Ebola Reaches London

ebolaA traveler arriving at London’s Gatwick International Airport collapsed after exiting the plane and died.  She was reportedly “sweating buckets and vomiting.”  What makes this a probable case of Ebola is that she flew in from Sierra Leone; which has been hit the hardest by the current Ebola outbreak.

Bringing Ebola patients to the United States in very controlled environments is understandable.  Whether or not it’s a good idea is debatable, but at least it’s a controlled effort.  However, allowing travelers to continue flying to and from these countries and the region in general is anything but controlled.  It can take 20+ days for symptoms to present themselves and there is no telling where the victims of this Ebola virus will be when their symptoms hit or how many people will be exposed to their projectile vomit, excessive sweating, bleeding, or other bodily fluids, especially when their symptoms start on an airplane or in a crowded airport.

Whether Ebola is 90% fatal or 5% fatal, we’re talking about millions of lives being lost and entire economies being devastated as people refuse to go to crowded areas whether for work or recreation.  This isn’t something our leaders should be screwing around with.

I am curious to see what, if anything, the United Kingdom does in response to a passenger bringing Ebola to their country.  I am curious to see what Europe does now that Ebola has been brought to their continent.

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Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Not Condemning Israel!?

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is by far the best looking 90-year-old I've ever seen.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is by far the best looking 90-year-old I’ve ever seen. He just celebrated his 90th birthday on August 1st. He was born in 1924.

The 90-year-old monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, told the world that what’s happening in Gaza is a “collective massacre” but stopped short of condemning Israel.  In past conflicts, King Abdullah has been very quick to not only condemn Israel, but demand international sanctions and other actions be taken to make it more difficult for Israel to wage war in the Palestinian territories.

What’s changed, you ask.  The region.  The entire Middle East has changed.  With the prominent rise of Islamic extremists in Syria, Iraq, and (the recently oppressed) Morsi government in Egypt that was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, regional politics are changing very quickly.  HAMAS is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and has gained a tremendous amount of influence and power over the past decade since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004.

Before Islamists were allowed to hijack the “Arab Spring,” Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah would have been quick to encourage their brothers in Palestine as nothing more than a propaganda tool.  But now that the movement is gaining traction after all these decades, King Abdullah is probably terrified of what could happen in Saudi Arabia if extremists outside his country get closer to his borders.  Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and has within its borders the Holy City of Mecca.  ISIS has already said it wants to destroy several holy sites in the city (similar to how they destroyed Jonah’s tomb).  Among the things ISIS would most definitely want to destroy first though is the monarchy itself.

King Abdullah, like any wise dictator, is first concerned about the security of his regime and giving his position to his successor when the time comes.  If HAMAS were to eventually succeed in destroying Israel, it will probably happen with the support of ISIS in 10+ years (assuming their Caliphate could organize itself into a functioning government rather than a bunch of glorified warlords).  If that happens, it will solidify ISIS’s credibility in the eyes of Sunni Muslims around the world.  Therefore, it’s imperative for non-extremists rulers in the Muslim world, like King Abdullah, to not only begin to criticize extremist groups like HAMAS now, but also de-emphasize the necessity to destroy Israel and tone down their rhetoric in that regard.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was recently installed as President of Egypt.  This photo was taken in July 2013, when he was still the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces (which is why he's the only one allowed to wear sunglasses).  The military has controlled Egypt for decades and still does.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was recently installed as President of Egypt. This photo was taken in July 2013, when he was still the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces (which is why he’s the only one allowed to wear sunglasses). The military has controlled Egypt for decades and still does.

It’s a play right out of Egypt’s handbook.  Egypt was actually the country who launched a blockade against Israel and (perhaps inadvertently) started the Six-Day War in 1967 by doing so.  After that happened, Muslim extremists (The Muslim Brotherhood) started gaining their first bit of real traction in the country.  In what was partially an effort to destroy the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt began making overtures of peace to Israel and it eventually resulted in a peace treaty between the countries and the return of the Sinai Peninsula from Israel to Egypt.  The Muslim Brotherhood remained relevant not because of their anti-Semetic rhetoric but because they were the only real alternative to President Hosni Mubarack, who was himself a dictator.  Some will say that it didn’t end well for Hosni Mubarack (toppled in 2011) and Muhammed Anwar El-Sedat (assassinated in 1981). However, Mubarack and Anwar Sedat were not the leaders of Egypt, they were the front men the military installed to protect their control of Egypt.  When the Muslim Brotherhood tried to undo the military’s influence in Egypt after the country’s democratic experiment, the Egyptian Military toppled Morsi and installed a new government.  The military regime in Egypt is still alive and well.  That’s what King Abdullah is trying to accomplish in Saudi Arabia.

