Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 2012

Moment of reckoning: Pseudo-State in Lebanon at a cross-road

If you need credible statistics on Lebanon, the best institution with a comprehensive power and knowledge is the Finance Ministry.

Currently, the pseudo-State in Lebanon has to support 180,000 public servants, constituting 16% of the total work force. You have to add 20,000 public servants camouflage under private companies, their chairmen and managers appointed by the government such as Casino du Liban, the Middle-East airline, Intra financial institution…

The ratio of public servants was 10% five years ago.

The cost amount to $5 bn or 12% of Lebanon GNP

The government has also to service a public debt that reached 135% of the GNP, and subsidize the public electricity with $2 bn a year…

It is no surprise that Lebanon Central Bank has desisted in producing yearly balance sheet since 2002. Why?

Most of the credits are being borrowed internally from local banks that are growing richer and more omnipotent in every economical sector: The banks own most of the wealth in Lebanon, alongside the religious real estates…

The economy of Lebanon has not increased in the last 2 years.

What a pseudo-State, run by oligarchic confessional powers and financed by banks, can do to reform the inevitable structural financial and economic calamities?

So far, the pseudo-State has lavished wage increases and bonuses on particular institutions (like the officers in the army and internal security agencies, the institutions directly linked to the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Parliament and the President of the Republic…) and denied any cost of living increases to most public institution in the last 20 years.

In the last 20 years, special “Black Boxes” were allocated to the Prime Ministers (Calamity Box) and reconstruction of downtown Beirut(starting with late Rafic Hariri), Chairman of the Parliament Nabih Berry (South Box), Walid Jumblatt (Relocation of refugees Box)…

Many wage increases are on books but have never been disbursed…

The vast majority of public servants such as the public school teachers (60,000) are demonstrating for a reform of their chain of ranks and salaries that didn’t change in the last 20 years. They refuse to correct the public exams until the government signs on what has been agreed on a year ago…

The government is solvable, but it has been bled to death by the oligarchy since 1993.

In 1983, the dollar was worth 3 Lebanese pounds and suddenly the financial system collapsed and the dollar was worth 3,000 LB.  The currency went to hell and the citizens became slaves to the warlords militia (still receiving foreign money) in order to survive. The dollar is currently worth 1,500 LB…

This selective hiring of unqualified public servants, allocated to the confessional political leaders, has driven the government to the wall. The two main consequences are:

1. The private sector is no longer able to support the growing needs of the government to satisfy decisions not related to fundamental economic and financial policies. Actually, the government has been increasing direct and indirect taxes on every service and commodities for the past 7 years.

2. The public servants potential salary increase demands are not sustainable for the medium-term. The short-term policies do not match the capabilities for satisfying frequent demands, which are fair, but not possible within this political/social structure.

The government and the political system are sending the strong message that they are impotent to resolving any single trouble ravaging Lebanon.

Every clerics with a hundred followers thinks that he has the right to block the entrance to major cities for political demands that are of no concern to the citizens. The self-appointed Sunni cleric Al Assir (extradited by England) has been blocking for a month the main highway to the third city of Saida. His installed his tents and is preaching the dismantlement of the military branch of Hezbollah… The government and the local leaders didn’t show any resolve to break off this “civil disobedience”. Why? Al Assir is being funded and supported by foreign powers (Saudi Arabia and Qatar…)

North of Lebanon is fast becoming a “liberated area” for the Syrian insurgents to come and exit at will. The army didn’t receive any order to close off the borders and control the flux of the refugees, reaching 30,000 so far.  The most dangerous climate is that many of these Syrian insurgents in Lebanon have been engaged in kidnapping for ransom and had committed crimes before “fleeing” to Lebanon. The government is claiming that it didn’t spend a dime on caring for the refugees, that Denmark and the UN are funding the relocations of these refugees…

Turkey and Jordan totally control their borders with Syria. Not a single Syrian can return to Syria without proper approved papers, and not a single piece of arm can enter Syria without the approval of the State government…

The army in Lebanon is asked to play the internal security function with archaic arms and equipments. And the internal security forces (well armed, well paid and well fed) are to be private guards to the hundreds of oligarchs…

About 3,000 temporary contract workers have been investing the main headquarter, for over a month, of the public electricity, blocking streets, open sit-in, occupying the administrative building, waging strikes, marches, harassing the public employees…cutting electricity and preventing the normal functioning of the public servants for entering any institution related to power generation and distribution. Why?

