Oct 23 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #859

ON THE RECORD ….

“Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? I mean, really.” — Democrat Charlie Crist at the start of a gubernatorial debate in response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott who initially refused to take the stage because Crist insisted on using a fan to keep him cool.10/16/2014

“He’s opposed to amnesty, secure the border, which is another one that’s like a no-brainer that I don’t understand, there are certain things you don’t even understand how the other side can fight it and yet there are people out there, believe it or not, that don’t want to secure our border. Now especially with Ebola, how about when that starts happening down in that area and people just walk into the country.” – Donald Trump, after lashing out at President Obama’s fondness for golf, claiming that the president shows “a level of arrogance that’s absolutely disgusting” Trump said that he was attracted to Rep. Steve King’s hardline anti-immigrant stance.

“They hate each other.” — Meghan McCain when asked what her father thinks of Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite. 10/15/14,

Ya know it’s a shame that the CDC head, Frieden, and apparently is the new commander of the Democrats’ war on woman nurses because they set up them up and then they throw them under the bus.” — Rep. Louie Gohmert on Glenn Beck’s radio program.10/16/14

“I think that we became psychologically mired in a form of national Stockholm Syndrome. We said to ourselves, and the world, ‘Look at this guy. We’re going to elect this guy president. Why would you attack us? We’re not even voting for somebody who likes us. This guy, who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein. Hussein. Surely you won’t attack us now because we’ve got a shield here of a guy who, as the leader of our country says we’re bad.” — Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, suggesting that Obama won’t keep ebola from U.S. because ‘his affinities’ are with Africa 10/15/14

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.” — From Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the Supreme Court’s ruling that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election. 10/18/14

“The fear that is gripping America threatens to forestall that very necessary aid (to Africa) that could save tens of thousands of lives. The dreams of the end of the world will prevent us from actually dealing with the real threats.” — Stephen Marche 10/17/14

“The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).10/18/14

“This is an exciting time for Christians. God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, (Duck Dynasty” TV star) Phil Robertson, about God’s Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching.” — Texas State Senator Dan Patrick (R), who is leading in the polls in the race for Lt. Governor. 10/21/14

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. President Obama’s Weekly Address: What You Need to Know About Ebola
2. Mark Fiore animation: Voter Fraud Vigilantes
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
6. Romney Leads Scattered 2016 GOP Field
7. Democrats Running Away from Obama Won’t Work
8. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Supreme Court
9. The Borowitz Report: New Texas Law Would Require Candidates for Governor to Show Proof of I.Q.
10. Christie says GOP gubernatorial candidates need to win so they control ‘voting mechanisms’

OPINION

1. Brian Beutler: Republicans Want You to Be Terrified of Ebola—So You’ll Vote for Them
2. Joan Walsh: America’s looming freak show: How GOP control in 2015 will terrorize a nation – with no political repercussion
3. Dana Milbank: The nasty politicization of Ebola
4. Norm Ornstein: Our Downward Spiral Since Citizens United
5. Lewis Beale: Paranoia Crept into American Political Life a Long Time Ago
6. Sally Kohn: GOP, don’t undermine government
7. Katrina vanden Heuvel: The catastrophes that a GOP-controlled Congress would bring
8. Dean Baker: Ebola Hysteria Fever: A Real Epidemic
9. Michael Tomasky: Dark Money and Our Looming Oligarchy

1. President Obama’s Weekly Address: What You Need to Know About Ebola

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear-because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts.” — Watch President Obama explain Ebola to the increasingly anxious public at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u08u8GA_rg

2. Mark Fiore animation: Voter Fraud Vigilantes

http://vimeo.com/109092894

3. The DAILY GRILL

“Again, I do not support the personhood amendment. The bill that you are referring to is simply a statement that I support life.” — Colorado US Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R). 10/16/14

VERSUS

“The terms human person and human being include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” — The personhood bill that Rep. Cory Gardner co-sponsored. 10/16/14

 

– The deadly virus Ebola can spread from a person who has the disease to someone standing three feet away and said the White House should be honest about that. — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to a group of college students10/16/2014

