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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Ebola is an infectious disease: American health care workers are front line experts

Although the etiology of the Ebola virus and longitudinal studies about the disease are ongoing, one aspect of treatment for the disease includes isolation of victims and strict infection control procedures to prevent the spread. America's health care workers are well trained to respond to an individual who presents with an infectious disease. Indeed, infection control procedures are included in all hospital personnel orientations, even among clerical staffs. Nevertheless, America's health care systems are not totally prepared to handle an epidemic of Ebola. One of the biggest problems isn't related to the causation of the disease, at all. Rather, the problem is ethical. Who will receive the most effective treatments?  Even worse, who will receive transport to a hospital for treatment?

America's health care workers are as much at risk for contracting Ebola as those who work with victims in developing countries in Africa. Most at risk are the emergency responders, who are likely the first ones called when a person becomes incapacitated by critical illness, like Ebola. Emergency providers are likely most at risk for being exposed to an Ebola outbreak, should one occur. 

Yet, there are a very limited number of ambulances available for transporting patients to a hospital or emergency treatment facility during an infectious disease outbreak, like Ebola.  

Transporting an Ebola patient puts the ambulance out of service until it's completely bathed in a chlorine disinfecting solution - twice. There are only a few transports any emergency medical transport will be able to accommodate, given the risk of Ebola exposure to the EMS responders. An additional risk of exposure includes the people cleaning the ambulance and equipment, following the transports.  

Therefore, when US public health officials are speaking confidently on national media about how Ebola will be managed, they're speaking about the disease process. They're not addressing the systems crises that will erupt as a result of the disease spreading. 

There's justifiable confidence in America's ability to respond to an isolated Ebola outbreak. Of course, the treatment of the victims will be expensive because of the intensity of the treatment of the isolated patient and the follow up "contact tracing" of those who are exposed.

It was just a matter of time before Ebola showed up in the USA. Indeed, it seems like our US health care system may have been victims of the "someplace else" delusion, like it would never happen to them. Now, it's here.  

The "someplace else" syndrome will be debunked. Health care systems will certainly pull out those pandemic policies from the years when H1N1 "bird flu" was supposed to cause a worldwide pandemic.

Meanwhile, in my opinion, the Ebola patient who traveled from Liberia to Texas before he exhibited symptoms of the illness, simply can't be an isolated incident. Not knowing who else may present as a result of the 21 day incubation time of the virus is, frankly, more dangerous than the disease itself.  

Health care workers can isolate, and treat the Ebola patient, and clean the transport and treatment equipment. 

What we can't do is predict who might be carrying the virus and where they might be located.  Therefore, the health care community isn't prepared to respond to an Ebola outbreak of more than a few people, unless a great deal of money is made available to pay for the training for a response to the disease. 

As with all infectious diseases, the most important response is prevention.  

Hand washing is the first line of defense for all infectious  diseases and more important than ever to help prevent Ebola.

America's health care providers are experts at handling infectious diseases and practicing infection control procedures. Nevertheless, the care givers and first responders are not systems analysts. 

In my opinion, our our US health care and emergency responder "systems" are not prepared to respond to an infectious Ebola outbreak.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ebola in Texas - while innocent refugee children from Honduras were stigmatized as "diseased"

I don't believe in the concept of "poetic justice". First of all, there's rarely a direct cause and effect with seeing justice done. Rather, justice is like watching grass grow, it takes a long time to come to fruition. Certainly, justice isn't "poetic", but more like an outcome after hearing a lot of rhetoric. 

Nevertheless, when the sad news broke about the first confirmed Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the US, happened to be in Texas....well, well well. My first thought was for thousands of immigrant refugee children from Honduras who were stigmatized by right wing anti-immigration zealots, harping about them bringing "diseases" to US soil, through Texas. 

One confirmed Ebola patient is now in Texas, but this person didn't arrive via Honduras as a child refugee.  

Perhaps poetic justice exists, after all.

Or course, whoever the Ebola victim is, we pray for a full recovery as well as the protection of anyone who was in contact with the afflicted person, before presenting at a Texas hospital with the symptoms. Health care workers at the Texas hospital where the Ebola patient is now under treatment are at risk for becoming infected with the virus. Undoubtedly, front line Texas health care workers will be subject to quarantine, until the incubation period of the virus expires.

Meanwhile, I have a hard time believing that the US is the only country where an Ebola patient has come down with the viral illness. There must be others, but the diagnosis is either being withheld or death was not attributed to the Ebola diagnosis.

CNN reports:
Atlanta (CNN) -- A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, health officials announced Tuesday.

The unidentified man left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At that time, the individual did not have symptoms. "But four or five days later," he began to exhibit them, Frieden said. The individual was hospitalized and isolated Sunday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Citing privacy concerns, health officials declined to release any details about how the patient contracted the virus, what he was doing in Liberia or how he was being treated.


"I can say he is ill. He is under intensive care," Dr. Edward Goodman of the hospital told reporters.

