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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: why are Slavic countries more resistant to on: July 30, 2014, 11:32:36 pm
The farther away from England/Holland you get, the less stereo-typically 'Western'/liberal Europe gets. Because these areas had weaker institutions and more decentralized power structures, they were able to take advantage of their coastal status to develop capitalism through trade. However, during the great reversal 1917-1991, the USSR was Europe's premier marxist power.
2  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Will world war 3 start soon? on: July 30, 2014, 11:24:59 pm
Think of the USA as Britain circa 1914, and China as Imperial Germany.

I've always thought this was a revelatory accurate comparison. The USA is the global naval power that is also the "status quo" power and China is like Imperial Germany, a rising newcomer power who wants a global sphere for itself.

Except now, we have WWI and WWII as lessons in the cost of modern war (and those without nuclear weapons). Even though the British "defeated" Germany, strategically it itself was defeated as the war exhausted the economy of the empire permanently. Britain was ironically replaced by the United States and failed to defend its status as the status quo power. At the time, many people were looking to a short, sharp war similar to the Franco-Prussian war which accounted for a great deal of the enthusiasm. No one was expecting 80+ million deaths, 100+ million if the "Spanish flu" is counted, going over 150+ million if the other secondary effects, such as the rise of communism in war-torn countries, is counted. Today the stakes are higher so the reasons for avoiding war much greater.
3  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 30, 2014, 11:00:56 pm
Death and Denial in the Hot Zone

[Henry Jallah, a 23-year-old farmer] says he has accepted the advice of Liberia's Health Ministry to stay away from dead and sick people in the town, yet he is hesitant to believe it is really Ebola that claimed his family. He offers other explanations: poisoned drinking water as vengeance for a conflict over land, or some kind of curse. His family never took his aunt to a case management center, he says, because "some people say when you go over there, they can inject you -- when you having the sickness, they inject you and kill you."
In bustling Duala Market [in Monrovia, the capital], 92 percent of people said they did not believe Ebola existed, according to a recent survey of 1,000 people conducted by Samaritan's Purse. In fact, many in the capital initially viewed the virus as a hoax created by the government to generate and "eat money" from aid donors.
Compounding these problems, even when people believe Ebola exists, many are wary of hospitals because they believe the institutions provide poor care -- a concern that existed well before the current crisis. To be sure, Liberia's health-care system has improved since civil war ripped the nation apart; there has been a reduction, for example, in the under-5 child mortality rate. Yet Monrovia's largest hospital, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, or JFK, is nicknamed "Just For Killing" among locals because people go there with treatable diseases such as malaria and still die.
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 30, 2014, 08:56:58 pm
A classic sign of infection by Ebola … is a certain expression that invariably creeps over the patient’s face as the infection progresses. The face becomes fixed and “expressionless,” “masklike,” “ghostlike” (in the words of doctors who have seen it), with wide, deadened, “sunken” eyes. The patient looks and sometimes behaves like a zombie. This happens because Ebola damages the brain in some way that isn’t known. The classic masklike facial expression appears in all primates infected with Ebola, both monkeys and human beings. They act as if they were already embalmed, even though they are not yet dead. The personality may change: the human patient becomes sullen, hostile, agitated, or develops acute psychosis. Some have been known to escape from the hospital.

Disseminating clotting cuts off the blood supply in tissues, causing focal necrosis—dead spots in the liver, spleen, brain, kidneys, and lungs. In severe cases, Ebola kills so much tissue that after death the cadaver rapidly deteriorates. In monkeys, and perhaps in people, a sort of melting occurs, and the corpse’s connective tissue, skin, and organs, already peppered with dead areas and heated with fever, begin to liquefy, and the slimes and uncoagulated blood that run from the cadaver are saturated with Ebola-virus particles. That may be one of Ebola’s strategies for success.