– “There are now doctors who are saying we’re not so sure that it can’t be in some senses transmitted by airborne.” — George Will on Fox News Sunday. 10/19/14

VERSUS

‘There is no evidence that Ebola has been transmitted in the general public through coughing or sneezing.” — Jon Greenberg in Politifact 10/19/14

 

“Look – look, of course we should have a surgeon general in place. And we don’t have one because President Obama, instead of nominating a health professional, he nominated someone who is an anti-gun activist. — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley. 10/20/1

VERSUS

That’s news to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where Murthy is an attending physician and Harvard Medical School, where he teaches. … Republicans are arguing that Murthy isn’t a qualified health professional because the NRA—so well known as a public health advocacy group—told them so.” — Joan McCarter in the Daily Kos 10/20/14

 

“President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.” — JEFF MASON in Reuters. 10/19/14

VERSUS

“Roughly 8,000 people packed a high school gymnasium — with more in an overflow crowd next-door — where Obama adopted his party’s mantra for this election season by claiming the midterms would come down to one thing: “Who is going to fight for you?” — JOSH LEDERMAN about the same rally. 10/19/14

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox News Ignores “Dark Money” To Pretend Democrats Are Destroying Republicans In Election Spending http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/16/fox-news-ignores-dark-money-to-pretend-democrat/201188

Fox Host Denies Fact That Funding Problems Hinder Ebola Research: “Patently False”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/16/fox-host-denies-fact-that-funding-problems-hind/201184

National Review Editor Equates Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Stance With Grimes’ Defense Of Secret Ballots http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/16/national-review-editor-equates-akins-legitimate/201182

Ingraham: The Left Believes Americans Should Die From Ebola To Repay Our Debt To Africa http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/17/ingraham-the-left-believes-americans-should-die/201207

FLASHBACK: When Conservative Media Didn’t Care Bush’s Bird Flu Czar Had No Medical Experience http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/20/flashback-when-conservative-media-didnt-care-bu/201229

Fox Panel Criticizes Hillary Clinton For Championing Women’s Issues In Colorado http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/21/fox-panel-criticizes-hillary-clinton-for-champi/201258

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“The marriage rate has hit an all-time low, with 1 in 5 adults over 25 having never been married. In fact, an ad firm has come up with slogans to get people on board. One slogan is: ‘Marriage, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back — half of it, anyway.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new poll shows that only a slim majority of Americans think the country is prepared for an Ebola outbreak. But I think we deal with outbreaks pretty well. It only took us a couple of months to completely eradicate Gangnam Style.” –Seth Meyers

“I was very happy to see that our old friend Jay Leno is coming back to television. He’s coming back to CNBC and he’s got a brand-new show. Jay drives a variety of exotic vehicles, and each week he runs down a different NBC executive.” –David Letterman

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance yesterday in over 40 days. But since he saw his shadow, that now means 60 more years of nuclear winter.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Today the Obama administration announced the 140 people selected from across the country to participate in the fall White House internship program. Unlike the White House itself, the internship program is very hard to get into.” –Seth Meyers

“North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un resurfaced yesterday after more than a month out of the public eye. U.S. officials think that the reason no one saw him for so long is that he was starring in an NBC sitcom.” –Seth Meyers

“Nobody knows where he is but the U.S. national security adviser says there is no evidence that Kim Jong Un has been overthrown. If anything, he was probably just tipped over.” –Seth Meyers

“President Obama may close the Guantanamo prison. When asked how he plans on letting the prisoners out, Obama said, ‘I’ll replace all the guards with Secret Service agents.’ They’ll just wander out.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The administration now has a name for the war against ISIS. Every military operation has to have a name so people can get behind it, and they now have a name for the war against ISIS – Operation Hillary’s Problem.” –David Letterman

“Today President Obama gave a speech in California to motivate young voters by discussing his commitment to new technology. Ironically, nobody heard him because they were all staring at their phones.” –Jimmy Fallon