I wouldn’t dare suggest that King Abdullah will make the same kind of grandiose offers of peace to Israel as Egypt did (lest he face a civil war aimed at toppling their “Zionist King”), but he is using Israel in propaganda and rhetoric a lot less since this whole Arab Spring Fling went south.


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HAMAS Wasted My Thursday Night

I had this great post written on Thursday evening about the Israel and HAMAS ceasefire.


By the time I was done writing the post, reports out of Jerusalem were ablaze of HAMAS rocket attacks and kidnappings.  The ceasefire was over and my post was completely pointless.  HAMAS has killed thousands of innocent people, destroyed the credibility of our Secretary of State, and now they’ve intentionally wasted my time.  Nobody wastes my time and gets away with it!

Go get these assholes, Bibi!

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Ebola Crossing Southern Border Unlikely Anytime Soon

ebolaWith the wildfire spread of Ebola through western Africa, many here are starting to fear that the often fatal disease might cross into the United States via our under-protected southern border.  I believe that’s unlikely.  That would require someone with the disease (but not showing symptoms) to fly from West Africa to South or Central America, spread the disease to others before or as they made their way to the United States.  However, the disease is still isolated in Western Africa and Latin Americans with the means to travel to Western Africa are unlikely to associate with those who are fleeing South and Central America for the United States.

What is far more likely is that a US citizen will unknowingly become infected with Ebola, jump on an airplane (or five), return to the United States before displaying symptoms, and then spread it to their family and loved ones.  If that doesn’t happen, then it will spread to Europe in a similar fashion first and then from Europe to the United States.

Unfortunately, the CDC is not taking the threat of this seriously.  Not wanting to dampen people’s travel plans to western Africa, they merely put out a travel advisory to “avoid contact with blood and other bodily fluids of foreigners who may be infected.”

No shit. (Literally, touch it and die)

Ebola is spreading faster and faster in the affected African countries and the Obama Administration is worried about hurting the nearly non-existent economy of Western Africa.  Fantastic.  I’m glad the health and safety of the American people are so important.  If you were to poll this question, I’m willing to bet well over two-thirds of Americans think we should stop all non-essential (non-medical) air travel to and from Western Africa.

wpid-20140710_075207.jpgTheir excuse is that Americans have little to fear because Ebola is a disease that is difficult to spread where there are a combination of indoor plumbing and good hygiene practices taking place.  Unfortunately for me, I take the South Shore commuter train from Indiana to Chicago and back every day and there are more than a few individuals on that train who don’t practice any kind of hygiene at all.  Not too long ago, I blogged about how there was poop on the seat on one of the South Shore trains.  If you use public transit like me, you have something to be worried about. We also have a large number of Americans who are seeing their water turned off due to non-payment.  In other words, you lave large portions of some cities who are practicing hygiene as poorly as the Paulers.  Banking on American hygiene to stop the spread of this disease is a risky gamble.

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Read Pence’s Letter to Obama on Covertly Moving Illegal Immigrants into Indiana

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R)
Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R)

Read Governor Mike Pence’s letter to President Obama below.  Pence states very clearly what every Republican should be saying about the crisis on our nation’s border.  Emphasis was added by me.

July 29, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to express my profound concern about the federal government’s mishandling of the present crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the nation’s Southern border by the tens of thousands. The federal government has not dealt with this crisis in an effective or transparent manner with regard to the states, and I urge you to take immediate action to resolve this crisis and provide states with timely and necessary information.

In Indiana last week, we learned from media reports that more than two hundred unaccompanied children had been placed by the federal government with sponsors in our state.  Only after these media reports were published did the state receive notice from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that in fact 245 unaccompanied children had been placed in Indiana during the period from January 1, 2014 through July 7, 2014.  I have been informed that HHS will only provide monthly updated numbers of unaccompanied children placed in states during the first week of each month. This is unacceptable.

While we feel deep compassion for these children, our country must secure its borders and provide for a legal and orderly immigration process. Those who have crossed our border illegally should be treated humanely and with decency and respect, but they should be returned expeditiously to their home countries to be reunited with their families rather than being dispersed around the United States in sponsored placement or long-term detention facilities.  Failure to expedite the return of unaccompanied children thwarts the rule of law and will only continue to send a distorted message that illegally crossing into America is without consequence.

