ZeroHedge: The Ethics Of Disease Control

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Submitted by Logan Albright via Mises Canada,

As the threat of the ebola virus looms large and the Center for Disease Control issues what are undoubtedly hyperbolic projections of over a million casualties to the disease by January, we owe it to ourselves as libertarians to ask a few questions about the ethics of disease control. Is it acceptable to use force to isolate a person with a contagious disease from society, and if so, under what circumstances? How far are we permitted to go in the invasion of another person’s personal liberty in order to secure a safe environment for the rest of us?

We start, as always, with the Non-Aggression Principle, which states that it is impermissible to use force against another except in self-defense against an actual or threatened attack on another’s life or property. The fundamental issue with disease control, then, becomes whether or not exposing others to a disease qualifies as such an attack.

Clearly, the intentional infection of another human being would qualify. Jamming a hypodermic needle into someone’s skin would be an attack even in the absence of any virus. So would mailing someone an envelope filled with anthrax. So would intentional sexual contact while knowingly carrying a sexually transmitted disease. In all these cases, the intent to cause harm is clear, as well as the actual harm caused, and self-defense to prevent this harm would be entirely justified.

But what about the murkier case where a person carries a disease, with no wish to spread it to anyone else, but with the knowledge that going about his day to day life may result in others becoming exposed?

Philosophers typically try to come to grips with these dilemmas by resorting to analogy. One might argue that going about with a dangerous disease is akin carrying a gun which may at any moment randomly fire. Clearly, if a person were to go about with such a gun (suppose it is strapped to his body and cannot be removed) this would constitute a threat to others, and he would be obligated to take precautions to minimize the risk. But this analogy fails because someone would have had to arrange the gun in the first place, and their agency would bear part of the responsibility. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Meet The 17-Year-Old Leader Of The Hong Kong Protests

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Joshua Wong is too young to drive or buy a drink in a bar – let alone vote – yet, as The Guardian reports, has become the face of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and an inspiration to citizens three times his age.

 

 

Via The Guardian:

With his floppy hair, baggy shorts and stripy T-shirt, accessorised with a yellow ribbon around each skinny wrist, the only thing distinguishing the 17-year-old from the other teenagers on Wednesday was the bank of television cameras facing him.

 

Joshua Wong is too young to drive or buy a drink in a bar – let alone vote – yet has become the face of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and an inspiration to citizens three times his age.

 

The co-founder of Scholarism, the student movement which kickstarted the demonstrations, is already a veteran activist. At 15, he battled against plans to introduce “national education”, which critics attacked as pro-Beijing “brainwashing”. Scholarism’s campaign brought more than 100,000 people on to the streets in protest; the proposals were duly shelved and Wong became something of a celebrity. He is probably the first mass protest leader who has had to call a press conference to discuss his exam results (he met university entrance requirements, though he has said in the past: “Teachers have always said my only strength is talking and that I talk very fast.”)

 

But his 40-hour detention from Friday, along with others who stormed into the blocked-off government complex at Admiralty, kickstarted large-scale protests and catapulted him to global attention. The arrests galvanised those previously indifferent to last week’s student protests and sparked the wider civil disobedience movement that has paralysed a large part of downtown Hong Kong. Read more »

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The Economic Implications Of A Potential Ebola Pandemic In The United States

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Fear Of Ebola - Public DomainFor the moment, our top public health officials are quite adamant that there absolutely will not be a major Ebola outbreak in the United States.  But what if they are wrong?  Or what would happen if terrorists released a form of weaponized Ebola or weaponized smallpox in one of our major cities?  What would such an event do to our economy?  I think that we can get some clues by looking at the economic collapses that are taking place in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone right now.  When an extremely deadly virus like Ebola starts spreading like wildfire, the fear that it creates can be even worse for a society than the disease.  All of a sudden people don’t want to go to work, people don’t want to go to school and people definitely don’t want to go shopping.  There are very few things that can shut down the economy of a nation faster.  Considering the fact that our big banks are being more reckless than ever, we better hope that we don’t see a “black swan event” such as a major Ebola outbreak come along and upset the apple cart.  Because if that does happen, our Ponzi scheme of an economy could implode really quick.

Right now there is just one confirmed case of Ebola in Texas.  If they isolated him before he infected anyone else, we might be okay for the moment.  But already we are being told that there may be “a possible second Ebola patient” in Dallas…

Health officials are closely monitoring a possible second Ebola patient who had close contact with the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S., the director of Dallas County’s health department said Wednesday.

All who have been in close contact with the man officially diagnosed are being monitored as a precaution, Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, said in a morning interview with WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents: The fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient,” he said. “So this is real. There should be a concern, but it’s contained to the specific family members and close friends at this moment.”

We have learned the name of the man that is confirmed to have Ebola.  His name is Thomas Eric Duncan and when he went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last Friday, he told them that he was feeling quite ill and that he was from Liberia.  You would have thought that should have set off major alarm bells.  But instead, he got sent back home

The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. initially went to a Dallas emergency room last week but was sent home, despite telling a nurse that he had been in disease-ravaged West Africa, the hospital acknowledged Wednesday.

