Tuesday, 21 October 2014 20:07

Jindal, GOP need to do homework before Ebola travel ban political stunt

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jindal-knows-best Just maybe Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the national GOP, the Louisiana GOP and others should get their facts right before they fan the flames of fear for their own political purposes.

Jindal was one of the very first politicians to call for Ebola-related flight bans.  The GOP has been making “ban flights from Ebola-stricken” countries a recent election centerpiece.

Early this month, Jindal sent out an e-blast to the media as he has been doing ever since he started to think about and praying over running for the President of the U.S.:

“We should stop accepting flights from countries that are Ebola stricken
“President Obama said it was ‘unlikely’ that Ebola would reach the U.S. Well, it has, and we need to protect our people,” he said. “But the Obama administration keeps saying they won’t shut down flights. They instead say we should listen to ‘the experts.’ In fact, they said it would be counterproductive to stop these flights. That statement defies logic. How exactly would stopping the entry of people potentially carrying the Ebola virus be counterproductive? This seems to be an obvious step to protect public health in the United States.”(Our emphasis, bolded)

On October 16, Jindal slightly tweaked his position on the issue via a press release but in doing so, it has become even more obvious the Louisiana governor he wants to ban or shut down flights coming into the US from “Ebola-stricken countries”:

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal called on the federal government to temporarily add certain groups of people– except first-responders, health care professionals, and relief workers – to the no-fly list and stop them from traveling to and from countries with Ebola.

Governor Jindal said, “I continue to believe that the best way to stop the spread of Ebola in the United States is for the Obama Administration to shut down flights coming into our country from Ebola-stricken countries. Even though it makes common sense to do this, the White House has refused to do it.

At the very least, we need to place more travel restrictions on who can travel to and from Ebola-stricken countries. That’s why I am calling on the federal government to block people – except first-responders, health care professionals, and relief workers – from traveling to and from countries with Ebola.

“The no-fly list should be temporarily expanded to include non-U.S. citizens in the United States or in West African countries who are not first-responders, health care professionals, or relief workers, and American citizens who want to travel to Ebola-stricken countries for pleasure.

“Healthcare professionals currently in the United States who have been in contact with an Ebola patient should be added to the domestic and international no-fly list and not be allowed to get on an airplane.

“The federal government is reportedly considering adding healthcare workers who were in contact with an Ebola patient to the no-fly list. It’s a no-brainer. They should do this and add other people to the no-fly list that may come into contact with the Ebola virus.”

“With the exception of healthcare workers who came into contact with an Ebola patient, the no-fly list would not stop people from flying to other countries not afflicted by Ebola.” (Our emphasis, bolded)

This Friday, the Republican Party of Louisiana jumped on the bandwagon by declaring in an email publicity stunt and  asked Senator Mary Landrieu to call for a travel ban to help combat the continued spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

As more and more potential cases of Ebola are uncovered, it becomes more of a serious public health issue for the United States. Despite the mounting threat, Senator Mary Landrieu has still not called for a travel ban or restrictions for individuals coming from West Africa. Congressman Dr. Bill Cassidy yesterday said such restrictions would help control the virus and ensure the safety and health of Americans. (Our emphasis bolded)

As late as Monday evening, Jindal once again appeared on national touchy-feely, take no conservative prisoners, Fox News.  Once again, he ridiculed President Obama and reiterated his  own expertise in managing government and emergencies by stating, “Why not, for example why not implement this travel ban? I called for it several days ago -- a couple weeks ago.”

MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: After more than a week of tough headlines for the administration, The New York Times came out with a report on Ebola this weekend, and the headline -- "amid assurances on Ebola, Obama is said to seethe."

Not long after, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took to Twitter saying this is part of a pattern for the administration's crisis management. What the governor calls the, quote, "I'm so mad" stage for the president……

……We have seen this before. We saw it with the oil spill. Time and time again this president has shown his incompetence. He told us the virus wasn't going to come here, then it did. He told us it wasn't going to spread and then it did. He feigns anger, he says he needs more money. The next step -- it's coming -- it's going to be the Republicans' fault. I guarantee you, it's predictable, it's going to happen.  

The problem is we've got a commander in chief, we've got a president who's never run anything before. We see his incompetence on display here. This is malpractice now but it's not the first time.

 … They don't want to display common sense. Why not, for example why not implement this travel ban? I called for it several days ago -- a couple weeks ago. So, now you're beginning to see elected officials both Democrat and Republican join in for this call. They're not making common sense decisions. Sometimes the so-called smartest guys in government are sometimes the dumbest guys. Why not use common sense?

(Our emphasis, bold)

Talk about managing the 24-hour news cycle, about “all about politics”!  Talk about incompetence and malpractice!


Governor Jindal is not the only politician who has gone on television and who has tried to gain the attention of the national media to earn political points clamoring for this ban.

He is just lucky that Fox News is in the propaganda business and never going to ask tough questions to their favorite political rock-stars.

By comparison, MSNBC, who has its own “liberal” agenda bagged a big one.

Last week, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla) who has been drafting ban legislation appeared on MSNBC Morning Joe with the same shtick.

In the video (and you must watch it) , Ross said, I believe we can “nip this in the bud” if you will: …. by banning those flights temporarily and also make sure we don’t issue visas to travelers from over there.

There is no doubt that Ross said there were flights coming out from those countries.

Then, he was informed that there are no direct flights from those countries.

