Tuesday, July 4, 2017

This Blog on Life Support

"How do you celebrate during troubling times?"

It's the question I'm wrestling with, especially when I see this below the fold.

"Pope and Trump weigh in on case of UK child on life support" by Dan Bilefsky New York Times  July 03, 2017

LONDON — Charlie Gard, who turns 11 months old on Tuesday, was born with an extremely rare genetic disease. He is blind and deaf, and he cannot breathe or move on his own.

The London hospital that is treating Charlie went to court to request permission to remove him from life support; his parents want to take him to the United States, where they believe that an experimental treatment has a chance — however remote — of saving his life.

Three courts in Britain agreed with the hospital, as did the European Court of Human Rights, which last week rejected a request by the parents to hear the case, in which they had argued that the hospital was violating the boy’s right to life.

Pope Francis and President Trump have now also weighed in, adding another dimension to an extraordinarily difficult bioethical and legal matter that pits Britain’s medical and judicial establishment against the wishes of the child’s parents.

A Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, told Vatican Radio on Sunday that the pope had been following the parents’ case “with affection and sadness” and praying “that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

Trump, who was not known to have expressed a view on the matter previously, wrote on Twitter on Monday that if the United States could help, “we would be delighted to do so.”

Both the pope and the president stopped short of criticizing the court rulings or the hospital. It was not clear if the views of the parents — who in recent days appeared to have accepted the finality of the decision — had changed in light of the new remarks.

Charlie was born on Aug. 4, 2016, with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. He is thought to be one of only 16 children globally with the condition.

His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, both in their 30s, have been waging a long and emotionally wrenching legal battle to keep him alive, and they have raised more than 1.3 million pounds, or about $1.7 million, to help finance experimental treatment in the United States.

Charlie has been treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital since October. The hospital said that it was acting in the child’s best interests.

I remember a girl named Pelletier. How she doing these days?

In some respects, the case recalls that of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who was left in a persistent vegetative state after a cardiac arrest. Her husband, who was her legal guardian, sought to have her feeding tube removed, but her parents disagreed, setting off a seven-year fight that ended in 2005 after courts ruled in the husband’s favor and life support was removed from Schiavo, 41.

In that case, too, the pope (John Paul II) and the president (George W. Bush) weighed in — Bush signed an act of Congress allowing federal courts to intercede in the case — but their interventions did not affect the outcome.

For Charlie and his family, the decision by the European court appears to have brought an arduous legal journey to an end, though an international campaign has been waged, with an online petition and even street protests in front of Buckingham Palace, pleading with authorities to reconsider.

The hospital has not indicated when it would cut off life support....

Nor will I. I'll just stop.


I wonder what they would do if he were a royal.

Related: "The diagnosis: The original mission of ‘‘the pope’s hospital’’ had been lost and was ‘‘today more aimed at profit than on caring for children.’’

Thus the hospitals were akin to torture chambers, they sold Caritas to Cerberus, the Globe uncovered the sex abuse, and those mass graves of Irish babies have been buried again. You could say God is Dead. They are/were all servants of Satan from the very beginning.

Also see:

"British officials hope deal is near to break N. Ireland deadlock" by Jill Lawless Associated Press  July 04, 2017

LONDON — Britain’s senior official for Northern Ireland said Monday that he remains hopeful a deal can be struck this week to break an impasse that has left the North without a functioning government for six months.

The Catholic-Protestant power-sharing administration [between]  the two main parties — Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and pro-British loyalists the Democratic Unionists — has been on ice since January, and several government-imposed deadlines to reach a deal have passed.

The parties blame each other for the impasse that threatens power-sharing, the key achievement of Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. Both parties appeared pessimistic about the prospects of a deal.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster accused Sinn Fein of having ‘‘a shopping list which seems to get longer every time we meet with them.’’

One sticking point is Sinn Fein’s demand for an act protecting the Irish language — a major totem for Irish nationalists that has raised the hackles of loyalists.

Tensions have also been inflamed by a deal between British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party and the DUP, which has promised to support May’s minority government on key parliamentary votes.

Sinn Fein leaders have complained that the DUP’s role at Westminster means the British government is no longer impartial as required by the 1998 accord.....


Yeah, ‘‘time is short’’and I led with the British children yesterday, too.


"With fight for Mosul in final stage, militants send in female suicide bombers" by Susannah George Associated Press  July 03, 2017

MOSUL, Iraq — With the fight for Mosul in its final stage Monday, Islamic State militants sent female suicide bombers hidden among fleeing civilians, while Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition unleashed punishing airstrikes and artillery fire that set dozens of buildings ablaze.

