SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 31, 2013

18 mo IOM study > USA low rank

Land of the free, home of the unhealthy

  (Comment to follow:)

 By Robert J. Samuelson

It turns out that being American is bad for your health, relatively speaking. Anyone interested in health care ought to digest the findings of a massive new report from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, which compared Americans’ health with that of people in other advanced countries. After spending 18 months examining statistics and studies, the panel reached a damning conclusion: The United States ranks below most advanced countries.

Consider: Life expectancy at birth is 78.2 years in the United States, lower than the 79.5 year-average for the wealthy countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Japan’s life expectancy is 83. Among 17 advanced countries, the United States has the highest level of diabetes. For 21 diseases, American death rates were higher in 15 (including heart and lung diseases) than the average for these same countries.

Here, in somewhat clunky language, is the report’s sobering summary:

  • “The U.S. health disadvantage is more pronounced among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, but even advantaged Americans described as ‘white, insured, college-educated’ appear to fare worse than their counterparts in England and some other countries.”

What to make of this?

  • The report’s most important contribution is to show that much of the U.S. “health disadvantage” doesn’t reflect an inadequate health-care system but lifestyle choices, personal behaviors and social pathologies. The gap in life expectancy is concentrated in Americans under 50. Among men, nearly 60 percent of the gap results from more homicides (often gun-related), car accidents (often alcohol-related) and other accidents (often drug-related) than in comparable nations. For children under 5, car accidents, drowning and fire are the largest causes of death.

Teen pregnancy is another big problem. Among girls 15 to 19, the pregnancy rate is about 3.5 times the average of other advanced societies.

The health-care system can’t cure these ills, which are social problems with health consequences. Those who expect the introduction of the main elements of the Affordable Care Act (“ Obamacare”) in 2014 to improve Americans’ health dramatically are likely to be disappointed. The lack of insurance is a problem, but it is not the main health problem, in part because the uninsured already receive much uncompensated care.

  • To be fair: Some of these social problems show progress. America’s slippage is mostly relative to better outcomes elsewhere. Since 1980, the U.S. murder rate has dropped by roughly half (but remains higher than in many peer countries); traffic deaths per miles traveled have fallen by more than half since 1975 (though decreases abroad are greater); teen birth rates have fallen to a seven-decade low (but are higher than in most wealthy nations); and U.S. life expectancy is rising (but more slowly than elsewhere).

Nor does the new report exonerate the U.S. health-care system from blame for the “health disadvantage.” Despite enormous spending, the system is “deeply fragmented across thousands of health systems and payers … creating inefficiencies and coordination problems.”

Much specialized care is high quality; recovery rates for hospitalized U.S. stroke and heart attack victims are higher than in many wealthy nations. Cancer treatment is superior. But primary care is weak. Only 12 percent of U.S. doctors are general practitioners compared with 18 percent in Germany, 30 percent in Britain and 49 percent in France. One study found Americans “receive only 50 percent of recommended” treatments.

The report’s authors searched in vain for an overarching explanation for the peculiar determinants of Americans’ health. But it missed the most obvious possibility: This is America. The late sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset argued that American “exceptionalism” is a “double-edged sword.” Values we admire also inspire behaviors we deplore.

  • The love of freedom and disdain for authority may encourage teen pregnancy and bad diets. The competitive nature of society may spawn stress that hurts the health of even the well-to-do. The suspicion of concentrated power may foster a fragmented delivery system. Commendable ambitiousness may push doctors toward specialization with its higher income and status.

Ever optimistic, Americans deny conflicts and choices. We excel at self-delusion. Asked by pollsters to rate their own health, Americans say — despite much contrary evidence — that they’re in better shape than almost anyone. We think we’re No. 1 even if we aren’t.

Robert J. Samuelson writes for the Washington Post Writers Group.