- Crisis in the Hot Zone, by Richard Preston

5  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Communist China? on: July 30, 2014, 08:49:03 pm
It depends on whether you accept the Chinese Communist Party's definition of communism. According to them, they are in the "primary stage of socialism", the closest analogy would be Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP). Note that when most of us think of communism we think of Marxism and Leninism, but the Chinese have also added "Socialism with Chinese characteristics", "the Three Represents",  the "Scientific Development Outlook" and the "Chinese Dream". According to them, judging how they measure up to communism by Marxism-Leninism is like judging whether a man is pious by reading only the first 1/3 of the Bible, while neglecting the next 2/3.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Rank your elections you could vote in from most to least favorite on: July 30, 2014, 08:57:29 am
2012- A great year all-around. I pounded the pavement big time and it felt like it paid off, even though it didn't alter the outcome. The fact that SCOTUS didn't overturn the Affordable Care Act was practically a miracle by June, only more miraculous was the fact that the Euro survived. The turning point was on July 26, when Mario Draghi said the ECB would do "whatever it takes" to defend it, just as I had always advocated as the solution.

2008- This one was sort of like the Song dynasty in the history of Imperial China, or the LBJ presidency. Both the best and the worst. It was definitely the most painful election year ever, due to the primary, hurt way more than 2000 or 2004 when Bush won. I felt stabbed in the back by my own purported allies on the left. No doubt they felt similarly, but hey, they won. The Palin-filled GE, and following economic meltdown was no picnic, either. All of this significantly dimmed Obama's win. So why is it so high? Well, I was working for a campaign and never more involved in politics than then. The sheer excitement of it all and what I learned wins in the end.

2010- It's funny how a year that's horrible for my party can be brightened by wins in a few key races that I really cared about, whereas a year that's great for my party can be nearly ruined by a few losses. But that's what happened here. In September, when Adrian Fenty and Mike Castle lost their primaries, it looked like it was going to be a year from  hell. But on election night, Harry Reid survived, and the outcomes of races in Colorado, California, New York, Washington, Alaska, West Virginia and Connecticut were all gratifying. Of course, the Democrats took a shellacking overall, but I was expecting massive losses due to the economic situation. The biggest disappointments were probably losing Russ Feingold and getting Rick Scott.

2006- The opposite of 2010. A great year for Democrats, but by election night my hopes were too high and I remember being quite disappointed we didn't pick up the Minnesota governorship. Also a number of close House races were disappointing. Nonetheless still an exciting year and provided some satisfaction at dealing Bush Jr. his first ever unfavorable election.

2004- Nothing much to say about this one. I was pretty convinced Bush was going to win from the beginning and there were no real surprises.

2002- This was the night when it became fait accompli that we were going to war with Iraq, and apparent that Bush's politicization of 9/11 had paid off. The fiction of a 50/50 stalemate in American politics left over from 2000 was also broken. Many bad things stemmed from this night. The only good thing is that I found out one of my best friends, who I'm still friends with now, was a leftist.
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 08:24:00 pm
Samaritan's Purse and Serving In Mission are evacuating non-essential employees.


This guy, Dr. Azaria Marthyman, returned from Liberia to Canada after treating ebola patients in the last 5 days. From all indications in the above article, he has not been tested, is not under quarantine, and is "taking time off with his family." Ugh.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 05:28:18 pm

With a disease like ebola I don't think it's unethical to give people the opportunity, with informed consent, to take medications that have not yet passed all the regulatory hurdles. If it was you, wouldn't you want the chance? In March 2009, when a researcher in Germany pricked herself accidentally with a needle that contained ebola, the top experts in the field were consulted within a day and she was given an experimental treatment. Although it was never confirmed that she did indeed contract ebola, she survived fine. The chance of someone dying from the vaccine is very small compared to dying from ebola.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Subsidies through Healthcare.gov may be illegal. on: July 29, 2014, 05:20:58 pm
Can't paste an excerpt here because the whole article is worth reading.

10  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 02:30:53 pm
Meanwhile, Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian Finance Ministry consultant who died in Nigeria, had been on three flights... one to Togo, one to Ghana, and one to Lagos. And apparently they don't have all the flight lists yet still.

So apparently this guy was a U.S. citizen. He lived in Minnesota for a decade and his wife and kids are still there. (A little awkward that his Americanness was erased, when the two Samaritan's purse workers were reported as the 1st and 2nd cases). Apparently he was also some big shot with the Liberian government, who had spoken for the Finance Minister before, and the Nigerians were under a lot of pressure to release him. Even now the Liberians are supposedly displeased with his treatment, although the Nigerians certainly made the right choice.

