Locke

But there is a fifth recourse, which the new Republican Congress might consider in view of President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants: the power to censure. In fact, censure could work in tandem with Congress’s other powers, helping the legislature make the moral case for responding to the president’s lawlessness.

Presidential censure is a rare occurrence. Most notably, in 1834, the Whig-controlled Senate censured President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, for moving federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States to local banks, derisively called his “pets” because most were operated by loyal Democrats.

Jackson’s legal justification was dubious at best. Under the law, only the secretary of the Treasury could initiate such a transfer, and then only if the funds were deemed insecure. But the Bank had been impeccably run since Nicholas Biddle became its president in 1822. An investigation had ascertained that the funds were perfectly safe, and the House had voted overwhelmingly to affirm that fact. Treasury Secretary William Duane, moreover, refused to remove the money or to step down so Jackson could install somebody who would. Jackson fired Duane, replacing him with Roger Taney without Senate confirmation. Taney’s cronies would go on to grossly mismanage funds in Jackson’s pet bank in Baltimore.

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This series of actions added up to a severe presidential encroachment. So the Senate—led by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster—censured Jackson by passing this resolution: “Resolved, That the President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.”

The censure wounded the president’s bountiful pride, so much so that in 1837, Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, a fierce Jackson loyalist, had the resolution stricken from the record.

The facts surrounding Obama’s amnesty of illegal immigrants parallel those of Jackson’s deposit removal scheme. In both instances, we see a president circumventing the traditional and proper constitutional pathways to confer a partisan benefit, creating a dangerous precedent. Jackson had no right to remove deposits that Congress deemed safe; Obama has no right to exempt large classes of people from laws that were duly authorized by the government. Jackson’s actions were meant to rebuke Biddle for supporting Henry Clay for president in 1832 and, later, to supply patronage to pro-Democratic bank managers; Obama’s action is a blatant attempt to curry favor with a sought-after voting bloc and make his partisan opponents look bad in comparison. Both presidents’ unilateral measures admit of no limiting principle; the law is abrogated simply because the president finds it politically inconvenient. If this became a norm, it would destroy our system of government.

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Indeed, Clay’s denunciation of Jackson’s deposit removal rings true today: “We are in the midst of a revolution, hitherto bloodless, but rapidly tending toward a total change of the pure republican character of the government, and the concentration of all power in the hands of one man.” Obama, like Jackson before him, seeks to aggrandize the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch, unbalancing the constitutional regime and justifying censure.

Censure alone, however, would be a meek gesture. Devoid of substance, it would signal legislative impotence; perversely, it might even strengthen Obama’s hand. Something similar happened in 1834 when, after the Senate censured Jackson, nothing changed. The money stayed in the pet banks, and all that Clay really managed to do was offend Jackson’s sense of honor. As historians David and Jeanne Heidler rightly note, “Clay won this battle, but Jackson won the war.”

Thus, censure should be wielded in conjunction with other legitimate legislative powers.

Recent news reports have suggested that Republicans have a plan in mind. As Byron York wrote in the Washington Examiner:

Republicans will work on crafting a new spending measure that funds the entire government, with the exception of the particular federal offices that will do the specific work of enforcing Obama’s order.

Republican sources liken the contemplated action to Congress’s move to stop the president from closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantánamo Bay: In 2009, lawmakers denied Obama the money he would have needed to proceed. Guantánamo remains open.

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Mark Caserta: President failed to be proactive in dealing with Ebola

30 Oct

ebola 8ebola 6QUARANTINE

Oct. 30, 2014 @ 12:24 AM

The Obama administration has consistently demonstrated an inability to proactively think a policy through its unintended consequences. And any “common sense” option seems always to be circumvented for the purpose of protecting this president politically. The reaction to the Ebola outbreak has been no different.

Common sense dictates containing the Ebola virus at its source until it can be eradicated. But with an estimated 150 people traveling to the United States each day from West Africa, travel restrictions alone would be insufficient since there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from countries hardest hit by the virus to any U.S. airport. All new visas to the U.S. for citizens of Ebola-stricken nations would need to be banned until the outbreak has been controlled period.