The political oligarchy has created pseudo private companies to “facilitate the job” of the Ministry of Electricity and Water. These companies are mainly financed by the government under contracts and their managers and directors appointed by the oligarchs. The temporary workers were assigned by the oligarchs. The government is short on liquidity and these pseudo companies want to unload of surplus temp. workers and want the government to hire them as public servants on fixed jobs…

Most of these temp. workers have been hired less than three years ago and most of them have no qualifications as public servants. The Chairman of the Parliament Nabih Berry, Samir Geaja (Lebanese Forces), and the Hariri clan have been supporting the movement of these temp.workers “for their well-earned rights”… against all odds and regulations…

Signs and banners by the daily contract workers state: “We are Lebanese not for sale”; “The gift of fanaticism and sectarianism to the Lebanese”…

Why the government has to absorb these workers?

For the last 20 years, the oligarchs planned to privatize the public electricity for a dime, and refused to fund any programs and projects meant to make this institution profitable…

In 2010, the government was forced to vote on a comprehensive plan for delivering electricity 24 hours a day by the year 2016, but all programs were halted for “lack of budget” and all kinds of excuses….

Lebanon is fast drifting to the moment of reckoning: Either a vast and successful civil disobedience movement intent on changing the political system or facing another looming civil war with the same basic political conditions, as the previous one in 1975, forming and gaining strength.

The army, if it is meant to stay unified, must be financed by the civil disobedience movement and not expect to be at beck of the oligarchy and confessional system, and keeping dialogue and communication opened with the movement.

The movement should start collecting taxes directly from the citizens and disbursing the fund to the most critical institutions for smooth running of the country.

Note 1: Information on the public servants in Lebanon was taken from an article by Jihad Zein, published in the daily Al Nahar.

Note 2: Lebanon “economy” is based on three sectors: Banking, Real Estates, and all kinds of trafficking that are raking most of the revenues and barely pay taxes. The political system refuses to tax these sectors and prefers to target the hard working and producing sectors that are barely standing and not getting any state support or assistance.

The banks in Lebanon have increased their initial share of $146 million in 1993 to $15 bn in the last 2 decades and making 1.5 bn in profit every year. The banks in Lebanon reap 4.5 times more profit what the banks in the Western States generate, and refuse to increase their share in taxation from 5 to 7%.

The Real Estates developers are generating $10 bn a year in revenue and pay no taxes.

People in Lebanon are surviving on expatriate generosity.

Advertisements

I am still in a blank: What happened in the bus at airport of Burgas (Bulgaria)?

On July 18, a”terrorist” blew himself in a busload of Israelis and US citizen “tourists” from the seashore airport of Burgas (on the Black Sea) to where?

Information seeping through were scarce and it stopped completely on its track: The story had to be covered up, and we have the right to be suspicious of the real story…

Meanwhile, and for a couple of days, Israel blamed Iran and Hezbollah and rogue States for the suicide attack and moved its army to the borders with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria…

Israel military officially welcomed the dead 5 Israeli “tourists” at Tel Aviv airport. Are they tourists or a covert team on a mission planned and organized in cooperation with the US? Has this team finished its mission and was planning of enjoying quality time in Varna? Has the covert mission been “uncovered” and the team was to be disposed of…? Particularly that it “coincided” with the assassination of 5 of the highest Syrian ranking officers…

Apparently, the 36 year-old blond “terrorist” man spent 4 days in Bulgaria, and resided for 48 hours in the resort of Varna in company with a girl. He entered Bulgaria from Roumania? And from where did the Israeli and US tourists come? I bet from Roumania too…

A second parter activated the 3 kg of Trolite that the man carried in his backpack…

How this tourist entered Bulgaria? Why insisting on a faked driving license from Michigan State? Had he entered without a passport? Was whisked in…?

I am still in a blank: after a week of the incident, intelligence pieces are scarce and not that informative.

Was the covert plot “uncovered” and the team was to be sacrificed by the undercover blond guy?

Turkey should be on high alert as Syria is disintegrating: Israel secret agents are flooding Bulgaria, Roumania and every other State around the Black Sea. Turkey has to keep a low profile on Syria and tend for more serious dangers coming its way, and not from the Syrian regime…

I am still in a blank. Do you have any clear pieces of intelligence?

Is it the less information the better in critical split-second decision cases?

