August 12th, 2014
"What makes the appointment both unique and disturbing to some observers is the fact that Laubenthal is a foreign national with no sworn allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
The appointment could raise the specter of a divided loyalty for Laubenthal between his command responsibilities and his native country....Achtung!"
By STEVE ELWART
In an unprecedented move, a German officer has been appointed to a key command post over the U.S. Army in Europe.
German Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal, 51, became chief of staff last week, the first non-American officer to hold that position, the Army said.
According to Germany’s defense ministry, Laubenthal will serve as “the right-hand man” to Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., who commands more than 37,000 U.S. Army Europe, USAREUR, personnel from headquarters in the central German city of Wiesbaden.
Prior to assuming his post at USAREUR, Laubenthal, a general officer from the German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, was the commander of Panzerbrigade 12, the 12th Armored Brigade, in Amberg, Germany. He also was the chief of staff for International Security Assistance Force Regional Command North in Afghanistan and the assistant chief of staff for operations for NATO’s Kosovo force.
Laubenthal’s appointment comes at a time when relations between the U.S. and Germany are decidedly strained. Recent revelations of U.S. spying and the tapping of German government phones, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s, have put the two nations at odds with each other. The new appointment may be meant to repair relations.
“This is a bold and major step forward in USAREUR’s commitment to operating in a multinational environment with our German allies,” Campbell said of Laubenthal’s appointment. “U.S. and German senior military leaders have been serving together in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for years. Sustaining the shared capability from this experience will benefit both U.S. and German armies.”
A German army spokesman called the move “a clear sign for a good German-American cooperation.”
If there has ever been a need for an increased spirit of cooperation, it is now. Besides NSA spying on German nationals, in July, German authorities expelled the CIA’s station chief in Berlin after the discovery of two suspected spies allegedly working for the U.S. from inside the German government.
While it means Germany is taking a more active part in its own defense, what makes the appointment both unique and disturbing to some observers is the fact that Laubenthal is a foreign national with no sworn allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. The appointment could raise the specter of a divided loyalty for Laubenthal between his command responsibilities and his native country.
To be sure, there is precedent for soldiers of different countries joining forces in a single military unit.....
August 12th, 2014
CDC could implement indefinite quarantine, says doctor
by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON
Former FDA official Scott Gottlieb, M.D. warns that under current CDC procedures, healthy Americans who show no symptoms of the virus could be detained indefinitely if Ebola hits the United States.
In an article for Forbes entitled If Ebola Arrives In The U.S., Stopping It May Rely On Controversial Tools, Gottlieb, former Director of Medical Policy Development for the Food and Drug Administration, asserts that Ebola is likely to arrive in the U.S. and that if it does the CDC will invoke powers to “hold a healthy person against his will.”
“Given the deadly nature of the Ebola virus, and the popular worry it’s likely to engender, one can expect the CDC and health authorities to pull out all the stops. The response could include invocation of the CDC’s evolving quarantine authorities,” writes Gottlieb, noting the CDC’s “sweeping authority to hold and isolate Americans in a public health emergency.”
The doctor points to CDC provisions which we first highlighted last month which allow for the forcible quarantine of “well persons” as well as those who “do not show symptoms” of the virus.
“The set of regulations also included a new “provisional quarantine” rule that would have allowed CDC to detain people involuntarily for up to three days, with no mechanism for appeal,” writes Gottlieb, adding, “You don’t have to be sick to be detained.”
The doctor cautions that if Ebola hits during flu season, the delay in testing blood samples could lead to some Americans being detained against their will for weeks.
Gottlieb also points an executive order passed by Obama on July 31st which allows for the detention of Americans who merely display signs of any “respiratory illness.”
Raising concerns that the feds may be “assuming too much jurisdiction to detain people involuntarily,” Gottlieb is calling for a debate about “troubling” measures which could lead to “spooky scenarios where people could be detained for long periods, merely on a suspicion they might have been exposed to some pathogen. And forced to submit to certain medical interventions to gain their freedom.”
While Gottlieb sees “mass detentions” as being unlikely in the event of an Ebola outbreak, the regulations in place could lead to such a scenario if an equally deadly but more contagious pathogen like SARS hits the U.S.