The decision by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to release him could have put many others at risk of exposure to the disease before he went back to the ER two days later, after his condition worsened.

Thomas Eric Duncan explained to a nurse Friday that he was visiting the U.S. from Liberia, but that information was not widely shared, said Dr. Mark Lester, who works for the hospital’s parent company.

So a fully contagious Duncan had the opportunity to spread the virus around for another 48 hours before he was finally admitted to the hospital for treatment.

And it wasn’t just adults that he potentially exposed to the disease.  It is being reported that he had “close contact” with five students that attend four different Dallas schools.  Local media is reporting that the names of those schools are Tasby Middle School, Hotchkiss Elementary School, Dan D. Rogers Elementary and Conrad High School.

Predictably, many parents are already pulling their kids out of school in the Dallas area.

It shall be very interesting to see how many kids actually show up for school tomorrow morning.

But this is what happens to a society when the fear of Ebola takes hold.  People almost immediately start shutting down their activities and staying home.

Over in West Africa, months of Ebola fear is starting to take a major toll on the economy.  For example, the president of Guinea says that his economy is on the verge of complete collapse

Guinea has been more successful in containing the Ebola epidemic than its immediate neighbors in West Africa, but the loss of revenue caused by the crisis has left the country in dire financial straits, President Alpha Condé said after concluding a round of meetings at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Condé said Guinea would need about $100 million until December to cover its budget gap, which will grow if Ebola is not tackled by the end of the year.

“The slowing down of our economies due to Ebola requires that most of our countries get some budgetary support … it’s going to be crucial that we get that support so our economies don’t completely collapse,” he said.

And things are even worse in Liberia.  The Washington Post says that Liberia is descending “into economic hell”…

Liberia, the West African nation hardest it by Ebola, has begun a frightening descent into economic hell.

That’s the import of three recent reports from international organizations that seem to bear out the worst-case scenarios of months ago: that people would abandon the fields and factories, that food and fuel would become scarce and unaffordable, and that the government’s already meager capacity to help, along with the nation’s prospects for a better future, would be severely compromised.

If thousands of people start getting Ebola in major cities all over America, the same thing will happen here too.

A major Ebola pandemic in America would mean an almost total economic shutdown and basic essentials would start disappearing from the marketplace almost immediately.  Just check out what is happening in Liberia even as you read this…

The basic necessities of survival in Liberia — food, transportation, work, money, help from the government — are rapidly being depleted, according to recent reports by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Even though economic demand would drop through the floor for most things, prices for food and other essential supplies tend to skyrocket during a major emergency.  The IMF says that the inflation rate will hit approximately 13 percent in Liberia by the end of the year even though economic activity has declined dramatically.  It is going to become extremely challenging for most families over there to feed themselves.

And as economic activity withers, tax revenues also dry up.  Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are all facing massive revenue shortfalls, and they are asking for international assistance.

But if the same thing happened in the United States, do you think the rest of the world would send us lots of money to help us pay our bills?

I don’t think so.

Needless to say, an Ebola outbreak is not good for financial markets either.  News of the confirmed case of Ebola in Texas helped push down the Dow more than 238 points on Wednesday, and airline stocks in particular declined sharply.

If there are no more confirmed cases of Ebola in Texas, things will probably get back to normal for U.S. markets.

But if Ebola does start spreading and cases start popping up all over the country, that could be just the thing to burst our massive stock market bubble.

Let us hope that this is just a false alarm.

Let us hope that our public health authorities have everything under control.

Nobody should want to see thousands (or potentially millions) of fellow Americans get sick and die.

Unfortunately, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before another major pandemic of some sort ravages this nation.

When that happens, will our fragile economy be able to handle the shock?

RussiaToday: Brazilian army, drug gang members exchange fire

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Fighting between the Brazilian army and drug gang members continues in a Rio de Janeiro slum. At least one person – a suspected gang member – has been killed in the fighting.

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Former Czech President Blasts “The West’s Lies About Russia Are Monstrous”

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zerohedge.com / by Neil Clark, originally posted at The Spectator on 10/01/2014 18:32

Václav Klaus has made a habit of saying things others shy away from saying, but it doesn’t seem to have done him much harm in the popularity stakes. Quite the opposite: the 73-year-old ardently Eurosceptic free-marketeer has legitimate claims to be regarded as the most successful ‘true blue’ conservative politician in Europe over the past 25 years. He was, after all, prime minister of the Czech Republic from 1992 to 1998 and then his country’s president for a further ten years, from 2003 to 2013.

So when we meet after a typically hearty Serbian lunch — at the International Science and Public Conference in Belgrade — I am keen to ask if he has any advice for David Cameron and the British Conservative party.

