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Preparing For The Perfect Storm http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:35:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Ebola escalation could trigger major food crisis http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/ebola-escalation-trigger-major-food-crisis/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/ebola-escalation-trigger-major-food-crisis/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:35:56 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14644

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The global famine warning system is predicting a major food crisis if the Ebola outbreak continues to grow exponentially over the coming months, and the United Nations still hasn’t reached...

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The global famine warning system is predicting a major food crisis if the Ebola outbreak continues to grow exponentially over the coming months, and the United Nations still hasn’t reached over 750,000 people in need of food in West Africa as prices spiral and farms are abandoned.

On the eve of World Food Day on Thursday, U.N agencies and non-governmental organizations are scrambling to scale up efforts to avert widespread hunger.

“The world is mobilizing and we need to reach the smallest villages in the most remote locations,” Denise Brown, the U.N. World Food Program’s regional director for West Africa, said in a statement Wednesday. “Indications are that things will get worse before they improve. How much worse depends on us all.”

WFP has said it needs to reach 1.3 million people in need in hardest-hit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

So far, the U.N. agency has provided food to 534,000 people, and it expects to reach between 600,000 and 700,000 this month, Bettina Luescher, WFP’s chief spokesperson in North America, told AP. “And we are working hard to reach and scale up to 1.3 million eventually.”

WFP is providing food to patients in Ebola treatment centers, survivors of the virus who have been discharged, and communities which have been quarantined or have seen widespread transmission, including the families of those affected. It is also helping with logistics and is managing the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service between the three affected countries and nearby Dakar, Senegal and Accra, Ghana to help humanitarian workers rapidly deploy to the field.

“We are assessing how families are coping as the virus keeps spreading,” Luescher said. “We expect to have a better understanding of the impact of the Ebola outbreak on food availability and farming activities by the end of October.”

The Associated Press has the full article

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Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/ben-shapiro-myth-tiny-radical-muslim-minority/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/ben-shapiro-myth-tiny-radical-muslim-minority/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:11:52 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14642

In the debut of Reality Check, Ben Shapiro takes on Ben Affleck and the myth that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical.

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In the debut of Reality Check, Ben Shapiro takes on Ben Affleck and the myth that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical.

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National Institutes of Health (NIH) falsely claimed that it did not have enough money for Ebola research http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/national-institutes-health-nih-falsely-claimed-enough-money-ebola-research/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/16/national-institutes-health-nih-falsely-claimed-enough-money-ebola-research/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:37:18 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14640

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) falsely claimed that it did not have enough money for Ebola research over the last decade, but the agency did find enough money to spend millions studying origami...

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) falsely claimed that it did not have enough money for Ebola research over the last decade, but the agency did find enough money to spend millions studying origami condoms and the poop-throwing skills of chimpanzees.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) head, said the country probably would have had an Ebola vaccine had there not been a decrease in funding over the last decade.

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” he said. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

As the Daily Mail pointed out, though, “overall NIH funding sits at $30.15 billion this year – up from $17.84 billion in 2000.” And the NIH found creative uses for their funds.

According to the Daily Mail, the NIH budged included “$2.4 million for a new condom design whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud,” $939,000 to discover that “male fruit flies prefer younger females,” $257,000 “to create a companion website for first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden,” a whopping “592,000 to determine that chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators, and another $117,000 to learn that most chimps are right-handed.” The NIH also spent “$325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands” and “$548,000 to find out if 30-something partiers feel immature after they binge drink while people in their mid-20s don’t.”

Progressive groups have also tried to falsely accuse Republicans of slashing funding for health agency, running ads claiming that “Republican Cuts Kill” even though the numbers do not back up their claims. In fact, it was President Barack Obama’s budget that proposed cuts to key public health agencies.

As the Atlanta Business Chronicle noted, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) got an “8.2 percent budget increase for fiscal 2014, thanks to a $1.1 trillion spending bill announced by Congress Jan. 13.” In addition, the CDC received more funds than Obama had requested because of Congress. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the CDC’s $6.9 billion “is $567 million more than it received in 2013, “and “this is more than the agency anticipated, because the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for it was just $6.6 billion — a decrease of $270 million from fiscal 2012.”