And as fear of an outbreak in the U.S. escalates, the idea of such a travel ban is gaining momentum among House and Senate Republicans.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, became the latest Republican lawmaker to announce plans to introduce a measure that would temporarily ban new visas for people from the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The bill, which Rubio plans to introduce when the Senate returns after the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, would go into effect immediately and continue until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certifies that the outbreak has been contained. It could also be expanded to any future countries experiencing an outbreak of the virus.

But at this point, these precautions are like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. The Obama administration has mishandled the Ebola situation from the very beginning.

The first Ebola patient, a teenage boy now known as “patient zero,” was identified in the West African country of Guinea way back in December 6, 2013. The boy died from the disease.

By March 24, 2014, authorities in Guinea reported 87 suspected cases of Ebola. Soon after, Liberia and Sierra Leone began reporting cases of the dreadful disease. By late September Ebola was reported as “out of control” in West Africa and “unprecedented” in its scope.

But even by Sept. 16, when Obama reassured Americans the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. were “extremely low,” he had incredulously failed to institute any travel restrictions from infected regions.

Finally, amid increasing pressure, President Obama instituted restrictions for travelers flying into the U.S. from the heavily impacted West African countries. Beginning last Wednesday passengers will be funneled through international airports in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Newark, New Jersey. These five airports will reportedly have specialized Ebola screening steps.

In preparation, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey announced last week a joint policy mandating a 21-day quarantine for anyone flying into their states after having contact with Ebola sufferers in West Africa.

But President Obama should have been more proactive in his approach to dealing with this deadly disease. His hesitation to act has needlessly placed Americans at risk. One can only pray this doesn’t end in catastrophe for Americans.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Obama’s policies are on November ballot

29 Oct

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Oct. 15, 2014 @ 09:20 PM

No doubt when President Obama told Mitt Romney during the first 2012 presidential debate that he “liked” the term “Obamacare,” he was confident the appellation would be revered as an historic accomplishment for his administration.

Certainly Democrats have been willing to spend your hard-earned tax money to preserve the president’s aspirations. Bloomberg Government reports the cost of HealthCare.gov has now exceeded the $2 billion mark, while the total cost of Obama’s health care reform is more than $73 billion.

But nowadays it’s difficult to find a Democrat who openly supports any of this president’s policies in their election campaigns, much less Obama’s signature health care legislation. But in a recent speech, President Obama assured Americans his policies were indeed on November’s ballot.

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“I am not on the ballot this fall,” President Obama said. “But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

Yes, there are people who now have healthcare who didn’t prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

But millions have been forced off their existing plan (despite Obama’s promise this would never happen, winning him the esteemed Politifact “Lie of the Year” Award) into health care exchanges where they’re experiencing less coverage, higher deductibles and fewer choices in providers.

In fact, if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had scored the ACA correctly, it probably would never have passed! According to Forbes Magazine, 12.5 percent fewer people are uninsured by 2014, rather than the 37.3 percent projected by the CBO.

Additionally, of the millions with canceled coverage, 1 million remain uninsured. And Americans are experiencing far higher premiums than originally estimated while nearly $7,000 will be added in taxes/fees over a decade even for families in the lowest 20 percent of household income.

And all around the country businesses are preparing for the impact of the employer mandate under Obamacare. Understand, these companies will not simply absorb these additional costs. They’ll either cut expenses or raise prices.

Currently hundreds of employers are cutting back on employee’s hours to avoid paying for health care, forcing these individuals into purchasing coverage from an exchange or pay a fine.

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And many people still don’t realize the IRS will be the enforcer for ensuring everyone meets their “shared responsibility payment” as decreed by the individual mandate of Obamacare. And Americans have already seen what IRS leadership is willing to do to propagate this president’s ultra-liberal agenda.

Now, there are points in the ACA which should remain, such as coverage for “pre-existing” conditions. But Democrats failed to engage in the necessary conversation about allowing the free market to work in the insurance industry by instituting healthy interstate competition and tort reform.

Instead, they went right for socialized medicine.

