Saturday, February 21, 2015

Republicans have become toxic to the American Dream and the quality of life of the people.

In Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I when Prince Hal finds the cowardly Falstaff pretending to be dead on the battlefield, the prince assumes he has been killed. After the prince leaves the stage, Falstaff rationalizes “The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” from the First Folio, Act 5, Scene 3, lines 3085–3086).

Falstaff is saying that the best part of courage is caution, which we are to take as a joke. Truly courageous people may be cautious, but caution is not the most important characteristic of courage.

This passage is loosely alluded to in the saying “discretion is the better part of valor,” which is usually taken to mean that caution is better than rash courage or that discretion is the best kind of courage.

The Washington Post has got it exactly correct. Abrupt changes are the most dangerous.

February 20, 2015
By Angela Fritz.

Friday arrived (click here) with an icy slap as Arctic air surged into the eastern United States. The cold snap caused long-standing records to tumble across the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.
A new, all-time record low for any month was set in Lynchburg, Va., on Friday morning, when the city dropped to minus 11 degrees. The previous all-time low was minus 10, set in 1985 and 1996.
Flint, Mich., has tied its all-time record low for any month when the temperature dropped to a brutal minus 25 degrees on Friday morning. The last time it was so cold in Flint was on Jan. 18, 1976.
Cleveland broke its all-time record low for the month of February when the thermometer bottomed out at 17 degrees below zero on Friday morning. The new record surpassed the previous by one degree, set more than a century ago on Feb. 10, 1899....

The maps from The Weather Channel tell an interesting tale.

February 22, 2015
0007 gmt
The Weather Channel 24 hour Temperatures Change Map.

Southwest Pennsylvania changed temperature within 24 hours. But, the temperature is achieved was only 33 degrees F.

Personal preparedness for rapid temperature change is necessary.

February 22, 2015
0045 gmt
The Weather Channel Current Temperatures
China is used to governing different languages and cultures. In the USA the primary language is English. China's approach to governance is based in the reality of diversity as a natural state, not one enforced by laws to reduce hate.

US politicians not able to engage Spanish as a second language, only want to make it illegal in any governmental authority. China doesn't have that luxury. I think most business in China is conducted in Mandarin, at least when it comes to international business.

 Around 600,000 Nong Zhuang (click here) people live in southeastern Yunnan Province, primarily in the counties of Guangnan, Yanshan, Wenshan, Maguan, Malipo, and Xichou, as well as a smaller population in the Vietnamese provinces of Lao Cai and Ha Giang.

Most members of this ethnic group continue to speak a unique Central Taic language, though some young people who group up in or near cities only speak Chinese. Many Nong Zhuang people also have a functional ability in standard Mandarin or the local dialect of Chinese, though older people and those who have not left the villages often have more limited Chinese comprehension and some Nong are completely monolingual.

The Nong Zhuang, who call themselves Pu Nong or Pu Day ("Pu" meaning "people" or "tribe"), are known to surrounding ethnic groups as "Nongzu" or "Longzu" (侬族) and were classified into the official Zhuang nationality in 1958....

There is no reason for the USA to continue it's presence in Afghanistan. China may be involved in peace negotiations.

February 19, 2015
By Mehreen Zahra-Malid and Hamid Shalizi

(Reuters) - Senior Pakistani army, Afghan and diplomatic officials (click here) said on Thursday the Afghan Taliban had signalled they were willing to open peace talks with Kabul.
The reports raised hopes for a breakthrough in peace efforts following the withdrawal of most U.S.-led troops last year, and of a boost for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The renewed push for negotiations appeared to be driven by evolving relationships between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, which recently offered to help broker talks.
On Thursday, a senior Pakistani military official said Pakistan's army chief, General Raheel Sharif, told Ghani during a visit this week the Taliban were willing to begin negotiations as early as March.
"They have expressed their willingness and there will be progress in March. But these things are not so quick and easy," the official, who is close to the army chief, told Reuters on condition of anonymity....

China is already in prisoner releases. This is not a minor interest by China. China shares a narrow border with Afghanistan. It has also seen an uptick in domestic terrorism this past year. There are many reasons why China and other countries will honor the small arms treaties, this is only one of them. 

Ever since President Obama spent time with General Secretary Xi Jinping in November of 2014 the Chinese leader has expressed a great deal of influence within it's international sphere. China has had it's own awakening to insure it's influence throughout it's trading partners.