The patient is believed to have had a handful of contacts with people after showing symptoms of the virus, and before being isolated, Frieden said. A CDC team was en route to Texas to help investigate those contacts.

The crew that transported the patient to the hospital has been isolated, the chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CNN.

At the same time, Frieden sought to play down the risk to public health. There are currently no other suspected cases of Ebola in Texas.

"It's a severe disease, which has a high-case fatality rate, even with the best of care, but there are core, tried and true public health interventions that stop it," Frieden said.

"The bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," he said.

According to the CDC, Ebola causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which can affect multiple organ systems in the body and is often accompanied by bleeding.

Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, each of which can be easily mistaken early on for other ailments like malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis.


Ebola is spread by direct contact with someone sick with the virus. That means people on the patient's flight are not thought to be at risk, as he did not begin to show symptoms until several days after arriving in the United States, Frieden said.

"The issue is not that Ebola is highly infectious. The issue with Ebola is that the stakes are so high," he told reporters.
There is no vaccination against Ebola, at this time.

Of Ebola's five subtypes, the Zaire strain -- the first to be identified -- is considered the most deadly.

The World Health Organization said preliminary tests on the Ebola virus in Guinea in March suggested that the outbreak there was this strain, though that has not been confirmed.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.


The director declined to answer whether the patient in Texas is a U.S. citizen? He just said he was in Texas to visit family.

Frieden also declined to say, clearly, whether the patient is a man, although he referred to the person as "he" on multiple occasions.

A number of other Americans have been diagnosed with the disease in West Africa and then brought to the United States for treatment.

The Ebola outbreak has been centered in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, though there have been concerns about international air travel and other factors -- including the fact the symptoms might not appear until two to 21 days after one is infected -- may contribute to its spread.

More than 3,000 people in West Africa have died after being infected with Ebola, according to a World Health Organization reportfrom last week. The same report stated that there had been 6,553 cases of the virus overall, though the number is suspected to be much higher, given difficulties in tracking and reporting the disease.

"I have no doubt that we'll stop this in its tracks in the U.S. But I also have no doubt that as long as the outbreak continues in Africa, we need to be on our guard," said Frieden.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Jihadis are psychopaths- ISIS fighters are dangerously delusional

Milo Yiannopoulos is a writer who has a lot of courage. He's calling the jihadis who join ISIS "pschopaths" who follow a genocidal ideology.   

He's calling ISIS out for being sick people who take barbaric actions against other humans for no reason, while they won't even take off their dark masks to show their identity. 

They're beyond psychopaths. These ISIS killers are evil subhuman creatures.

Milo writes in Brietbart- London

"We've all seen them in photographs. Swathed in black, standing triumphant but dispassionate over the dismembered victims of their genocidal ideology. No, I'm not talking about Hitler's SS: rather, the jihadis of ISIS. But ...the similarities are endless and hideously unsettling."


"Our understanding of Islamic extremism in all its psychopathic barbarism is the more vivid because....we mostly see these terrorists in their own words and pictures, via their own social media accounts. Like the Nazis before them, ISIS are masters of communication, deploying slick social media campaigns to spread the word of radical Islam. So we know what their objectives are. And we know that one of them is the eradication of the Jewish people."

"Hitler might have been the master of the radio soundbite and the public spectacle, but ISIS has a fluency with digital technology that gives them immediate and direct access to would-be jihadis. It's terrifying. And, as we watch on our computers and smartphones, we see history repeating itself, as Christians and Jews are threatened and then slaughtered throughout the Middle East. "
Although Milo rambles in his essay about the urgency of a decisive response to ISIS, the essence of his message is chilling.  

Quoting the anti-Nazi theologian Martin Niemoller, Milo sends a clarion message to those he feels are too complacent in the face of the growing ISIS threat to civilization: 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Writing as a nurse, I can say that clinicians don't understand the mind of psychopaths, because there's no reasoning with their understanding of anything rational. They can create chaos from simple concepts, especially drawing concrete opinions about what creates good or causes evil. Humans who engage in beheading others without any provocation are somehow rationalizing a way to justify their barbaric actions. They are psychopaths.

Obviously, the human condition cannot continue to grow and prosper in a world held hostage by genocidal psychopaths.  

Milo is calling for an annihilation of all jihadis, drawing the analogy between them and Nazis. Yet, without clear boundaries about who these jihadis are, cloaked in black with knives and evil intent, it will be nearly impossible to eradicate them from the face of the earth.  My sense is, and Milo seems to agree, we must engage with the ISIS jihadis as though they are the subhuman creatures they portray themselves to be, motivated to destroy them by considering the consequences of doing nothing. 

Milo's gruesome reminder about "coming for us" is a reality; we clearly cannot allow this evil to continue. 

Jihadis are delusional enemies of humanity, intending to destroy all influence of human enlightenment. They're not Muslims. 
In fact, Muslims must be the first line of defense to destroy the jihadists. Unfortunately, Milo says jihad is part of Islam's religious beliefs. Therefore, it's difficult to conceptually separate out the jihad from the Islam doctrine.  

