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October 17, 2014

White House Appoints Ebola Czar.
Shocker: Ron Klain is a Political Hack With No Medical, Epidemiological, or Military Experience.

In the face of an epidemic they themselves have called potentially catastrophic, the White House has searched far and wide for an "Ebola Czar," and chose someone, get this, whose political loyalty is unquestionable, but whose actual qualifications are nonexistent.

I had my own suggestion for an Ebola Czar: David Petraeus. Petraeus is not an epidemiologist, but he is a military man, and we need that skill-set for defeating ebola. (What does a general due all day? He reviews where the enemy has penetrated our defenses and he deploys resources there to counter it.) In addition, we can assume he's competent at statistical analysis (or at least understanding briefings relying on statistical analysis) due both his rank as a general and his service as head of the CIA.

What most recommended Petraeus, however, was the fact that he had the stature to ignore Obama's demands for political PR responses to a real-life plague.

You'll note that this Democrat Party Gollum, Ron Klain, is precisely the opposite of all that.

He has nothing to recommend him at all -- except Obama knows he won't contradict him, stand up to him, disagree with him, or in any way interfere with Obama's political response to the ebola threat.

The Federalist's Sean Davis makes this point:

That Obama would appoint a long-time Democratic operative with zero public health or federal administrative experience tells us everything we need to know about how Obama views the Ebola panic: Ebola is a political problem for the White House, not a public health problem for the nation.

You donít pick a former White House staffer to run a massive public health effort if you think you have a public health problem. You pick a former White House staffer if you view this as a political problem to be managed for the remaining weeks heading into the election.

We should actually be somewhat thankful for this move from the White House, because it tells us everything we need to know about how the Obama White House views the current landscape. Obama apparently believes that Ebola is a political problem to be swept under the rug, not a public health epidemic that needs to be eradicated as quickly as possible.

Incidentally, if you haven't read it yet, M.Z. Hemingway has reported that we already have an Ebola Czar, but apparently Obama doesn't want anyone to know that because he either fears she's not competent or he doesn't want people to hear about the scandal that seems to have made her allergic to television cameras.

Dr. Nicole Lurie is one of only eight assistant secretaries at HHS. That means she is a senior, senior official, just below cabinet-level. Her ambit at HHS is "Preparedness and Response" to Pandemics and All-Hazards (the latter a catch-all including natural disasters).

As Hemingway notes, before the crisis hit, the press was willing to gush about how gosh-darn important she was, as the National Journal did:

[A]s National Journal rather glowingly puts it, "Lurie's job is to plan for the unthinkable. A global flu pandemic? She has a plan. A bioterror attack? Sheís on it. Massive earthquake? Yep. Her responsibilities as assistant secretary span public health, global health, and homeland security."

But since the crisis hit, not only has Lurie absented herself from the national stage, but the White House has barely mentioned her, and the press has not troubled itself to discover what the actual Pandemic and All-Hazard Czar is doing about a potential pandemic.

The National Journal seems to have completely forgotten about the woman it once gushed "has a plan" for "a global flu pandemic" or "bioterror attack."

"She's on it," the National Journal declared, but as ebola infects America, she seems to be the first American placed in Total Ebola Quarantine.

Read Hemingway's column for the details of the scandal that might have caused Obama to sideline her.

Basically, a billionaire Democratic donor, Ron Perelman, was a controlling shareholder of a firm called Siga.

Siga was under scrutiny even back in October 2010 when The Huffington Post reported that it had named labor leader Andy Stern to its board and "compensated him with stock options that would become dramatically more valuable if the company managed to win the contract it sought with HHS--an agency where Stern has deep connections, having helped lead the year-plus fight for health care reform as then head of the Service Employees International Union."

The award was controversial from almost every angle...

...

The company that most fought the peculiar sole-source contract award to Siga was Chimerix, which argued that its drug had far more promise than Sigaís. And, in fact, Chimerixís Brincidofovir is an antiviral medication being developed for treatment of smallpox but also Ebola and adenovirus. In animal trials, itís shown some success against adenoviruses, smallpox, and herpes--and preliminary tests show some promise against Ebola. On Oct. 6, the FDA authorized its use for some Ebola patients.

And yeah, read to the end: The company who Lurie didn't favor makes a drug being used to treat ebola. Duncan was treated with it unsuccessfully, but other people were treated with it and lived.

Instead of funding an ebola cure, Lurie shepherded a flock of federal cash to a billionaire Democrat donor for a smallpox vaccine that "has not really panned out," as Hemingway reports.

Our Hyperpartisan New "Ebola Czar:" No qualifications except for political zealotry.

Apparently he's a fan of Ezra Klein.

Doomed.

That tip thanks to the Great White Snark.


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posted by Ace at 02:09 PM

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