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Does Germany Want to Survive?

All the signs point to an almost complete lack of will to survive on the part of the German people. Maybe the two world wars and decades of “de-nazification” was just too much for Germany.
The latest news is that Germany is refusing to spend just 2% of its GDP on its own defense (Israel spends 5.4% of its GDP on defense). The BBC reports:
Calls by the Trump administration for Germany and other Nato partners to increase spending on defence have been rejected by Germany.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was “quite unrealistic” to believe Germany would spend 2% of its economic output on the military.
Other spending such as development aid, he said, should be taken into account.
However, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg echoed US calls for member states to pay an equal proportion.
In other words, Germany should be protected by the USA so that it can continue to spend its money on foreign aid. Devex reports:
German ODA [official development assistance] increased by 26 percent in 2015, with the country spending $17.8 billion — or .52 percent of its gross national income — on official development assistance that year. That was the largest development budget Germany has ever had, and it goes against the trend of declining ODA among other major donors, including the U.S. and Australia. Much of that increase in budget is due to the money the country has spent on refugees, which hit $171 million in 2014, $3.5 billion in 2015, and is expected to have doubled from 2015 to 2016.
Between 2016 and 2019, German development aid is expected to increase by more than $8.9 billion than initially planned, not including refugee costs. Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble cited the “increasingly difficult international environment” as the reason for this 8.3 billion euros in additional funding — which the German media reported on widely given that it was the largest increase in the country’s history.
So, Germany has tens of billions of euros to spend on supporting millions of people from a primitive culture and hostile religion… but it is “unrealistic” for it to spend just 2% of its money on defense. The Independent reports:
German states spent more than €20bn (£17.5bn) on refugees in 2016, government figures have indicated as Angela Merkel continues to come under pressure for her policy on migration.
…Germany’s government has drawn up a new package of refugee funding for state authorities, as well as plunging money into new housing construction to prevent migrants sleeping in emergency accommodation like school gymnasiums and military barracks.
It seems clear that Germany as a whole lacks the will to survive. It is most dedicated to bringing in hostile aliens and doesn’t care about defending its borders or people. But it is highly concerned with covering up the mass sexual abuse of German women by Muslim immigrants.
The German federal election which is scheduled for September is coming down to a race between Angela Merkel’s allegedly conservative Christian Democrats and Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats. Merkel’s party favors mass Third World immigration and says 2% military spending is “unrealistic.” Schulz’s party favors even more immigration and less spending on defense.
Yes, the AfD is making strides in advancing a moderate nationalist agenda. They represent Germany’s best hope right now. Hopefully they can awaken enough Germans to the destruction of their country and the replacement of their people.

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Teacher traces dad’s World War II past, finds 75-year-old plane wreckage