Given his prominent position, the doctor’s concern about CDC quarantine measures which could lead to the forcible detention of healthy Americans is interesting given that some in the mainstream media dismissed our coverage of this very issue as a ‘conspiracy theory’ less than two weeks ago.
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August 12th, 2014
Until then, many experts felt it would be unethical to offer African Ebola patients drugs that had never been given to people, let alone tested for safety. (Related: "Promising Ebola Drugs Stuck in Lab Limbo as Outbreak Rages in Africa.")
The mere idea evoked memories of pharma giant Pfizer's disastrous clinical trial of a new antibiotic, trovafloxacin (Trovan), during a 1996 meningitis outbreak in northern Nigeria, or the plot of John le Carré's novel, The Constant Gardener, in which Kenyans are used as guinea pigs to test what turns out to be an unsafe tuberculosis drug.
But when news broke that two infected Americans had been given a therapy that had previously been tested only in primates and, further, that they were holding their own, the flip side of the ethical coin was revealed.
Suddenly the question was no longer "How could one use untested drugs in Africa?'' but "Why Americans and not Africans?" Why was the therapy flown to Liberia for Brantly and Writebol not also offered to Sheik Umar Khan, who had died a few days earlier in Sierra Leone, where he was his country's only virologist and leading Ebola expert?
Questions like these will shape discussions during a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on the ethics of using experimental Ebola drugs in the current outbreak. The meeting, held today by teleconference, involves ethicists, the affected countries, and representatives of civil society.
Treatments Scarce, Untested
Nothing is easy about the issues, starting with the fact that supplies of the various experimental therapies and vaccines are so limited that recommending their use would be largely symbolic for the next few months at least.
"I think that one of the main showstoppers in all of this—again, I can't speak for every product—is the paucity of availability of any product at all," says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
There is only enough ZMapp—the product the Americans took—to treat a handful of people, Fauci says. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which recently conducted an assessment of the various experimental products in the pipeline, says it could take three to four months to produce another small batch of the therapy.
The remaining doses of ZMapp have been distributed, LeafBio, the company commercializing the product, said in a brief statement posted to its website Monday afternoon. It indicated remaining doses had been provided to Spain for treatment of an infected missionary and to an unnamed West African country for two medical doctors. By Monday evening, the statement was removed from the website.
Sarepta Therapeutics, which shelved an Ebola drug it was developing when it lost U.S. government support for the work, has indicated it would be willing to allow use of its remaining supply—enough to treat a few dozen people, CEO Chris Garabedian told the financial news publicationBarron's.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, the only company to have done some preliminary safety testing of an Ebola therapy in people, says it would allow its drug to be used by infected individuals. In early July the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed the drug on a clinical hold because of safety concerns about giving it in high doses, but last week revised its status to allow for compassionate use. Tekmira will not say how much of the product it has or how long it takes to make.
Even therapies and vaccines that have been tried on infected primates have been used only in small numbers of animals. Is it ethical to offer these? Is it safe?
After all, not all drugs that are safe in primates turn out to be safe in people. In 2006, for instance, six healthy volunteers were given an experimental drug called TGN1412, a synthetic antibody under development for leukemia and arthritis. All six nearly died.
"Is there a threshold of what they should have demonstrated in animal models? In nonhuman primates? Is there a threshold also on toxicity?" asks Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO's assistant director general for health systems and innovation.
On the other side of the deliberation scale is the crushing need for therapies, not just to treat the ill but also to gain their trust. As is often seen in Ebola outbreaks, hostility and suspicion have plagued efforts to halt the spread of the disease.
People who fear they may be sick resist efforts by medical teams to isolate them. And communities often hide the sick, leading to more infections. With no cure and a high death rate, rumors fly that the medical teams are spreading the illness or killing people for their organs.
Aid workers believe that if effective therapies were available, the resistance problem would eventually evaporate. (Related: "Ebola's Deadly Spread in Africa Driven by Public Health Failures, Cultural Beliefs.")
Who Gets Scarce Drugs?
But what would the impact be if affected communities learn that a very small number of people are being offered treatments, but most are not? Would that make medical teams from groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) more welcome in these villages? Would it endanger the aid workers?
