AMERICAN EULOGY

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Dmitry Orlov quoted this article this morning. I wrote it in January 2011. That seems like a long time ago. I think it holds up well.

 

The Founding Fathers described the kind of country they were shaping on July 4, 1776 with the most well known sentence in the English language:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - Declaration of Independence

In 1776, America was an idea born of noble intentions. An idea that every citizen had the opportunity to succeed, prosper and achieve based upon their hard work and abilities. The government did not provide advantages or a safety net for its citizens. People were free to succeed or fail based upon their own merits. America had a frontier spirit because it was still a frontier. Individual effort, intellect and willingness to sweat allowed you to move up the socio-economic ladder. The government provided a National Defense, and very little else. In 1794, the country had a population of 4.4 million and a GDP of $310 million. Government spending totaled $7.1 million, or 2.3% of GDP, and was split between Defense and interest on the Revolutionary War debt. Today, Federal Government spending totals $3.7 trillion, or 25% of GDP.

James Truslow Adams in his 1931 Epic of America described the America that once existed in reality, but only exists as a phantom today:

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

“The American Dream that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.” - James Truslow Adams - Epic of America

His assessment of the American Dream was made in 1931. He saw signs that the American Dream had begun to die. He was right. The American Dream began to develop a terminal illness in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, creating a permanent income tax.

Song of the Century

Sing us a song of the century
It sings like American Eulogy
The dawn of my love and conspiracy
Forgotten hope and the class of 13
Tell me a story into that goodnight
Sing us a song for me

American Eulogy - Green Day

 

 

At the outset of the last century America was still a vital, free, growing country on the rise. The song of the century began as a joyous ballad and ended as a funeral dirge. The creation of a Central Bank, which could create inflation on demand, and allowing politicians the ability to buy votes through pork spending, paid for with ever increasing taxation, have sucked the life out of the American Dream. According to the Federal Reserve’s own website, their mandates were clear. Below are those mandates and an assessment of their success.

Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

  •  Due to loose monetary policy in the 1920′s, the Federal Reserve created a stock bubble, a stock market crash of 89%, a decade long Great Depression, and unemployment of 25% in the 1930′s.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the 1970′s, the Federal Reserve created raging inflation that reached 14% in the early 1980′s and needed to raise interest rates to 18% in order to break the back of inflation, resulting in unemployment surging to 9.7% in 1982.
  • Due to loose monetary policies in the early 2000′s, the Federal Reserve created the largest housing bubble in history, with the subsequent collapse bringing the financial system to within hours of collapse, and driving unemployment to 9.9% in 2009.
  • Due to the loosest monetary policy in history, today, inflation has begun to rage across the globe, leading to riots, protests and bloody revolutions, with more on the way.
  • The Federal Reserve has achieved their stable prices mandate by inflating away 96% of the purchasing power of the US dollar in less than 100 years. The price of gold continues to soar, as faith in the US dollar diminishes by the minute. I guess stability is in the eye of the beholder.

Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers.

Historical US Bank Failures thru 2010

  •  The Federal Reserve’s supervisory and regulatory expertise can be observed in the graph above. This graph doesn’t do the Fed justice, as it begins in 1934. Sixteen years after its origination, the Fed managed to let 10,000 out of 25,000 banks in the country fail between 1929 and 1932.
  • Their glorious history also includes residing over the failure of 2,800 banks during the 1980′s S&L crisis.
  • While protecting their mega-bank Wall Street masters, the Fed has allowed over 300 small banks to go under so far. There are 900 banks on the troubled list that will eventually meet their maker.

Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets.

  • Generally, maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systematic risk doesn’t include allowing the worldwide financial system to come within hours of collapse as described by Rep. Paul Kanjorski:

“On Thursday [the 18th], at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to a tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped $105 billion into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks.

They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic and there. And that’s what actually happened. If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.

Now we talked at that time about what would have happened if that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”

Providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system.

  • It seems this is the only mandate the Federal Reserve has taken seriously is providing services to its owners, the banks. Did the bankers and politicians that met on Jekyll Island to mastermind this Central Bank envision that those services would include: buying $1.5 trillion of toxic mortgages from the banks; allowing the mega-banks to borrow from the Fed at 0% and reinvest those funds at 2.5% risk free; pumping $600 billion directly into the stock market through their QE2 scam; allowing banks to falsely overstate the value of their mortgage and commercial loans; and never ever enforcing basic risk management regulations.
  • While providing Wall Street banks with billions of unearned risk free profits, 0% interest rates further impoverish the savers and senior citizens of the country. The Federal Reserve has fulfilled their unstated mandate of enriching bankers at the expense of middle class Americans.

To strengthen U.S. standing in the world economy.