Indiana will be responsible for the costs of education for these unaccompanied children and perhaps other costs related to their health and welfare, and therefore, we require transparency and timely information about their placement in the state.  For example, in many districts across Indiana, the 2014-2015 school year starts in just a few days, and school officials need accurate information about unaccompanied children who will potentially be in their classrooms while placed with their sponsors.

I am also writing to formally request real-time updates of unaccompanied children placed in Indiana, both for arrivals and departures, so that our state can react appropriately without a lag of weeks in receiving this information.  I also request information related to the legal status of sponsors with whom children are being placed and the localities in which they reside.

Indiana has welcomed immigrants throughout its history and will continue to open its communities to those who legally come to America and choose to make their home in the Hoosier state.  And as you may know, I have long sought to be a constructive voice on the issue of border security and immigration reform.  During my service in Congress I proposed sensible immigration reform measures to strengthen our borders and provide new and improved ways for immigrants to legally come into our country.  What we are currently experiencing in Indiana and states across the nation as this crisis deepens, however, is neither sensible nor humane.States should not be asked by the federal government to deal with the consequences of a failed national immigration policy.

Mr. President, the federal government must move quickly to solve this crisis, and in the meantime it must be transparent with timely information to states.  I appreciate your consideration and look forward to your response.



Michael R. Pence

Governor of Indiana

I think Governor Pence hit it out of the ballpark.  Very passive-aggressive to get his point across while respecting the office of the President.

After the federal government’s bungling of Obamacare, we should all be DEEPLY concerned for the safety of the children who immigrated to the United States illegally and were dropped off by the HHS at sponsor homes across the country.  While some are worried about the children not showing up for court dates, I’m worried about the health and well-being of these children.  For all we know, they were given to fugitive child molesters, human traffickers, pimps, and MS-13 gang members.  There was no congressional oversight and no state oversight.

Yet, it’s the states who will have to clean up this mess.

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Rand Paul’s Slim Lead in 2016 Polls Is Misleading

I wrote yesterday that the polling data for the 2016 GOP nomination is almost useless due to pollsters polling so many contenders who aren’t running.  However, if there’s one bit of information we can pull from these numbers, it’s that Rand Paul is in trouble.


Rand Paul is difficult for most Republicans to take seriously, let alone the general electorate.
Rand Paul is difficult for most Republicans to take seriously, let alone the general electorate.

Now, you might be confused.  At first glance, it looks like Rand Paul is sitting pretty good.  He’s polling strong relative to the other candidates and has a slim lead in the RCP poll of polls.  However, as I discussed in the previous article, 1/3rd of respondents in these polls (possibly more) are either undecided (12.5%) or supporting a candidate who isn’t running (20% or more).

Now, there’s no way of knowing who the remaining 1/3rd of the Republican primary voters are going to support.  However, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of them aren’t going to support Rand Paul.  Rand Paul is not a conservative, but a radical who lacks the discipline necessary to convince Republicans (let alone the general public) that he’s the man we want in the Oval Office.  Republican primary voters are going to recognize that easily and they are going to vote against him if for no other reason than they don’t think Rand Paul can win.

The sniping between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz has been heavy since both began vying for the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination
The sniping between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz has been heavy since both began vying for the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination

Unfortunately for Rand Paul, he is perceived as a wacky nut job and few people outside his father’s legion of obnoxious libertarians are going to take him seriously.  And the vast majority of those voters are already supporting Rand Paul in the polls.  Rand Paul’s only hope is that Ted Cruz doesn’t run because Cruz is one of the few candidates with any large number of voters who might break for Paul.  Of course, Cruz and Paul aren’t exactly chums on the Senate floor, so Cruz might try to direct some of those votes elsewhere if he doesn’t run or drops out.

When these remaining 1/3rd of voters make up their minds or pick their second choices, it doesn’t matter who gets how many votes, Rand Paul is going to start trailing by increasing margins in these polls.  Despite all the good press Rand Paul is receiving, he is not going to be the 2016 nominee.

I think when it all plays out, Rand Paul is going to be behind Marco Rubio (or Jeb Bush), Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie; putting Paul in 4th place or lower.

Sorry, Democrats.  You’re not going to be handed the next Presidential election like the last two.