Simply put, Barack Obama and complicit Democrats passed legislation that forces Americans into purchasing a product, despite their wants or needs, so they can “redistribute” the assets as they deem “fair.” They’ve taken the “care” out of health care and made it health “control.”

So Democrats may want to run, but they cannot hide. They gave us Obamacare.

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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Ebola can survive on surfaces for almost TWO MONTHS

27 Oct

This just keeps getting worse…but here are some tips for avoiding the virus.

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Tests reveal certain strains survive for weeks when stored at low temperatures

  • Research claims certain strains of Ebola can remain on surfaces for 50 days
  • It survived the longest on glass surfaces stored at 4° (39°F)
  • Centres for Disease Control and Prevention claims Ebola typically lives on a ‘dry’ surface for hours – including doorknobs and tables
  • But when stored in moist conditions such in mucus, this is extended 
  • Survival time depends on the surface, and the room temperature
  • Virus can be killed using household bleach and people must come into direct contact with the sample to risk infection 

The number of confirmed Ebola cases passed the 10,000 mark over the weekend, despite efforts to curb its spread.

And while the disease typically dies on surfaces within hours, research has discovered it can survive for more than seven weeks under certain conditions.

During tests, the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) found that the Zaire strain will live on samples stored on glass at low temperatures for as long as 50 days. 

The left-hand charts plot survival rates of Zaire strain of Ebola (Zebov) and Lake Victoria marburgvirus (Marv) on glass (a) and plastic (b) at 4° (39°F) over 14 days. The right-hand charts reveal the survival rate under the same conditions over 50 days. Both viruses survived for 26 days, and Ebola was extracted after 50 days

The tests were initially carried out by researchers from DSTL before the current outbreak, in 2010, but the strain investigated is one of five that is still infecting people globally.

The findings are also quoted in advice from the Public Agency of Health in Canada. 

Ebola was discovered in 1976 and is a member of the Filoviridae family.

This family includes the Zaire ebolavirus (Zebov), which was first identified in 1976 and is the most virulent; Sudan ebolavirus, (Sebov); Tai Forest ebolavirus; Ebola-Reston (Rebov), and Bundibugyo ebolavirus (Bebov) – the most recent species, discovered in 2008.

HOW LONG DOES EBOLA SURVIVE?

For their 2010 paper, ‘The survival of filoviruses in liquids, on solid substrates and in a dynamic aerosol’, the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) tested two particular filoviruses on a variety of surfaces.

These were the Lake Victoria marburgvirus (Marv), and Zaire ebolavirus (Zebov).

Each was placed into guinea pig tissue samples and tested for their ability to survive in different liquids and on different surfaces at different temperatures, over a 50-day period.

When stored at 4° (39°F), by day 26, viruses from three of the samples were successfully extracted; Zebov on the glass sample, and Marv on both glass and plastic.

By day 50, the only sample from which the virus could be recovered was the Zebov from tissue on glass. 

For their 2010 paper, ‘The survival of filoviruses in liquids, on solid substrates and in a dynamic aerosol’, Sophie Smither and her colleagues tested two particular filoviruses on a variety of surfaces.

These were the Lake Victoria marburgvirus (Marv), and Zebov.

Each was placed into guinea pig tissue samples and tested for their ability to survive in different liquids, and on different surfaces at different temperatures, over a 50-day period.

When stored at 4° (39°F), by day 26, viruses from three of the samples were successfully extracted; Zebov on the glass sample, and Marv on both glass and plastic.

By day 50, the only sample from which the virus could be recovered was the Zebov from tissue on glass.

‘This study has demonstrated that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious, for extended periods when suspended within liquid and dried onto surfaces,’ explained the researchers.

‘Data from this study extend the knowledge on the survival of filoviruses under different conditions and provide a basis with which to inform risk assessments and manage exposure.’

The researchers do stress that these tests were carried out in a controlled lab environment, and not in the real world, but published their findings to highlight the survival rates. 

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Ebola guidelines following the rise in infections. 