  • The Federal Reserve’s affect on the world economy is best revealed in a pictorial tribute to their policies:

                                    TUNISIA

                                     ALGERIA

                                         EGYPT


The Federal Reserve has not been alone in killing the American Dream. Politicians since 1913 have done their part in suffocating the dream. The tax code consisted of 400 pages in 1913 and tax rates ranged from 1% to 7%. In less than a century politicians of both parties have carved out 70,000 pages of payoffs, entitlements, and bribes for their contributors and constituents. Tax rates now range from 10% to 35%. Those 70,000 pages of rules, regulations and tax breaks do not benefit the average middle class American. They benefit those who had the money and power to buy off a Congressman.

The Federal Reserve and the US Tax Code bastardized the American Dream, created barriers to economic advancement, and supported the accumulation of wealth and power by a select few. The ruling elite have used their power and control over the media to convince the majority of Americans that the American Dream is about accumulating material possessions with debt. The American Dream no longer meant attaining the fullest measure of your capabilities, but living in the biggest McMansion, driving the nicest BMW, watching the biggest TV and wearing the latest fashions, all acquired with debt. America is dying.

Mass Hysteria

Red alert is the color of panic
Elevated to the point of static
Beating into the hearts of the fanatics
And the neighborhood’s a loaded gun
Idle thought lead to full-throttle screaming
And the welfare is asphyxiating
Mass confusion is all the new age and it’s creating a feeding ground for the bottom feeders of hysteria

Hysteria, mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!
Mass hysteria!

American Eulogy - Green Day

 

Green Day captures the essence of America since the turn of the century. The country has been in the throes of mass hysteria since 9/11. The once independent, self sufficient individualists that populated this country have become dependent, government reliant, quivering shadows of the frontiersmen that created this country. In the name of safety and security, the American people have allowed their government to accumulate complete control over every aspect of our lives. Only a country in the grip of mass hysteria would allow their leaders to run the National Debt from $5.8 trillion to $14.1 trillion in less than 10 years. Only a country in the clutches of mass hysteria could believe they could get rich by trading internet stocks and houses to a greater fool. Only a country seized by mass hysteria would allow its leaders to promote democracy at the point of a cruise missile as we continue to fight $3 trillion wars in the Middle East, while nearly tripling the amount spent on Defense to more than $1 trillion per year.

 Defense Budget Breakdown for 2011

Defense-related expenditure 2011 Budget request & Mandatory spending Calculation
DOD spending $721.3 billion Base budget + “Overseas Contingency Operations”
FBI counter-terrorism $2.7 billion At least one-third FBI budget.
International Affairs $10.1–$54.2 billion At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget
Energy Department, defense-related $20.9 billion
Veterans Affairs $66.2 billion
Homeland Security $54.7 billion
NASA, satellites $3.4–$8.5 billion Between 20% and 50% of NASA’s total budget
Veterans pensions $58.4 billion
Other defense-related mandatory spending $7.5 billion
Interest on debt incurred in past wars $114.8–$454.2 billion Between 23% and 91% of total interest
Total Spending $1.060–$1.449 trillion

 

If you had told someone on September 10, 2001 that ten years later America would be running $1.5 trillion annual deficits, fighting two wars of choice in countries that despise our presence, and had not only not addressed the $100 billion of unfunded welfare liabilities but added billions more with Medicare D and Obamacare, they would have thought you were a crazy doomster predicting the end of the world. They would have put you away in a padded cell if you had further predicted that politicians would cut taxes three separate times, that the Wall Street banks that leveraged themselves 40 to 1 and destroyed the financial system were handed $2 trillion of taxpayer funds so they could pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses, and that the Federal Reserve would triple its balance sheet to $2.45 trillion by running its printing presses at hyper-speed and handing the money to those same Wall Street Mega-Banks.

What caused the mass hysteria that has destroyed the soul of America? Was it just the madness of crowds? Or was it something more sinister?

True sounds of maniacal laughter
And the deaf-mute is misleading the choir
The punch-line is a natural disaster
And it’s sung by the unemployed
Fight fire with a riot
The class war is hanging on a wire because the martyr is a compulsive liar
When he said “it’s just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the ….”

American Eulogy - Green Day

Whenever an act doesn’t make sense and seems irrational, you need to ask yourself, “who benefits?” Who has benefited from the hysteria? The answer is in plain sight. The moneyed interests benefited. The military industrial complex benefited. The Federal Government bureaucracy benefited. Wall Street bankers benefited. Mega-corporations and their CEOs benefited. The top 1% ruling elite gained more wealth and more power.

They created the mass hysteria with the assistance of their corporate owned mainstream media and completed their pillaging of the middle class with the cooperation of regulators, rating agencies and their ultimate weapon, the privately owned Federal Reserve bank, that has enriched its owners while impoverishing those whose only aspiration was to do an honest day’s work, raise their families, and live in relative comfort, safety, and happiness.

I Don’t Wanna Live In The Modern World

I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!
I don’t wanna live in the modern world!