“New York state is spending $750 million to open a solar plant in Buffalo, which will create thousands of jobs. Most of those jobs will be shoveling the snow off the solar equipment.” –Jimmy Fallon

“They’re getting ready for Halloween at the White House. The pumpkins they’re carving came out of Michelle Obama’s garden. She raised the pumpkins, and the knife they’re using to carve came from a guy who hopped over the fence.” –David Letterman

6. Romney Leads Scattered 2016 GOP Field

Mitt Romney leads the GOP Field for President, supported for the GOP nomination by 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That’s double the support of his closest potential rival, but it also leaves 79 percent who prefer one of 13 other possible candidates tested, or none of them.

Clinton continues to dominate on the Democratic side, with 64 percent support. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/10/romney-leads-scattered-2016-gop-field-clinton-still-dominates-the-democratic-race/

7. Democrats Running Away from Obama Won’t Work

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: A party running away from a president never works. One, because the party already owns the president. And two, because that running away alienates many of the voters who elected — and then re-elected — him. In other words, if the Democratic Party wants to energize its voters, is treating the head of the party like a pariah the best way to do that? Bottom line: It’s just demoralizing, and it creates a negative feedback loop. — First Read 10/20/14 http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/will-ebola-fade-campaign-trail-n229631

8. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Supreme Court

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9prhPV2PI&sns=em

9. The Borowitz Report: New Texas Law Would Require Candidates for Governor to Show Proof of I.Q.

A controversial new bill in the Texas House of Representatives would require those running for governor to show proof of the minimum I.Q. necessary to perform the duties of the office.

If the bill were to become law, every politician in Texas with gubernatorial ambitions would be issued an I.D. card featuring his or her photo, current address, and performance on a state-administered I.Q. test.

Carol Foyler, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, acknowledged that the idea of a minimum I.Q. for candidates was viewed as incendiary in some circles, but insisted that the requirements of the I.D. card were not onerous. “All they have to do is show mastery of simple tasks, such as uttering complete sentences and things of that nature,” she said.

“I know that the folks behind this so-called bill are well meaning,” Rep. Harland Dorrinson, of Plano said. “But if this had been enacted fifteen years ago, it would have choked off our supply of governors.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/new-texas-law-require-candidates-governor-show-proof-q

10. Christie says GOP gubernatorial candidates need to win so they control ‘voting mechanisms’

At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington, D.C., Christie ran down a list of states he’s spent time in recently as chairman of the Republican Governors Association questioning whether a Republican presidential nominee would rather have the incumbent GOP governor in power or the Democratic challenger.

“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?” he asked. 10/22/14 http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-says-gop-gubernatorial-candidates-need-to-win-so-they-control-voting-mechanisms-1.1113989

1. Brian Beutler: Republicans Want You to Be Terrified of Ebola—So You’ll Vote for Them

The first transmission of Ebola within the United States, from Liberian visitor Thomas Eric Duncan to a Dallas nurse, marked a turning point in the political dialogue surrounding the virus toward an unbridled opportunism. The subsequent diagnosis of a second nurse and other revelations—that she took a flight shortly before she began showing symptoms, apparently with Centers for Disease Control’s approval—have only accelerated it. Obviously a degree of paranoia and sensationalism has colored the Ebola story since long before this week. But this week’s developments provided conservatives the psychological ammunition they needed to justify using the specter of a major Ebola outbreak as an election-year base-mobilization strategy.

Republican candidates like Scott Brown are now in on the game, and so is House Speaker John Boehner. Fox News, with the exception of Shepard Smith, is ginning up more Ebola terror than CNN, which had been the vanguard of Ebola hysteria until this week. Matt Drudge’s call to panic was not only deranged—but unintentionally self-defeating, as one cannot vote if one is self-quarantined.

Engaging in the politics of fear requires a pretense. You can find people who hype mortal danger, without a sheen of plausibility, shouting into bullhorns on street corners. Politicians and their enablers need persuasive stories that make the threats sound real. And the story that many conservatives are telling about Ebola goes something like this: We’d love to eschew hysteria, and we’d love to believe our public health officials can break the chain of transmission within the U.S., but the Obama administration has proven itself untrustworthy.

