Beyond the Cusp

March 13, 2015

Surely it is March Madness

 

Usually for March Madness one fills in their brackets with the sixty-four teams and then predicts the winners of each down to the national championship. It takes skill, knowledge and a fair share of luck. The March Madness I am referring to is society seemingly busting at the seams everywhere one looks. The recent shooting in Ferguson, Missouri where somebody used the cover of the crowd protesting outside the police headquarters building to shoot two police standing outside the building striking one in the shoulder and the other in the face. These police were not part of any investigation, had not shot anyone had not done anything to warrant this shooting other than they were police officers in Ferguson. This was a horrific act of violence which is unfortunately not all that unexpected especially when remembering the shooting of two police officers in New York City who were merely sitting in their squad car and were police and thus deserving of whatever they got. Disrespect for societal norms and authority is once again growing across the world. The protests which have taken place in much of Europe have also had their share of riotous behavior and the breaking of police lines to assault specific targets often with ties to Jews such as Synagogues and Jewish Schools and Yeshivas.

 

On another front the actions of European governments and the European Union have started yet another campaign against Israel by financing and erecting buildings and placing Arab businesses or families into these structures immediately as the finishing touches are being applied. All of these structures have been placed in Area C where Arab building is forbidden by the Oslo Accords. Area C was presumed to remain a part of Israel according to the layout and the assignments of rights to the lands in Areas A, B and C. Area A was presumed to belong to the Arabs while Area C was presumed to remain a part of Israel and Area B was the part to be negotiated as to where the actual border would be placed. Obviously the Europeans have chosen to nullify the Oslo Accords as far as the restrictions upon the Arab side while altering the particulars to make the rules even more stringent and restraining on the Israelis. There may even start once more the idea that all of Jerusalem must remain undivided and as such all of Jerusalem must be rewarded to the Arabs once again and then demand a five, or maybe a ten or even a twenty mile wide thoroughfare complete with an eight lane highway, dual rails for passenger train traffic, a third and fourth rail lines for goods traveling between the two parts of the Arab entity, a special wide two lanes in each direction for busses and another three wide lanes in each direction for trucks and tractor trailers and other commercial traffic, rest areas appropriately set along a scenic path for those who desire to walk between Judea and Samaria to Gaza or the other direction. This causeway and thoroughfare right of way would also become owned by the Arabs completing their state. When Israel demands to know how they are supposed to make transit from north of this zone to south of this zone it would not be surprising for the European Union, United Nations and President Obama to be backing a plan that everything south of the Arab thoroughfare would now belong to the Bedouin Tribes and be formed into the first ever Bedouin State where any claiming to be Bedouins may raise their families and tend their flocks. Israel would then what, be warned any actions against this equitable settlement of every problem that they should take it quietly before the world comes up with further divisions of the lands and reasons every Jew must be removed until every Jew resides in Tel Aviv. Kidding aside, and there are those who will claim that this would be a fair start to an agreement if only it addressed whatever other claim that could be imagined, Israel had faced some rather astounding votes taken to denounce her or to refuse to allow any academic interactions.

 

Such was recently voted upon in the London University where over two-thousand students, professors and other staff voted on whether to boycott all of Israeli academic institutions. The results were revealing as seventy-three percent favored the ban and sixty percent of the professors supported the ban. Fortunately this was simply a nonbinding resolution as the fact that a mere four-hundred-twenty-five people refused to accept and approve this motion is a frightening prospect that the new anti-Semitism, the anti-Israel or often referred to as the anti-Zionist platforms and resolutions are often introduced. It comes complete with the similar refrains such as I am not against Jews, just the Israeli government and the existence of Israel. Talk to these anti-Israel types and they will inevitably prove to be anti-Zionist as well. When asked to list exact things the Israeli government has committed they inevitably list the theft of Arab lands and the Occupation of Gaza and the (West Bank) Judea and Samaria. When asked if they hold similar opposition against China or Turkey you will mostly get the deer in the headlamps stare of complete vapid dumbfounded stare. Then you need to slowly coax these afflicted people back to life or they will stand there until they collapse and are hospitalized for suffering from some unidentified ailment. It has a name and it is unaware or creeping anti-Semitism. You have to explain that China swallowed Tibet around 1951 and has illegally occupied Tibet ever since and that Turkey invaded Cyprus in July 1974 and took half the island before being stopped and there the armistice lines was drawn and Turkey cemented their claim and hold on the northern half of Cyprus by kicking out the Greek citizens residing there and brought in families from Turkey and gave them the vacated houses. Now, if your poor afflicted person appears to have regained their composure you can ask again about if they hold any other nation responsible for their occupations and see if they have internalized the information you provided, the likelihood is nothing will have changed.