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Polls for 2016 GOP Nomination Almost Unusable

Everyone wants to start polling on who the front-runners are for the 2016 Republican Nomination.  There’s just one problem: the pollsters are polling with too many candidates.  Take a look at the Real Clear Politics Poll of Polls.


We’ve discussed this before.  Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are not BOTH going to run.  It will be one or the other.  That’s 7% to 10% for a candidate who won’t be in the race.

Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee addresses the third session of Republican National Convention in TampaFox News isn’t polling Mike Huckabee as a 2016 contender; which I assume is because it might be a conflict of interests for Fox News to be “polling for” one of its employees.  This wouldn’t be horrible, except that CNN/Opinion Research isn’t actually polling registered voters, so RCP data on Huckabee (one of the early front-runners) is shady at best.  It’s still pretty clear that Huckabee is among the front-runners, but we don’t know where among them he is with any degree of accuracy.

Paul RyanI really don’t think Paul Ryan is seriously considering a 2016 campaign, either.  It’s more likely that Representative Ryan (R-WI) is waiting for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to run for President and win the nomination; making him the next obvious choice for Governor of Wisconsin.  He’s young enough that a Presidential campaign in 10 years (12 years after running for Vice President and losing)  might be the best thing he can do.  I’m sure there are Senate contests Ryan may want to consider before jumping into the 2016 competition, too.  This just keeps his name out there and builds credibility with Wisconsin voters.  So that’s 9.3% of support that’s again going to a candidate who isn’t going to run.

Rick SantorumI also have a hard time believing Rick Santorum is seriously considering a second run for President.  Especially if Mike Huckabee runs for President in 2016, Rick Santorum won’t have a leg to stand on.  He would be reduced to attacking Huckabee and, in effect, supporting Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio.  All the while, he’s going to anger a lot of the Iowa evangelicals who delivered an upset victory for Santorum in 2012.  I have to believe Rick Santorum is going to end his political career on a high note if Huckabee gets in the race.

All together, we’re left with RCP polling data in which 20% or more of the respondents might as well be saying they’re voting for Darth Vader because their first choices aren’t going to be running.  Some of this 20% may very well have a more realistic second choices that are being dealt a great injustice in the polling results (Cristie, Bush, Ryan, and Huckabee the most likely victims).

That’s in addition to the 12.5% of respondents who were undecided or supporting other candidates.  All together, that’s 1/3rd of respondents saying they support a candidate who isn’t running or aren’t sure.  These problems aren’t unique to the RCP poll of polls.  They’re in every poll that’s testing all of these candidates.

Keep that in mind before using one of these polls to boast your candidate or act surprised someone else’s isn’t more popular.  You can still do some analysis on these shady numbers, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

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Huck PAC still Losing Money Despite Huckabee’s Speaking Fees

Mike Huckabee's leadership PAC, Huck PAC, is bleeding money while the potential 2016 contender is raking in big bucks in speaking fees and television appearances.
Mike Huckabee’s leadership PAC, Huck PAC, is bleeding money while the potential 2016 contender is raking in big bucks in speaking fees and television appearances.

Huck PAC released their mid-year finance statement to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and, not shockingly, Huck PAC is still failing to raise any kind of serious money.  Also not shockingly, I’m going to call former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee out… again… for the failure of Huck PAC to make the kind of impact a Leadership PAC needs in order for have its head run for President.  Fundraising has been an enormous stain on Huckabee’s record; which possibly prevented him from winning the GOP nomination in 2008 and may easily sink his 2016 aspirations, too.  And that’s unfortunate, because in a field of guys like Rand Paul and John Bolton, someone like Huckabee would have a lot of appeal.

What’s most disheartening about Huck PAC’s numbers is that Mike Huckabee isn’t struggling at the moment.  His speaking fees aren’t quite as outrageous as Bill and Hillary Clinton’s, but they’re still impressive.  According to Celebrity Talent International, a Huckabee speaking engagement will cost anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000 for a speech depending on various factors.  Two or three speeches could pay off my mortgage at that rate!

Between 1 April 2014 and 30 June 2014, Huck PAC raised $124,007, SPENT $141,806, and has $195,035 cash on hand.  If Huckabee was combining his talents with fundraising for Huck PAC, they certainly wouldn’t be bleeding money and it stands to reason that Huck PAC could play a great role in many important 2014 Congressional races.  That in turn would translate directly to support for a Huckabee 2016 presidential run.

But it’s not happening.