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago)

ER of Cook County Hospital (Chicago) on West Harriston Street, close to downtown, was built at the turn of last century. I was home of the world’s first blood bank, cobalt-beam therapy, surgeons attaching severed fingers, famous trauma center for gangs’ gunshot wounds and injuries…and most famous for the TV series ER, and George Cluny

In the mid 90’s. the ER welcomed 250,000 patients a year, mostly homeless and health non-insured patients… Smart patients would come the first thing in the morning to the ER and pack a lunch and a dinner.  Long lines crowded the walls of the cavernous corridors…

There were no air-conditioners: During the summer heat waves, the heat index inside the hospital reached 120 degrees. An administrator didn’t last 8 seconds in the middle of one of the wards.

There were no private rooms and patients were separated by plywood dividers.

There were no cafeteria or private phones: The single public phone was at the end of the hall.

One bathroom served all that crowd of patients.

There was a single light switch: You wanted to light a room and the entire hospital had to light up…

The big air fans, the radios and TV that patients brought with them (to keep company), the nurses’ bell buzzing non-stop and no free nurses around… rendered the ER a crazy place to treat emergency cases

Asthma cases were numerous: Chicago was the world worst in patients suffering from asthma…

Protocols had to be created to efficiently treat asthma cases, chest pain cases, homeless patients…

About 30 patients a day converged to the ER complaining of chest pains (potential heart attack worries) and there were only 20 beds in two wards for these cases.

It cost $2,000 a night per bed for serious intensive care, and about $1,000 for the lesser care (nurses instead of cardiologists tending to the chest pain patient…)

A third ward was created as observation unit for half a day patients.  Was there any rational protocol to decide in which ward the chest-pain patient should be allocated to? It was the attending physician call, and most of the decisions were wrong, except for the most obvious heart attack cases…

In the 70’s, cardiologist Lee Goldman borrowed the statistical rules of a group of mathematicians for telling apart subatomic particles. Goldman fed a computer data of hundreds of files of heart attack cases and crunched the numbers into a “predictive equation” or model.

Four key risk factors emerged as the most critical telltale of a real heart attack case:

1. ECG (the ancient electrocardiogram graph) showing acute ischemia

2. unstable angina pain

3, fluid in the lungs

4. systolic blood pressure under 100…

A decision tree was fine-tuned to decide on serious cases. For example:

1. ECG is normal but at least two key risk factors are positive

2. ECG is abnormal with at leat one risk factor positive…These kinds of decision trees…

The trouble was that physicians insisted on letting discriminating factors muddle their decisions. For example, statistics had shown that “normally” females do not suffer heart attack until old age, and thus a young female might be sent home (and die the same night) more often than middle-aged black or older white males patients…

Brendan Reilly, chairman of the hospital department of Medicine, decided to try Goldman decision tree.  Physicians were to try the tree and their own instincts for a period.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the Goldman algorithm…

It turned out that, if the physician was not bombarded with dozens of pieces of intelligence and just followed the decision tree, he was better off in the allocation to ward process…

For example, a nurse should record all the necessary information of the patients (smoker, age, gender, overweight, job stress, physical activities, high blood pressure, blood sugar content, family history for heart attacks, sweating tendencies, prior heart surgeries,…), but the attending physician must receive quickly the results of the 4 key risk factors to decide on…

Basically, the physician could allocate the patient to the proper ward without even seeing the individual and be influenced by extraneous pieces of intelligence that are not serious today, but could be potential hazards later on or even tomorrow…

Mind you that in order to save on medical malpractice suits, physicians and nurses treating a patient must Not send the patient any signals that can be captured as “contempt”, feeling invisible and insignificant  https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/what-type-of-hated-surgeons-gets-harassed-with-legal-malpractice-suits/

Many factors are potential predictors for heart attack cases, but they are minor today, for quick decisions…

No need to overwhelm with irrelevant information at critical time.  Analytic reasoning and snap judgment are neither good or bad: Either method is bad at the inappropriate circumstances.

In the “battle field” the less the information coming in, the less the communication streams and the better the rapid cognition decisions of field commanders…

All you need to know is the “forecast” and not the numbers of temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure…

Note: post inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Prescription painkiller Vicodin connected to the Batman killer? And what else…?

Anthony Gucciardi published in  NaturalSociety on July 23:
“Like virtually all massacre shooters before him, the notorious Batman shooter James Holmes is now reported to have been taking hardcore pharmaceutical drugs.