I am a nation without bureaucratic lies
Deny the allegation as it’s written (fucking lies!)

I want to take a ride to the great divide
Beyond the “up to date” and the neo-gentrified
The high definition for the low resident
Where the value of your mind is not held in contempt
I can hear the sound of a beating heart
That bleeds beyond a system that’s falling apart
With money to burn on a minimum wage
I don’t give a shit about the modern age

American Eulogy - Green Day

The modern world in no way resembles the world  James Truslow Adams wrote so passionately about in 1931. Green Day’s version of bureaucratic lies, high definition TVs for the poor, contempt for those who use their minds, and a debt flooded system that is falling apart is an accurate assessment of America today. The modern world is ruled by the few with wealth and power, sustained by government. The misinformation and propaganda dished out by the mainstream media creates a smokescreen that obscures who wields the true power in this country. The corporate mainstream media has done such a good job spreading the Big Lie that a vast number of Americans actually admire and worship the ultra-rich.

Most Americans still believe the fairy tale of the American Dream, that no matter how humble your beginnings, everyone has a fair chance to become rich in America. The truth is that the wealthy ruling class owns the country. The top 1% control 43% of the financial wealth of the nation. The top 10% control 83% of the financial wealth of the nation. There is a  misperception that the ultra-rich earn their wealth. The facts show otherwise. In 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008-2009 that wiped out 7 million jobs, cut the value of many homes in half, and required a taxpayer bailout of Wall Street? According to research done by economist Edward Wolff, “there has been an “astounding” 36.1% drop in the wealth (marketable assets) of the median household since the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. By contrast, the wealth of the top 1% of households dropped by far less: just 11.1%. So as of April 2010, it looks like the wealth distribution is even more unequal than it was in 2007.”

Source: William Domhoff

The bottom 90% own less than 19% of stocks and mutual funds in the country. Reality is that the 10% richest Americans own the country. The top 1% control 50% of the investment assets and only 5% of the total debt in the country. The bottom 90% control 12% of the investment assets and are burdened with 73% of the total debt. You can clearly see that the Wall Street bailout and the current Federal Reserve QE2 plan to boost stock prices have only benefited the top 10% richest Americans.

What is good for Wall Street is  not good for Main Street. The American middle class has been lured into debt by the purveyors of debt, the ultra-rich elite who control the financial industry. The further into debt the bottom 90% descend, the greater the enrichment of the ruling class. This is why Wall Street shysters, political hacks and the corporate mainstream media have urged Americans to whip out those credit cards and “Save America” by spending money they don’t have, again. It is reminiscent of President Bush’s heartfelt plea to the American public to defeat terrorism by buying a GM car with 0% down.

The propaganda that is constantly pounded into the brains of Americans about “death taxes” and the rich paying more than their fair share of taxes is part of the Big Lie perpetrated by the powerful ruling class. The “huge” issue of estate tax impacts only the few thousand richest Americans.  According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000). The richest families in the country provide the funding for the mainstream media propaganda needed to eliminate estate taxes.

The lies about the ultra-rich paying more than their fair share of taxes are refuted in the graph above. The top 1% actually pays a lower percentage of their income than the next 9%. The tax code isn’t 70,000 pages for nothing. The ultra-rich have used their wealth to great advantage by having loopholes and tax dodges inserted into the tax code by their bought off congressmen. The average American can’t afford high powered tax specialists and lawyers to help them stash their wealth in off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and Switzerland. The consistent theme in America today is that the middle class gets screwed and the ultra-rich ruling class accumulates more wealth and power.

The Death of America

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams

Two hundred and thirty five years ago, our Founding Fathers declared that we all had the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights have been restricted and bastardized over two centuries. Liberties have been severely restricted as your government tracks you through your social security number, is able to monitor your phone and internet communications, and regulates your education, healthcare, business, and a thousand other daily activities.

The right to happiness was based upon James Treslow Adams’ view that we were free to attain “the fullest stature of which they are innately capable”. The happiness of becoming a success through your individual exertion, intelligence and efforts has been subverted by the happiness of material goods acquired through the use of debt, peddled by the ruling class.

The American Dream where every person had the opportunity to live a richer and fuller life began to die in 1913. Every generation born in this country had an excellent chance to live a better life than their parents. Relentless progress was the American way. I have three teenage sons. Based on the actions of this country’s ruling oligarchy, I doubt that my sons will live a richer and fuller life than myself.

The debts are too extreme, the military overreach too excessive, the looting by the financial class too great, the political corruption too extensive, and the opportunities too few. The dream of a social order where everyone could rise to the highest level of their capabilities regardless of their birth has been systematically squashed. With 66% of households making less than $65,000 and college costs out of reach for 80% of Americans without incurring crushing levels of debt, the chances for most Americans to climb the social ladder through educational advancement are nil. Even if they do graduate from college, the CEOs in corporate America, who “earn” 300 times the average worker, have outsourced their jobs to China and India.