(Jan’s comment:

While I quite agree with a number of the conclusions cited above, I do take issue with a few of them.  Most glaringly, that Cancer treatment is superior, for surely, it is not.  There are far too many Health professionals who once finding that they are themselves now facing this prognosis, reject standard treatment and simply opt for time with family and then hospice.  There are other options, with better chances for survival and none of the harmful side-effects or scars.  I, along with a growing population remain opposed to the toxic, painful allopathic standard treatment which is harmful to the body as it kills off healthy tissue with the diseased,  and is harmful to the body’s own immune system which is needed for a full and complete recovery.  

It would be wrong to fault the healthcare system en masse (tho, I do because it is run from the profit motivation rather than as it was intended, as an instrument of healing and teaching in service to those in need, lifting physical burdens of pain, hurt and disease).  Instead, this study has ascribed the responsibility (loosely) at the feet of the suffering masses  because of their life-style choices, behavioral tendencies and social pathology which is loosely interpreted (by me) as a reactionary public.   Can we look at some of these burgeoning masses to see what they have going for them?  

So many of them are being raised by sitters, nannies or TV’s,  rife with Wall Street and Madison Avenue messaging of what to dream for and want.  This is possible?  Yeah, sure – – there is seldom adequate parenting in the home to care for these kids because they are just trying to make rent and buy some food.  So the normal inculcating of ‘family values’ and training – – their NEEDS have mostly never been met.    The parents working at low wages, dawn to dusk with nothing to show for it, let alone plans or hopes for their young simply don’t include an education which could or would have lifted these offspring into possible if not optimal expectations. 

Many grow-up  while observing life kinda like a crap- shoot, depending on ones color and neighborhood,  with friends shot dead or done in by gangs (part of them or not).   Yet, quite independent of the neighborhood or color,  1 in 10 of our children have some sort of disability in a broad spectrum from ADD to flat out Autism, disabled by the “cradle to the grave” medical care by means of literally hundreds of  ‘protective’ inoculations.   

The laws of our land have failed a large majority of us and it just might get a lot worse before it gets better.  Everything from the penal code to the Highest court.    People are hearing “all is broken” – can’t fix it.  Gets very discouraging.  

As to the ethics. . . . just look at the landscape;  pretty bleak.  Too few cops, scant protective services watching out for those kids. So many broken families,  and its looking like nobody cares.    Not really. 

Then we have those protectors and law-makers from coaches in our sports, counselors, cops,  congressmen, teachers, Priests and Ministers to Justices all moving to their own private drum beat.  They have their own agenda and it isn’t in sync with the “common good”.  For at least a generation . . . it’s become what ‘I want, what I need.’  As a society, we can’t get there from here.   Its so much bigger than how healthy our bodies are. . . what is our species doing to itself?  

We are  all connected, but you’d never know it from how fearful people are.   How hopeless many lives are. . .how lonely. We all need each other but don’t see the walls we’ve put up for our protection. . .but we aren’t safe – – that’s isolation!  For a nation regarding itself as religious and based on the so-called religion of our fathers,  we don’t appear to have a clue about love, respect, truth, honor, or striving for excellence and trying to be the best we can be.

As to the Medical care – I do agree  strongly with the need for more general practitioners rather  than the emphasis on specialization.   When the sick go to a doctor, he wants help and or to be fixed, made well,  not a referral to yet another doctor, specialist or otherwise, plus the additional cost which most can’t afford. The mercenary way it is practiced now reflects just what it is, a disgraceful “for profit business,”  not a calling to serve his fellow man.  

I also agree that the American system is deeply fragmented which would have and still could be solved with the single- payer system which would better serve our multitudes – – and far more efficiently and markedly cheaper.  That would not preclude those who wish to avail themselves of particular or different medical services from doing so if they are so inclined.        