Ebola carries a crucial mix of novelty, visibility, and lethality that ripens it for demagogy. But conservatives have selected a familiar line of demagogy—that you can’t trust the government to administer things and solve problems—and imposed it on to a situation where stoking reflexive distrust of the government tugs at the lid of a big Pandora’s box.. 10/16/14 http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119851/republicans-spread-ebola-paranoia-blame-obama-ahead-midterms

2. Joan Walsh: America’s looming freak show: How GOP control in 2015 will terrorize a nation – with no political repercussion

I’m an optimist who’s expert at finding silver linings – American progressives have to be — but the case rapidly picking up steam that another midterm loss will be good for Democrats is both silly and a little dangerous.

Republicans already look like a completely dysfunctional party incapable of governing, and they’re on the verge of another great midterm win. A year after the government shutdown, it’s shocking even to me how little it ultimately cost the party politically. Everyone knew that October 2013 polls weren’t as important as October 2014, and that the GOP would have a year to recover – but even I didn’t believe that they would, so completely.

The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion in growth. It showed the nation the incompetence of House GOP leadership. It exposed the civil war in the Senate. The country saw that the party was craven, dysfunctional, agenda-free and not merely incapable of governing, but uninterested in it. After the shutdown, the share of voters identifying themselves as Republican dropped to 25 percent in Gallup polling, the lowest level in 25 years, and polls showed Democrats might have a shot at taking back the House.

But a year later, Republicans are in no danger of losing the House and have a better than even chance to take back the Senate. Even at the time, it was clear that a feckless, frenetic media — which immediately went on to treat Obamacare web site glitches as just as catastrophic as the GOP’s shutdown debacle — would let the party off the hook. Yet so have voters. The Republican base is more than content to have its leaders do nothing but block and sabotage Obama. And the Democratic base still disproportionately sits out the midterms, which lets the obstructionists dominate the agenda.

It will be entertaining to watch de facto House Speaker Ted Cruz make life even more miserable for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s a given that the 2016 Republican primary race will be as big a freak show as 2012 (and maybe even with Mitt Romney again too!) But this optimist no longer believes the GOP will pay any lasting price for more cartoonish dysfunction. But the rest of us will, for a long time. 10/17/14 http://www.salon.com/2014/10/17/americas_looming_freak_show_
how_gop_control_in_2015_will_terrorize_a_nation_with_no_political_repercussion/

3. Dana Milbank: The nasty politicization of Ebola

In an interview published Sunday night Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, shared with the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein his belief that, if not for recent federal spending cuts, “we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this” Ebola outbreak.

This should not be controversial. His conjecture was based on cold budgeting facts. NIH funding between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal 2014 had dropped 10 percent in real dollars — and vaccine research took a proportionate hit. Research on an Ebola vaccine, at $37 million in 2010, was halved to $18 million in 2014.

Now, NIH-funded researchers are “a few years away,” Collins said, from a universal flu vaccine that could protect people against virtually all strains — even pandemics — without the need for annual shots. Yearly flu epidemics suck an estimated $87 billion out of the U.S. economy and claim tens of thousands of lives; a pandemic strain could be much worse.

Who, of any political philosophy, would say it’s not worth $121 million — and more — for a universal flu vaccine?

Who would say, given the economic catastrophe that an Ebola outbreak could cause, that spending tens of millions more for an Ebola vaccine is wasteful?

Only a fool. 10/1714 http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-making-ebola-a-partisan-issue/2014/10/17/53227888-55fd-11e4-892e-602188e70e9c_story.html

4. Norm Ornstein: Our Downward Spiral Since Citizens United

Desperation to raise money means lawmakers pandering to big donors or shaking them down—trading access for favors, or threatening retribution. And it means more vicious ads, done by anonymous groups, which only enhance the corrosive cynicism voters have toward all politicians. And it means more sham independence and blockage of disclosure, without any enforcement of existing laws by the outrageously lawless Federal Election Commission, led by Caroline Hunter and Lee Goodman. And we should relax?