Lieutenant Colonel Salam Hussein, of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces says most of the suicide bombers in Mosul are now women, with seven blowing themselves up on Monday alone.

I'm sure some see it as a form of women's liberation, if you believe it at all. I'm thinking babies thrown out of Kuwaiti incubators.

At least one Iraqi soldier was killed and five were wounded in Monday’s suicide attacks, the military said. On Sunday, a bomber in women’s clothing killed 14 people at a camp for displaced residents in Anbar province, a provincial official said. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

‘‘These tactics don’t surprise me,’’ said Sergeant Ahmed Fadil, who patrolled Mosul’s Old City just 50 yards from the front. The militants ‘‘have nowhere to go. They’re trapped,’’ he said. 

It's false flags or worse, but it did get attention away from the punishing, rubble-producing airstrikes.

Monday’s two suicide bombings against Iraqi soldiers followed at least three other such attacks by women — some of them teenagers — in the previous two days.

A soldier displayed the school ID card retrieved from the body of one of the bombers, showing her to be only 15. The photo was of serious young woman in a white hijab and indicated she had studied in Bangladesh.

Oh, they found an ID card and she came from Bangladesh.

Government troops advancing through the Old City were using rougher tactics to clear the remaining pockets of ISIS forces.

The tempo of airstrikes was so great Monday that coalition aircraft couldn’t keep up with the requests for air support from Iraqi ground forces. Instead, they sought approval for artillery strikes.

(Blog editor just, ah, broken hearted, don't feel like celebrating, where is the world community?)

Associated Press drone footage showed the result: dozens of buildings burning in the Old City.

It's like Baghdad, 2003. shock and awe. It worked again (frown).

While shops have reopened and civilian traffic fills streets in retaken neighborhoods, thick black smoke continued to rise just a few miles away from ISIS-held territory on the bank of the Tigris River that divides Iraq’s second-largest city. The area controlled by the militants is less than a half a square mile.

Islamic State militants swiftly overran Mosul in 2014. The US-backed offensive to retake the city was launched in October and has proceeded slowly, even though Iraqi political and military officials had vowed to declare victory by the end of 2016.

Iraqi forces began their push to retake the Old City in mid-June. Even though the militants are squeezed into smaller and smaller territory, the danger remains for units like Fadil’s.

When they heard cries from civilians around the corner, he and his colleagues rushed their commanding officer to safety into a nearby home that already had been cleared. They yelled at the group of sobbing women and children to hurry past.

Fadil explained the reason their caution. ‘‘They cry and then — boom! They explode themselves,’’ he said. ‘‘The closer we get to victory, the more suicide bombers they will send.’’

At one screening point, soldiers held civilians back at gunpoint, telling men and boys to strip to their underwear.

Hussein, of the special forces, and a group of about a dozen men searched on foot Monday for more suicide bombers. An informant pointed out a house occupied by ISIS fighters.

A soldier kicked in a door, shouted a warning and threw two grenades into the front room. A second soldier stuffed a rag into a plastic jug of gasoline, lit it and threw it inside.

Now we know why the buildings are ablaze!

In Syria on Monday, the military said it has temporarily halted combat operations in the south of the country ahead of Russian-sponsored cease-fire talks with the rebels.

The announcement came after a large Syrian rebel faction in the south said it would not attend the talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, because the government was not abiding by previous cease-fire agreements.

Delegates are expected to begin meeting with a UN mediator and other diplomats in Astana on Tuesday.

The two sides have held four previous rounds of talks in Kazakhstan since January in parallel to UN-brokered talks in Geneva. Neither process has made much progress.


Well, once again the search is on, and I never found the photo by Ahmad al-Rubaye of AFP Getty. The caption read "A member of the Iraqi security forces carried a wounded refugee girl in Mosul on Monday, as the government continued its offensive against the remaining Islamic State fighters" and showed a young girl wrapped in a towel with dried blood on her face and a bloody right hand.

"Arab nations extend deadline in Qatar crisis by 48 hours" Associated Press  July 04, 2017

DOHA, Qatar — A group of Arab nations early on Monday extended a deadline for Qatar to respond to their list of demands in a diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf by 48 hours, saying Kuwait’s emir requested the delay as part of his efforts to mediate the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar on June 5, restricting access to their airspace and ports and sealing Qatar’s only land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia.

