With all of the claims of scandal surrounding the Benghazi attacks of 2012 it is easy to lose sight of the actual facts of the case.
While our political leaders are focused on finger-pointing and enthralled in the blame game, any lessons learned from the incident are quickly being forgotten or even worse not even being brought to light.
Our political leaders need to be less concerned about saving face and more concerned about saving Americans. If our political leaders cannot understand the difference, then it is our duty as Americans to oust those politicians and replace them with those who are in touch with reality. It is time to look past the politics and start putting Americans first.
When news broke of the Benghazi attacks, a flurry of information began to be reported by the media. Some of it was speculation; while some of it was corroborated by the U.S. government.
Then, there was information that was speculated AND corroborated by the government. One such example is the idea that the attack was spontaneous and erupted out of demonstrations protesting the film âInnocence of Muslimsâ.
However, later evidence supported the idea that the attack was planned. This misinformation has been seen by some as a deliberate attempt by the current administration âcover-upâ a terrorist attack.
Two weeks after the attacks, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, stated:
âI do not understand the continuance of the president to look the other way and not admit the fact that this was obviously a terrorist attack.â (1)
E-mails and Talking Points
Read it all at Top Secret Writers.
What psychiatryâs new diagnostic manual means for people on the autism spectrum.
The autism community is a fractious bunch. We argue over the causes of autism, the best treatments, or even if it should be treated at all. But we do share a common anxiety: the DSM-5. This latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, released by the American Psychiatric Association this month, officially eliminates many familiar autism spectrum diagnoses. Aspergerâs syndrome (typically applied to those with no intellectual disability or language deficit); pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (generally given to higher-functioning individuals who may not meet all the criteria for autism); and childhood disintegrative disorder (attached to kids who develop typically and then experience severe regression after the age of 3) are now incorporated into the single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. This anxiety ranges from a mild concern on the part of some parents to angry protest: More than 8,000 people signed an online petition circulated by the Global and Regional Aspergerâs Syndrome Partnership; another petition sponsored by Aspergerâs Association of New England received 5,400 signatures.
The logic behind the changes seems sound. âThere wasnât any evidence after 17 years that [the DSM-IV diagnoses] reflected reality,â says Bryan King, director of Seattle Childrenâs Autism Center, who served on the APA task force charged with revamping the diagnosis. âThere was no consistency in the way Aspergerâs or PDD-NOS was applied.â In fact, a 2011 study by Catherine Lord (another member of the task force) and more than 35 colleagues reported, âIn these 12 university-based sites, with research clinicians selected for their expertise in ASD and trained in using standardized instruments, there was great variation in how best-estimate clinical diagnoses within the autism spectrum (i.e., autistic disorder, PDD-NOS, Aspergerâs disorder) were assigned to individual children.â In other words, the diagnoses children received depended largely on where they were diagnosed.
Yet those diagnoses had serious implications. Certain states provide services for children diagnosed with autism but not for those diagnosed with Aspergerâs. âIt was difficult to get kids with Aspergerâs services because their deficits can be subtle, so they were left on their own to some degree,â says Matthew Siegel, director of the Developmental Disorders Program at Spring Harbor Hospital in Maine. And itâs not just those with Aspergerâs who have been shortchanged by the current system, says Stewart Newman, who treats kids from all parts of the spectrum at Mind Matters PC in Oregon. He has spent many hours advocating for his patients with educators who had âa lack of clarity about what the diagnosis of PDD-NOS in particular meant, and how the children should be characterized for special services.â Newman says the DSM-5 criteria âwill create a common language we can use when we talk with school systems, parents, and other doctors, and it will mean the same thing for everyone, which will be really helpful.â
But outside the psychiatric field, many people defend the current diagnostic distinctions. Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University, wrote in a 2009 editorial in the New York Times that Aspergerâs may be a biologically distinct syndrome; his team identified 14 genes that might be associated with the condition. A 2012 study of more than 540 Australian health and education professionals found that 93 percent thought there was a real difference between autism and Aspergerâs. Just over half of the respondents were opposed to the consolidation of the diagnoses, while less than a quarter supported it.