USA Today Network
Erin Udell, Fort Collins Coloradoan

Published 7:28 p.m. ET April 1, 2017 | Updated 13 minutes agoRetired history teacher Ken Elder Bledsoe researched his father’s WWII history, resulting in the 2016 book “Echoes From an Eagle.”(Photo: Ken Elder Bledsoe)FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The letters were a surprise.It was 1973 when Ken Elder Bledsoe, a now-retired Fort Collins history teacher, found them tucked in the bottom drawer of his father’s desk in southern Colorado. Bundled together, there must have been more than 40 — and a scrapbook, too, with faded newspaper clippings and photographs from life in Australia in 1942.The images gave a glimpse into the Army Air Forces during World War II, and into the life of Vernon Elder, a 24-year-old tail gunner from La Junta, Colo.The discovery came while Bledsoe was going through his father’s house after Elder’s unexpected death in a car accident in 1973. Due to his parents’ divorce when he was young, Bledsoe said, he never knew much about his father or his wartime contributions.He hung onto the letters for years. After retiring in 2002, Bledsoe started piecing together a story he had heard from his aunts at his dad’s funeral — about Elder surviving a deadly plane crash off the coast of Australia and dragging his best friend’s body from the wreckage.Retired teacher Ken Elder Bledsoe holds part of the fuselage of a B-17 bomber his dad worked on during WWII. It crashed off of Horn Island in Australia in July 1942. (Photo: Ken Elder Bledsoe)Soon, he was tracking down the families of the men Elder flew with, researching the Army Air Forces’ 19th Bomb Group, 30th Squadron — which his father was a part of — and, eventually, he was 10,000 miles from home, flying into a dinky island airport on a runway his father often departed from 60 years earlier. He recently published a book about the journey.The story started to come together when Bledsoe and his wife organized the letters Elder had written to his mother in 1942.”Once we put them together in chronological order, here’s this story,” Bledsoe said. “A dramatic story started to appear.”A yellowed newspaper clipping from the La Junta Daily Tribune further sparked Bledsoe’s interest.”La Junta Lad Escapes Serious Injury In Pacific Plane Crash,” the newspaper article read, going on to describe the plane crash near Australia’s Horn Island that killed three crewmen. Elder was one of five men who survived.After finding the letters and newspaper article, “all I knew was his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean,” Bledsoe said of his early days researching the story.Crediting his knowledge of history and research — he taught history for 24 years in Fort Collins — Bledsoe looked into his father’s squadron. He learned the identities of the other men aboard B-17 No. 655, and found, among the letters, a tattered and water-damaged watch his father was wearing in those early hours of July 14, 1942. It froze in time at 3:34 a.m., four minutes after the plane took off and crashed a mile off shore.After hunting down more letters and talking to the last surviving member of the crash, Bledsoe was able to narrow in on the crash site. In 2010, Bledsoe and his wife, also a retired teacher, traveled to Horn Island.They hired fishermen to take them to the suspected crash location and Bledsoe geared up with a snorkeling mask to dive down during low tide and find the wreckage. Photos from that day show underwater images of a wrecked engine and part of a wing — remnants of B-17 No. 655.Vernon Elder pictured at Mareeba Air Base in November 1942. (Photo: Ken Bledsoe)Elder and two other crew members on board were from Colorado. Lt. Paul Lindsey, a pilot from Canon City, had attended Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) before the war and Sgt. Houston Rice, from Ordway, was Elder’s best friend. Rice was killed in the crash, but Lindsey and Elder survived. Together, they kept Rice’s body afloat until an Australian boat rescued them. Lindsey died a month later on a separate mission.”For no apparent reason we started to go down; the old plane just wouldn’t climb,” Elder wrote about the crash in one letter. “We really hit the water, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I was in the radio compartment and went through the right side of the fuselage. Bruised and cut me up pretty bad but nothing very serious. Rice was by the ball turret and was apparently killed instantly.”Elder left Australia in December 1942, and after settling back in La Junta he married and had one child, Bledsoe. At the time of his death, he was a produce manager at a grocery store. He never got in a plane again or told his son about the crash.”He never was quite the same (after the war),” Bledsoe said.After his trip to Australia, Bledsoe pieced together his book, Echoes From an Eagle, which was published last year. In total, Bledsoe said he spent a decade researching his father’s military history. He talked to the families of his dad’s wartime friends. He traveled the same roads his father had almost 60 years before. And he swam in the waters that almost swallowed up a B-17 bomber with his dad inside.”It was a combination of research just, as a dedication,” Bledsoe said.A dedication to his father and “all those WWII fliers.”Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/2onMnPz

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Pinkerton: What Trump’s ‘Great Healthcare Plan for the People’ Might Look Like