The ruling class provides their children with private schooling and necessary preparation to keep their place in the social order. Wealth begets wealth. The elite send their kids to the elite Ivy League schools and use their connections with their fellow ruling elite to get them jobs on Wall Street, the prestigious connected corporations or government jobs in Washington DC.

The wealth of the few has erected barriers to advancement of the many. America has progressively become a stratified class oriented society that has begun to spiral downward as the ruling class has gone too far. The revolutions flaring across the globe are occurring because the ruling class went too far and took too much. The ruling class in America should take note. They have shattered the American Dream and the retribution from those who have been swindled will be unexpected and violent.

KOHL’S & THE REST OF THE RETAILERS ARE IN DEEP DOO DOO

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Posted on 13th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” ― Mark Twain

I never believe government manufactured numbers. They will always be adjusted, massaged, and manipulated to achieve a happy ending for the propagandists attempting to control and fleece the sheep. Yesterday, the government produced retail sales numbers for August that were weak and the corporate MSM propaganda machine immediately threw up bold headlines declaring how strong these numbers were. Positive stories were published on the interwebs and Wall Street hack economists were rolled out on CNBC, where the bubble headed bimbos and prostitutes for the status quo like Jim Cramer and Steve Liesman declared the recovery gaining strength. Woo Hoo.

If everyone else is whipping out that credit card, why aren’t you? Credit card debt has reached a new post recession high. They tell me consumer confidence is soaring. Forget about the 92 million working age Americans supposedly not in the labor force. Forget about real household income hovering at 1999 levels. Forget about median household net worth still 30% lower than 2007. Forget about what you see with your own two eyes in malls, strip centers and office parks as you motor around our suburban sprawl empire of debt. Those Store Closing, Space Available, and For Lease signs mean nothing.

I didn’t get a chance to peruse the commerce department drivel until this morning. They put out unadjusted data and adjusted data. Shockingly, the adjusted data is always rosier than the unadjusted data. I wonder why? I can understand the rationale for adjusting month to month data due to holidays and calendar events. But I still don’t trust the adjustments. There should not be a major difference when comparing year over year data. The adjusted data should reflect the same relationship to the unadjusted data on a year over year basis. Well guess what? It appears our friendly government drones may be pumping the current data to give the appearance of recovery. Here are my observations after taking a look at the government propaganda report:

  •  The unadjusted retail sales were only 3.2% higher than last August. Considering government reported inflation of 2%, that is a pretty shitty result. But have no fear. The “ADJUSTED” retail sales for August were 5.0% higher than last August. WTF? Guess which number gets reported to the sheep?
  • Hysterically, your government drones consider lending deadbeats $40,000 for seven years with no money down to drive away with a GM deathtrap SUV as a retail sale. The billions in subprime auto loans led to an 8.8% YoY surge in “ADJUSTED” auto sales. It seems the unadjusted number only went up 5.3%.
  • When you back out the Federal Reserve/Wall Street pumped auto sales, which will ultimately result in billions of written off bad debt (you’ll pick up the tab), unadjusted retail sales were only 2.7% higher than last August. With real inflation of 5% or more, real retail sales are negative on a year over year basis.
  • Despite financing deals of 4 years with no interest, furniture and electronics retail sales were flat versus last August. If there really is a housing recovery and 2.1 million more Americans are employed versus last August how could these discretionary sales be flat, and negative on an inflation adjusted basis?
  • Grocery store sales were up only 2.1% over last year. Even the government is reporting 2.7% food inflation in the last year. We all know it is closer to 10%, so people are actually reducing the amount of food they are buying. That is a sure sign of an economic recovery.
  • Clothing store sales were flat and department store sales were negative versus last August. So much for the back to school storyline. I do believe August is back to school time. The Sears and JC Penney Bataan Death March trudges toward bankruptcy.
  • What did surge was sales at restaurants and bars. They soared by 6.8% versus last August. We already know Darden, Yum Brands and McDonalds have reported dreadful results, so either the government is lying, soaring food prices are being passed on to customers, or people are so depressed by this awesome economic recovery they are drinking themselves into a stupor.

As a side note on the accuracy of this government data, in a previous role at IKEA, when I was a much younger man, I was responsible for filling out the monthly government retail surveys for the Census Bureau. The government drones collecting this data do not check it. They do not require proof that it is right. It is self reported by retailers across the country. Filling out this crap for the government was about as low on my priority list as whale shit. If I was really busy, I’d make the numbers up, scribble them on the form and put it in the mail. The numbers the government are accumulating are crap. And then they massage the crap. And then they publish the crap as if it means something. It’s nothing but crap.

When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.