Sheik Umar Khan, the top Sierra Leone doctor, has died in Kailahun. Yesterday it was reported that the president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, flew up to Kenema, a large market town near Kailahun, to visit the epicenter of the outbreak in that country and an ebola treatment center for the first time. He was tipped to visit Dr. Khan in Kailahun, but his helicopter was reported to not be able to make up due to lack of fuel, and he was to return the following day. I wonder now if they said "Don't bother coming, he's about to die." Or "He's already dead, but we're not ready to announce it."
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is President Obama's approval so low? on: July 29, 2014, 09:49:09 am
Is it concern for the rest of the world? That would mean they want the President and the United States to get more involved, but public opinion seems to show the majority wanting us to be less involved.

People claim they want us to be less involved, but what they really mean is they don't want the mealy-mouthed 'send in a few peacekeepers and take attrition' route. Give the people a nice decisive military victory (e.g., decapitation of the NK regime after a legitimate provocation) and Obama's approval would skyrocket, I guarantee you.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 08:45:14 am

CDC on risk to U.S. population:

'I want to underscore that Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population.  Transmission is through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected person or exposure objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions.  Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. The mortality rate in some outbreaks can be as high as 90 percent, but in this outbreak, it is currently around 60 percent, indicating that some of our early treatment efforts may be having an impact.'

The 60 percent figure being thrown around seems too low. In Guinea, the disease has a fatality rate of about 75 percent. In Sierra Leone and Liberia it is much lower, but that is because new suspected cases are piling up very fast in those countries. Many of those cases will die.

CDC on response strategy:

'Fundamentally we need to work together to do three things.  These things are 100 percent in line with the global health security agenda.  First we need to build systems to find cases quickly.  And when health care can make a difference between life and death.  This means traditional healers, supporting primary care and accurate laboratory testing.  Secondly we need to respond by isolating cases, and managing the response through emergency operation centers which every country should have.  Third, we need to prevent future cases through infection control, safe burial practices, prompt diagnosis and isolation of new cases.'

'I think what I can say is that what we're trying to do is to approach this as a two-faze response here.  Perhaps three because we already had phase one.  In this phase, we want to, as quickly as possible, surge as many resources as we can into the area to try to get things going in all of these different areas where there is ongoing transmission.  There is five or six districts that have cases.  Once we do that surge, we have to maintain the effort.  So we're developing rosters of people with appropriate skilling, a new class of epidemic emergency service offices and we're looking to engage them in the outbreak response as well.'

They are still going for the isolate and contain route. Getting cooperation from the local population is going to be the number one issue.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 28, 2014, 10:41:32 pm
Well, according to Samaritan's Purse, Nancy Writebol had never even had contact with patients, and they are "investigating how [infection] might have occurred." That puts a damper on all the pollyanas saying "oh don't worry, it only transmits through blood or feces, durrr hurr hurr" I'm pretty sure this woman would have known if she had touched the blood or feces of a patient.

Meanwhile, Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian Finance Ministry consultant who died in Nigeria, had been on three flights... one to Togo, one to Ghana, and one to Lagos. And apparently they don't have all the flight lists yet still.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which countries are the biggest threats to the United States? on: July 28, 2014, 10:24:04 pm
Liberia and Sierra Leone
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 28, 2014, 08:34:15 am
So apparently the guy's family only traveled back to the U.S. a few days ago. And now it's already reported he's under quarantine? I hope the guy's family is being tested/monitored, if not under quarantine for the requisite 21 day period.
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 28, 2014, 12:02:43 am
Sorry if this seems like a lot of posts, but a major speech today by Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is pertinent


It looks like full mobilization of gov't resources, including the armed forces to enforce local quarantines. should have been done a month ago
17  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 27, 2014, 11:49:35 pm
Fascinating comment on reddit from someone who works on micro-finance:

It is said that an element as simple as Clorox bleach can kill ebola, so maybe I was wrong to disagree with Simfan early in this thread. The problem is it must be applied consistently. I wonder if it could help health workers to have their suits completely soaked in bleach?