Ebola (pictured) was discovered in 1976 and is a member of the Filoviridae family. This family includes the Zaire ebolavirus (Zebov), which was first identified in 1976 and is the most virulent; Sudan ebolavirus, (Sebov); Tai Forest ebolavirus; Ebola-Reston (Rebov), and Bundibugyo ebolavirus (Bebov)

Ebola (pictured) was discovered in 1976 and is a member of the Filoviridae family. This family includes the Zaire ebolavirus (Zebov), which was first identified in 1976 and is the most virulent; Sudan ebolavirus, (Sebov); Tai Forest ebolavirus; Ebola-Reston (Rebov), and Bundibugyo ebolavirus (Bebov)

The centre explained that Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food and a person infected with Ebola can’t spread the disease until symptoms appear.

The time from exposure to when signs or symptoms of the disease appear, known as the incubation period, is two to 21 days, but the average time is eight to 10 days.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advises:

• DO wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Do NOT touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.

• Do NOT handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles,or medical equipment.

• Do NOT touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola.

Ebola is spread through direct contact, through broken skin or through eyes, nose, or mouth, via blood and body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, or objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola. 

Signs of Ebola include fever and symptoms like severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising. 

Dr Tom Fletcher of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who has treated victims in Guinea and Sierra Leone, says: ‘The initial symptoms are quite non-specific and similar to a flu-like illness. 

‘They include fever, headache and lethargy. This progresses to severe diarrhoea and vomiting.’ 

Officials have emphasised there is no risk of transmission from people who have been exposed to the virus, but are not yet showing symptoms.  

But, specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta found that the virus is present on a patient’s skin after symptoms develop, underlining how contagious the disease is once symptoms set in.

According to the CDC, the virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops and can survive for several days in puddles or other collections of body fluid. 

However, bleach solutions, including household bleach, can kill it.

As Ebola grabs headlines, how close to curing it are we?

Ebola is only spread through direct contact, through broken skin or through eyes, nose, or mouth, via blood and body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, or objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola. It can be killed using bleach 

CDC to release new guidelines for returning Ebola workers

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola, but experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development.

The CDC advises people wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, to protect themselves. 

It warns to not touch the blood or body fluids, including urine, faeces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen of people who are sick. 

Ebola was once thought to originated in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat.

But scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths. 

The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

US Ambassador Power will abide by quarantine requirements

Officials have emphasized that there is no risk of transmission from people who have been exposed to the virus (pictured) but are not yet showing symptoms. But, specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta found that the virus is present on a patient’s skin after symptoms develop

Ebola was once thought to originated in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat. But scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2809803/Ebola-surfaces-TWO-months-Tests-reveal-certain-strains-survive-weeks-stored-low-temperatures.html#ixzz3HP7Z5G4I
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Obama forces Chris Christie into embarrassing U-turn to allow Ebola nurse to leave New Jersey quarantine tent

27 Oct

OBAMA ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL THE STATES?????

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  • New Jersey governor said Monday that the CDC has cleared a nurse on 21-day quarantine to go home after she tested negative for Ebola twice
  • The health care worker was held after returning from Sierra Leone, and threatened a federal lawsuit to get herself released
  • A 21-day Ebola quarantine order for Americans returning from western Africa was put in place by Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
  • Under White House pressure, Cuomo changed his rules to allow home quarantines for those with no symptoms
  • Obama aides already lobbied Christie to rethink New Jersey’s rules after the nurse twice tested negative for Ebola 

Chris Christie was forced on Monday to allow a nurse being kept in a tent in a hospital parking lot to go home after intense White House pressure to relax a mandatory 21-day quarantine the New Jersey Governor had imposed at a state level.

The embarrassing turnaround came after Obama chaired a White House meeting on the rules and successfully lobbied Christie’s New York counterpart, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to relax their quarantine rules – even as Americans grow more concerned about the possibility of a pandemic emergency.

Cuomo gave in on behalf of New Yorkers. But as of Sunday Christie was still pushing for more aggressive measures to protect New Jerseyans, saying he had ‘no second thoughts’ about the policy. 