My anecdotal proof of this relentless slow motion retail trainwreck is twofold. We received our second 30% off discount coupon from Kohl’s in the last three weeks. We are so indifferent to these constant offers that we didn’t even use the first one. I have to wear dress clothes to work every day, so I went over to Kohl’s this morning when they opened at 8:00 am to get some dress shirts and pants.

The parking lot was an oasis of empty spots and there were maybe 5 customers in the entire store. I went to the mens’ section and was shocked to see about two dozen 60% to 80% off racks. There are usually two or three racks. The store was overflowing with summer merchandise. Summer is over. The store should have been overflowing with Fall merchandise. They are clearly in the midst of an inventory disaster. I found excellent dress shirts on the 70% off rack. Everything I bought was at least 50% off, even before my 30% coupon and another $10 menswear coupon.

I live in a relatively upscale suburban area and still this Kohl’s is an absolute disaster. Their gross margin is going to be hammered. Profits are going to implode. Kohl’s has always been a favorite retailer of the middle class. Decent quality at reasonable prices. Their comp store sales were between positive 5% and 15% for years, until the 2008 financial collapse. Their struggles since then coincide with the decline of middle class incomes and the fake jobs recovery. The fact that they are spiraling downward flies in the face of the propaganda being spewed by the government and media.There is no recovery for the average American.

My second data point happened on Thursday. An accident on the Turnpike forced me to take Lincoln Drive and Germantown Pike home from work (1 hour and 55 minutes of agony). I hadn’t taken this route in about six months. Germantown Pike winds through the Chestnut Hill section of Philly. This is an artsy fartsy area with boutique retail, chic outlets, and fancy restaurants. The upper middle class frequents the area. The retail stores were always open, occupied and busy.

Not anymore. I saw dozens of empty storefronts, Space Available, and For Lease signs. The open stores had no customers. The trendy eating establishments had few patrons. Even the yuppie latte drinking areas are beginning to crumble. Every office park I passed had Space Available signs in front. The amount of vacant retail and office space in this country is too vast to comprehend and is being under-reported by the real estate whores whose job it is to rent space. Ignoring the facts and the truth doesn’t change the facts and the truth.

Do you believe the government and the corporate media, or do you believe your own two eyes?

You can ignore the government reported happy talk. When retailers and restaurants report their actual sales and profits, the truth shall be revealed. It will set you free.

1 OUT OF 6 OBAMACARE ENROLLEES ARE FRAUDS

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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You have 360,000 frauds who faked their income levels. You have another 966,000 illegals who have fraudulently signed up. It seems the PR number of 8 million enrollees is really 6.7 million. And these are just the frauds the administration is admitting to. You know it is far worse. There are probably 5 million legitimate enrollees and most of them already had insurance coverage before Obamacare. This abortion of a program was sold to the American people as the salvation for the 30 million uninsured Americans. Obama has managed to drive healthcare premiums up by 50% to 100% since 2009 and has only covered 10% of the uninsured population. I can’t understand why the Democrats don’t want to run on their prize piece of legislation and Obama has delayed the really bad shit until 2015 after the elections. What a clusterfuck.

Via The Hill

Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000

 By Sarah Ferris – 09/15/14 04:30 PM EDT

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Nearly 90 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for ObamaCare have received government subsidies. The average consumer pays $82 per month for a $346 plan, receiving an average subsidy of $264.

The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government.

About 115,000 people will lose coverage this month if they do not submit their paperwork, Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters Monday.

A total of 1.2 million people have had income inconsistencies since the launch of ObamaCare last year. About 800,000 people have since submitted verification.

The federal government is still missing paperwork for nearly a half-million people who signed up for insurance over the last year. Slavitt stressed that individuals may be able to regain their coverage during a special enrollment period if they can prove their citizenship status or income level.

The administration will continue calling and sending letters to individuals who have not submitted the paperwork. Many have already been contacted up to a dozen times, Slavitt said.He stressed that people with income verification issues will not lose their coverage.

“If people still pay their premiums and can demonstrate their eligibility, they’ll continue to be enrolled,” Slavitt said Monday.

Many of the verification problems stem from the HealthCare.gov website, which experienced technical glitches throughout its rollout. Slavitt was brought this year in to resolve some of the problems.

Some immigration advocates have blamed the website as a barrier for people trying to provide documentation of their citizenship.

“I’m hopeful and confident that people will continue to respond to a greater degree,” Slavitt said, predicting a last-minute surge before the deadline. “We recognize that we still have work to do here.”

At a hearing last week by the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, Republicans accused the Obama administration of using “the honor system” when asking consumers to self-disclose their income.

“That’s why the White House has lost, in my view, the trust of the American people,” subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told Slavitt at the hearing.