They issued a 13-point list of demands to end the standoff June 22 and gave the natural gas-producing country 10 days to comply.

The joint statement early Monday by the four Arab nations said they expected Qatar to respond to their demands quickly. The new deadline would expire late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Foreign ministers of the four Arab nations will meet Wednesday in Cairo to discuss their next moves, Egypt said Monday.

‘‘The response of the four states will then be sent following the study of the Qatari government’s response and assessment of its response to the whole demands,’’ the statement said.

President Trump, meanwhile, spoke with Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

The White House said Trump urged unity and reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology.

Then why did you go along with all this, or in fact foment it? Came after your trip. Or is this all some sort of show?

Qatar, like the countries lined up against it, is a US ally. It hosts the some 10,000 American troops at the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base.



"Firm at center of cyberattack investigated" Associated Press  July 04, 2017

KIEV — The small Ukrainian tax software company that is accused of being at the center of a damaging global cyberattack is under investigation and will face charges, the head of Ukraine’s CyberPolice suggested Monday.

Colonel Serhiy Demydiuk, the head of Ukraine’s national Cyberpolice unit, and other officials say last week’s unusually disruptive cyberattack was mainly spread through a malicious update to M.E. Doc’s eponymous tax software program, which is widely used by accountants and businesses across Ukraine.

The malicious update, likely planted on M.E. Doc’s update server by a hacker, was disseminated across the country before exploding into an epidemic of data-scrambling software that Ukrainian and several other multinational firms are still recovering from.

M.E. Doc initially denied playing any such role in the malicious software’s spread but later deleted the statement from Facebook. The company, which says it’s cooperating with authorities, has not returned messages seeking comment.

Meanwhile, several companies hit by last week’s cyberattack say they were edging closer to normalcy.....


Didn't have to tell me twice, either.

At least UBS is in good $hape:

"UBS overhauls European wealth business, revamps management" by Jan-Henrik Förster Bloomberg News  July 03, 2017

UBS Group is consolidating its wealth management business in Europe and emerging markets to streamline operations, expanding the role of top executives in much of the region.

Cross-border operations will be combined with domestic businesses in a set-up that will reduce the number of offshore booking centers from about 10 to three — Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the bank said in a memo to employees on Monday. European onshore businesses will be integrated in the bank’s new continental hub in Frankfurt, according to the memo, seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the bank.

Wealth managers are under pressure from record-low interest rates and reticence among clients to put their cash to work in investments because of market uncertainty. In eliminating two separating reporting lines — for domestic and cross-border operations — UBS is seeking to spur activity by giving clients more opportunities to invest beyond their home countries.

‘‘In the end, this will reduce the costs and improve the value of services to clients and ultimately boost revenues,’’ said Tomasz Grzelak, an analyst with Baader Helvea who has a buy recommendation on the stock.

The reorganization also may help UBS to manage risks at a time when regulators and tax authorities are pressing banks for more transparency in operations and on client assets. UBS is creating a new role of head of business risk and regulatory management for Europe and the emerging markets, which doesn’t include the Asia-Pacific region.

‘‘Converging client needs and regulatory trends across EEM represent a unique opportunity to better align ourselves to serve our clients,’’ Paul Raphael, head of wealth management for the region, said in the memo. ‘‘The ‘One Market’ approach will allow the whole wealth management organization to improve the strategy for the respective markets.’’

Raphael oversees a region accounting for about 24 percent of client assets managed by UBS, or about 523 billion francs ($544 billion), at the end of March. Europe lagged most other regions in terms of net margin in the first quarter, while emerging markets was the most profitable.

Daniel Regli, an analyst at MainFirst with an outperform rating on the stock, said the new structure makes sense and may be an opportunity to cut some costs without compromising on revenue. It coincides with a Swiss agreement to turn over information on foreign bank accounts to tax authorities in other countries.

‘‘Since countries need to exchange tax data anyway, it doesn’t really matter where the assets are booked,’’ Regli said.

UBS ranked among the top performers Monday in the Bloomberg 500 Banks index. The stock rose in Zurich trading to close 3.4 percent higher at 16.79 francs, the most in about two months.



"Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen was hospitalized over the weekend in London for treatment of a urinary tract infection, but has been discharged and is heading home. Yellen, 70, was admitted Friday and released Monday from King Edward VII Hospital, the central bank said in a statement Monday. She is returning to Washington and expects to resume her schedule as planned this week, the Fed said. Yellen was in London to speak at an event at the British Academy on June 27 and remained in the city for a brief vacation with her family. The hospitalization is the second known health incident during her more than three years at the helm of the US central bank. In September 2015, Yellen required medical attention after struggling to finish a speech in Amherst, Mass. The Fed later said she felt dehydrated at the end of the lengthy address and was seen by medical staff on site as a precaution. She continued on with her schedule that evening. Yellen’s current term as chairwoman ends Feb. 3. President Trump has not indicated whether he plans to reappoint her for another four years, or nominate a successor."


So who will be the next president?

"Portuguese man-of-wars, the venomous, jellyfish-like creatures, [have been] washing up on shore in recent days....."

It was no day at the beach, and the lake wasn't much better.

Five things about fireworks


"GOP voters blame Congress, not Trump, for lack of progress" by Steve Peoples Associated Press  July 04, 2017

NEW YORK — President Trump and his party have so far failed to deliver on core campaign promises, but blame Congress, not the president.

As Washington Republicans decry Trump’s latest round of Twitter attacks, Republicans on the ground from New York to Louisiana to Iowa continue to stand by the president and his unorthodox leadership style.

For now at least, rank-and-file Republicans are far more willing to blame the GOP-led Congress for their party’s lack of progress, sending an early warning sign as the GOP looks to preserve its House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

Inside and outside the Beltway surrounding the nation’s capital, Republicans worry their party could pay a steep political price unless they show significant progress on their years-long promise to repeal and replace Democrat Barack Obama’s health care law.

Democratic opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act is strong, both in Congress and among the public.

In Los Angeles on Monday, about 200 hundred people turned out to protest against the GOP health care bills at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.....

If it is cited in the paper it is controlled opposition. Sorry.


How did he get into Trump Tower?

"Dave McClure, cofounder of early-stage venture capital fund 500 Startups, resigned as general partner after complaints by several women about his behavior. On Friday, The New York Times published a report that included a 2014 message sent by McClure to entrepreneur Sarah Kunst. He wrote: “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you,” according to Kunst. Later Friday, McClure wrote a blog post entitled “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry.” He said he’d made advances toward multiple women in work situations. McClure is a bombastic figure known for unconventional behavior, including a profanity-laden screed about then President-Elect Trump’s use of technology at a summit in Lisbon last year."

"Marblehead residents rally against hateful graffiti" by Claire Parker Globe Correspondent  July 03, 2017

After discovering anti-Semitic and white supremacist graffiti on a Marblehead beach last week, residents and politicians rallied Monday morning in a show of public resistance against hate.

Around 200 people turned out. State Representative Lori Ehrlich, who represents Marblehead, helped publicize the rally [and] dubbed “Marblehead Unites Against Hate,” said the graffiti was the third incident of anti-Semitic vandalism that Marblehead has seen in a little over a year. In April 2016, residents found a swastika drawn on a basketball court. And in August, someone shattered a window at Marblehead High School and scrawled “Jews did 9/11” in the dirt of the school’s baseball field.


(Cue music) 

Didn't they warn us?

I've seen stranger things.

What they do is mix in truth with garbage, thereby discrediting truth while offering such tempting morsels to the masses.

She said her constituents were “disgusted and saddened” that there had been another incident.

“The perpetrators are cowards,” Ehrlich said. “They did this in the cover of darkness, they didn’t own their words, and they have no purpose in mind except to spread hatred. And today the community sent a message that that’s unacceptable and not what we’re about.”

And they are usually false flags, like the Intercept reporter and the robocalling kid from Israel. It's about pushing a narrative of constant victimization for a certain group of people.

At the conclusion of the rally, Trestan announced a reward of $3,000 for information about the graffiti’s perpetrator. Over the weekend, $2,500 was pledged by an anonymous donor, and an additional $500 was offered by a rally attendee during the event.

Believe now? They put up money for information.

The local department of public works and the Essex County sheriff’s department team of “graffiti-busters” removed the graffiti over the weekend, Marblehead Police Chief Robert O. Picariello said. Picariello said the investigation into the graffiti’s origins is “ongoing and active.” Trestan and police have requested that anyone with information contact the police....

Going through the motions. I mean, they erased the evidence! They violated a crime scene! They are not serious about catching who did it.


As for the endless wind, you win $ome, you lo$e some, and I'm not really up for the parade.

Going dark is my way of declaring independence (we all know what day it is, and three Founding Father's died of heartbreak?).