Christie is a likely entrant into the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary, and the intergovernmental Ebola skirmishes will provide both major political parties with new ammunition.

Nurse Kaci Hickox tested negative for Ebola twice, but she had remained in a forced hospital quarantine as of Monday morning.

The governors of New York and New Jersey announced last week mandatory quarantine for people returning to the United States through airports in their states who are deemed 'high risk' but the rules have now been relaxed to allow self-quarantine at home.  New Jersey, led by Chris Christie, pictured,  first resisted pressure to roll back the new rules but caved under pressure from the White House today

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, says mandatory 21-day quarantines are 'a little bit draconian'

The two states each have one of the five airports where passengers who have spent time in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea are allowed to enter the United States.

Illinois, home to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, also has a similar quarantine order in place, in open defiance of the White House.

The Obama administration pushed back on Sunday, following the latest all-hands Ebola meeting in the White House.

‘We have also let these states know that we are working on new guidelines for returning healthcare workers that will protect the American people against imported cases, while, at the same time, enabling us to continue to tackle this epidemic in West Africa.’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on the CBS program ‘Face the Nation’ that state-level quarantines send a message to health care professionals that volunteering in the Ebola hot zone will present new levels of inconvenience when they return. 

The New York Times first reported that aides to Obama were lobbying Christie and Cuomo to relax their new rules.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) says he doesn't know how his 'mandatory' quarantine would be enforced

There has been sharp criticism of the guidelines after Hickox was forcibly quarantined in a New Jersey hospital isolation unit, even though she had displayed no symptoms and had tested negative for Ebola.

Under the new New York guidelines, medical professionals who have had contact with Ebola patients can now be quarantined at home instead and receive twice-daily monitoring, if they have no symptoms.

Family members will be allowed to stay, and friends may also visit with the approval of health officials.  

Senior administration officials had called the initial decision on Friday by the governors to impose such rules ‘uncoordinated and hurried.’ 

Meanwhile, Hickox, the first nurse forcibly quarantined in New Jersey under the state’s new policy, said her isolation at a hospital was ‘inhumane,’ adding: ‘We have to be very careful about letting politicians make health decisions.’

Hickox is now suing and has now hired Norman Siegel, a high profile civil rights attorney, to challenge the order.  

Christie on Sunday defended quarantining as necessary to protect the public and predicted it ‘will become a national policy sooner rather than later.’

‘The government’s job is to protect safety and health of our citizens,’ Christie said on Fox News Sunday. ‘I have no second thoughts about it.’

In a  telephone interview with CNN, Kaci Hickox, the nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, said the process of keeping her isolated is 'inhumane'

In a telephone interview with CNN, Kaci Hickox, the nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, said the process of keeping her isolated is ‘inhumane’

Nurse Kaci Hickox was the first medical professional to be quarantined in New Jersey immediately upon returning to the United States from West Africa, where she had worked in treating Ebola patients.S he lashed out at Christie for giving her a diagnosis of sorts as 'obviously ill.'

Previously, Christie had characterized Hickox as ‘obviously ill.’

‘I’m sorry, but that’s just a completely unacceptable statement in my opinion,’ Hickox said Sunday during a phone interview with CNN. ‘For him—a politician who’s trusted and respected—to make a statement that’s categorically not true is just unacceptable and appalling.’

Cuomo also came under scrutiny over the weekend for criticizing Craig Spencer, a doctor who tested positive for Ebola on Thursday, for not obeying a 21-day voluntary quarantine. However, on Sunday, he called the health care workers ‘heroes’ and said his administration would encourage more medical workers to volunteer to fight Ebola.

Under the revised protocols Cuomo detailed on Sunday night, the state also will pay for any lost compensation if the quarantined workers are not paid by a volunteer organization.

‘My personal practice is to err on the side of caution,’ Cuomo said. ‘The old expression is, ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” 

‘We’re staying one step ahead,’ Cuomo said. ‘We’re doing everything possible. Some people say we’re being too cautious. I’ll take that criticism.’

For much of the weekend, the governors had been under fire from members of the medical community and the White House in what they saw as an overreaction. 