But that is not the worst of the new world of campaign finance post-Citizens United. The worst comes with judicial elections—and that worst could be worsened by a pending Supreme Court case that may allow sitting judges actively to solicit campaign funds for their own elections.

Here is the reality: If judges fear multimillion-dollar campaigns against them, they will have to raise millions themselves, or quietly engineer campaigns by others to do so. Who will contribute, or lead those efforts? Of course, those who practice in front of the judges will, creating an unhealthy dynamic of gratitude and dependency. Worse, imagine what happens when judges are deciding cases in which the stakes are high, and well-heeled individuals or corporations will be helped or damaged by the rulings. The judges know that an adverse decision now will trigger a multimillion-dollar campaign against them the next time, both for retribution and to replace them with more friendly judges. Will that affect some rulings? Of course.

I agree with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that judicial elections in general are an abomination. They are no way to select impartial and high-quality jurists. But judicial elections in the age of Citizens United make it so much worse. This will ultimately undermine the whole idea of an independent judiciary, which is the single most significant bedrock of a functioning democratic political system. So, David, I do not relax about campaign spending. And neither should you. 10/15/14 http://www.nationaljournal.com/washington-inside-out/our-downward-spiral-since-citizens-united-20141015

5. Lewis Beale: Paranoia Crept into American Political Life a Long Time Ago

Fifty Years ago, “The Paranoid Style of American Politics” changed how we think about modern conservatism. The American polity has been dealing with it ever since.

Political paranoia. It’s everywhere.

Dr. Ben Carson, the Fox News contributor and Tea Party favorite, thinks America will be in such a state of anarchy by 2016 that the Presidential election might actually be cancelled.

Phyllis Schlafly, the long-time right-wing activist, believes President Obama is deliberately introducing Ebola into America, to make it more like Africa.

And Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) claims at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught at the Mexican border (A charge refuted by the Department of Homeland Security).

“The paranoid style,” Hofstadter wrote 50 years ago, “has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.” 10/19/14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/19/paranoia-crept-into-american-political-life-a-long-time-ago.html

6. Sally Kohn: GOP, don’t undermine government

Conservatives can’t bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn’t there when we need it. After all, anti-government rhetoric and anti-tax austerity have real-life consequences — consequences playing out at this very moment in the public health response to Ebola.

Republicans have spent the last several years condemning the role of government in health care. Now they’re demanding government step up and play an intensified role. Yet consider that Thomas Eric Duncan showed up at a Dallas hospital with symptoms of Ebola, but was turned away with just antibiotics and some Tylenol. He didn’t have health insurance. But surely if this outbreak teaches us anything, it is that our health depends on everyone have access to affordable, quality medical care. True, the CDC needs to revise its guidelines and procedures for Ebola. But in Dallas we saw very clearly that a private health system won’t be able to save us. That’s why it’s called public health.

Sadly, for the past generation or so, Republicans have attacked the very idea of government while implementing policies that erode its effectiveness, making their prophecies of government failure self-fulfilling.

It is only when something like Ebola happens that Americans realize how much we actually need government to work on our behalf. But if that is to happen, it requires not just the resources, but lawmakers acting in good faith. If we want government to succeed when we need it, stop setting it up to fail. 10/18/14 http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/18/opinion/kohn-undermining-government/index.html

7. Katrina vanden Heuvel: The catastrophes that a GOP-controlled Congress would bring

Perhaps the most worrying consequence of a Republican-controlled Senate will be the extension of an already damaging austerity agenda. Working Americans, who have suffered through years of a stagnant economy, will see their livelihoods threatened by the shifting power dynamic in Washington. Think, for example, about how different the next debt-ceiling fight will look. Republicans have repeatedly used the debt ceiling to hold the economy hostage, but each time they have relented for the same basic reason: the conclusion that it would be Republicans, not the president, who would be blamed for the consequences. After all, if Congress couldn’t get a bill to Obama’s desk, how could he be blamed for not signing it? But if Republicans take the Senate, the calculus will change. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and McConnell (if he survives the challenge by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes) will be able to send hundreds of bills to the president’s desk for his signature or veto. What happens when they send him a bill to prevent a default on our debt at the 11th hour, attached to a bill that ravages Social Security? The Republican Party will gain the power to force the president to choose between impossible options.

