Sunday, June 22, 2014

Evening Update: Ebola, ISIS, Death Of The Dollar

Ebola Outbreak 'Tip Of The Iceberg'

An "out of control" outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that’s being called the deadliest ever is far from over and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, experts predict.
And health workers who have been fighting the outbreak, which spans three countries and has killed more than 300 people, say they are certain many cases are going unreported as they see gruesome infections, dangerous myths and people fleeing the virus, potentially spreading it further.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert Garry, a microbiology professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine who’s been leading relief and investigation efforts in Sierra Leone for the Viral Hemorraghic Fever Consortium.
Dr. Mwayabo Kazadi, from the health unit for Catholic Relief Services, agreed that many cases could go uncounted and undiagnosed in the region, where Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia come together.
“When you don’t have a proper health system in place, it is pretty difficult,” Kazadi said.
Garry says team members arrived in at least one village to find it deserted, and the body of an Ebola victim left unattended in a house. It’s not hard to imagine what happened, but it makes it impossible to track down people who might have been infected and get them to hospitals for what care can be provided, and to prevent them from infecting others.
A Doctors Without Borders official said Friday that the outbreak was out of control.
And the numbers make it clear this is the biggest outbreak yet of Ebola since the virus was first identified in 1976. The virus, which causes a particularly nasty form of hemorrhagic fever, has killed 337 people out of 528 infected.
“This is the biggest outbreak we have ever actually seen of Ebola,” Kazadi said. “It’s the biggest both in numbers and in terms of geography,” Garry agreed.

Ebola is spread in bodily fluids, and the worst stages of the disease make that frighteningly easy. “People are throwing up. They have diarrhea,” Garry said. Patients can develop tiny blood hemorrhages on their skin and in their eyes.

The porous borders in the area make things difficult, also. People, many of them in the same ethnic groups, pass freely from one country to another.
Genetic testing makes it clear this particular Ebola outbreak is being caused by a local strain that arose in West Africa. Ebola had only been seen in central Africa before, but the discovery suggests that the virus had been circulating undetected before. Hemorrhagic fevers are common in Africa — Garry’s team was originally in Sierra Leone to study and fight another virus, one that causes Lassa fever.

In the two weeks since it was seized by Sunni militants, some residents of the northern Iraq city of Mosul feel the clock has been turned back hundreds of years.

The militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, have begun imposing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the days since they took the city, residents reached by telephone told AFP.

"These militants will return us and our country hundreds of years backwards, and their laws are the opposite of the laws of human rights and international laws," said Umm Mohammed, a 35-year-old teacher.

"We live in continuous fear of being subjected to new pressures," she said. "We are afraid of being prevented from working and contributing to building the community."

After seizing control, gunmen declared Nineveh a part of their Islamic state and issued a document outlining new rules.
The 16-point document announced the prohibition of the selling and consumption of alcohol and drugs as well as smoking, and forbade gatherings and carrying weapons.
Abu Ramzi, one of Mosul's Christians who did not flee the city, said militants destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary in front of a church.

What is causing this rapid decline in the value of our dollar? Isn't the US the richest country in the world with the dollar acting as the world's reserve currency? While it is true that the dollar is the world's reserve currency, it has been made so artificially through deals with Saudi Arabia. As I wrote in my article "If this is true then our entire society is one big lie," the US and Saudi Arabia made a deal where they would price their oil in dollars only, and in exchange, the US will offer them the protection of our military might. It worked out pretty good for the US, as countries around the world were forced to buy their energy in dollars. Thus, they were forcing them to keep an ample supply, which in turn, artificially inflated the value of a worthless piece of paper.

The dollar had originally been backed by gold, and an economy that was producing goods and services the world wanted. That's one little detail that seems to be missing from many economic arguments today. The US is no longer producing anything. Our dollar is no longer backed by gold. Many countries are moving in what can best be described as an international scheme to drop the dollar as the world's reserve currency, and when that happens, there will be no need to hold onto US dollars. This will create an economic crisis in the United States. In fact, China and Russia seem to be working in a collaborative effort to achieve this end.

This isn't the only contributing factor to our declining dollar. For nearly two decades now, our government has been exporting our jobs to China. The United States is no longer the economic, industrial power horse it once was. Instead, we have been transformed to a service based economy where much of what we sell has been manufactured in other countries. This greatly reduces the tax revenue to the United States government, and because we are producing nothing of value, we are borrowing money from countries that are hostile to our interests in order to keep our government afloat. In fact, the United States borrows forty six cents for every dollar it spends. That means that a dollar is only worth fifty four cents; that is even worse than the comparison made in the first paragraph. This little bit of information goes a long way in explaining why our dollar seems to be losing purchasing power every day.

It is clear what is on the horizon in the next couple of years. If countries that have been forced to trade in US dollars against their will get a chance to switch to another currency, they will. When this happens we will see an already weakened dollar collapse completely because there will be no demand to keep it, and there will be nothing to give it value as the oil it is currently traded for will be assigned to another reserve currency. This will be the official end of the superpower status of the United States, and in many ways, it seems to be the end goal of those currently in power.

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