President Barack Obama gives a hug to Dallas nurse Nina Pham in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday, the day she was declared free of the virus

Patient Nina Pham is hugged by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, outside of National Institutes of Health (NIH) . Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola after treating an infected man at a Dallas hospital is free of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (left), director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the mandatory, 21-day quarantining of medical workers returning from West Africa is unnecessary and could discourage volunteers from traveling to the danger zone

‘The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers, so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci made the rounds on five major Sunday morning talk shows to argue that policy should be driven by science — and that science says people with the virus are not contagious until symptoms appear. And even then, infection requires direct contact with bodily fluids.

He said that close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient, and warned that forcibly separating them from others, or quarantining them, for three weeks could cripple the fight against the outbreak in West Africa — an argument that humanitarian medical organizations have also made.

‘If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it and then the epidemic will continue to roar,’ Fauci said.  

Fauci said that close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient, and warned that forcibly separating them from others, or quarantining them, for three weeks could cripple the fight against the outbreak in West Africa, an argument that humanitarian medical organizations have also made

The New York-area quarantine measures were announced after Spencer returned to New York City from treating Ebola victims in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders and was admitted to Bellevue Hospital Center Thursday to be treated for Ebola. In the week after his return, he rode the subway, went bowling and ate at a restaurant.

Hospital officials said Sunday that Spencer was in serious but stable condition, was looking better than he did the day before, and tolerated a plasma treatment well.

Hickox, the quarantined nurse who just returned from Sierra Leone, said she had no symptoms at all and tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation.

‘It’s just a slippery slope, not a sound public health decision,’ she said of the quarantine policy. ‘I want to be treated with compassion and humanity, and don’t feel I’ve been treated that way.’

Hickox has access to a computer, her cellphone, magazines and newspapers and has been allowed to have takeout food, New Jersey Health Department officials said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Hickox a ‘returning hero’ and charged that she was ‘treated with disrespect,’ as if she done something wrong, when she was put into quarantine. He said that she was interrogated repeatedly and things were not explained well to her. 

Commuters ride inside an L train subway car. This is the same train line that Dr. Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who tested positive for the Ebola, had taken to visit a bowling alley in Brooklyn

Official questions mandatory quarantines on health workers

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is on a trip to West Africa, said returning U.S. health care workers should be ‘treated like conquering heroes and not stigmatized for the tremendous work that they have done.’

In other developments, President Barack Obama met Sunday with his Ebola response team, including ‘Ebola czar’ Ron Klain and other public health and national security officials. 

According to a statement released by the White House, Obama said any measures concerning returning health care workers ‘should be crafted so as not to unnecessarily discourage those workers from serving.’

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered twice-daily monitoring for 21 days of anyone returning from the Ebola-stricken areas.

The World Health Organization said more than 10,000 people have been infected with Ebola in the outbreak that came to light last March, and nearly half of them have died, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

Three US states impose Ebola quanantines

New York City Council District 7 Community Liason Fidel Malena hands out flyers about Ebola risk near the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer in Harlem

New York City Council District 7 Community Liason Fidel Malena hands out flyers about Ebola risk near the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer in Harlem

Postal worker Keven Ngo, wearing a protective mask and gloves, prepares to deliver to the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer in Harlem

 

Marc Thiessen: Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?

15 Oct

IS HE THAT MUCH SMARTER THAN HIS ADVISORS?   OR WOULD HE SIMPLY RATHER BE GOLFING?

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By Marc A. Thiessen September 10, 2012

President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

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I asked National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor about the findings, and whether there were any instances where the president attended the intelligence meeting that were not on his public schedule. Vietor did not dispute the numbers, but said the fact that the president, during a time of war, does not attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis is “not particularly interesting or useful.” He says that the president reads his PDB every day, and he disagreed with the suggestion that there is any difference whatsoever between simply reading the briefing book and having an interactive discussion of its contents with top national security and intelligence officials where the president can probe assumptions and ask questions. “I actually don’t agree at all,” Vietor told me in an e-mail, “The president gets the information he needs from the intelligence community each day.”

OBAMA AT PRESS BRIEFING

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