OBAMA PISSES AWAY $104 BILLION OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS IN AFGHANISTAN

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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With Eyes on ISIS, America’s $104B in Afghanistan Is Failing

By Brianna Ehley,
The Fiscal Times
September 15, 2014

While the eyes of the world are on Iraq and President Obama’s plans to defeat ISIS, the chief auditor in charge of overseeing the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan has a warning to policy makers: Don’t forget about the other war-torn country that has already cost hundreds of billions of dollars and has serious problems with corruption and sustainability.

So far, the United States has poured more than $104 billion into Afghanistan reconstruction efforts – that’s more than all the money spent on reconstructing Europe after World War II. Much of that money, as auditors have noted, has been lost to waste, fraud and abuse. In 2010, SIGAR accountants told The Fiscal Times they could only account for less than 10 percent of that money.

That’s a shocking sum, especially since Congress has already authorized another $16 billion to spend in Afghanistan in the next few years. Still, despite spending an “unprecedented” amount of money to rebuild this country, it has no strategy to weed out corruption – leaving hundreds of billions of tax dollars vulnerable, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) told an audience at Georgetown University on Friday.

“This is astonishing, given that Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and a country that the United States is spending billions of dollars in,” the auditor said. He added that “things could get worse with the drawdown” that is scheduled for the end of 2015.

It’s not just corruption that threatens to derail all of the gains the U.S. has made in the country. Afghanistan, as Sopko noted, has a major problem with sustainability.

Right now, the United States and other international donors fund more than 60 percent of Afghanistan’s national budget of around $7.6 billion. Last year, for example, the Afghan government raised $2 billion in revenues; the rest came from foreign aid, mostly from the United States.

Sopko says in the next few years, the Afghan National Security Forces are going to require a force of 374,000 – at a cost of roughly $5 billion a year. “At these levels, if the Afghan government were to dedicate all of its domestic revenue toward sustaining the Afghan army and police, it still could only pay for about a third of the cost. Moreover, all other costs from paying civil servants to maintaining all roads, schools, hospitals and other non-military infrastructure would also have to come from international donors,” Sopko said. “The bottom line is, it appears we’ve created a government that the Afghans simply cannot afford.”

Sopko is known for being extremely critical of the government agencies involved in reconstruction efforts. He told the audience that the U.S. government has failed to address Afghanistan’s corruption and sustainability issues – which threaten to “jeopardize every gain” the U.S. has made. Meanwhile, he said the government’s counter-narcotics effort has also been a failure and if unaddressed could completely derail any progress the U.S. has made.

“The U.S. has already spent nearly $7.6 billion to combat the opium industry. Yet, by every conceivable metric, we’ve failed,” Sopko said.

Sopko and his team frequently churn out scathing reports highlighting the failures of the Defense and the State Departments in Afghanistan – and many of them receive a wide swath of media attention. This has unsurprisingly sparked some tension between the auditors and officials from the departments being audited who routinely have problems with the IG’s findings. They say that responding to IG reports “chews up countless hours, and that the inspector general’s work ultimately undermines the effort to build stronger civilian institutions here by creating the impression that the United States is simply pouring money down the well,” The New York Times reported.

Sopko says, “SIGAR welcomes publicity because publicity gives our reports and work impact in this town and in Kabul and around the world.” He added, “I admit, some ambassadors and generals and nameless, faceless bureaucrats and contractors are unhappy with the fact we get press coverage, even though our two-person press shop pales in comparison to the squadrons of PR people at Embassy Kabul, ISAF, or the Pentagon. But that is the cost of transparency and open government.”
- See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/09/15/Eyes-ISIS-America-s-104B-Afghanistan-Failing#sthash.riTYbKt6.dpuf

YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Fourth Turnings are driven by the mood of the country and the interaction between generations. Do you think this will end well?

IF JANET YELLEN’S MONETARY POLICY WAS A TRUCK

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Eight people were killed and six more were injured after a truck crashed into a bus stop in north China’s Hebei Province on Tuesday morning, local authorities said. The crash happened in downtown Zhangjiakou City after the truck’s brakes failed, causing it overturn before crashing into the bus stop. The injured were rushed to hospital.

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by John W. Whitehead

“I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”Osama bin Laden (October 2001), as reported by CNN

What a strange and harrowing road we’ve walked since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties. We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state.

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance. The bogeyman’s names and faces change over time—Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and now ISIS—but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.

Ironically, just a short week after the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we find ourselves commemorating the 227th anniversary of the ratification of our Constitution. Yet while there is much to mourn about the loss of our freedoms in the years since 9/11, there has been little to celebrate.

The Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded to such an extent that what we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago. Most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—which historically served as the bulwark from government abuse.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—a recitation of the Bill of Rights would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the Constitution has been on life support for some time now. We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document. However, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

Consider the state of our freedoms, and judge for yourself whether this Constitution Day should be a day of mourning, celebration or a robust call to action:

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind and protest in peace without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. Yet despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. And protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” But to the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons. Police shootings of unarmed citizens continue to outrage communities, while little is being done to demilitarize law enforcement agencies better suited to the battlefield.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” With the police increasingly posing as military forces—complete with military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a violent standing army on American soil. Moreover, as a result of SWAT team raids where police invade homes, often without warrants, and injure and even kill unarmed citizens, the barrier between public and private property has done away with this critical safeguard.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you’re up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The use of civil asset forfeiture schemes to swell the coffers of police forces has continued to grow in popularity among cash-strapped states. The federal government continues to strong-arm corporations into providing it with access to Americans’ private affairs, from emails and online transactions to banking and web surfing. Coming in the wake of massive leaks about the inner workings of the NSA and the massive secretive surveillance state, it was recently revealed that the government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 every day for failing to comply with the NSA’s mass data collection program known as PRISM.

The technological future appears to pose even greater threats to what’s left of our Fourth Amendment rights, with advances in biometric identification and microchip implants on the horizon making it that much easier for the government to track not only our movements and cyber activities but our very cellular beings. Barclays has already begun using a finger-scanner as a form of two-step authentication to give select customers access to their accounts. Similarly, Motorola has been developing thin “digital tattoos” that will ensure that a phone’s owner is the only person who may unlock it. All of this information, of course, will be available to the spying surveillance agencies.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. And now the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Obama, allows the military to arrive at your door if the president thinks you’re a terrorist (a.k.a. extremist), place you in military detention, jail you indefinitely and restrict access to your family and your lawyer.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. However, when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether. For example, if you are thrown into a military detention camp, then what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment is up to your jailers.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so. Thus, once the government began violating the non-enumerated rights granted in the Ninth Amendment, it was only a matter of time before it began to trample the enumerated rights of the people, as explicitly spelled out in the rest of the Bill of Rights.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC power elite—the president, Congress and the courts. Indeed, the federal governmental bureaucracy has grown so large that it has made local and state legislatures relatively irrelevant. Through its many agencies and regulations, the federal government has stripped states of the right to regulate countless issues that were originally governed at the local level. This distinction is further blurred by programs such as the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military hardware to local police stations, effectively turning them into extensions of the military.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded. In this regard, ironically, Osama Bin Laden was right when he warned that freedom and human rights in America are doomed, and that the U.S. government would be responsible for leading us into an “unbearable hell and a choking life.”

The choices before us are simple: We can live in the past, dwelling on what freedoms we used to enjoy and shrugging helplessly at the destruction of our liberties. We can immerse ourselves in the present, allowing ourselves to be utterly distracted by the glut of entertainment news and ever-changing headlines so that we fail to pay attention to or do anything about the government’s ongoing power-grabs. We can hang our hopes on the future, believing against all odds that someone or something—whether it be a politician, a movement, or a religious savior—will save us from inevitable ruin.

Or we can start right away by instituting changes at the local level, holding our government officials accountable to the rule of law, and resurrecting the Constitution, recognizing that if we follow our current trajectory, the picture of the future will be closer to what George Orwell likened to “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

McSHITSTAIN ADMITS TO MEETING WITH ISIS

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Infowars

Angry McCain Admits Meeting With ISIS, Scolds Rand Paul For Not Knowing Terrorists

“Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS?”

by Steve Watson | Infowars.com |


In a weak effort to smear Rand Paul, war hawk Senator John McCain attempted to argue that the Kentucky Senator doesn’t have the authority to disagree with US policies regarding ISIS because he hasn’t met up with members of the terror group, unlike McCain himself.

In an appearance on Fox News Monday, McCain was asked to respond to Paul’s comments earlier in the day, when the libertarian leaning Senator told CBS’ This Morning that arming Syrian rebels would only empower ISIS in the long run.

And that’s when things got weird.

“Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS? Has he ever met with any of these people? No, no, no,” McCain said, clearly in reference to his own visit to Syria in 2013, where he was photographed with leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the fighters violently opposed to the Assad regime.

Don’t attempt to look for any logic in McCain’s blathering, because there isn’t any. This is not the first time McCain has attempted to make this idiotic argument. When intelligence emerged that up to 40 percent of the “moderate” rebels are actually extremists, McCain argued that the claims were not true because he has personally met the rebels.

“I know who they are. I was in Syria and I met them.” McCain said at the time. “There’s about 70 percent still who are Free Syrian Army,” he claimed, despite the fact that a study by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s found that only around 30 percent of rebels are fighting for secular values,

McCain, who has long pushed to arm Syrian rebels, declared that it is “patently false” to claim that arms supplied to the so called “moderate” militants have actually wound up with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorists.

“We’re going to have a fight, because it’s patently false. This is the same Rand Paul that said we didn’t want to have anything to do with anything to do in the Middle East, by the way. I don’t want to get in a fight with him at all.” McCain said.