 

The good news was the last Liberian has been released from the hospital marking their final Ebola victim to have received treatment. It appears the fears of a worldwide pandemic were a bit premature but they also restricted travel out of the afflicted areas and may have prevented the spread of Ebola further. The heroic acts by many healthcare professionals who volunteered and placed themselves in the midst of the outbreak of this deadly disease should be lauded with high praise. They were likely instrumental in preventing the spread of this epidemic into the world and making it a pandemic. What is a pity is that it takes an emergency before many of us turn our attentions to some of the people who need assistance the most and instead join the protest which only requires one’s attention and time for a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning spent carrying a sign for those few hours each week. Perhaps if one is truly dedicated to the cause they camp out at the protest site over the weekend and display their dedication and definitely join up if there is planned a stronger statement where specific targets are to be targeted. At the other end of the spectrum, an American aid worker who had volunteered in Ebola infected Africa to aid in battling the epidemic has tested positive for Ebola and will be admitted to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to be treated. Our hopes and prayers are with this goodhearted person struck by the very ailment they had sought to relieve and treat in others living with them in Africa.

 

Further, the war against ISIS has taken a few baby-steps in containing and possible taking back the city of Tikrit in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Iraqi military and the militias have shocked their United States trainers and imbedded advisors who have complained to the Iraqi government that these forces have been committing atrocities. The reports claim that some of the atrocities committed by the Iraqi forces border on the same level of violence and disrespect for those captured and in their custody as have been leveled on ISIS. This had disturbed their American trainers and if not rectified could lead to the removal of all United States trainers and other support personnel. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the images amounted to “disturbing and serious allegations.” Below are a pair of photos the first reveals a captive being either hung while blindfolded and restrained or actually having been flung from what appears to be a guard tower with the second depicting a man who had recently been dragged by a yellow rope tied to his right ankle. Both are examples of treatment of prisoners which is unacceptable from a properly trained military and are acts expected of the likes of al-Qaeda and ISIS, not United States trained troops.

 

captive ISIS suspect hanging from guard tower by Iraqi forces

captive ISIS suspect hanging from guard tower by Iraqi forces

 

Captive ISIS fighter who has just been dragged by his right leg by Iraqi Special Operations Forces from the “Golden Brigades”

Captive ISIS fighter who has just been dragged by his right leg by Iraqi Special Operations Forces from the “Golden Brigades”

 

 

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. the big news are the lost e-mails from her private internet server of Hilary Clinton. This is simply the latest in a maelstrom of troubles and tribulations which are surrounding Ms. Clinton leading some to question if she would even care to run for President and face an even more thorough investigation of her actions by a seeming hostile media. Of course the media cannot get tired of chasing down every lead or hint of misadventures by Hilary going forward. The real problem is that Hilary lacks in charm as much as her husband simply oozes charm which means every explanation she gives simply gets her deeper into the already deep mire of scandalous accusations. It is still our contention that Elizabeth Warren is the media chosen darling they hope will become the Democrat candidate for the 2016 Presidential elections. There are a number of potential candidates waiting in the wings but the odds of a democrat winning election to the White House is considered edgy as the odds of a candidate, other than the Vice President, of the same party who have held the White House for eight years are historically poor.

