Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Ebola Quarantines Begin


In the wake of the latest Ebola case, this one in the mega-population center of New York City there are serious questions on how to prevent a national spread of the virus. Both New York and New Jersey are sufficiently spooked so as to begin to implement mandatory quarantines on some of  those returning from areas where Ebola is rampant. The question now becomes just how much of an intrusion on civil liberties will come as the result of the escalated state of action.

It seems rather quaint to be talking about civil liberties at all in the post Constitutional wasteland of the Obama era. This is after all the administration that presides over the all-seeing, unaccountable spy machine that is the NSA Stasi and has given it impunity to gather data all Americans. The Global War on Terror (GWOT), now in year thirteen has allowed for the government to eviscerate the US Constitution and usher in an era when Americans can be spied upon, arrested and disappeared without a public trial. We now live in a land of secret courts with a malevolent and corrupt government that will use any measures, no matter how Draconian to protect it's power.

The new quarantines are described in a story from The Guardian entitled “New York and New Jersey issue tough new Ebola quarantine measure”:

Anyone flying into New York and New Jersey after having contact with Ebola sufferers in west Africa will be subjected to a mandatory 21-day quarantine, the governors of the two states announced on Friday, adding that one returning medic had already been detained.

Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey unveiled the joint policy, which goes beyond federal rules set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as officials indicated the Obama administration was considering a similar rule throughout the US.
Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York, said: “We’re just not comfortable with the concept of voluntary quarantine as an effective public health security measure.” He stressed that the CDC had made clear states were entitled to set tougher rules of their own.

Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said he was prepared to take “whatever steps were necessary to ensure the public health” amid the ongoing risk of Ebola. “New Jersey and New York are going to determine the standards of quarantine, since CDC’s guidance is continually changing,” he said. “We need to set a standard for our two states.”

The quarantines have already come under fire from the the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a nurse who was quarantined after treating Ebola victims has blasted her treatment. It is a touchy situation and the choices are to risk normalizing such detentions which could rapidly expand beyond health care workers or continue to do nothing as Ebola cases continue to pop up.

The consequences of a national Ebola outbreak would be catastrophic. Both in human costs as well as economic and everything possible must be done in order to avoid that. Once again, we are witnessing  the fallout from moronic and short-sighted government policies.  In this case the Obama regime’s foolhardy and flippant downplaying of the threat of Ebola. This continues with the politics of the moment – the 2014 mid-terms - taking precedence over public safety. The proof of the pudding is Barry's staged photo op with the Ebola infected nurse Nina Pham on Friday in the White House.

The quarantine of selected individuals returning from countries ravaged by Ebola, particularly if they are health care personnel who may have been exposed is a small price to pay for containment. They should be fully aware of the risks and a temporary period of precautionary isolation sucks but as long as the conditions are decent and not like a prison camp it isn't anything that is unreasonable. It is however a rock solid guarantee that if there is a national epidemic that you have not seen anything yet in terms of violations of civil liberties which will be rampant. The government has accrued an uncanny amount of police state power since that ugly and tragic pristine September morning back in 2001 and it will not hesitate to bring it all to bear when a state of emergency provides them with the opportunity to do so.

It is understandable for millions of Americans to live in a state of fear and to surrender their rights to the government in the hope that they will be protected, however it is obscene that nobody ever got to vote on it. Now these powers exist and are valuable components in the big toolbox of the state and as the saying goes, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. We are a damned good ways down the path to fascism in the USA! USA! USA! and it is doubtful that there exists a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to being a constitutional republic. 

When it comes to the quarantines of a few to try to prevent the further spread of the virus it is damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Nice job Obama, tell us that one again about how there was no domestic risk of Ebola.