Also, again what we have learned here is that ebola isolation cannot be confused with "normal" medical institutions; if at all possible these isolation centers should be built from scratch and it should not be assumed that a normal hospital is equipped to deal with it.
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 27, 2014, 11:37:36 pm
Holy sh*t, a woman in Charlotte, NC has contracted it. 'Hoping she ends up ok.

She is from Charlottle, not in Charlotte.  She is in Liberia where she has been helping out with a medical aid mission.  By all appearances, she is a woman who should end up at the right hand of Christ, though hopefully not soon.

My heart skipped a beat. But yeah, Charlotte is the headquarters of Samaritan's Purse, the organization the Ft. Worth doctor who contracted it is from. Dr. Kent Brantly is only 33 years old; with a wife and kids in Texas. Last I checked his blogspots from 2009 were still up. God bless him. You can donate directly to the organization's West African ebola response here. I donated $50.

Nancy Writebol worked in the decontamination unit, basically she was one of those who you see helping the doctors suit up and take off their suits afterwards. The fact that she was infected, and doctors are infected, shows that there are multiple failures in the current operational procedures which must be corrected. For a supposedly "hard to catch" disease it certainly is hard to defend against. Which is going to be an issue going forward because, BSL-4 is not replicable on the ground.
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 26, 2014, 12:36:05 am

Residents of Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone threw stones at a hospital and a police station, spurred by a rumor that health workers were using Ebola as a ruse to kill people and collect body parts, a police official said.

The rumor was spread by a mentally ill former nurse, now in custody, who went to the city’s main market and told people Ebola was a hoax, police Assistant Inspector General Karrow Kamara said by phone. Police had to use tear gas to stop the crowd from destroying the Kenema Government Hospital, he said.

“Many people are saying there is no Ebola, and some others have been calling for the relocation of the Ebola treatment unit outside the premise of the Kenema hospital,” Kamara said.


I think one thing we've learned from the West Africa situation is that, when there's an ebola outbreak, sending people to the hospital is not the best place to go. Hospitals are needed for normal patients of normal ailments; a critical mass of ebola patients at a hospital, and pretty soon other patients will not be willing to go anymore. Ebola isolation units are special facilities that ideally should be set up away from population centers, and well defended.
20  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 25, 2014, 03:39:51 pm
Authorities are now considering shutting down the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia for 21 days, after senior medical practitioner, Dr, Samuel Brisbane died of ebola yesterday. JFK is one of the biggest state run referral hospitals (referenced in my posts above). Nurses are not working or getting paid anymore and could be seen standing around the hallways in fear. The OPD Wall, the Operation Room, the pharmacy and other important segments of the hospital were all closed to the public.

The meagre health system in Liberia is being absolutely eviscerated. Pretty soon it will completely cease to function.
21  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 25, 2014, 02:27:35 pm
It's now spread to Nigeria. Sad
22  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: July 25, 2014, 09:26:48 am
I trust the State Department about as much as I trust the Kremlin.

Sorry, but the U.S. has had the far more believable case throughout the Ukraine crisis. Also:

23  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: July 25, 2014, 08:43:54 am
24  General Politics / Economics / Re: We are doomed on: July 25, 2014, 08:30:33 am
The mods need to ban beet for making an obvious sock.

Huh? My posts are based in fact. I cite experts, organizations, first-hand accounts, etc. This guy is just ranting. He has no authority.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Recent development most dangerous to U.S. nat'l security? on: July 24, 2014, 10:37:02 pm
Ebola is a very contagious disease, if you come into contact with it you can get infected, even if you butcher an animal with the disease or come into contact of a dead person who had the disease when they were alive, you can get infected. It's usually in rural areas, but it's spread to dozens of towns and cities across western Africa. The symptoms are red eyes and a skin rash, it's very difficult to tell from other diseases since those are very common signs of other diseases, over 1000 people have gotten the disease and nearly 90% of the time, a person who gets infected with the disease dies. It's just a matter of time before someone infected with the disease gets on an airplane and spreads it to other people. This disease is very deadly and I think a lot of you are underestimating how fast it can spread.

Thank you. Finally someone else here gets it.
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