American exceptionalism  is a reality, and again, I agree!   But I don’t fault this attribute – it’s the way we are.  Point instead to the social, legal and political systems which collectively seem to have lost their way  “off the mark” of the “Golden Rule”   and for the “Common Good.”   My last point of departure regards the “LOVE OF FREEDOM.”  This does not designate disdain for authority, and can in fact, respect it.  But that is not to say that one will acquiesce to often- seen bottom-of-the-deck dealing.    Sorry, but that is not to be tolerated.  . . .off with their heads . . .  Jan)

GE Flu Vaccine – bugs/dog cells

Genetically Engineered Flu Vaccine

(This objectionable subject just keeps getting worse and worse.   It would be impossible for me not to share this with you.   [1-29-13 from Dr Mercola.  Jan)

First Genetically Engineered Flu Vaccine Now on the Market

Hailed as the Flu Cure Everyone’s Been Waiting For – But It’s Made with GE Insects   Genetically Engineered Flu Vaccine
So maybe you should keep on waiting. This is a scary development, because there have been no safety studies, and it has no bearing on hospitalizations or sick days lost. Watch out! You’re being played for a fool – so don’t buy the lie.

Story at-a-glance

  • To speed up flu vaccine production, the US FDA has approved a new insect-based, genetically engineered flu vaccine, as well as vaccines grown in cultures of dog kidney cells rather than eggs
  • This year’s flu vaccine contains a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported efficacy of the vaccine is still only slightly over 60 percent
  • In a wholly irresponsible move, some “health experts” are now proclaiming the conventional egg-based flu vaccine safe for those with severe egg allergies, and that the benefit of the flu vaccine (which this year has an official efficacy rating of about 60 percent) outweighs the potential risk of lethal anaphylaxis
  • According to a recent review of published research, flu vaccines are ineffective at best, and produce neurological complications at worst, while having no effect at all on hospitalizations or working days lost. For infants, inactivated flu vaccine was found to have the same effectiveness as a placebo

January 30, 2013

Eat Healthy, DIY, easy – cheaper

Be Smart, get Dense nutrition, cheaper – DIY

Received this insightful email from VICTORIA BOUTENKO of her RAW FAMILY  Newsletter this week.  Thought it might be useful to pass it on.  These days, who couldn’t use a little help? 

Living on a tight budget during the recession

Dear Friends,

Last week I shared my conversation with a customer at the grocery store. I received a huge positive response from many people. So I decided to share with you another dialogue.

Recently, my close friend called me from Portland and told me she lost her job. Her husband had also been laid off several months earlier. I have changed my friend’s name to “Amy” for privacy reasons. She gave me permission to share our conversation with you.

Amy: So, it happened. As of last Monday, I am unemployed.
Victoria: Do you have a place to live?
A: Yes, my parents allowed us to live in their apartment at no charge for several months because our current joint income is less than $1000 per month.

Save Money During The Recession V: How are your children? How old are they now?
A: My daughter is seven, and my son is five.
V: Oh, Amy, can I do anything for you?
A: Thank you. The biggest problem is our food. We had to cut our grocery expenses considerably. I don’t shop at a health store any longer, and I don’t buy organic.

V: Wow! What do you guys eat these days? Do you drink your green smoothies?
A: No, we cannot afford them any more. We’ve been surviving on morning cereals for breakfast, noodles for lunch and pizza for the evenings almost every day. But still we spend over $20 every day.

V: $20? You can eat healthier and for less money.
A: How?

V: By preparing your meals from scratch,
A: No, no, no. First of all I don’t know how to cook. Secondly, I remember how my grandmother spent many hours in the kitchen. I don’t have time for cooking; searching for new job is taking all of my time. Plus my son stays at home now, because we stopped taking him to his daycare.

V: Have you ever cooked anything from scratch? Even once?
A: Like what? I have been buying frozen pizzas and baking them at home.

V: I mean cooking from scratch. For example, making vegetable soup, or baking yams?
A: Mm, I don’t think so. It seems too complicated and it is also expensive.

V: Expensive? Why do you think so?
A: I used to go to the health store for my lunch break and all of the soups and other vegetable dishes were expensive. I paid about $7 for my not so big plate.

V: The cost of meal at the lunch buffet includes large amounts for the service and labor in addition to the food cost; that is why it is so expensive.
A: I never thought of it.

V: Also you can make better food choices when you prepare your own food from scratch. For example you may add fresh sprouts to your plates. Growing sprouts in glass jars is fast and economical.
A: Victoria, you don’t understand our situation. I cannot worry about a healthy diet right now; we just need to survive.