Nevertheless, the culture that created the Arabic number system should be able to identify the jihadis' threat to civilization as we know it, and destroy the ISIS psychopaths.


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Are Democrats afraid to rally behind increase in minimum wage seems like a no brainer

This news release posted on the MaineBiz news feed today is surprising information, given how much negative feedback Republicans spew when they cringe at profit losses perceived by an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Maine poll finds broad support for wage hike

A new poll has found that 75% of 589 surveyed Mainers favor increasing the federal minimum wage, with broad support from Democrat, Republican and independent voters.

The poll, which also found that 60% of respondents strongly favored a minimum wage increase, was conducted by the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center and commissioned by the Portland Press Herald. It had a 4% margin of error.

While 93% of Democrats surveyed said they favored a minimum wage increase, 70% of independents and 59% of Republicans said they also favored it.

The city of Portland (Maine) is currently mulling a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour that could go into effect by 2015.

At the state level, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has previously vetoed a measure to increase the minimum wage, while his gubernatorial opponents have offered support. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic candidate, seeks an increase at the state and federal levels while independent candidate Eliot Cutler only seeks an increase at the federal level.

Maine's state motto in Latin is Dirigo, meaning "I lead".  In another Maine slogan, there's a saying "As Maine goes, so goes the nation..."  

It seems more Democrats should be waving the Maine flag by subscribing to a national movement to increase the minimum wage.
This is a winning point of view because it doesn't appear as though there's much negative momentum about a federal minimum wage increase. In fact, it makes sense to increase the minimum wage, when it helps people out of poverty and, at the same time, helps to build pride and positive self esteem among the working poor.

States where the minimum wage was increased have seen a rise in their economic growth.  "...13 states that increased their minimum wages on have had stronger employment growth than the 37 states that didn’t. The study compared average employment during the first five months of 2014 with the last five months of 2013."

The average change in payrolls in the 13 states that increased their minimum wages was 0.99% vs. 0.68% in the other states. On January 1, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island boosted their pay floors as a result of legislation. The other nine states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington – automatically raised their minimums by smaller amounts based on inflation.

So, it seems like a "no brainer" for Democrats to build momentum on the Dirigo sentiment!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

ISIS and Middle East terrorism are outcomes of Iraqi Freedom - a timeline of failure

Republicans are like spectators at a Medieval joust, waiting until the death match in the Middle East.

As Americans are blindsided by the eruption of splinter Al Qaeda groups now terrorizing the world, the fact is, these radical Islam zealots are the result of the failed Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

This is a timeline where the string of events resulting from the failed invasion of Iraq are succinctly described.

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about the Iraq War which was known as Operation Iraqi Freedom until September 2010, when it was renamed Operation New Dawn.

Timeline:
February 5, 2003 - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell makes the case to the United Nations that Iraqi President Saddam Husseinposes an imminent threat.

February 14, 2003 - U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix reports to the U.N. Security Council that his team has found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

March 17, 2003 - President George W. Bush issues an ultimatum to President Hussein and his family - leave Iraq within 48 hours or face military action.

March 19, 2003 (10:15 p.m. EST) - President Bush announces U.S. and coalition forces have begun military action against Iraq.

March 20, 2003 - President Hussein speaks on Iraqi TV, calling the coalition's attacks "shameful crimes against Iraq and humanity."

March 23, 2003 - Members of the 507th Maintenance Company are ambushed and captured outside Nasiriyah, Iraq.

April 1, 2003 - Pfc. Jessica Lynch is rescued from a hospital by U.S. forces.

April 9, 2003 - Coalition forces take Baghdad. A large statue of Saddam Hussein is toppled down in Firdos Square. The White House declares "the regime is gone."

April 13, 2003 - Seven U.S. prisoners of war are rescued by U.S. troops.

May 1, 2003 - Speaking on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, President Bush declares "major combat operations" over, although some fighting continues.

May 22, 2003 - The United Nations Security Council approves a resolution acknowledging the U.S. and Great Britain's right to occupy Iraq.

July 22, 2003 - Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, are killed by U.S. forces.

December 13, 2003 - Saddam Hussein is captured in a "spider hole" in Tikrit. This is not confirmed until December 14 by the U.S. Defense Dept.

June 28, 2004 - The handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government takes place two days before the June 30 deadline previously announced by the U.S.-led coalition.

June 30, 2004 - The coalition turns over legal control of Saddam Hussein and 11 other former top Iraqi officials to the interim Iraqi government. The United States retains physical custody of the men.

July 1, 2004 - Saddam Hussein makes his first appearance in court. A judge charges Hussein with a variety of crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait and the gassing of the Kurds.

August 2004 - U.S. and Iraqi forces battle insurgents in Najaf who are followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

September 6, 2004 - The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 1,000.