 

Also in the news is the continued fighting under the ceasefire in the Ukraine despite assurances from the Russians that they have nothing to do with the fighting. This leaves many to question where the rebel forces obtained their heavy weapons. Did they have howitzers in their basements, tanks and APCs in their garages and heavy machine guns hanging over the mantle atop the fireplace? The fighting in Syria continues with the death toll rising now estimated to be over two-hundred-thousand civilian lives alone and who knows how many fighters have died. In Nigeria media reports have apparently confirmed that elite South African mercenaries have joined with the forces at the front lines in Nigeria’s war against the extremist Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram. There is a fight worth waging but the world has mostly turned a blind eye to the struggles against Boko Haram which is just as necessary as is opposing ISIS. They have become one and the same as Boko Haram has officially tied themselves to ISIS and claim that they are fighting to establish the Caliphate. The same goes for the forces from Libya who have been announcing their intentions of invading Italy and taking control of Rome and with it Vatican City where they plan on making the cathedrals into Mosques and claiming supremacy over all of Christendom in the process. Such an assault would be a test for NATO and one which Putin would carefully watch for developments which might signal the death of NATO leaving additional nations Putin wishes to claim for Russia more readily assaulted if NATO has become ineffective by the witness to lack of concern or action in Italy. What a world we live in and yet, somehow we each and every one of us make it to the market and have milk in the refrigerator and can pop some popcorn and watch sports or other television allowing us the serenity of ignoring the crazy madness all around us.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 10, 2014

Ebola: To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

There has been more than sufficient debate and even beyond to the point of hyperbole. Even mentioning quarantine and you are accused of racism because closing the border to flights originating in the areas which are stricken with the Ebola epidemic will only cause the disease to spread faster across the world and the United States. Statements such as this, which fly in the face of logical thought, are really as ridiculous as any thinking person would first believe. But we are supposed to forgo logic and ordered thought and instead believe those thoughts which we are told solely because these truths are self-evident under the correctness as dictated by political correctness and multiculturalism and the chosen deciders of that which will be considered acceptable thought. We are told that the first person who succumbed to the Ebola virus was a person of color that the treatment he received was racist otherwise he would have lived if he were not a minority. It was due to racism that he was initially sent home when he went to the hospital emergency room with severe flu-like symptoms which should have been diagnosed immediately as Ebola but the hospital sent him home after treating him and the computer misdiagnosed the patient’s high risk for contracting the Ebola virus. Later the hospital readdressed the situation “in the interest of transparency” and stated in writing that “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event.” The latest statement from the hospital released stated, “Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows. It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa. We have made this change to increase the visibility and documentation of the travel question in order to alert all providers. We feel that this change will improve the early identification of patients who may be at risk for communicable diseases, including Ebola.” None of this addresses the debate of whether to quarantine or not, it just restates the fact that even hospitals are staffed by humans and their procedures come from humans and as such are potentially flawed. There was no racial judgmentalism in the mistaken diagnosis and treatment nor was the treatment for Ebola for Thomas Duncan was exactly the same that any person upon diagnosis for Ebola would have been and the result would likely have been the same in any similar case of Ebola.