For what it’s worth, Huckabee was able to pull in $15,000 from churches and $25,000 from corporations for a single speech in 2007 (even as much as $35,000 from stem cell researchers) as his campaign was underway.  I don’t know if that ever translated into major campaign donations, but I don’t think it happened – at least not very often.  If anyone wants to go digging through old campaign finance reports to prove me wrong, feel free.

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John Johnston: When Good Candidates Make Bad Mistakes

Major John Johnston is one of the most personable, authentic candidates you’ll find.

Retired US Marine Major John Johnston is my candidate for the Indiana State House here in district 10.  District 10 encompasses most of Portage and parts of the Westchester community.  He’s a stand up guy and a great American.  He served as a Marine Intelligence Officer for years before heading the Portage High School JROTC program; where he changed thousands of teenagers’ lives for the better.  While District 10 leans Democrat, the Indiana HRCC and our local leaders all believe it’s winnable with the right candidate.  Major John Johnston fits the bill.

But Major Johnston lacks the instincts of a career politician and is prone to making some bad mistakes.  Last month, John Johnston was engaging in a debate on Facebook (mistake #1) and wrote this on a community forum (mistake #2).

For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts. They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager. What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less. No one has the guts to just let them wither and die (mistake #3). No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22… People simply are not hurting enough, or simply happy enough that they will do nothing. Consequently the dole continues.”

John Johnston (R-IN)

I was hoping this story would just go away, but Democrats (and John Johnston) won’t let it die.  After this got picked up in the NWI Times and a plethora of liberal blogs, John Johnston returned to Facebook (mistake #4) to defend his statement (mistake #5) by blaming the reporter (mistake #6) for taking the quote about letting the poor die out of context.

Now, I’m probably going to be yelled at for writing about John Johnston.  I typically avoid writing about local politics on this blog because I have what some would call, “insider knowledge.”   However, seeing as how liberal national bloggers are talking about it, and media outside the region is picking up on it, I figure I should probably step in as well; especially since I live in this district.

Major John Johnston made a boneheaded comment.  We all have made them.  Sometimes we do it for shock and entertainment value (as I often do).  Sometimes we do it because some liberal says something so outrageous that we feel we need to respond in kind.  Sometimes we make bad analogies.  Sometimes we don’t know something will be offensive.  Sometimes we secretly hope it is offensive to wake people up.  Sometimes the words just slip out of our mouths and we don’t realize it until someone repeats them back to us (Hillary Clinton: “What difference does it make!?”).

Major John Johnston claimed he was just speaking in hyperbole.  The truth of the matter is that John Johnston is not a disciplined, refined candidate.  He’s not some portrait of the perfect candidate anybody has painted to run for State Representative.  He’s the real deal.

John Johnston doesn’t have an experienced, full-time campaign manager or communications director.  If he’s writing something on Facebook, it’s not some conceived strategy to set the campaign message or woo a certain segment of the population.  He’s writing it because he feels it needs to be said or simply because he wants to say it.

As a political operative, John Johnston’s lack of political discipline makes me excessively nervous because there are so many opportunities for mess ups like the one above.  However, that lack of discipline does show off one of John Johnston’s best assets…


John Johnston is an absolutely incredible community servant.  He loves this area, he loves the people in our community, and he’s a really likable guy with a powerful presence (and Krista says ‘too powerful of a handshake’).  Anybody who learns about what he’s done for the thousands of kids in his JROTC program are going to want to vote for him.  But when you meet him, he really is every bit of the fantastic person that narrative tells.

90% of the candidates I meet put up an incredible shield around themselves.  It’s a shield that doesn’t let anybody close and everything that comes through it has been sanitized and pre-approved for political correctness.  It doesn’t feel real and everybody senses it, but it’s everywhere so we just generally accept it anyway.  John Johnston doesn’t have that shield.  When you meet John Johnston, you are actually meeting John Johnston, not some fake portrait of John Johnston that campaign managers and communications directors want you to see.  (Again, he doesn’t have them).

The approach has a lot of benefits, but a lot of risks.  Because Indiana District 10 leans Democrat, John Johnston was going to have a tough go of things as it was.  When mailers start coming out in September and October that say “John Johnston wants poor people to die,” it’s going to get even tougher.  Normally, I would just say that this candidate is dead in the water.  But John Johnston has a lot of former students supporting him, a great story revolving around service, and a fantastic personality.  Despite everything that’s happened, John Johnston might still find a way to upset Chuck Mosley.  And you can bet Krista and I are going to do everything in our power to help him do it.

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Entertaining, Informative, and Usually Sarcastic

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