November 2004 - U.S. and Iraqi forces battle insurgents in Falluja. About 2,000 insurgents are killed. On November 14, Falluja is declared to be liberated.

October 25, 2005 - The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 2,000.

November 19, 2005 - At least 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, are killed in Haditha, Iraq. Suspicion falls on Marines from Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Eight U.S. Marines faced charges in the deaths, but only one is convicted of a crime, that of negligent dereliction of duty.

November 5, 2006 - The Iraqi High Tribunal reaches a verdict in the 1982 Dujail massacre case. Saddam Hussein is found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, pending appeal.

December 30, 2006 - Saddam Hussein is hanged a few minutes after 6 a.m. Baghdad time (10 p.m. EST).

December 30, 2006 - The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 3,000.

January 10, 2007 - A troop surge begins, eventually increasing U.S. troop levels to more than 150,000.

September 3, 2007 - Basra is turned over to local authorities after British troops withdraw from their last military base in Iraq to an airport outside the city.

March 22, 2008 - The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 4,000.

July 10, 2008 - Gen. David Petraeus is confirmed by U.S. Senate as commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). General Ray Odierno succeeds Petraeus as Multinational Forces commander in Iraq.

July 16, 2008 - The surge officially ends, and troop levels are reduced.

December 4, 2008 - The Iraqi Presidential Council approves a security agreement that paves the way for the United States to withdraw completely from Iraq by 2011.

January 1, 2009 - The U.S. military hands over control of Baghdad's Green Zone to Iraqi authorities.

February 27, 2009 - President Barack Obama announces a date for the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq: August 31, 2010.

June 30, 2009 - U.S. troops pull back from Iraqi cities and towns and Iraqi troops take over the responsibility for security operations. However, U.S. troops remain in the country to continue combat operations and patrols in rural areas.

August 19, 2010 - The last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq. 52,000 U.S. troops remain in the country.

September 1, 2010 - Operation Iraqi Freedom is renamed Operation New Dawn to reflect the reduced role U.S. troops will play in securing the country.

May 22, 2011 - The last British military forces in Iraq, 81 Royal Navy sailors patrolling in the Persian Gulf, withdraw from the country. 179 British troops died during the country's eight-year mission in Iraq.

October 17, 2011 - A senior U.S. military official tells CNN that the United States and Iraq have been unable to come to agreement regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq after the end of the year, effectively ending discussion of maintaining an American force presence after the end of 2011. (Americans need to know how this decision was essential if the US military was to stay in Iraq. It was totally unacceptable for our troops to remain in the country without the legal immunity).

October 21, 2011 - President Barack Obama announces that virtually all U.S. troops will come home from Iraq by the end of the year. According to a U.S. official, about 150 of the 39,000 troops currently in Iraq will remain to assist in arms sales. The rest will be out of Iraq by December 31.

December 2, 2011 - The last U.S. troops to occupy Camp Victory leave as the Iraqi government assumes control of the complex.

December 15, 2011 - American troops lower the flag of command that flies over Baghdad officially ending the U.S. military mission in Iraq.

December 18, 2011 - The last U.S. troops in Iraq cross the border into Kuwait.
Tragically, when US troops exited Iraq, the void created a leadership vacuum. Like a destructive tornado, the situation became a funnel cloud of destruction as Iran's President Maliki became a tyrant whose oppression of Sunni Muslims caused the growth of splinter terrorist groups. Unfortunately, the splinter groups used money obtained from the ransom of Western hostages to obtain US military equipment left behind by our failed Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now, those same weapons, paid for by US taxpayers, are being used to terrorize the entire Middle East.
Regardless of how the evil ISIS and another Khorazan Group have grown to become, the fact is, their momentum's are correlated with the failed leadership following Operation Iraqi Freedom. This failed leadership could have been prevented if the US had never invaded Iraq, in the first place. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) didn't exist, therefore, the premise for the invasion was non-existent.
It's time Republicans are reminded again about why America is re-engaged in a Middle Eastern war. This current anti-ISIS coalition is the third time since 1990 that we're involved in war, beginning when the Desert Storm coalition, in response to the invasion of Kuwait by the now executed Saddam Hussein.
Therefore, Republicans who are stoically watching from the deadly jousting bleachers, waiting to see what's to become of the daunting US involvement in the Middle East, should evaluate and take responsibility for their complicity in these incendiary catastrophes. 

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President Obama: optimism drives economic indicators as per NYTimes, David Brooks and Warren Buffett opinions

Like new growth after a forest fire, economic good news and sprouts of optimism are appearing like happy gnomes among dreary world stories consumed by terrorism and disastrous imagery.  

Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast from Detroit, that a child born in the USA today is the most fortunate baby in the world, because of the opportunities available in our country.

"...United States is bucking a spate of weaker overseas growth with the euro zone and Japan slumping, and growth in China slowing as well." (Reuters September 26)

David Brooks is a surprising voice in the "snap out of it" undergrowth, to produce seedlings of what should become a patriotic movement to support the optimism. 

