Links for 10-13-2014

  • Wendy Davis is using wheelchair-bound people as human shields.

  • A progressive group called The Agenda Project is trying to blame the Ebola outbreak on Republican-sponsored cuts to the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hillary Clinton is blaming sequestration cuts. John Hayward is not amused:

    In truth, the CDC and NIH are swimming in money, just like every other appendage of this ridiculously overpriced, painfully mis-managed government. Like every other agency, they fritter away their money on silly distractions and naked attempts to extend their power. They put more effort into “mission creep” than their actual mission. When confronted with a crisis that exposes an inability to handle core functions, the agency curls into a defensive crouch and begins whining that it’s under-funded. If that works – and until now, it often has – the result is growth through failure. Instead of being torn to bits by enraged taxpayers, the agency gets more money than ever before, and promptly begins wasting it on robot-squirrel studies (to cite one of the more memorable examples of madcap spending from Senator Tom Coburn’s epic “Wastebook” series.)

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal offers more examples of the CDC wasting money on things that aren’t part of its core mission:

    In recent years, the CDC has received significant amounts of funding. Unfortunately, however, many of those funds have been diverted away from programs that can fight infectious diseases, and toward programs far afield from the CDC’s original purpose.

    Consider the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a new series of annual mandatory appropriations created by Obamacare. Over the past five years, the CDC has received just under $3 billion in transfers from the fund. Yet only 6 percent—$180 million—of that $3 billion went toward building epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Especially given the agency’s postwar roots as the Communicable Disease Center, one would think that “detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats” warrants a larger funding commitment.

    Instead, the Obama administration has focused the CDC on other priorities. While protecting Americans from infectious diseases received only $180 million from the Prevention Fund, the community transformation grant program received nearly three times as much money—$517.3 million over the same five-year period.

  • The leader of YPG (Syrian Kurdish) forces in Kobani is a woman, Mayssa Abdo. Over the weekend the Kurds managed to hold their own in Kobani, but Turkish forces on the border aren’t allowing Kurdish reinforcements to cross into Syria. The price for Turkey’s unwillingness to help may be the Kurdish peace process — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he sees to difference between ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and that does not go over well with the Kurds. Turkey is denying weekend reports that it negotiated a deal with the U.S. and its Arab allies to use Turkish air bases for attacks on ISIS.

  • The British Parliament approved a non-binding motion recognizing the State of Palestine on a 274 to 12 vote.

  • The person responsible for investigating the takeover of state schools in Birmingham, England by “hard-line Muslims,” Peter Clarke, says “Birmingham was merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of Islamist infiltration in British schools.”

  • James Delingpole going on a rant about climate change (in this case the U.K.’s 2008 Climate Change Act) is something to behold:

    In order for this crackpot scheme [“decarbonisation” of the U.K. economy by 2030] to work, Booker goes on to explain, the UK taxpayer will be compelled to spend £360 billion building 90,000 giant bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes – 85,000 more than we have at the moment. To put it another way, we will have to build 2,500 wind turbines every year for the next 36 years, swamping an area of the British landscape the size of Scotland. Apart from being physically impossible – we would have to be putting up wind turbines eight times faster than we are at the moment – it would be environmentally devastating, not just to the millions of birds and bats killed by the turbines, but also to the swathes of hitherto unspoiled countryside which would be turned into an industrial zone. It would, furthermore, significantly drive up the costs of energy, placing huge burdens on both private and business users, as well as making the UK economy less competitive.

  • The Nigerian military claims it has arrested several of its soldiers who have been providing information to Boko Haram.

  • China is rounding up the usual suspects again. This time that includes Guo Yushan, who helped Chen Guangcheng escape house arrest and flee to the U.S. Guo may have been arrested for a connection to Shi Lin, an art editor at Peking University who tried to hang up posters supporting the protests in Hong Kong.

  • China’s military buildup is on a trajectory that will shift the balance of power in the Pacific according to a draft report by the Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. By 2020 China will have 100 more submarines and missile-firing ships than the U.S., and they’re quickly growing their missile inventory, including nuclear missiles with a variety of ranges.

  • North Korea wants the U.S. to resume paying for efforts to locate the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War, apparently because they need the foreign currency.