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Friday, August 29, 2014

Origins of ISIS

Thursday, August 21, 2014

30 Stats That Show The Middle Class Is Disappearing

The 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace.  Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment.  But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate.  Over the past decade or so, the percentage of Americans that are working has gone way down, the quality of our jobs has plummeted dramatically and the wealth of the typical American household has fallen precipitously.  Meanwhile, we have watched median household income decline for five years in a row, we have watched the rate of homeownership in this country decline for eight years in a row and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Being a part of the middle class in the United States at this point can be compared to playing a game of musical chairs.  We can all see chairs being removed from the game, and we are all desperate to continue to have a chair every time the music stops playing.  The next time the music stops, will it be your chair that gets removed?
And in this economy, you don't even have to lose your job to fall out of the middle class.  Our paychecks are remaining very stable while the cost of almost everything that we spend money on consistently (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is going up rapidly.  Bloomberg calls this "the no-raises recovery"...
Call it the no-raises recovery: Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.
Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.
There are so many families out there that are struggling right now.  So many husbands and wives find themselves constantly fighting with one another about money, and they don't even understand that what is happening to them is the result of long-term economic trends that are the result of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Without middle class jobs, we cannot have a middle class.  And those are precisely the jobs that have been destroyed during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years.  Without enough good jobs to go around, we have seen the middle class steadily shrink and the ranks of the poor grow rapidly.
The following are 30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed...
1. In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall.  But now the average household in the top 5 percent has 24 times as much wealth as the average household overall.
2. According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the "typical American household" is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.
3. One out of every seven Americans rely on food banks at this point.
4. One out of every four military families needs help putting enough food on the table.
5. 79 percent of the people that use food banks purchase "inexpensive, unhealthy food just to have enough to feed their families".
6. One out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is "in collections".
7. Only 48 percent of all Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.
8. The price of food continues to rise much faster than the paychecks of most middle class families.  For example, the average price of ground beef has just hit a brand new all-time record high of $3.884 a pound.
9. According to one recent study, 40 percent of all households in the United States are experiencing financial stress right now.
10. The overall homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.
11. The homeownership rate for Americans under the age of 35 is at an all-time low.
12. According to one recent survey, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.
13. The average age of vehicles on America’s roads has hit an all-time high of 11.4 years.
14. Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.
15. Amazingly, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.
16. One recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job.
17. 36 percent of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement.
18. According to one survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
19. More than half of all working Americans make less than $30,000 a year in wages.
20. Only four of the twenty fastest growing occupations in America require a Bachelor’s degree or better.
21.  In America today, one out of every ten jobs is filled by a temp agency.
22. Due to a lack of decent jobs, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.
23. Median household income in the United States is about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.
24. Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.
25. It is hard to believe, but more than one out of every five children in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.
26. According to one study, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.
27. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.
28. If the middle class was actually thriving, we wouldn’t have more than a million public school children that are homeless.
29. If you can believe it, Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.
30. In terms of median wealth per adult, the United States is now in just 19th place in the world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

25 Facts About Ebola

Ebola Nightmare - Public DomainWhat would a global pandemic look like for a disease that has no cure and that kills more than half of the people that it infects?  Let's hope that we don't get to find out, but what we do know is that more than 100 health workers that were on the front lines of fighting this disease have ended up getting it themselves.  The top health officials in the entire world are sounding the alarm and the phrase "out of control" is constantly being thrown around by professionals with decades of experience.  So should average Americans be concerned about Ebola?  If so, how bad could an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. potentially become?  The following are 25 critical facts about this Ebola outbreak that every American needs to know...
#1 As the chart below demonstrates, the spread of Ebola is starting to become exponential...
Ebola Outbreak - Photo by Leopoldo Martin R
#2 This is already the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history by far.
#3 The head of the World Health Organization says that this outbreak "is moving faster than our efforts to control it".
#4 The head of Doctors Without Borders says that this outbreak is "out of control".
#5 So far, more than 100 health workers that were on the front lines fighting the virus have ended up contracting Ebola themselves.  This is happening despite the fact that they go to extraordinary lengths to keep from getting the disease.
#6 There is no cure for Ebola.
#7 The death rate for this current Ebola outbreak is over 50 percent, and experts say that it can kill "up to 90% of those infected".
#8 The incubation rate for Ebola ranges from two days to 21 days.  Therefore, someone can be carrying it around for up to three weeks without even knowing it.
#9 For the first time ever, human Ebola patients are being brought to the United States.  And as Paul Craig Roberts so aptly put it the other day, all it would take is "one cough, one sneeze, one drop of saliva, and the virus is loose".
#10 This has already potentially happened in the United Kingdom.  A woman reportedly collapsed and later died on Saturday after she got off of a flight from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport.
#11 A study conducted in 2012 proved that Ebola could be transmitted between pigs and monkeys that were in separate cages and that never made physical contact.
#12 This is a new strain of Ebola, so what we know about other strains of Ebola may not necessarily apply to this strain of Ebola.
#13 Barack Obama has just signed an executive order that gives the federal government the power to apprehend and detain Americans that show symptoms of "diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled."
#14 And as I noted the other dayfederal law already permits "the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease".
#15 According to the CDC, there are 20 quarantine centers around the country that are prepared to potentially receive Ebola patients...
#16 The CDC has set up an Ebola "quarantine station" at LAX in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
#17 The largest health emergency drill in New York City history was conducted on Friday.
#18 The federal government will begin testing an "experimental Ebola vaccine" on humans in September.
#19 We are being told that the reason why we don't have an Ebola vaccine already is due to the hesitation of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in a disease that has "only affected people in Africa".
#20 Researchers from Tulane University have been active for several years in the very same areas where this Ebola outbreak began.  One of the stated purposes of this research was to study "the future use of fever-viruses as bioweapons".
#21 According to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, researchers from Tulane University have been asked "to stop Ebola testing during the current Ebola outbreak".  What in the world does that mean?
#22 The Navy Times says that the U.S. military has been interested in studying Ebola "as a potential biological weapon" since the 1970s...
Filoviruses like Ebola have been of interest to the Pentagon since the late 1970s, mainly because Ebola and its fellow viruses have high mortality rates — in the current outbreak, roughly 60 percent to 72 percent of those who have contracted the disease have died — and its stable nature in aerosol make it attractive as a potential biological weapon.
#23 The CDC actually owns a patent on one particular strain of the Ebola virus...
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control owns a patent on a particular strain of Ebola known as "EboBun." It's patent No. CA2741523A1 and it was awarded in 2010. You can view it here.
It is being reported that this is not the same strain that is currently being transmitted in Africa, but it is interesting to note nonetheless.  And why would the CDC want "ownership" of a strain of the Ebola virus in the first place?
#25 The World Health Organization has launched a 100 million dollar response plan to fight this Ebola outbreak.  Others don't seem so alarmed.  For example, Barack Obama is getting ready to take a "16 day Martha’s Vineyard vacation".
Many are attempting to play down the threat from this virus by stating that unless you "exchange bodily fluids" with someone that you don't have anything to worry about.
If that was truly the case, then how in the world have more than 100 health workers contracted the virus so far?
Health professionals that deal with Ebola take extreme precautions to keep from being exposed to the disease.
But despite those extreme measures, they are catching it too.
So if this virus does start spreading all over the globe, what chance is the general population going to have?