In Holmes’ case, it happens that they are very same drugs that ultimately led to the early death of actor Heath Ledger who played The Joker in a previous Batman. With a fix for ‘altering his state of mind’, the Batman shooter was heavily hooked on the prescription painkiller Vicodin. Holmes even reportedly dosed up on a pharmaceutical cocktail just before the shooting.

Side effects of Vicodin use, even at ‘recommended’ level, includealtered mental states’ and ‘unusual thoughts or behavior’. (Besides shooting live munitions, what kinds of mind alterations…?)

Holmes actually told police that he was The Joker.

The statements made by Holmes were even curious to many friends and relatives, who said just a year ago “Holmes was seen as an ‘all-American boy’ with an affinity for his family.

It appears what changed was the Batman shooter’s decision to begin altering his mental state with prescription drug abuse. Abuse which may have far extended beyond painkillers and potentially included psychotropic drugs — the very same drugs that almost every single massacre shooter have taken.

On his online dating profile, Holmes refuses to answer the question as to whether or not he uses drugs and to what extent. In response to the question, Homes writes “prefer not to say.”

Prescription painkillers alone have been shown to be even deadlier and more damaging than many illegal drugs.

In 2008, more Americans died from pharmaceuticals painkillers than illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin combined. Going even further, statistical analysis reveals that prescription drug deaths outnumber fatal traffic accidents. One reason for this is the change in mental activity, which can potentially lead to destructive and radical behavior.

In fact, more than 12 million individuals in the United States reported taking prescription painkillers ‘purely for the high‘ that they cause instead of their intended purpose.

As more information comes out on the case, it will likely reveal an increasingly deep history of prescription drug abuse on behalf of Holmes. Just as the Columbine incident continued to develop into a horrific story of drug abuse and an obsession with mind alteration, it appears this case will follow a similar trend.” End of article

And I wonder:  Why there are always explanations for Western mass killers, but “the Arab/Islamist terrorists” are described as hard-wired for mischief?

As if the thousands of mass killing of civilians by drones, depleted uranium missiles, cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs are not of any direct cause for this hatred?

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/batman-shooter-james-holmes-on-pharmaceutical-drugs/#ixzz21XXpAHxa

Another wave of refugees: Om Jamal crossing the borders from Syria to Lebanon…

Bradley Secker in Reyhanli, Turkey, wrote in USA Today (with slight editing) 

Om Jamal, 39, is crossing the borders from Syria to Lebanon. Her village is part of the region of Reef Qusayr, southwest of Homs,where people of different faiths have lived together since antiquity. Qusayr is among the latest areas to be engulfed by violence: the military has pounded it with artillery for months.

The uprising turned the region into a bloody battleground. Villagers refuse to surrender, fathers bury sons hurriedly every day, and doctors struggle to save civilians sliced by shrapnel.

Om Jamal says: “There is a boy who is shell-shocked and hasn’t moved, and babies have stopped nursing from their mothers. There’s no way we can handle this anymore. We are going insane over it.”

The violence has intensified in Syria in recent weeks, particularly after the assassination of  5 highest ranking officers, forcing thousands of people to the borders of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.

Fighting in the capital of Damascus ebbed Tuesday but raged in the commercial hub of Aleppo, where attack helicopters rocketed apartment buildings shielding armed rebels and frightened residents.

Refugee camps outside Syria’s borders are growing. People search for relatives and friends to see who has made it out.

Ahmed, a pharmacist from the city of Al Bab, says: “The Syrian government is firing about 20 to 30 mortars at my town every day. I have two children aged 2 and 5. It’s very difficult for them to hear the bombing each night. They can’t sleep.”

In the past week, the United Nations estimate that 18,000 people have fled Syria for Lebanon. In total, nearly 115,000 Syrians have registered as refugees with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees since March 2011.

The true number of refugees is probably higher since most refugees do not register, said Dana Sleiman, spokesperson for the agency in Lebanon.

People have streamed in all week from villages such as Ain Al-Tennour. Syrian state TV reported Tuesday that regime forces had destroyed “terrorist headquarters” in Ain Al-Tennour, referring to a base of the coalition of military defectors known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Wadi Khaled, a border region of North Lebanon, people from Ain Al-Tennour said every woman and child in the village left. Their husbands, brothers and sons stayed behind to defend what is left of the village.