It is with this sort of leverage that empowered Republicans will be able to attack key progressive priorities while advancing a right-wing agenda that includes the Keystone XL pipeline, a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, an assault on the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, the decimation of an already weak Dodd-Frank Act and more tears in an already weakened social safety net. This time, it might be Obama who shuts down the government.

In a democracy, there is no such thing as an election without consequences. Many progressives are not satisfied with today’s Democratic Party; they want it to be more populist and progressive. But they also know it is absurd to suggest that there are no differences between the two major parties, and it is madness to suggest that little will change if Republicans take the Senate. A lot will change — and the change will be the worse for women, immigrants, workers and the environment. A Republican Senate, working with a Republican House, will be a wrecking crew. There is only one way to avert the devastation: Vote with a vengeance on Nov. 4. 10/21/14 http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-the-catastrophes-that-a-gop-controlled-congress-would-bring/2014/10/21/69358b00-589c-11e4-8264-deed989ae9a2_story.html

8. Dean Baker: Ebola Hysteria Fever: A Real Epidemic

Thus far, the Ebola virus has infected three people in the United States that we know of; however, Ebola hysteria seems to have infected somewhere close to 300 million. There are reports of kids being pulled out of schools and even some school closings. People in many areas are not going to work and others are driving cars rather than taking mass transit because they fear catching Ebola from fellow passengers. There are also reports of people staying away from stores, restaurants, and other public places in order to avoid the deadly plague.

This would all be comic if there were not real consequences. People not going to work are going to lose needed paychecks. Our kids need to go to school to get an education. And the cost of the hysteria may grow enormously depending on how the government reacts.

The current fad among politicians is the idea of ban on travel for people from Liberia and other countries where the epidemic is concentrated. This policy is in the “we have to do something” category.

IIf we can get the victims of Ebola hysteria fever to come down for a minute, it is useful to remind them that they face an enormously greater risk of being killed in a car accident than they do from being killed by the Ebola virus. But if that sounds like too much of an abstraction, there is an even simpler point that can be made.

There have been several outbreaks of Ebola in sub-Saharan Africa over the last three decades. Each of them has been successfully brought under control. This means not only that it is possible to contain the virus and keep it from infecting an ever larger group of people, but that the governments in sub-Saharan Africa were able to muster the resources to accomplish this goal. These are among the poorest countries in the world.

If Sudan, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and Gabon can bring Ebola under control, surely the United States can do the same. Unfortunately, Ebola Hysteria Fever may be a bit harder to contain. 10/21/14  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-baker/ebola-hysteria-fever-a-re_b_6020952.html

9. Michael Tomasky: Dark Money and Our Looming Oligarchy

Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which opened the sluices to corporate money. But as you might recall, Kennedy insisted that there should be no problem with this. Why? Because there would be no more secret money:  “With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.”

Kennedy describes a good-government Valhalla here, where campaigns and committees get a check in the mail and instantly scan it and send it along to the FEC, and bam, Bob’s your uncle, it’s there for the whole world to see. Of course, few citizens are going to go poring through FEC tables, but at least they’d be there for timely public review for reporters. That would be…tolerable, maybe.

But that is not remotely where things are headed. One of our parties is against full disclosure. They used to be for it, the Republicans did. But then they saw which way the post-Citizens United wind was blowing and became anti-disclosure.  McConnell, the little Satan on his party’s shoulder on these matters, made the switch in 2012.

So that’s what this election marks: The routinization, in all contested races, of undisclosed money coming to dominate these campaigns, and the clear majority of it on the corporate, pro-Republican side. And yep, it can get worse. 10.22.14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/22/dark-money-and-our-looming-oligarchy.html

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