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTEROn March 25, in the wake of the failure of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), President Trump tweeted a warning and a prediction: “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE.  Do not worry!”
In the first part of this series, we considered Trump’s warning: The question of whether or not Obamacare will “explode.”  And our tentative answer was that the national political system, almost certainly, will seek to prevent, or at least contain, any such explosion. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Okay, so now let’s turn to Trump’s prediction that “we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for the people.”  
Trump has, indeed, made some bold promises about his healthcare plan.  He has said, for example, that it will be “much less expensive and much better.” And if the failed AHCA fell far short of those aspirations, well, Trump can point out that it really wasn’t his bill; it was the House Republicans’: As he said in the Oval Office on March 24, after AHCA went down, “There were things in this bill I didn’t particularly like.”  And as for his own future signature effort on healthcare, if and when that comes, he said, “I’ll tell you what’s going to come out of it is a better bill.”
Indeed, at a March 28 reception for a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, the President, eyeing Sen. Charles Schumer leader of the Senate Democrats, then said, “I know that we are all going to make a deal on healthcare. . . . I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly.” He added, “Hopefully it will start being bipartisan because everybody really wants the same thing.” 
Well, not quite everybody, as we saw in the AHCA debate.  But here’s what Schumer wants: On the issue of Obamacare “exploding,” he has said, “For the President to say that he’ll destroy it or undermine it, that’s not presidential. That’s petulance.  And it’s not going to work.”  
And as for working with Republicans to improve Obamacare, Schumer has been blunt as to his basic precondition: “If they would denounce ‘repeal’ . . . then we’ll work with them on improving it and making it better. They can’t continue to want to repeal.”  So it’s obvious: If Trumpcare is defined only as health insurance, it will end up looking a lot like Obamacare.   
It’s possible, of course, that Trump will choose, in the end, not to work with the Democrats on Obamacare changes.  And what will happen then?  The Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, gave the most useful perspective: “I think where we are on Obamacare, regretfully at the moment, is where the Democrats wanted us to be, which is the status quo.”
Such an assessment will cause a lot of glum faces in Republican ranks, as well as declarations of never-say-die defiance.  And yet as we shall see, a “great healthcare plan” was never going to come from a rejiggering of insurance.   That is, tinkering with finance, alone—shifting, say, more from public to private—is not going to generate a program that’s “less expensive and much better.”  
In fact, even a favored solution on the right, interstate competition for health insurance, wouldn’t have much net effect.  And why not?  Because it would lead to insurance cherrypicking; that is, “young immortals” nationwide would, indeed, get cheaper insurance, because everyone wants to sell insurance to people who aren’t likely to need it.  
And yet those savings would mostly come at the expense of the older and sicker, who would have to pay for more to fill up the insurance pool, even as policies became harder to find.  (Additionally, of course, the taxpayers could be forced to chip in, further underscoring the point that interstate competition, by itself, wouldn’t save money for the overall system.)  
So we can see: If the issue is only moving dollar-numbers around, not much will have changed: For older folks, their health needs won’t be any different just because youngsters can buy less expensive insurance; oldsters that the greatest expenses will all found. 
We can also say that a focus on finance—that is, insurance—is never going to address the ultimate problem that confront the health system.  That ultimate problem, of course, isn’t money, but rather, health itself. 
We can illuminate this point easily enough, by citing a common and dreaded illness, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  Today, AD makes no distinction between Obamacare or Ryancare.  That is, if a patient is diagnosed with AD—as 5.5 million Americans will be this year—there’s no cure, nor any really meaningful treatment, no matter how much money or insurance the patient might have.  
To be sure, a rich, or well insured, AD patient will get better care than one without such resources.  But given the current lack of a cure, the patient’s ultimate fate is the same, whether the care is gold-plated or copper-plated.   Today, in all AD cases, what’s missing is hope—the hope that comes from a cure.  Thus we can see: The key variable is not finance, it’s science.  That is, whether or not a cure is available.
Of course, common decency—and patriotism—tells us that we want AD victims of all income levels to be treated with compassion; they are, after all, our fellow Americans.  As Trump said during the campaign last year, we’re not going to let them “die sitting in the middle of the street.”  And yet sadly, we must conclude that our compassion, essential as it is, will not have all that much impact on the patient’s prognosis—all such care is, to be cold about it, ultimately futile.  
Now we can make a further point: Care for AD patients, especially those with dementia, is going to be expensive, no matter what the funding source, public or private.  That is, it will be costly.  Yes, we must beware of unfeelingly bureaucratic public hospitals that are merely warehouses for the dying, but we must also beware of cost-cutting private facilities that are profit-centers for some bean-counter with a spreadsheet.  So we can see: Any system that cares for AD victims will be expensive and yet, at the same time, require a great deal of public scrutiny and supervision to protect the public interest.  
Indeed, the labor-intensivity of AD care, absent a good treatment or cure, is what makes such care costly; we can think of all those healthcare workers changing bedpans.  Economists have a useful concept to describe this phenomenon: Baumol’s Law.  We can sum it up readily: If it’s labor intensive, it will be expensive. 
And yet there is an escape from this upward cycle of rising costs.  And that escape can be summed up in a word that’s far different from finance.  And that word, of course, is science.  
Medical science, in fact, is a twofer: It offers relief from the human terror of disease, as well as from the terrible fiscal cost of disease.  And we can illustrate this point with a story ripped from the latest headlines: On March 28, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug, Ocrelizumab, that is the first medication that finally offers true hope to MS patients.  MS, of course, is a terrible wasting disease that affects 400,000 Americans.  And if, as with AD, MS sufferers are simply financed by health insurance, private or public, they don’t have much to look forward to.  And, of course, the taxpayers can look forward only to massive costs. 
To be sure, Ocrelizumab isn’t cheap; it’s projected to cost $65,000 a year.  And yet if the drug’s creator, Dr. Stephen Hauser of the University of California, San Francisco, is correct when he says that newly diagnosed MS patients will be able to “look forward to a full life without significant disability,” then the drug will likely pay for itself, as MS patients continue on with their productive lives.    
Hope for millions?  Cures that pay themselves? Surely we can agree: Now that’s a great healthcare program. 
In fact, the news of medical miracles, or at least their prospect, is near-continuous.  Recently, scientists in the United Kingdom have figured out how to convert spinach into working heart tissue.  That’s right, the green leaf might soon become the new heart. 
Meanwhile, at Ohio State, they’re working on creating synthetic blood.  And at Case Western Reserve, also in the Buckeye State, they have figured out how quadriplegics can use thought to regain motor control.   And in a Manhattan emergency room, they’ve already installed telemedicine portals that, almost literally, enable doctors to be two places at once, thereby dramatically shortening waiting times from hours to minutes.  Moreover, there’s even new hope for Alzheimer’s:  Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia are developing a possible ultrasound therapy for AD patients.  
To be sure, we don’t yet know if any of the approaches described above—will prove effective.  Yet still, the history of our collective medical success against other awful maladies—from the bubonic plague to polio to Ebola—gives us ground for cautious optimism.   So why not AD, too?  And everything else, even new human hearts made of spinach!  
So now the real essence of “a great healthcare plan for the people” is starting to come into focus.  That is, of necessity, it would put the focus on science, not finance.   Yes, of course, finance is necessary, but money by itself won’t cure a thing.  
We can sum up the reality: Money is transactional; if cash goes from Smith to Jones, or vice versa, and nothing else, the net benefit of society doesn’t change.  By contrast, science is transformational: It transforms both Smith and Jones.  The issue is simple: It means extending people’s productive and independent lives.  And science has been proven to do that: In 1900, the life expectancy of the average American was less than 50; Today, it’s nearly 80.
Moreover cures transform costs—downward.   Aside from the obvious individual gains of better health, there are also societal gains.  If we recall that Baumol’s Law speaks to the high cost of labor intensiveness, then we can grasp that a cure for AD would save billions and, over time, trillions on the cost of nurses and caregivers. 
The reality of the transformative power of medical science should thus be obvious to all.  And yet strangely, for the most part, science has been missing from the Washington, DC, healthcare debate.  We might ask ourselves: In the recent fight over AHCA, did the idea of “cures” ever come up?  That is, Republicans were trying to save money on healthcare, and yet the notion of helping people to be healthier by curing disease wasn’t part of the debate.  As Trump might say, Sad!  
One astute Republican observer who gets the point about the transformative power of technology is the veteran politico Alex Castellanos.  Two days after the defeat of AHCA, he compared medical progress to computer progress:

Message for Republicans: You don’t replace manual typewriters with bigger manual typewriters.  You open up the system to evolve and create laptops and mobile devices.  You open up health care to innovate and lower costs by evolving new treatments and cures. 

Interestingly, the Trump administration seems to be moving in this direction.  On March 27, top White House aide Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, was tapped to lead a White House Office of American Innovation, focused on modernizing the federal government with the latest private-sector thinking.  One of Kushner’s specific missions is to think through an overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and we can all agree that that’s a great place to start. 
So here’s one idea, from Dr. Joseph V. Gulfo, MD, of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Lewis Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology.  In an interview, Gulfo summed up his idea in two words: wearable technology.  That is, let’s be sure that all our aging heroes in the VA system have access to the sort of ever-present monitors that could keep them healthier and living longer.  
We’re all familiar with consumer health-monitoring devices, such as Fitbit, and any number of wearables and apps, but Gulfo goes further: “With real hospital-equipment-level wearables, we could track vitals, those whose who are not compliant with their regimen [for prescription meds], and those in need of rehab.” 
Gulfo adds that such a system of wearables could be implemented quickly, since most of the technology is already available. “We could have one for every veteran, probably within a year. That could be a Trump administration goal.” Translation: If Team Trump is hungry for a quick win that real people would notice, this could be it. 
Moreover, we can see in such a program a vision of economic renaissance for US manufacturing: The VA embraces wearable technology, and, at the same time, it stipulates, Buy American. 
To be sure, Gulfo’s idea, promising as it might be, is just one of many.  But the common thread running through any plan for true healthcare greatness is science, along with its close cousin, technology.    
In fact, it’s science that actually cures, while finance merely pays.  Paying is important, but curing is more important.  So if Trumpcare is ever to be seen as anything different from Obamacare, it will start with science, and then cures.   
It’s through a Cure Strategy that we will know that Washington is putting the health of Americans first.