If the few doses available are going to be used, one ethicist suggests they should be given to health care workers, who have made up an alarming proportion of the Ebola cases in this outbreak. (Related: "Q&A: American Virus Expert in Africa's Ebola Zone: 'This is Like War.'")
"If we have a limited amount of medication to use, it makes sense to use it first on those who are in there trying to treat everyone who has this disease. Because if we allow the people who are treating it to be wiped out, there's no one left to treat it," says Kevin Donovan, director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center. Donovan is not a member of the WHO panel.
He and others suggest that if the experimental treatments are deployed, they should be used in a way that helps scientists determine what actually works against Ebola and why, so that the world is better armed for the next outbreak.
Says Donovan: "This is why I think the rush to say, 'We just have to throw whatever's available at people,' and not do it in a careful way to find out if it really is effective and if it really will be safe, is misplaced goodwill. And it's supported by this great anxiety that the infection epidemic causes."
Given the conditions on the ground, using Ebola drugs in a clinical trial-type approach would be challenging—but not impossible, says Frederick Hayden, an expert on antiviral drugs at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and a consultant to the WHO.
Still, Hayden is talking about several months down the road. "Because obviously there are a lot of things that have to get put into place. It's not just having the [drug]. You have to have the protocol, the ethics review, the regulatory piece in place, the import licence. These things all have to fall into place."
August 12th, 2014
Many eschatologists (those who study the Biblical end times prophecies) believe that the current Pope may be the last, based not only on current events, but also on various prophetical texts in existence.
According to St. Malachy, an Arch-Bishop from the 1,400's, this current Pope is the last Pope of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and his moves thus far seem to speak to this fact.
The following news article from Fox News editor Adam Shaw is yet another sign that things within the church may not be as they seem.....
By Adam Shaw
When Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was elected pope in 2013, many traditional Catholics were wary.
Recently, their pessimism is being justified as "The Francis Effect" makes itself felt across the world and in America, most notably in the Archdiocese of New York.
So-called "traditional" Catholics prefer to attend the Mass as it was celebrated before and during the Second Vatican Council (1962-5), before the liturgy was radically reformed in 1969.
The Tridentine Mass, which was the ordinary form of the Mass from 1570-1969, is said in Latin, often accompanied by Gregorian Chant and incense, and emphasizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass.
I hope both Pope Francis and the New York Archdiocese will cease their attack on a community of people that mean no harm and who support the Church through thick and thin.
In contrast, the post-1969 Mass simplifies prayers, places more emphasis on the communal and removes language deemed to be an ecumenical barrier to Protestants. Many celebrations also use the vernacular instead of Latin, and have a more simplistic style and are frequently accompanied by modern music.
Although suppressed immediately after the reform, the older rite was legalized by Pope St. John Paul II in limited circumstances in 1988, and then freed up entirely by Pope Benedict XVI in his groundbreaking 2007 document "Summorum Pontificum," in which he also expressed his desire that the solemn celebration of the traditional rite would consequently rub off on the way the new rite is celebrated.
Yet Pope Francis is having none of it.
In his Archdiocese in Buenos Aires, the traditional rite was non-existent, and he was described by an Argentinian journalist as "a sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass." Since he ascended to the papacy this has been shown to be true in a global sense.
Apart from his dive away from the traditional liturgical style of Benedict in papal masses, Pope Francis has dismissed Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as 'ideologizing' and being guilty of 'exploitation.' He also banned the Franciscans of the Immaculate -- a worldwide traditional Catholic order -- from celebrating the old Mass freely. Apparently, the attitude of "Who am I to judge" does not apply here.
No wonder then that some bishops and cardinals are seeing the winds of change at the Vatican and are acting accordingly.
In New York, under the leadership of the once moderately conservative Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archdiocese was a place that allowed the traditional mass to be said without hassle after Summorum Pontificum.
However, since Pope Francis arrived, Dolan -- commonly referred to as "America's Pope" -- has shifted to the left, so much so that even the New York Times has noticed. Dolan has become a spokesman for Francis' view of capitalism, has softened on gay rights, been an even stauncher advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants and incredibly -- criticized ObamaCare because it didn't provide free health care to illegals, putting him to the left of Nancy Pelosi.
Now he's turned on the traditionalists
There are three churches in Manhattan that celebrate the Traditional Mass. One -- Our Savior's near Grand Central, had its pastor removed by Cardinal Dolan and replaced by a priest who could not say the old Mass, so it has been stopped.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the internationally-renowned Church of Holy Innocents, the well-attended hub of traditionalism in the city packed with masses, devotions, and regular confessions, all within one of the most beautiful churches in the archdiocese, has been recommended for closure by an archdiocesan commission.
The news shocked traditional Catholics all over the world and has become an international symbol especially as it is well attended and in good financial state.
Church closures and consolidations should be about getting rid of churches that are losing money or have no one attending. Masses at Holy Innocents are frequently standing room only, and documents I was shown suggest that Holy Innocents has run a surplus for the last seven years, and has no debt. This is in contrast to some parishes with no threat of closure that have 6-figure deficits, while other parishes openly dissent from Church teaching free from any scrutiny from the once-conservative archdiocese.
Holy Innocents, devastated by this news that they are earmarked for closure, have organized petitions and are saying daily rosaries and novenas to pray for the preservation of their beloved church.
Consequently at a recent Mass, Rev. Justin Wylie, a priest from South Africa who worked at the U.N. for the Holy See and who said regular masses both at Holy Innocents and at the third place of traditional worship -- St. Agnes -- compared the situation for traditionalists in the archdiocese to Reformation England and Cromwellian Ireland. Wylie asked traditionalists "why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence?" and called on them to peacefully assert their rights as baptized Catholics.
This was apparently too much in the era of Pope Francis.
Sources told me that a letter was immediately sent to the papal nuncio to the U.N. and, incredibly, to Wylie's archdiocese in Johannesburg, scolding Wylie for his comments and threatening to recommend Wylie's priestly faculties be removed -- an extremely serious move that essentially prevents a priest from acting as one and is usually reserved for very serious accusations like sexual abuse, not upsetting a cardinal.
Sources say that after the letter was received, Rev. Wylie, in a move that sounds more like something from Inquisition-era Spain than from modern day New York, was then silenced, forbidden from celebrating Mass publicly, and told to pack his bags and leave for South Africa as soon as possible.
Msgr. Edward Weber, head of the Priest Personnel office for the Archdiocese, who would normally be responsible for such a letter, denied that the letter existed when I spoke to him by phone, despite previously being quoted in the traditional blog "Rorate Caeli" as saying that the order came "from the Cardinal's office." Weber told me he had been misquoted by the blog.
Later, the archdiocese admitted in a statement that there had indeed been a letter, but said it did not come from the Cardinal's desk, and it did not threaten to remove Wylie's faculties. When I asked if they had threatened to recommend that he have his faculties removed, the archdiocese did not respond.
Wylie's silencing and banishment is devastating for traditional Catholics. Not only is Wylie a renowned preacher, known for solemn celebration and exceptionally beautiful homilies that are so revered they are frequently uploaded to YouTube, he was an important priest both at Holy Innocents, and also at St. Agnes, where he celebrated three out of four traditional masses a month. His move consequently threatens the regularity of the ancient rites there too, as Rev. Wylie's censuring has had a chilling effect on priests who would consider taking over his role.
This chilling effect has spread to non-clergy too. ...
August 11th, 2014
A Carteret County mother makes a shocking discovery when she goes to eat her chicken sandwich from a McDonald's drive-thru in Morehead City. That customer, Charleigh Matice, said when she went to put mayonnaise on her bun she found a swastika etched in butter on it.
Matice said she couldn't believe someone could possibly do that in this day and time.
"Is this a joke? Does somebody really think they're funny?," Matice said.
This anti-Semitic symbol was used by the Nazi party in Germany during the Holocaust. Her grandfather had fought in World War II. She said the swastika really offended her.
"Many people died because of that symbol and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. It’s not something that should be thrown around," Matice said.
She said when she went inside the restaurant employees offered to replace it.
"I really didn't have an appetite at that point so I said I rather have my money back,” Matice said.
However, Matice said even with the money she didn't feel satisfied. She wants the incident addressed at a larger scale.
"Maybe it needs to be part of training, or maybe brought up more often so that people know that this is not okay," Matice said.
We contacted McDonald's corporate office about the incident. They emailed us a statement from the owner of that McDonald's in Morehead City.....