Om Mohamed, 35, who fled with her five children says: “I was helping my husband before, but those shabiha thugs] will come in, and they don’t spare women or children. We’re not afraid of their weapons. We’re afraid of our honor, that we would be raped.”

Ain Al-Tennour is among 40 or so villages that surround Qusayr. As the battle for the nearby city of Homs escalated at the end of 2011, virtually all trading stopped with Qusayr. Shelves emptied of food and families relied on handouts.

Om Khaled, 39, who escaped with her four children says: “Things got really bad last month. We had several days without even bread. The Free Syrian Army sometimes gives us food, but they don’t have much.”

“There was a shelling in the barn at night when a child went to milk the cow,” said Om Jamal. “The shell blew the cow to pieces. I ran outside and found the girl. She was standing there in shock, barely wounded; her skirt was burnt and covered with dust.”

Abu Ahmed, 40, arrived in Lebanon a month ago with his six children after the military set fire to his house. He has crossed back into Syria many times to help others escape.

Ahmed says the Lebanese help the refugees: “here are good people there who are sympathizing with us,”

But even Lebanon is not safe. Syrian troops have attacked areas of Wadi Khaled as recently as early July.

“I never thought Bashar Assad would last this long,” Om Mohamed said. “I thought he would step aside without doing what’s he’s doing to us. But he’s a man who is not afraid of God.”

Note: Editors in Washington cut out the sections that refer to Lebanese Shia helping refugees with shelter and transportation, which challenges the sectarian narrative of the Syrian regime and Israel.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-07-24/syria-refugees-assad/56466606/1

 

Any differences between behavior priming and brainwashing?

Have you submitted to a scrambled-sentence test? For example, rectify these sentences:

1. him was worried she always

2. from are Florida orange temperature

3. shoes give replace old the…

How quickly do you think you can work out each scrambled sentence? Do you think on any thinking else when being tested? Surely not.

Suppose among the ten scrambled sentences there are words such as worried, Florida, old, lonely, gray, bingo, wrinkle, forgetfull…scattered throughout the sentences…Is there anything common among these words?

Undergraduate students participating in these tests, behaved for a short time as old people do after the test: They invariably walked slowly, back bent…

The unconscious Big Brain was picking up on these common denominator words, behind its locked door…

The unconscious mind got the clues and was telling the body of the test-taker: “We are in an environment that is concerned about old age. We better behave accordingly…”

The unconscious mind is acting as a mental valet, taking care of minor details to act accordingly, so that we can be freed to focus on the main problem at hand…

John Bargh experimented with two groups of undergraduate students. Group One worked scrambled sentences sprinkled with words such as aggressively, bold, rude, bother, disturb, intrude, infringe…

Group Two worked with words like respect, consideration, appreciate, patiently, yield, polite and courteous…

After the test, each student had to walk the corridor to an office to meet with the principal researcher. A confederate researcher was to block the entrance of the door and converse with the main researcher, a long and pretty boring conversation…

Group One subjects ended the conversation and barged into the office within 5 minutes. Group Two subject waited for the conversation to end before getting in. Group Two students could have waited for much longer if the protocol was not set for only 10 minutes of conversation…

There are these mental clinical cases called ventromedial pre-frontal cortex,  a part of the brain situated behind the nose.  When this part is damaged, the individual is unable of judgment and making decision. The patient is functional, intelligent and highly rational but lacks judgment. For example, if the patient is asked to choose between two appointment dates, he will analyse and offer all kinds of pros and cons for 30 minutes and still be unable to decide on any date… The mental valet is not working in this case to guide and orient the patient toward more important tasks at hand…

When mentioning a brainwashed mind, you visualize someone robbing a bank or doing violent acts without his full will, or being induced to describe details of his childhood against his will…

Maybe there is a subtle factor or a catalyst that shifts behavioral priming into the qualitative condition of brainwashing

I posit that brainwashing is very much like priming a brain, but done on successive and frequent occasions, verging on a continuous situation where the mental valet is working full-time and barely able to liberate the mind to focus on more important tasks to reflect on…

Think of totalitarian regimes of communism or the Catholic Church dominion in Europe for 9 centuries of the dark Middle Age period. People had to navigate an environment of restrictions and limitation in ideas, opinions, objects, products, hair style, fashion…

You may read about the priming of the thief-program in the link of note 2.

Note 1: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/deterministic-or-free-will-behavior-what-is-priming-the-thief-program/


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

Blog Stats

  • 1,037,694 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 513 other followers

%d bloggers like this: