Be Not Reassured

A POLICY COMMENTARY

BY JAY B GASKILL

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While we were looking for a real doctor to take charge, possibly an epidemiological expert, Mr. Obama has engaged a spin doctor to counter the Ebola threat. You just can’t make this stuff up.

 

Today’s New Yoke Times (STET) has announced that a clever and politically loyal lawyer is now the nation’s Ebola Tsar.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/ron-klain-chief-of-staff-to-2-vice-presidents-is-named-ebola-czar.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LedeSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Ron Klain, a seasoned Democratic crisis-response operative [read political operative, here - JBG] and White House veteran, to manage the government’s response to the deadly virus as public anxiety grows over its possible spread. “Mr. Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., is known for his ability to handle high-stakes and fast-moving political challenges [my emphasis JBG]. 

….

“The virus has also threatened to raise questions about the Obama administration’s competence, fueled in recent days by reports that two health care workers were infected while caring for an Ebola-afflicted patient at a Dallas hospital, and one subsequently flew on an airplane with a fever.  “Mr. Klain is uniquely positioned to help Mr. Obama counter such questions and rein in a story that has sometimes seemed to spiral out of the White House’s control, said one Democratic operative. ‘He’ll control the message better than most people would…’”

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Contrast the approach of Texas Governor Rick Perry who convened a task force on Monday:

Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/articles/texas-gov-rick-perry-calls-for-added-federal-ebola-screening-1412615960

“Mr. Perry named Dr. Brett Giroir, the chief executive of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, to head the Texas task force. It will assess state hospitals’ preparedness for treating patients exposed to the Ebola virus and offer recommendations for monitoring people who may have come into contact with someone exhibiting symptoms of Ebola. ‘Washington needs to take immediate steps to minimize the dangers of Ebola and infectious diseases.’”

Today the Texas governor followed up.  This, from the San Francisco Chronicle

 http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/UTMB-to-burn-Ebola-waste-from-Dallas-5829624.php

“AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that his new task force had recommended Texas designate specialized Ebola treatment centers and give officials more power to restrict the movement of those suspected of having the deadly disease. ‘We must admit along the way we have seen ample opportunity for improvement’ in responding to the arrival of Ebola, Perry said in a morning news conference at the Capitol. The governor also called on the federal government to ban travel from Ebola-ravaged West African countries, a shift from his position two weeks ago that enhanced screening at airports would be the best approach.

“President Barack Obama has implemented more screening but has resisted a travel ban, saying non-direct flights would render it ineffective and even counterproductive. In explaining his shift, Perry cited the fear prompted by a health worker who had flown on a commercial flight after treating an Ebola patient in Dallas. The health worker tested positive for the virus herself earlier this week, just hours after flying from Cleveland to Dallas. Perry called it ‘indefensible’ that she was allowed to fly.

 

Brett Giroir, the head of the Ebola task force appointed by Perry, said the task force believes the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston should be the site of the state's first Ebola treatment center. UTMB's president, Dr. David Callender, said in an interview Friday that UTMB is prepared for such a role. Callender also said 1,500 pounds of waste amassed during the treatment of the first U.S. Ebola case in Dallas is awaiting transport to Galveston for incineration at UTMB. The medical branch began preparing to receive the waste after a fielding a request last week from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the university's ability to incinerate it. The waste would be placed in a special incinerator built to dispose of biological waste from the Galveston National Laboratory, which already does research on Ebola and the most dangerous biological agents on the planet.

I need say little more except to paraphrase Alice in Wonderland, “Things are getting worrier and worrier.” JBG

Except for the quoted material, this is Copyright 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law. Forwards and pull quotes are hereby encouraged. Author contact – law@jaygaskill.com

The Ebola scare serves to remind us in the comfortable West, how fragile is our hold on civilization.  Gaskill’s newly released thriller, Gabriel’s Stand, should be required reading in the Congress. “Deadly pandemics threaten genocide; powerful radicals seek human depopulation by restricting medicines; Gabriel, a Native American Senator, risks his life and family to save America.” More about the book at http://jaygaskill.com/GabrielThriller.pdf