"In recent months, the public has been gripped by a 'mood of pessimism and fatalism,', he writes in a reprint of his column in The New York Times, published in October 3, 2014 issue of The Week.

The greatest era in human history  David Brooks

The New York Times

“Snap out of it,” said David Brooks. In recent months, the public has been gripped by “a mood of pessimism and fatalism,” with polls showing many Americans fear the country and the world are unraveling. While it’s true that Washington’s gridlock has created a worrisome “leadership crisis,” our sour despondency is unwarranted. This is an era of incredible progress and spreading affluence, with the nation’s cities brimming with intellectual, artistic, and entrepreneurial energy. Tolerance for and acceptance of people who differ from ourselves is at an all-time high, as a stimulating stew of diverse cultures now adds new flavors to the American melting pot. “We’re living in an era with the greatest reduction in global poverty ever—across Asia and Africa,” and while we obviously still have problems, they are less dire than the “civilization-threatening crises like World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, or the Cold War.” Even compared with the 1970s, which brought us stagflation, Watergate, and rising crime, “we are living in a golden age.” So please stop the hand-wringing. The sky is not falling. In fact, it’s mostly blue.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years in the second quarter with all sectors contributing to the jump in output in a bullish signal for the remainder of the year.

The Commerce Department on Friday raised its estimate of growth in gross domestic product to a 4.6 percent annual rate from the 4.2 percent pace reported last month.

"It increases our confidence that strong growth is obtainable in the second half of this year," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

The United States is bucking a spate of weaker overseas growth with the euro zone and Japan slumping, and growth in China slowing as well.

With the U.S. economy firing on nearly all cylinders, traders are bracing for an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve next year. The dollar, which got a lift from the GDP data, has risen about 7 percent against a basket of major currencies since early July in anticipation.

The data also supported stocks, which were up marginally near midday, while prices for U.S. Treasury debt fell.

A faster pace of business spending and sturdier export growth than previously estimated were the two main factors behind the upward revision to U.S. GDP, which had its best growth performance since the fourth quarter of 2011.

Consumer spending growth was unrevised at a 2.5 percent rate as stronger healthcare outlays were offset by weakness in spending on recreation, other services and durable goods.

Household spending, however, is likely to accelerate, with another report on Friday showing consumer sentiment hitting a 14-month high in September.

BRISK DOMESTIC DEMAND

But the expansion in consumer spending, combined with strong business investment, was nevertheless enough to push domestic demand ahead at its fastest pace since 2010.

That suggests the economy's recovery is becoming more durable after output slumped at a 2.1 percent rate in the first quarter because of an unusually cold winter.

So far, data covering manufacturing, trade and housing suggest that much of the second quarter's momentum spilled over into the third quarter. Growth estimates for the July-September quarter range as high as a 3.5 percent pace.

When measured from the income side, the economy grew at a 5.2 percent pace during the second quarter, while corporate profits rose at their fastest pace in three years.

Business spending on equipment was raised to an 11.2 percent pace from a previously reported 10.7 percent rate. Businesses also invested more in nonresidential structures, such as gas drilling, as well as in research and development.

The trend likely persisted in the third quarter, with data on Thursday showing business orders for capital goods rose in August.

Though trade was a drag for a second consecutive quarter, export growth was raised to an 11.1 percent pace, the fastest since the fourth quarter of 2010, from a 10.1 percent rate.

The dollar's strength, however, could take some of the edge off of export growth in the months ahead.

"The recent appreciation in the dollar will continue and slow export growth in 2015 by driving relative prices for U.S. exports higher," said Doug Handler, chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Businesses accumulated $84.8 billion worth of inventory in the second quarter, contributing 1.42 percentage points to GDP growth. The relatively strong pace could result in inventories making no contribution to growth in the third quarter.
(
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani,; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Therefore, Fox New alert, let's hear some truth about President Obama's leadership, instead of propaganda designed to satisfy the hate hunger from right wing political zealots.

Of course, the growth  of truth isn't how right wing media enriches the political environment.  

David Brooks, Warren Buffett and The New York Times are a trilogy of optimism. Americans are uniquely optimistic people. It's time to nurture our patriotic clarion call towards optimism, rather than to fall like stricken timbers into darkness.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Obituary for Helen Bamber - anti torture advocate

It's sad when a person's obituary tells us all we know about a person. When I read the obituary of Helen Bamber (1925-2014), I became sad because of her death, but I had never heard of her, until after reading her obituary.

Helen Bamber 1925–2014:  The campaigner who cared for torture victims

In 1945, Helen Bamber, then 19, volunteered to help survivors of the recently liberated Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp. She distributed food and clothing to the few thousand remaining survivors, many of whom were emaciated and close to death. “People wanted to tell their story,” she recalled. “They would hold me and dig their fingers in and rasp this story out.” At first she didn’t know how to react, but she realized that all she could do was listen and assure them: “Your story will be told; I will be your witness.” It proved a formative experience. Over the next seven decades, Bamber became a leading campaigner for victims of human rights atrocities, helping more than 50,000 people in 90 countries. After Bergen-Belsen, she said, “I just couldn’t remain a bystander.”