Of course, actual independent evidence and reports of arms winding up in ISIS hands do exist, and it is a real problem, even if McCain chooses to close his eyes and ignore it, or willfully lie about it. His scolding of Rand Paul for referencing such evidence is laughable.

During Monday’s appearance, McCain also claimed that it is “not true” that the moderate Syrian rebels have agreed a nonaggression pact with ISIS, another factor Rand Paul brought up Monday. McCain did not , however, present any evidence to counter media reports based on intelligence shared by UK rights groups indicating this is indeed the case.

McCain also claimed that no other Arab country has declared support for US airstrikes on ISIS, despite a White House announcement claiming it has such support.

It seems that McCain just repeats whatever information it is that he wants to believe, regardless of what the rest of the planet is learning.

BRINGING IT HOME

12 comments

Posted on 16th September 2014 by T4C in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The preamble to this post is best said by the simians over at ZH. For your entertainment pleasure….trust me, you’re going to need it:

One And Only: Obama is such a nigger. Why can’t he just be a homely black man?

hedgeless_horseman: Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola. How the fuck are they supposed to do that, exactly, when there is such a thing as an incubation period?

Pinto Currency: Clever guy. Send 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola and assuredly bring it back to the US.

Liberal: Worry no more, West Africans! We’re from the U. S. government and we’re coming to help!

knukles: There is no way under the sun that this is not being designed to purposefully bring the shit back home. The official culling of the herd has begun. Through this prism, all the billion bullets, FEMA coffins and Camps, it all starts to make sense, fits together cogently.

remain calm: Where can i sign up. I am here to help. I have a death wish.

nope-1004: Ebola is the cover story. The US is going to secure resources before China does. It’s a global resource war – f’n .gov could give a shit about some lethal virus.

macholatte: Why don’t any Chinese in Africa get Ebola?

layman_please: you forgot the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Training Drills. Now what medical condition in its appearance is closest to zombies?

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Obama To Send 3,000 Ebola-Fighting Boots-On-The-Ground To Africa; CDC Warns America “Now Is The Time To Prepare”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/16/2014

On the heels of yesterday’s almost unbelievable forecasts of the exponential rise in Ebola case counts – and warnings of a 20% chance of Ebola reaching the USA by year-end, WHO officials have confirmed that their previous forecasts of 20,000 cases “does not seem like a lot today.” This has, according to Reuters, the United States announced on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak as part of a ramped-up response including a major deployment in Liberia, the country where the epidemic is spiralling fastest out of control. Perhaps even more worrisome – for those who explained how ‘contained’ Ebola was – is the CDC’s release of an Ebola checklist warning American healthcare workers “now is the time to prepare.

WHO warns the scale of the epidemic is unprecedented

The unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa requires a $1 billion response to keep its spread within the “tens of thousands” of cases, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.

The virus has killed 2,461 people, half of the 4,985 infected by the virus, and the toll has doubled in the last month, World Health Organization Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said.

“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this health crisis we’re facing is unparalleled in modern times,” Aylward told a news conference in Geneva. “We don’t know where the numbers are going on this.”

He said the WHO’s previous forecast that the number of cases could reach 20,000 no longer seemed a lot, but the number could be kept within the tens of thousands with “a much faster reponse”.

As Reuters reports, Obama will unveil plans to send 3,000 troops to Africa today,

The president will visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta on Tuesday to show his commitment. The stepped-up effort he will announce is to include 3,000 military forces and a joint forces command center in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, to coordinate efforts with the U.S. government and other international partners.

The U.S. response to the crisis, to be formally unveiled later by President Barack Obama, includes plans to build 17 treatment centers, train thousands of healthcare workers and establish a military control center for coordination, U.S. officials told reporters.***Liberia, a nation founded by descendants of freed American slaves, appealed for U.S. help last week.

“Highly infectious people are forced to return home, only to infect others and continue the spread of this deadly virus. All for a lack of international response,” she said.

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The plan will “ensure that the entire international response effort is more effective and helps to … turn the tide in this crisis,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday, ahead of the president’s trip.

“The significant expansion that the president will detail … really represents … areas where the U.S. military will bring unique capabilities that we believe will improve the effectiveness of the entire global response,” he said.

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Obama’s administration has requested an additional $88 million from Congress to fight Ebola, including $58 million to speed production of the ZMapp experimental antiviral drug and two Ebola vaccine candidates.

Officials said the Department of Defense had requested to reallocate $500 million in funds from fiscal 2014 to help cover the costs of the humanitarian mission.

And then The Washingoton Examiner reports,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.

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“Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion,” warns the CDC.

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“While we are not aware of any domestic Ebola Virus Disease cases (other than two American citizens who were medically evacuated to the United States), now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with EVD in West Africa may travel to the United States, exhibit signs and symptoms of EVD, and present to facilities,” it adds.

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Contained?