‘I was invited to a conference last year in Windsor which was called the Conservative Renewal Conference,’ he says. ‘I made a speech in which I asked the question: “Do you really need a renewal — or don’t you think it would be sufficient to have a return?” My speech stressed the need to return to standard conservative ideas and approaches. I am afraid the current leadership of the Conservative party are not exactly doing that.’

Klaus’s message clearly resonates more with activists than with the serial ‘modernisers’ at the top of the party. ‘After I had finished my speech, two or three older ladies came up to me and said, “It was like Maggie’s speech!” So I find the Conservative party now rather confused in its ideas. The party is playing with the green ideas in a way I can’t accept.’

Klaus is not too keen — to say the least — about another element of the ‘modernising’ agenda. ‘The same-sex marriages and all that stuff about family, to put it broadly, is for me another tragic misunderstanding by the current leaders of the party and I am very sorry about that.’

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Thanks to BrotherJohnF

ZeroHedge: Ebola In America: The Confirmed Case In Dallas, Texas Could Change Everything

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Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The day that many of us hoped would never arrive is here.  Ebola has come to America.  Air travel between the United States and the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone should have been totally shut down except for absolutely essential personnel but it wasn't.  And now our nation may end up paying a great price as a result.  On Tuesday, the CDC announced that there is a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas.  We know that this individual is a male and that he traveled by air from Liberia to Texas on September 19th.  At that time, he was not exhibiting any symptoms.  It is being reported that he started developing symptoms on September 24th and that he sought out treatment two days later.  Incredibly, he was turned away and sent home.  Then on September 28th he went to a hospital again and this time he was admitted for treatment.  That means that he could have potentially been spreading Ebola to others for at least four full days before finally getting treated at a hospital.  Now he is in intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  The CDC says that "there is no doubt that we will stop it here" and is promising that "it will not spread widely in this country".  The CDC better be right on both counts.

At this point, the CDC is admitting that it is not known if others have been infected by this individual.  The CDC also says that it is tracking down everyone that he has been in contact with.  But over four days in a major U.S. Read more »

via zerohedge

RussiaToday: White House issues warning to Israel over settlement expansion

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Washington harshly criticized Israel’s decision to move forward with new settlements in east Jerusalem, adding that the plan could alienate Tel Aviv from “even its closest allies.”

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Ebola Crisis, America Headed For Lockdown? Gold, Silver & Fed

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kingworldnews.com / October 1, 2014

Today one of the legends in the business warned King World News about the Ebola crisis and the possibility of America being headed for a lockdown.  Keith Barron, who consults with major companies around the world and is responsible for one of the largest gold discoveries in the last quarter century, also what is happening with the gold and silver markets.

Barron:  “Yesterday I traveled through Denver International Airport.  I was watching the news in one of the airport restaurants and the story was being about the person infected with Ebola, who had traveled through Dallas International Airport and is now in a hospital in Dallas.  It’s now a confirmed case of Ebola by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)….

Continue reading the Keith Barron interview below…

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Thanks to BrotherJohnF

Meet FireChat – How Hong Kong Protesters are Communicating Without the Internet

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libertyblitzkrieg.com / Michael Krieger / Oct 1, 2014

Wired first reported on a new iOS app called FireChat back in late March. It described it in the following manner:

A new iOS app called FireChat is blowing up in the App Store. But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir, it’s the underlying networking technology it taps into.

The idea behind FireChat is simple. It’s a chatting app. After registering with a name — no email address or other personal identifiers required — you’re dropped into a fast-moving chatroom of “Everyone” using it in your country. The interesting aspect, however, is the “Nearby” option. Here, the app uses Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity framework, essentially a peer-to-peer feature that lets you share messages (and soon photos) with other app users nearby, regardless of whether you have an actual Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

You read that correctly. You’re able to send and receive messages even when you don’t have a data connection. FireChat accomplishes this magic by allowing each device to connect directly to others nearby using Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, or traditional Wi-Fi networks.Because you’re connecting directly with other users, you don’t actually need to be connected over Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

Apple gives a good high-level overview of how the Multipeer Connectivity Framework works on its developer site. Basically, your phone goes through separate discover and session phases. In the former, the app browses for other users nearby while simultaneously broadcasting to peers that it is available to connect to. This allows you to be invited into a “session” with multiple users all daisy-chained together. Once a session invitation is accepted, you can directly communicate with those other users independent of a cellular signal or Wi-Fi access. This creates what’s known as a wireless mesh network.

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Thanks to BrotherJohnF

How New Jersey’s Creeping Wage Hikes Are Crippling Mom-And-Pop Restaurants

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zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden on 10/01/2014 18:01

Another day, another unintended consequence of the socialist state’s eagerness to “make things better” for everyone, blowing up in its face.

For today’s anecdote we go to New Jersey where legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, D-Paterson which passed in the Assembly’s Labor Committee on a party-line vote last March, calls for an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers. It would increase the federal minimum of $2.13 per hour to $3.39 by the end of this year and $5.93 by 2016.

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Thanks to BrotherJohnF