The claims that quarantine would cause more Ebola cases which would also spread faster within the United States. The claim that the United States should have a special relationship with Liberia because Liberia was founded because America had slavery misses one crucial factor, had the United States continued to allow slavery there would have been no founding of Liberia; Liberia was founded as a result of the United States ending slavery. Why would this be turned around and made to be that Liberia was founded because America had slavery without even bothering to mention that Liberia was founded for freed slaves because the United States ended slavery is an intentional attack on the United States meant to stir up anger and feelings of the death of Mr. Duncan had a racial element. But why would there be a need to quarantine the areas of the world which are facing an epidemic from Ebola and a closure of the border to flights and passengers coming from Western Africa. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) which had initially stated that there was almost no chance for the spread of Ebola from one person to the next because the Ebola patient is not contagious until they have symptoms and then the virus is not airborne and one needs to have contact with bodily fluids in order to become infected which makes prevention easy. They did not bother to mention that one of those bodily fluids was the spray which results from sneezes and coughs and even sweat and that the Ebola virus could potentially remain active for as long as the moisture from any of the above remained at some residual level. This means that Ebola was far more easily spread than the CDC had initially stated especially considering that sweating, coughing, sneezing and projectile vomiting are all symptoms of a person with Ebola. How long before the CDC informs the public that any surface contaminated with bodily fluids, such as spittle from a sneeze or cough, can potentially remain contagious for hours which means that taking the shopping cart offered in a friendly manner from a person who just emptied it into their car on a busy Saturday where carts are at a premium might become a life threatening event and that you should wipe down the handle area of the cart before touching it and wipe the rest down discreetly out of the friendly person’s sight, especially if they sneeze after handing you the shopping cart. No, there is no reason to initiate a policy which would ban passengers from areas of the world where the Ebola virus is still an active contagion, is there?

The question of whether to quarantine or not to quarantine is even necessary can be blamed upon the invention of aircraft and airlines, especially international direct flights from anywhere in the world to any place else in the world directly. Before airlines shortened travel times between all places on Earth to all other places on Earth within a single day the fastest manner of travel was a steamship which took as much as three weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This meant that Ebola carriers would more likely show signs of the contagion before the ship ever made port in New York allowing for precautions to be taken. Crossing the Pacific took even longer which would really allow sufficient time for Ebola and most other diseases to become evident long before the ship makes port. This was why the immigrants arriving in the United States until World War II landed on Ellis Island where even if a passenger was sniffling they were sent to a neighboring island for medical quarantine and treatment to determine if they should be permitted entry or be returned to Europe or wherever their originating port was. We no longer have that luxury in the modern world where the longest it takes to fly between destinations including stopovers where you do not necessarily need to deplane is under twenty-four hours. The discussion on quarantine is a new one for the United States. In Europe it is an old subject which has already been settled from past experiences and Europe will more often than not opt for quarantine without any concern for political correctness or multiculturalism as their experience where quarantine became their default position has much to do with a small plague which came from the Orient, the Bubonic Plague. From that horrendous time forward quarantine became the default in Europe and Britain but the United States has not yet to discuss quarantine nor have they been forced to before now. The only other time the United States faced an epidemic which was imported came after World War I when the returning soldiers brought the Spanish Flu with them and it spread throughout the United States like a storm, an ill wind blowing across the plains. There was no real alternative as the nations soldiers were already in transit and it was unthinkable to ban them or place them in quarantine, but some towns and even cities enforced short quarantine procedures where they basically had all stores, schools and other places where the public interacted including houses of worship to close and instructed the people to remain in their homes for as long as three or four days which did serve to stifle the spread and such places had far lower death rates than places where they continued life as normal. This is a discussion that should be argued and thought through to a complete and accepted policy for the future which will be applied in all cases of potential pandemic for the future. Any action which simply ignores the subject and dismisses any discussion simply claiming that there is no real need as the Ebola threat is over so there is no pressing reason to address the quarantine subject with any urgency. Such is simply doing what public officials too often use and get away from taking up sensitive subjects known as kicking the can down the road. The problem is nobody can predict when the next Ebola like disease will strike forcing the discussion once again on whether or not to impose quarantine on transit from the effective regions. Starting the discussion while under the gun, so to speak, is waiting too long and is the reason to force the discussion now. Hopefully the people elected to serve the public welfare and wellbeing will take the responsible path and make a reasoned decision now, and if they do not choose to perform their assigned tasks the public must force the discussion until a definitive decision is reached and a definitive policy has been defined and articulated in law, nothing less should be acceptable.

Beyond the Cusp

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