Born to Jewish parents in London, Bamber grew up “in a home where the Nazi threat was drummed into her relentlessly,” said The Washington Post. “At bedtime, her father read her passages of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” After the war, she spent two years at Bergen-Belsen before returning to Britain to work with children who survived the Holocaust. In 1961, Bamber joined Amnesty International, where she “became an expert in identifying torture used for political motives in Latin America and South Africa,” said The Times(U.K.). In 1985, when British doctors said they didn’t have time to deal with the complexities of torture victims, she decided to fill the void herself, setting up the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Launched in “two disused hospital rooms with a typewriter and assistant,” the charity now helps thousands of torture victims from around the world.

“Relentless and tireless even at 80,” Bamber set up the Helen Bamber Foundation in 2005, said The Guardian (U.K). “The culmination of her life’s work,” the charity cares for torture victims as well as those who have been “brutalized by criminal gangs, trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation, or kept as slaves.” Though proud of her achievements, Bamber was always saddened by the continued need for her work. 

“If we look at the world today,” she said in 1995, “humanity seems to have learnt very little.”

Helen Bamber New York Times obituary:

Helen Bamber, whose volunteering to comfort broken survivors of a Nazi concentration camp when she was 19 inspired her to devote her next seven decades to helping more than 50,000 victims of torture in 90 countries, died on Aug. 21 in London. She was 89.

Her death was announced by the Helen Bamber Foundation, a British charity.

Started in 2005, the organization grew out of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which Ms. Bamber started in 1985. The foundation emerged from the Medical Group of the British Section of Amnesty International, which she and a small group of colleagues began in the early 1970s. The actress Emma Thompson is the current president of the Bamber foundation.

Together, through a “holistic” combination of medicine and psychological, social and physical therapies, the organizations have helped torture victims recover a sense of identity and purpose after being subjected to often unspeakable horrors: electrical shocks to genitals, beatings on the bottom of feet, nonlethal hangings.

Ms. Bamber recalled listening to a 10-year-old Bosnian girl describe seeing Serb soldiers cut off her brother’s testicles. A mother recounted the beheading of her son.

Ms. Bamber said the worst toll of torture was psychic — “the act of killing a man without dying,” a survivor once told her. Torture, she wrote in an autobiography for her foundation, constitutes “a total perversion of all that is good in human relationships.”

“It is designed to destroy not only the physical and psychological integrity of one individual, but with every blow, with every electrode, his or her family and the next generation,” she continued. “The body betrays and is often discarded, a body to be hated for its scars and injuries, a body which is a constant reminder even if there are no scars or remaining injuries.”

Her approach was to treat the whole person, often in group therapy, which she saw as giving alienated victims a sense of community. She recruited dozens of professionals to treat more than 2,000 victims a year, and worked with many patients herself as a psychotherapist — which she became through experience, she said, rather than an academic degree.

Her method involved revisiting victims’ worst horrors and letting them “vomit” them out.

“You have to move into the torture chamber with them,” she told the British newspaper The Observer in 1999. “You almost have to be tortured with them.”

The next step, she told The Irish Times in 1995, is to work with the “noble and good” qualities that can enable a victim to survive. It was enough, she said, to take a victim’s story, hold it and say, “Yes, I believe you.”
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Dear Helen Bamber, I regret learning about you from your obituary. I wish you were still alive and with us as people are challenged by terrible human rights violations in human sex trafficking and the humanitarian refugee crises in Syria, Turkey and Jordan, to name a few horrific situations. 

When Saint Mother Theresa died, the world lost a compassionate humanitarian. Now, with your death, we'll live in a world without the dignity and respect you demonstrated for all who are victims of torture and human rights indignities.  

May you rest in peace.  

Meanwhile, we must find a way to prevent torture and human indignities, spread by evil religious extremists intent on claiming power through their barbaric intentions and actions.

When Helen Bamber interviewed victims of Bergen-Belsen, it's likely she thought the world would never see another genocide.
Sadly, unbelievable barbarism and genocides continue in spite of all efforts to pray for world peace and teach understanding.

Helen Bamber died in London on August 21, 2014.
Only a month since she died and the world is already missing her 
I'm sorry I never had the chance to meet her.


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Evil ISIS executioner Jihadi John beheads innocents like a non human eviltron- will be brought to justice

Although millions of innocent victims are refugee victims of ISIS terrorism in the Middle East, the fact is, one evil executioner who beheaded at least three innocent men, is himself, living on borrowed time.  Jihadi John's mortality is imminent because his identity is known.

Investigators worked out he was probably left-handed and had a "multi-cultural London accent".
In other words, the ISIS executioner's life expectancy has been reduced to the number of days it will take until he's abducted. Certainly, justice would be served if the executioner is taken alive. Nevertheless, dead or alive, this barbaric man will face timely justice. 