China is peddling peace and prosperity with it's trading partners. It and other countries are willing to put the improvement of their people's economic growth first. It is a known fact that when a country spends valuable resources on war preparedness, it's people are placed on the shelf only to continue a life of impoverishment. China wants to end the poverty within it's sphere and grow economies as a benevolent power. I think it will be successful and The West will have viable trading partners as well due to the leadership China in what are normally very difficult countries to foster such growth.

The West doesn't realize how difficult it is to actually change the circumstances of Third World countries. Iraq is an example of American Nation Building. It is too much of a reach. But, most of those opposing the war knew it would be a disaster. How can a country like Iraq simply change overnight as with a dusting of fairy dust. It's ridiculous to conceive. China, however, has been able to move these countries forward to focus on their people and better outcomes. China has done so without spending large amounts of their budget without a return on that investment.  

When the USA implements nation building it starts with the top and works down. China only provides direction to the activity of local authorities and intervenes when it diverges from the 5 year plan. The governance is very different. China's economic model doesn't require war, it only asks for cooperation. The governance isn't disturbed. Human rights are discussed as a Third World trade partner is brought into China's sphere of influence. That is the moral fabric of China's international relations. Human rights is not a political issue with China, it is a practicle issue that improves the people's quality of life along with it's work ethic and output. 

With America involved in multiple front wars, one might ask, how many wars is China involved with? Is there any doubt that China is leading a global revolution based in economic growth? It is believed to be surpassing the USA in GDP? That isn't an economic advantage? If China has a trading alliance with every country in Central and South America, what does that say about the USA in the same hemisphere?

The USA's military is not needed in Afghanistan. It should never be an imperial power for any foreign president.These countries are divided ethnically. The USA cannot simply pledge an allegiance to the cowboy crowned by the USA to be the one with the white hat. It is far more complicated than that.

February 20, 2015
By Hamid Shalzi

...Hopes for a peace process (click here) were raised on Thursday when Pakistani and Afghan officials said members of the Taliban leadership had signaled they were willing to begin talks as soon as next month.
The apparent Taliban change of position was said to have been made under pressure from Pakistan, although the official Taliban spokesman denied any move toward negotiations with the Afghan government. Pakistan has been under pressure from China, which is concerned about Islamists among its Muslim minority, to step up pressure against militants.Three senior Afghan police and intelligence officials described the operation last month to capture ethnic Uighur militants, members of a separatist movement opposed to Beijing's rule over the Xinjiang region, which is home to the Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uighurs....

There are more veterans dying of PTSD than died in the war.

Today, hundreds of thousands of service men and women and recent military veterans have seen combat. Many have been shot at, seen their buddies killed, or witnessed death up close. These are types of events that can lead to PTSD.'''

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: (click here)

- Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans
- As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
- 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
- 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans

Of the four branches of service to the USA, the Army has suffered the longest cumulative deployments in no less than 12 months with some as long as thirty months.

This is a Rand Corporation study.

Most AC soldiers (73 percent) (click here) have deployed to OIF/OND and/or OEF—an increase of 6 percentage points from December 2008. Most of those soldiers have spent, cumulatively, more than one year deployed (49 percent of all ACsoldiers and 68 percent of AC soldiers that have deployed)....

The cumulative total is 1,400,020. Of that only 34% have never been deployed to the Iraq/Afghanistan theater. That means all other soldiers over 65% are candidates for PTSD. We know for a fact those numbers with PTSD currently involved with treatment is increasing.

The USA cannot afford these wars anymore. The causalities continue to grow in the ranks of our veterans. To extend the USA longer in any of these theaters means the USA grows closer and closer to a military that is not ready to defend the country.


The effectiveness of the "Arms Trade Treaty" (click here) is not yet realized.  It was put into force December 24, 2014 and won't have it's first statistics reported until December 24, 2015.

The region throughout this area is highly diverse when it comes to ethnicities. There is no stopping the killing as long as generations of intolerance and hate continue. The only viable solution is to end the shipment of weapons in the region.

    From the "Stars and Stripes".

    February 21, 2015
    By Heidi Pzybyla

    ...Aside from backing down on their demand, (click here) or allowing funding to expire, there’s a third option under consideration that could take pressure off McConnell and Boehner. Lawmakers may vote on 30-day funding for the agency, according to a congressional aide who didn’t want to be identified because talks are continuing.
    The congressional debate will focus attention on Obama’s directives on immigration that would ease deportation for about 5 million undocumented immigrants including those brought to the U.S. as children. A Texas judge’s order this week forced the White House to delay carrying out its immigration orders.
    The issue may reverberate in the 2016 presidential election campaign as Democrats and Republicans vie for support from Hispanics, who make up 17 percent of the U.S. population and carry increasing influence in national election...

    The Undocumented are good enough to live and die for the USA, but, to serve the country as a citizen in working capacity is not allowed. It is ridiculous. The Undocumented have proven in their loyalty in the USA while serving in our military. But, their families that may be living in the USA are to be deported as criminals.

    September 25, 2014
    By Andrew Tilghman
    ...For the first time, the program — (click here) known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will be open to immigrants without a proper visa if they came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16. More specifically, they must be approved under a 2012 Obama administration policy known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA....

    Afghanistan isn't going to stabilize. They don't want Americans there.

    January 30, 2015
    By Ali M. Latifi

    In Afghan in military uniform (click here) shot to death three U.S. military contractors Thursday at Kabul International Airport’s military facility, the U.S.-led coalition said. The attacker was then shot and killed by security forces.
    The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan released few details of the attack, but the the Taliban on Friday claimed responsibility....

    ...Jan. 30, 2:49 a.m.: An earlier version of this article stated that a gunman had killed three foreigners and a fellow Afghan in the attack. The Afghan who died was the gunman, who was shot and killed by security forces after the attack. The foreigners slain were U.S. military contractors....

    There are domestic problems for Afghanistan. Why is the USA always viewed as the much needed police in any country? Why? Because Americans are disposable and trouble makers, Afghans don't die and it is easy to be angry with people viewed as trouble makers.

    A co-leader in Abdullah Abdullah knows the way to build and implement a military and police presence in a region. Americans aren't need to potentially protect another corrupt government in the co-leader Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

    I do not see the USA continuing it's role as any country's national police. It is out of the question. In Iraq, the Prime Minister used our soldiers as his private militia. It is time to let the people of Afghan to find their own way.

    I am sure Co-President Abdullah Abdullah is more than capable of conducting a Afghan military without the interference of American soldiers. 

    September 22, 2014
    By Paul D, Shrinkman

    Presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, (click here) the former finance minister, and Abdullah Abdullah, the former foreign minister, announced over the weekend they would form a unity government. The news follows the April election that singled out the pair, a runoff election plagued with accusations of tampering, and a subsequent and lengthy ballot auditing process....

    I am quite disgusted with the USA military being the force that protects corruption of a poppy culture. No more. The USA military has never been able to rid that country of any poppy culture. There is no sense in continuing this.

    The Northern Alliance was already a fighting force that was anti-Taliban. The co-President Abdullah Abdullah already has successful military credentials.

    ...When the Taliban emerged in late 1994, (click here) they were initially welcomed for neutralizing and disbanding many of the violent, mercenary militias that had formed throughout Afghanistan.  However, as the Pashtun-dominated faction gained more power and seized control of more territory, the Northern Alliance formed in opposition of the Taliban's use of indiscriminate violence and repression. (The Economist, 22 Oct. 1999)...

    Nearly seven months is a long time to work for an employer without a contract.

    Union workers take their contract seriously as they should. When workers state a union action in picketing their employers is important, it is usually because the employer has either disengaged from negotiations or never sincerely participated at all.

    The negotiations for a new contract began two months before the past contract ended. The employers are suppose to engage these negotiations with the purpose of signing a new contract. At the end of the contract union members were not obligated to work past that day, but, they did. They worked without a contract for more than half a year. That is disingenuous of any employer.

    The only method of getting an employer to take a contract as seriously as the worker is a strike. It is the one action empowering the Middle Class in the USA. Peaceful demonstrations are important and bring a message about the state of our society in relation to private industry. The Middle Class doesn't hate employers, they depend on them, but when workers are scoffed at as unimportant it is time to end a deadlock and walk out. 

    There is no union worker that likes the idea of walking off a job and picketing to move contract negotiations along. They want to work. It is there way of supporting their families. It is a serious decision. 

    The USA Middle Class needs to support those that have been patient in waiting for a contract to be settled. And on a rare occasion insist on their own job action to support those ignored and aggrieved by an employer.

    It is a national shame to focus on breaking up unions to benefit profits. The conversation about income inequality begins with the demand to break up unions and remove the dignity of the Middle Class as the world's best labor force. The Middle Class in the USA has to reclaim the Middle Class by raising their standard of living and continue to maintain a living wage. A living wage has to carry with it the understanding retirement is a need in saving for a home, children's education and the future.

    Wall Street benefits from a strong Middle Class in stability of the markets and a healthy consumer base. When the Middle Class saves for the future banks and lending institutions benefit directly. The unions make a great deal possible in a healthy economy, they should not be attacked as trouble makers. There is no shame for unions in supporting workers. There is a great deal of shame by employers when workers face a strike after working longer than six months without one.

    February 20, 2015

    Shipping companies and dockworkers (click here) reached a tentative deal late Friday on a new labor contract, avoiding a shutdown of 29 ports that would have choked off trade through the West Coast.
    The agreement, which still needs approval from union members and individual employers, should start easing severe congestion that’s been building for months at the nation’s busiest ports, in Los Angeles and Long Beach, along with other major gateways.
    Details of the proposed five-year contract for about 20,000 West Coast dockworkers were not released. The dockworkers have been without a contract since July. The two sides had been negotiating since May.
    The dispute caused businesses across the nation to lose money because imports were trapped on boats and exports trapped on land....

    The Ebola Virus needs reassessment.

    The fact even hospital workers have backed away from their precautions reveals the longing for the end to this virus before it is actually eradicated. Infection control takes a great deal of energy and time when caring for a hospital population of patients.

    This uptick of patients only indicates the virus has to be assessed for any mutations as well as redoubling efforts of prevention and education. 

    February 22, 2015

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) " Eight health workers (click here) at a hospital in Liberia's capital have been sent home for observation after coming into contact with a patient who later tested positive for Ebola, the country's assistant health minister said Saturday.
    The incident occurred at the S.D. Cooper Hospital in Monrovia's Sinkor neighborhood, Tolbert Nyenswah said. The patient, a woman, was transferred to the hospital from a smaller hospital, and staff began treating her before an Ebola test was conducted, Nyenswah said.
    The health workers will be under observation for 21 days and will not be coming into work during that period, he said.
    "You cannot be under observation and then at the same time go to work to expose people. No way," he said....

    I am not convinced the quality of life of the people of Liberia is going up support complete recovery so much as mutation. When the virus was in decline it was noted the precautions at any social venue were slacking off. ie: the bleach solutions.

    February 20, 2015
    By Kate Kelland

    Ebola is spread via contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Disease experts say the recent downturn in the epidemic has been largely due to better hygiene and handwashing, tracing and monitoring of contacts, and changing behaviours such as ending the practice of open burials.
    Working with the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse, MacDermott, a 33-year-old British paediatrician, has been based in Liberia on and off since July last year.
    She, too, says messages about how to prevent Ebola and halt its spread by basic but vital changes in behaviour are getting through to many people in cities, towns and rural communities. But she worries that not everyone believes them.
    In the absence of health and aid workers and community leadership from those educated about Ebola, already the voices of conspiracy theorists are increasingly being heard again.
    "Some people don't want to believe that their family member has Ebola, they don't want the concept of Ebola to exist. Others believe we (international aid workers) are stealing people's organs in the treatment centres, or that Ebola was made up to get aid money," MacDermott said....

    Educating in regard to Ebola isn't dominant voice with the people. The unwillingness to accept Ebola as a reality is similar to the people's reaction to HIV/AIDS. They live in denial because of the severity of the disease and their ability to be treated for it or avoid it. 

    The words are helplessness and hopelessness. That quality of life can put the complete recovery of the region at risk.

    February 21, 2015
    UNITED NATIONS: The steep decline in Ebola case numbers (click here) has leveled off over the past month and the development is a cause for concern, the official leading the World Health Organization's response to the outbreak said on Friday.

    Dr. Bruce Aylward told reporters "today is the first time we have the data to demonstrate this" flattening of the curve.

    The United Nations has said 10 times fewer people are being diagnosed with Ebola each week than in September. Over the past four weeks, however, the line of the graph has flattened out, with the rate around 120 to 150 new cases a week...