And the parents I spoke to all felt that the old system worked just fine. There is real mistrust on the part of some, who suspect the new criteria were designed to exclude higher-functioning kids from a diagnosis and thereby deny them services. âThere are those of us who see this as a blowback to the increased awareness generated by advocates,â says Mark Olson, the father of an autistic daughter and the founder of LTO Ventures, a Nevada-based nonprofit that develops residential communities for autistic adults. Tom Hibben, father of a 10-year-old boy with Aspergerâs and author of the Adventures in Aspergerâs blog, agrees: âIt really seems to us like theyâre changing the guidelines to affect the prevalence rate.â
Read more HERE.
Oxfam claims $18.47 trillion held in ‘tax havens’ as EU leaders meet to discussÂ solutions
UK-linked tax havens are the biggest G8 culprits
People using tax havens are depriving the world of more than $150 billion (ÂŁ100bn) in lost revenue, enough money to end extreme poverty twice over, according to new figures published today by Oxfam.Â
A high proportion of this tax dodging is taking place on David Cameron and George Osborne’s watch. Of the $18.47 trillion (ÂŁ12tn) that Oxfam estimates is being held by individuals in tax havens around the globe, over a third – $7.18 trillion (ÂŁ4.7tn) – is sitting in accounts in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. Despite the fact a deal was done earlier this month to get some of these tax havens to be more transparent and share tax information, and David Cameron’s letter to Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies this week, there is no tax deal on the table that will benefit poor countries who are struggling to reclaim the billions of pounds they are owed.
The international agency said it is a moral outrage and a scandal that this is taking desperately needed cash from poor countries as well as from citizens who are being hit by austerity measures closer to home.
Emma Seery, Oxfam’s Head of Development Finance and Public Services, said: “These figures put the UK at the centre of a global tax system that is a colossal betrayal of people here and in the poorest countries who are struggling to get by, and put the government on the side of the privileged few. If they want to get on the right side of this debate, now is the time to take action.
“Britain’s credibility is on the line; talking tough on tax, whilst continuing to usher a third of the world’s wealth into UK tax havens, risks making a mockery of David Cameron’s leadership at the G8 Summit in June.”
Today in Brussels, David Cameron will attend an EU Summit where European Heads of State and Government will turn their attention to the unfair global tax system. The EU also needs to take serious action because two thirds of offshore wealth – $12.29 trillion (over ÂŁ8 trn) – is sitting untaxed in European linked tax havens (including those linked to the UK). Oxfam is calling for a blacklist of tax havens, and agreement that EU member states will impose countermeasures sanctions against tax havens and those using them. The EU looks set to fail on this simple task.
Read it all HERE>
New PTSD drug may allow vets to reprogram traumatic memories
Researchers claim to have found a promising new therapy in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the syndrome affecting thousands of U.S. military veterans. According to Wired magazine, the Pentagon has authorized $11 million in funding for trials of the drugÂ D-Cycloserine (DCS), which appears to help wipe away the fear associated with traumatic memories.
The new funding is going to three of the top PTSD research centers in the country: Emory University, the University of Southern California andÂ New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Doctors at the three research hubs will combine exposure therapy, an established treatment for PTSD, with doses of DCS, which is administered just prior to the exposure session, and seems to mitigate the fear and upset attached to violent, traumatic memories.
Dr. Barbara Rothbaum, the leader of the Emory team, told Wired, âWe already know that exposure therapy is an effective [therapy] for PTSD, and we want to figure out how to optimize it.Â I really think that this study will move beyond the theoretical. We can rescue people.â
Read it all HERE.
Michelle Obama once dated inspector general at the center of IRS investigation into anti-tea party political favoritism
What to say if you are audited by the IRS.
A Keynesian Victory, but Austerity Stands Firm
To go by the statements of most mainstream economists, one would be forgiven for believing this is the best of times for Keynesian economics.
Fans of John Maynard Keynes, the renowned early 20th-century economist who developed the theory on how nations could dig themselves out of an economic downturn, have been running victory laps since the collapse last month of the claim by the Harvard economists Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff that economies tend to slow significantly after government debt reaches 90 percent of gross domestic product.
Then, as if on cue, the number-crunchers in Brussels announced last week that the economy of the euro area countries â which have been following a decidedly non-Keynesian path â shrank yet again at the beginning of the year. It was the regionâs sixth quarterly contraction in a row.
The confluence of events provided further evidence of Keynesâs central proposition: when consumers and businesses set out to reduce their debt burden, and private spending and investment stall, it is the governmentâs job to borrow, spend and pick up the slack.
Read it all HERE.
Elke Sommer and a Thompson.