And as Reason observed, the “Pandemic Preparedness Funding” in America’s “Global Health Program” actually saw “a decrease of $22.5 million (-31%) below” its fiscal year 2014 funding because Obama’s budget requested that decrease.

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by the Conservatives at Breitbart

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Statement from National Nurses United: “Hospital officials allowed nurses who interacted with Mr. Duncan to then continue normal patient care duties” http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/statement-national-nurses-united-hospital-officials-allowed-nurses-interacted-mr-duncan-continue-normal-patient-care-duties/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/statement-national-nurses-united-hospital-officials-allowed-nurses-interacted-mr-duncan-continue-normal-patient-care-duties/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:54:28 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14637

A statement from National Nurses United on the treatment of Dallas Ebola patient said that “nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department” to learn the policies on how to treat Duncan. The...

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A statement from National Nurses United on the treatment of Dallas Ebola patient said that “nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department” to learn the policies on how to treat Duncan.

The statement, which was played in its entirety on CNN on Wednesday morning, also reports that Ebola training at the hospital was “optional,” “nurses have been left to train each other,” and that nurses who interacted with Duncan simply continued treating other patients.

According to the statement, “there was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol, there was no system. The nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department. The Infectious Disease Department did not have clear policies to provide either.”

The union added that “advanced preparation that had been done by the hospital primarily consisted of e-mailing us about one optional lecture or seminar on Ebola.  There was no mandate for nurses to attend training or what nurses had to do in the event of arrival of a patient with Ebola-like symptoms.”  And “there was no hands-on training on the use of personal protective equipment for Ebola, no training on the symptoms to look for, no training on what questions to ask.”

The statement further says that trainings that took place after Duncan was diagnosed were “limited,” and did not include training on how to avoid contamination for all nurses.  The union says “nurses have been left to train each other.  Nurses have substantial concern that these conditions may very well lead to further infections of nurses or other patients.”

The union also claims that staff and other patients who came into contact with Duncan were not properly isolated “nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available at the time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting, which produces a lot of contagious fluids. Hospital officials allowed nurses who interacted with Mr. Duncan to then continue normal patient care duties, taking care of other patients, even though they had not had the proper personal protective equipment while providing care for Mr. Duncan, that was later recommended by the CDC,” and hallways were not kept properly clean according to the statement.

Also, “patients who may have been exposed were one day kept in strict isolation units. The next day they were ordered to be transferred out of strict isolation and into areas where other patients, even those with low-grade fevers who could potentially be contagious.”

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by the Conservatives at Breitbart

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City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-sermons/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-sermons/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:05:44 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14633

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who...

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The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa.  The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley.  “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”

Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”

He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”

Perkins called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”

“This is a shot across the bow of the church,” he said.

This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.” I predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors. I warned that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty.

Sadly, that day arrived sooner than even I expected.

Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Now is the time for pastors and people of faith to take a stand.  We must rise up and reject this despicable strong-arm attack on religious liberty. We cannot allow ministers to be intimidated by government thugs.

The pastors I spoke to tell me they will not comply with the subpoena – putting them at risk for a “fine or confinement, or both.”

Heaven forbid that should happen. But if it does, Christians across America should be willing to descend en masse upon Houston and join these brave men of God behind bars.

Pastor Welch compared the culture war skirmish to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Texas. It was a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

“This is the San Jacinto moment for traditional family,” Welch told me. “This is the place where we stop the LGBT assault on the freedom to practice our faith.”

We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together – because one day – the government might come for your pastor.

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by Fox News

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Texas health officials say second health care worker at Dallas hospital tests positive for Ebola http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/texas-health-officials-say-second-health-care-worker-dallas-hospital-tests-positive-ebola/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/15/texas-health-officials-say-second-health-care-worker-dallas-hospital-tests-positive-ebola/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:25:47 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14631

A second female health care worker at the Dallas hospital where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was treated has tested positive for the virus, Texas health officials confirmed Wednesday, as the state prepares for...

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A second female health care worker at the Dallas hospital where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was treated has tested positive for the virus, Texas health officials confirmed Wednesday, as the state prepares for the possibility of more cases.

“We are preparing contingencies for more and that is a very real possibility,” Jenkins said in a press conference.

Officials did not specify what position the worker held at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but they did say she was among those who provided care for Duncan, who died from the virus Oct. 8.

“Like Nina Pham [a nurse, and the first  health care worker at the hospital to test positive for Ebola], this is a heroic person, a person who is dedicating her life to helping others and is a servant leader,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in press conference Wednesday morning.

Officials confirmed that within 90 minutes of reporting a fever, the health care worker’s temperature was taken and she was placed in isolation.

Preliminary tests were run at the state public health lab in Austin and results came back at approximately midnight Wednesday. A separate test will be done this morning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Officials have said the health care worker was interviewed quickly to identify any contacts or potential exposures, and that others will be monitored. The type of monitoring will depend on the nature of their interactions with the health care worker, and the potential of exposure to the virus.
Jenkins said health officials are currently monitoring more than 70 others who treated Duncan. These workers are employed but not working.

“You can imagine the anxiety of the families of these 77 people,” said Jenkins. “You can imagine the gut shot that this is to the family that is Presbyterian hospital has done a great job taking care of this community in many, many years.”

During the press conference, officials did not confirm the number of possible contacts with the worker.

The second worker has not been identified by name, but officials confirmed she lived alone on the 6000th block of Village Bin Drive and without pets.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the city has sent a team to her apartment to disinfect the patient’s home and the inside of her car, which will be removed this afternoon.

On Sunday, officials confirmed that Pham, 26, had tested positive for the virus. Pham received a blood transfusion from a recovered Ebola patient and has moved from “stable” to “good” condition, Jenkins said. Pham’s dog has also been isolated.

More than 70 people who may have had contact with Duncan at the hospital are currently being monitored. The 48 contacts outside of the hospital who may have had contact with Duncan are asymptomatic, and Sunday marks the end of the 21-day incubation period, during which Ebola symptoms can arise after direct contact.

Officials have not said when or how the second healthcare worker or Pham may have had contact with Duncan. But the second case pointed to lapses beyond how one individual may have donned and removed personal protective garb.

“There’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime in the treatment of Mr. Duncan,” Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Presbyterian, said during the conference. “Let’s be clear, we’re a hospital that may have done some things different with the benefit of what we know today. But make no mistake, no one wants to get this right more than our hospital first to diagnose and treat this insidious disease that’s now attacked two of our own.”

 

Fox News has the full article

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Ebola Could Be ‘World’s Next AIDS,’ CDC Director Warns http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/ebola-worlds-next-aids-cdc-director-warns/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/ebola-worlds-next-aids-cdc-director-warns/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:24:23 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14628

Ebola is spreading with such speed that it could become a global pandemic to rival AIDS if action isn’t taken now, one of the U.S.’s top health officials has warned. “In the 30 years...

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Ebola is spreading with such speed that it could become a global pandemic to rival AIDS if action isn’t taken now, one of the U.S.’s top health officials has warned.

“In the 30 years I’ve been working public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS, and we have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS,” Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

Frieden spoke at a conference at the World Bank in Washington D.C. Those in attendance included a group of African leaders from countries where the virus has spread.

“Speed is the most important variable here,” Frieden said. “This is controllable and this was preventable. It’s preventable by investing in core public health services, both in the epicenter of the most affected countries, in the surrounding countries, and in other countries that might be affected.”

 

ABC News has the full article


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Texas Ebola Symptom Patient Is Sheriff’s Deputy, Had Responded To Duncan Apartment http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/texas-ebola-symptom-patient-sheriffs-deputy-responded-duncan-apartment/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/texas-ebola-symptom-patient-sheriffs-deputy-responded-duncan-apartment/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:44:09 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14626

HOUSTON, Texas — A Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy walked into a CareNow clinic in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday afternoon reportedly exhibiting symptoms of Ebola. The officer was one of the responding officers to the apartment of...

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HOUSTON, Texas — A Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy walked into a CareNow clinic in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday afternoon reportedly exhibiting symptoms of Ebola. The officer was one of the responding officers to the apartment of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died from Ebola earlier today, according to Mark Piland, the Frisco Fire Department Chief.

Piland spoke to a crowd at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. He said the sheriff’s deputy was transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas soon after arriving at CareNow.

Duncan flew to the U.S. from Liberia just days before being diagnosed with Ebola. His diagnosis has raised concerns about flights entering the country from West Africa, which remains heavily afflicted by the deadly virus.

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by the Conservatives at Breitbart

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Digital Jihad: Inside Islamic State’s Savvy PR War http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/digital-jihad-inside-islamic-states-savvy-pr-war/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/digital-jihad-inside-islamic-states-savvy-pr-war/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:18:21 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14624

Islamic State’s methods may be medieval, but the group’s propaganda is second to none. The Islamists target their professionally produced videos at specific audiences — sometimes to spread a specific message, sometimes merely to...

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Islamic State’s methods may be medieval, but the group’s propaganda is second to none. The Islamists target their professionally produced videos at specific audiences — sometimes to spread a specific message, sometimes merely to terrify.

Last Monday, the now weekly Islamic State television show pronounced its verdict on Barack Obama’s latest speech about the group: “Disappointingly predictable,” the anchorman intoned. “America is good, the Islamic State is bad,” he said, parodying the US president’s strategy. “And they will be defeated using aircraft and a motley collection of fighters on the ground.”

US allies in the Free Syrian Army, he went on, were an “undisciplined, corrupt and largely ineffective fighting force.” The Islamic State, the anchorman intoned, “welcome meeting Obama’s under-construction army.”

The speaker, pale and thin but bathed in professional lighting as he sat calmly at a table like a real anchorman, is a hostage. “Hello there,” his show began, “I’m John Cantlie, the British citizen abandoned by my government and a long-term prisoner of the Islamic State.” The cameras changed perspective frequently, from a frontal view to a lateral one, and zoomed in on his unshaven face. Cantlie, in effect, was speaking for his life. After about six minutes, he closed: “Until next time.”


The weekly videos featuring Cantlie, in which he argues on behalf of those who likely intend to kill him, are among the most perfidious productions created by the terrorist group Islamic State. Indeed, not long after Cantlie’s latest episode, Islamic State released another video, allegedly showing the beheading of Cantlie’s countryman Alan Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver and aid organization worker who was kidnapped in Syria nine months ago. He is the fourth Western hostage that Islamic State has decapitated.

In recent months, Islamic State has become known for its adept video production and its fighters are widely present on all manner of social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and SoundCloud. If their accounts get closed down, they just register under new names.

But the group’s marketing gurus do much more than simply repeat the same message ad infinitum on different platforms. They design each video and each message to correlate exactly to the target audience. For Western observers, they are cool, clean and coherent. For locals, they are bloody, brutal and fear-inducing.

Bringing People Together

When it works to their advantage, they exaggerate their own massacres. Sometimes they falsify the identity of their victims. The thousands of fellow Sunnis they killed in Syria were branded simply as “godless Shiites” on television. They even market themselves to kids, manipulating popular video games such as Grand Theft Auto V so that Islamic State fighters and the group’s black flag make an appearance.

In short videos from the series “Mujatweets,” an apparently German fighter talks about his supposedly wonderful life in the Caliphate. Such scenes, depicting the multicultural Islamic State brotherhood, are clearly meant for Muslims in the West. “Look here,” the message is, “everyone is equal here!” The images suggest that jihad has no borders; that it brings people together and makes them happy. Other blogs include women gushing about family life in wartime and the honor of being the widow of a martyr.

Islamic State’s propaganda offers something for every demographic — it is so professionally produced that al-Qaida looks old-fashioned by comparison. It is, as the New York Times recently dubbed it, “jihad 3.0.”

Their strategy is best illustrated by two almost simultaneously released videos from several weeks ago. One was produced to publicize the killing of American journalist James Foley, who had been kidnapped in November 2012. The second was likely never intended for a Western audience.

In the first, Foley’s captors had him deliver a message to the world. In the soft light of morning, Foley — dressed in Guantanamo orange — blamed the US for his death, expressed his regret at having been born American and absolved his murderers of all guilt. After he finished speaking, the masked Islamist standing next to him placed his knife on Foley’s throat and began moving it back and forth as the picture went dark.

There isn’t a single drop of blood to be seen in the video, making it seem as though his on-camera beheading was merely simulated. Experts have puzzled over the meaning of the staging, given the captors later show Foley’s bloody and detached head lying on his body. The most plausible explanation is that the video was designed to be tolerable for Western viewers — its most important message isn’t the murder itself, but Foley’s statement and that of his murderer just prior to the beheading. Those who attack Islamic State, the hooded killer threatens, must bear the consequences. He speaks English with a British accent.

‘Look At the Knife’

The second video couldn’t be more different. Heavily pixelated, it depicts Islamic State fighters murdering a group of rebellious clan members not far from the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor. It is difficult to find adequate words to describe the 11-minute movie. The victims are lying on the ground, staring upwards with eyes full of fear, before their throats are slit one after the other and their heads are chopped or torn from their torsos. Their butchers laugh as they kill, saying things like “Hey, he’s really got some meat on his cheeks!” or “Hey you, you should look at the knife when I cut your head off!” The killers speak Arabic with Moroccan and Egyptian accents.

This video is aimed at a different audience, people living in the regions under Islamic State control, particularly those who might dare to resist — such as the men from the al-Sheitaat tribe that were massacred on camera. According to various sources, up to 700 tribesmen were killed in the slaughter. And the message appears to have been heard: The tribe’s sheikh responded by begging Islamic State for forgiveness and mercy.

For those against whom Islamic State is fighting, the message is always the same: Be afraid! The panicked fear they spread has become a real weapon for the jihadis, in light of the fact that they are often outnumbered by their opponents. It has worked well in many Syrian and Iraqi towns and villages. At the beginning of August, for example, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters abandoned almost all of their positions in the face of advancing Islamic State fighters.

To spread panic even further, Islamic State often exaggerates its own bloody excesses. After the battles between June 11 and 14, when Islamic State took control of Sunni areas in northwest Iraq, the group’s PR division released videos of its atrocities. They claimed the clips showed Islamic State jihadists killing 1,700 pro-government Shiite soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, a number that quickly found its way into international media reports.

But the videos, brutal as they were, showed the murder of a few dozen captured soldiers at most. People visited several large Iraqi cities on the search for evidence of the massacre, but no mass funerals or mourning ceremonies were observed. Activists from Human Rights Watch studied high-resolution satellite photos for fresh excavation sites that could indicate mass graves. They found evidence of two mass graves, and their initial study concluded that the number of dead was between 160 and 190. The group suspects that other mass graves exist, but no proof for a higher number of casualties has yet been found.

The West has tended to take Islamic State claims of barbarity at face value, primarily because it seems so unlikely that anyone would exaggerate one’s own cruelty. But the Islamic State was likely trying to reap benefits from its own seeming exaggerations.

 

Spiegel.de has the full article

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China Just Overtook The US As The World’s Largest Economy http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/china-just-overtook-us-worlds-largest-economy/ http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/2014/10/09/china-just-overtook-us-worlds-largest-economy/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:15:00 +0000 http://preparingfortheperfectstorm.com/?p=14622

Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in...

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Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen.

Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.

The simple logic is that prices aren’t the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it’s not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have.The Economist’s Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy.

We’ve just gone past that crossover on the chart below, according to the IMF. By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion):

China US economies

It’s not all sour news for the US. It’ll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time:
US China economies

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by Business Insider

(Graphs: IMF, Google Public Data Explorter)

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