BBCNews reports:

The FBI has identified the militant in the videos depicting the killings of two US journalists and a British aid worker, the agency's director has said.

But James Comey says the FBI will not yet release the name of Islamic State fighter, so-called Jihadi John, who seemed to speak with a British accent.

UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond told CNN this week they were "getting warm" on the identity of the masked man.

Mr Comey did not say whether the man identified carried out the killings.

He said the FBI was able to identify him with the help of international partners.

American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines, have all been killed alongside a masked man dressed in black holding a knife, who speaks to the camera.

The life of another British citizen, Alan Henning, was threatened in the last video.

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Beheading is a medieval form of execution that was enforced upon people who were convicted of seditious crimes. It has been a barbaric form of execution for centuries. Tragically, even the French Queen Marie Antoinette, who was probably innocent of crimes, was the victim of the guillotine.

In the history of beheading executions, the victims were supposed to be guilty of some sort of crime or political sedition. 

Execution beheadings are heinous acts, regardless of the reason. But beheading barbarism, for the purpose of spreading terrorism, is beyond human comprehension.  

Consequently, it seems Jihadi John must be a non human "evil-tron". It's like he's a genetically created monster, created for the purpose of enacting evil for the sake of creating terror.

Jihadi John's victims were innocent people. American journalists James Foley, and Steven Sotloff and British citizen David Haines are among the heinous victims of beheadings by Jihadi John. 

French tourist Herve Gourdel, captured in Algeria, was also executed on video, but his murder was claimed by another splinter ISIS group. Now, in a what appears to be a sequence of "copy cat" beheadings, this barbarism is the new normal among evil doers.

Barbaric executions have been the dark side of the human condition since the beginning of time. 

Now, terrorists are using beheading executions to spread their evil by instilling fear among all civilized people.  

Well, listen up Jihadi John (your ego will likely cause you to seek your name in blogs, so it's possible you're even reading this.....your English language skills makes your literacy evident)....so listen up! You will not live much longer.  

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"No God condones this...." President Obama

President Obama provided the strongest argument to date against evil ISIS, the self declared Islamic State. "No God condones this...", he said. Amen. Absolutely true. Therefore, Muslims who are carrying the blood of the evil ISIS on their reputation as members of Islam, should take these evil terrorists out, degrade them, destroy them and set up legitimate governments in the Middle East, where these evil power mongers will be prevented from rising to power.

UK (Great Britain) Prime Minister David Cameron said nations must deal with all forms of extremism, including banning "preachers of hate" and fighting "poisonous ideology".


Tragically, the evil ISIS has demonsrated even more henious behavior as one of their splinter terrorist groups executed yet another innocent civilian, this time a French tourist.

BBCNews reports:  French President Francois Hollande has strongly condemned the beheading in Algeria of tourist Herve Gourdel by a jihadist group linked to Islamic State (IS) militants.

The president described the killing as a "cruel and cowardly" act.

He said that French air strikes which began on IS targets in Iraq last week would continue.

Jund al-Khilafa killed Mr Gourdel, 55, after its deadline for France to halt air strikes on IS in Iraq ran out.

Algeria said it would do everything possible to bring the killers to justice.

"Algeria will never ever bend to terrorism and justice will be done. Our commitment to fight this scourge will grow even stronger," said Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

'Never cede to terrorism'

"France is going through an ordeal through the murder of one of its citizens, but France will never give in to blackmail," Mr Hollande told the UN General Assembly.

"The fight against terrorism must continue and be stepped up."

He said that French air strikes which began on IS targets in Iraq last week would continue.

"We will continue to fight terrorism everywhere, notably against the group we call Islamic State, which spreads death in Iraq and Syria, pursues civilian populations, persecutes religious minorities, rapes, beheads," he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the assembly, the president said that Mr Gourdel - who was seized on Sunday - was dead because he was the representative of French people who "defend human dignity against barbarity".

"France will never cede to terrorism because it is our duty, and, more than that, because it is our honour.''
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It's impossible to understand how terrorist groups can continue their delusions of power, while assassinating innocent people, without realizing their evil will come back to destroy them and their organizations.

Somehow, the world must provide the innocent victims of terrorism with the tools needed to destroy these barbaric Islamic extremists.

No God condones barbarism. It's our moral responsibility to respond to this evil by supporting those who are in a position to defend themselves against being victims of Islamic extremism's destruction. 

Iraq and Vietnam: an international perspective from National Catholic Reporter

With all due respect to National Catholic Reporter, there are differences between Vietnam and the war on terror.
First of all, dear NCR, the US did not "skip to battle" against ISIS.
That's a gross simplification of the US response to the war on terrorism, especially in light of the growth of the evil Islamic State.
"..realities that have brought us to this point as we skip to battle."