When corrected, he stammered and crawfished then said, “I believe there are some flights”

After being rebuked by Jeremy Peters of the New York Times who repeated the absense of flights, Ross, who argued that his legislation would “nip it in the bud” did a double crawfish suddenly said, “It won’t solve the problem”, I never said it would solve the problem”, “it is a step in the right direction”.

Ross then went on to beat up another favorite target, “Once they come over from central and South America” (the Hispanics).

Worse, Ross after realizing that he was looking pretty bad then said we need to control those travelers that come in through triangulated way through Europe.

Hours later, MSNBC posted this update:

UPDATE: 12:52 p.m. -- In a statement passed along by his office, Ross explained that his remarks regarding flights were not specifically referring to the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Other nations in West Africa that are not experiencing an Ebola outbreak, such as Ghana, do offer direct flights to the U.S.

Ross' statement said:

There certainly are direct flights each and every day from Africa to the United States and there are many more that arrive from a layover or a connecting flight. In my home state of Florida, for example, an average of about two dozen passengers a week arrive in Tampa from Africa. Of those, a half dozen passengers are from West Africa. More importantly, however, my legislation does not state that there will be a ban in ‘direct flights.’ This legislation prohibits aircraft carrying individuals who have purchased tickets for travel coming from affected countries. This includes flights that layover elsewhere before reaching the United States. Additionally, the bill bans the issuance of visas to aliens seeking to enter the United States whose travel has originated in countries with an Ebola epidemic, and includes the ban of issuance of visas into the United States of aliens whose travels have taken them through a country with an epidemic.

Before getting outed by MSNBC, Ross referred to “Ebola-stricken countries”  and then, hours later, after having the opportunity to scramble do damage control with his staff suddenly he referred only to “There certainly are direct flights each and every day from Africa”. (Our emphasis, bold)

Without doubt, there are concerns related to air travel but obviously the issue is not flights from the “ebola-stricken countries” but "travelers originating from those countries who take flights from “non-Ebola-stricken countries” to places like Europe and not just “Central and South America”.

Restricting the traveler s is NOT the same as banning the flights which has been the Jindal-Ross-GOP battle cry.

Which brings up the inevitable--what about those flights that are connecting to flights from Africa (but not from the non-Ebola stricken countries)?

Here is a sample scenario which illustrates a deeper problem that perhaps more forethought than the political rhetorical trash being thrown out by those wanting to bash the Obama administration or political opponents.

John Jones travels via some other means from an Ebola-stricken country  to some other African nation (hundreds or thousands of miles away) say, Chad, Sudan or even Ethiopia (on the other side of the continent).  He  boards a plan to Europe.  Either unbeknownst to him, he has been infected and he is now feeling the symptoms or let us assume he knew he had the symptoms but has self-medicated taking aspirin. 

Nonetheless, he manages to get onto an Africa to Berlin flight.  Jones then changes flight and connects with another one from Munich to Paris. 

While on that Munich to Paris plane, he manages to infect a few people—Joe, Susie and Bob.

When the plane reaches Paris, he has reached his destination.  However,  Joe, Susie and Bob travel onto Chicago, New York and Atlanta, respectively. 

Since they do not have Africa or “ebola-inflicted” African nation on the passport, they go about their business.

These passengers have no clue they have been infected.  They never even stepped foot in Africa.  Nor did the person who infected them board a plane from any of the “Ebola-inflicted nations” but from an airport elsewhere.


Perhaps so.

But, in a country which has gone into a frenzy over one handful of Ebola patients out of over three hundred million people,  it is not very far-fetched at all.   Various Senate Democrats are jumping on the travel ban bandwagon.  The US Senate will have a hearing over the issue after elections.  But, in considering the various scenarios, it is more real than those whipped up by those wanting for political purposes to ban travel from countries in which direct travel does not exist, period.

A scenario like this could have dire economic consequences  upon this nation.

Once those infected passengers that made their way into the United States suddenly appear at hospitals with symptoms and the federal government charts their travels and connects them to the plane from Paris to the United States, Houston, we’ve got a problem.

Don’t be surprised if countries such as Canada, Mexico, Central and South America call their own bans against the United States.

If you think bans could not happen to us, ask those who bred cattle whose beef has been denied by Japan, Indonesia and other countries due to Mad Cow Disease.

Should countries, such as Canada or those in Central and South America imposes their own bans upon us, you can bet that Jindal would scream and engage in daily press conferences clammoring that those countries were destroying our economy and were killing jobs.   Don't forget he basically did just that after a massive BP oil spill pouring millions of barrels of oil into the gulf in an environment disaster that could have had serious consequences upon the health and the economies of the people he represented.

Then, he blamed the Obama administration for the “job-killing” deep-water drilling moratorium which the Department of Interior imposed upon the oil companies until safety concerns were met.

So, my guess is, just maybe Jindal, and all others calling on a ban of flights from Ebola-inflicted countries might in the near future do a Ross Crawfish and claim they never meant “those Ebola-inflicted countries”.

Before calling others “incompetent” and claiming ‘malpractice” or before going on MSNBC or Fox News to further one’s political ambitions or before trying to denounce a political opponent by saying, “still not called for a travel ban or restrictions for individuals coming from West Africa”,  perhaps some should do their homework.


Today, the Obama administration has directed all travelers whose travel originates from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, will be allowed into the United States but only through five airports.

There are no direct flights from these three countries into the US, but passengers who have been there in the last 21 days and travel through foreign airports will now be required to first enter the US through one of these five airports. They already handle more than 90% of such travel, according to US officials.

“All passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place,” said Johnson.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.”

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Stephen Sabludowsky



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