Vietnam was a tremendous waste of American leadership when the undeveloped country united behind successful efforts to defeat the US military. National Catholic Reporter's editorial staff raises the issue again. Did America learn anything from the Vietnam defeat?  In other words, in raising our military might against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the US is likely repeating the same mistake.

NCR writes: 

The Vietnam War ended on April 29, 1975. That was the day we watched the last Americans scrambling to climb aboard helicopters to flee Saigon. It was a stunning U.S. defeat.

The seeds of that defeat were planted years before, most notably on March 8, 1965. That was the day the first U.S. Marine combat troops landed in Danang, Vietnam. That action gave a civil conflict a global stage, forming Vietnamese patriots overnight. If we had only understood.


The drums of war are again beating loudly as a new threat -- the self-proclaimed Islamic State -- engages in a particularly vicious takeover of territory in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is tempted once again to revert to a kind of reptilian revenge to assuage its anger over the unspeakable beheadings of two U.S. journalists and a British aid worker. We dance again with folly if we put aside the complex historic, social and religious realities that have brought us to this point as we skip to battle.

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My husband is a Vietnam war veteran, having served in Chu Lai with the US Seabees. Also, we both visited Vietnam several years ago. No question about it, the Vietnam War was a huge defeat against the US military.  

Nevertheless, the Vietnam War was fought under the false premise of the invented risk to the world order, as in the "domino theory" of allowing nations to fall victim to an axis of communism.  

Iraq, Syria, the war against Al Qaeda and it's subsidiaries, coupled with the evil ISIS and another Khorasan Group (embedded inside all of the above) clearly raises the threat of a new world order ruled by terror. An international effort must be launched to destroy the root cause of this collective momentum.

NCR raises the right concerns. An increase in US military response to the war on terrorism, especially targeted towards Muslim groups, will unite the Islamic hate against this aggression.  

NCR continues:


Saudi Arabia, we are told, is now unnerved by the Islamic State phenomenon and its intention to create a caliphate, or political-religious state, across Syria and Iraq. We all are repulsed by the reports of beheadings in the name of an Islam that is actually a perversion of the faith.

The Islamic State, however, grows out of a strain of theology called Wahhabism, named after an 18th-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Wahhabism found a home within Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia, where some of the most extreme forms of Islam are practiced. The laws of the Saudi state are, to put it mildly, draconian, and Saudi politics less democratic than that of our professed enemy, Iran. The Washington Post recently reported that according to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia executed as many as 22 people within the space of two weeks last month, and at least eight of those were beheaded. Most of those executed had committed nonlethal crimes, and, said Amnesty, four members of one family were beheaded for "receiving drugs."

Are we kidding ourselves, then, in our selective moral outrage? Is this a case where images and American victims are necessary to provoke revulsion? Do we want to rush to another protracted military commitment where the slippery slopes are being polished and are headed toward "boots on the ground," and where another era of unintended consequences lurks in waiting?

Islam itself is looking for a new Middle East balance as Sunni and Shiite sects wrestle with crumbling ecosystems, vexing social unrest often caused by endemic unemployment, and theologies attempting to come to terms with modernity. The West cannot provide the answers. These need to come from within Islam -- and they will. Whatever chances moderate Muslims might have in leading the way to find these answers will only be undermined by Western intervention, which in turn will undermine our own security.

"I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Pope Francis has said. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I don't say bomb, make war -- stop him. The means by which he may be stopped should be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit, but we nevertheless need to remember how many times, using this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor, the powerful nations have dominated other peoples, made a real war of conquest."

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Vietnam and it's people have repelled all aggression throughout it's long history. French  colonials warned the US to stay away from Vietnam after their nation was humiliated, following the  defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.  

In the war on terror, the current actions are hardly a "skip to battle". In fact, this war began on September 11, 2001, with a coordinated Al Qaeda destruction of the New York City World Trade Center, the death of the United Airlines Flight 63 passengers in Pennsylvania and the attack on the US Pentagon in Washington DC. Although the leader Bin Laden was eventually murdered as a result of the 9-11 attacks, the growth of Islamic extremism continues to threaten world peace. Growing Islamic extremist groups are intent on creating a world according to their power vision, whereby all infidels are assassinated.

Vietnam was a hard and expensive lesson for America's foreign policy. In other words, there was no "domino" threat. In the years since 1979, however, the Vietnamese people have become a vibrant nation with positive economic and social ties to the US.

In the growth of terrorism, there is no national identity, except for Islam extremism, associated with the affiliates of Al Qaeda, ISIS and their evil networks.

In all due respect to National Catholic Reporter, there is only one similarity between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam was launched without a real threat of a "domino" theory about the growth of communism. Similarly, in Iraq, the US "Iraqi Freedom" invasion was based upon the theory of destroying Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), where none existed. 

Therefore, following this logic, it was US failed intelligence that led to both of these deadly wars. Consequently, it is an ominous assumption, but one we must be willing to accept, that the outcome of the war on terror could be the same as Vietnam.  

National Catholic Reporter's editorial is wrong minded, but could, unfortunately, be prophetic.

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