V: What about your daily nutritional needs?
A: Our situation is temporary; we’ll take care of our health soon.

V: When?
A: In the springtime it will be warmer and we will go to farmer’s market and buy inexpensive produce. We will even perform a green smoothie cleanse then.

V: Meanwhile you are living on morning cereal noodles and pizza?
A: At least, this food keeps us full longer because it is calorie dense.

V: Amy, therapists say nutrients  that you need to receive daily such as for example vitamin C. . every one of you would need at least 90 mg of this vitamin daily. If you don’t receive it you may begin to develop the symptoms of scurvy and your immune system will become weaker. Now, in the middle of winter it is advisable to consume even more vitamin C in order to prevent infection.
A: For vitamin C I buy my children bananas and apples every day.

V: How many bananas do they eat every day?
A: Each of them eats at least one banana or apple daily.

V: Amy, this is good. However, it’s not enough. One ripe banana provides approximately 15% of vitamin C. Same goes for one Apple. Each one of you need 90 mg or more of Vitamin C daily, because the human body cannot store vitamin C, but uses it every day.

A: So what can we do?
V: You may prepare cabbage salad. Sshredded chopped green or red cabbage provides 85% of vitamin C. Combined with the banana or apple it will take care of your needs in vitamin C.

A: My kids won’t eat cabbage.
V: Contrary to popular belief, raw cabbage can be very enjoyable. You may chop one small head of green or red cabbage; add salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. That makes a tasty salad. Also, children usually enjoy munching on pieces of raw cabbage. Especially the red cabbage, because it’s so beautiful. Of course, cabbage is rich in vitamin A, potassium, calcium and lots of other nutrients. One pound of organic cabbage costs usually around $2.

A: Where can I look up all this nutritional information?
V: One of the most reliable sources is this:

A: Victoria, I often wonder, how come other people live their entire lives on pasta and pizza?
V: And that is why there are so many sick people, and so many of them catch the flu.

A: But what if they don’t have enough money?
V: Amy, I am sure it is possible to spend under $20 per day and still keep your family fed a much healthier diet.

A: Under $20?
V: Yes! And sometimes even less.

A: Honestly, it’s hard to believe.
V: For example, Amy, you can use root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, daikon, or yams. They are tasty raw. Just grate them and add oil, lemon juice, and sea salt. One pound of organic red beets costs about $1.40. If you buy them in bulk, it will cost you even less. For a family of four, you need to buy two pounds. Beets are highly nutritious; they are a rich source of B-complex, phytochemicals, and potassium. If you happen to buy beets with the tops, you may use them in salads and smoothies, as the top greens are rather excellent source of vitamin C.

A: Can I prepare a more calorie-dense food with these veggies?
V: Yes, you can steam, boil, or bake vegetables. You may also prepare a vegetable soup. Root vegetables are one of the easiest things to cook. I taught my five-year-old granddaughter how to cook beet soup.

A: Vegetable soup is my favorite food! But it seems to be so complicated to make it. I have heard you have to add potatoes, flour, spices, and lots of other stuff to make a soup.
V:  You may literally choose any veggies for your soup. You don’t have to add flour to your soup. Many years ago, some poor people started adding flour to their soups to make it thicker. You want to add nothing but vegetables to your soup and that will be the tastiest. I think that vegetable soup is the easiest dish in the world to prepare.

A: Really? Tell me how.
V: For example, you have 5 stalks celery, 2 yams, 1 onion, and 5 mushrooms. Wash the vegetables. Then cut them in 1-inch cubes. Bring about five or six cups of water to boil. Don’t put too much water. Add only enough water just to cover your veggies. Put cubed veggies in boiling water, reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and cook on “low” heat for about five minutes. As an option, after your soup is done and cooled down a little, you may add a tablespoon of raw salsa to your soup for better flavor.

A: That’s all?
V: Yes, it is really simple.
A: I am excited and will start tonight. I am going to prepare cabbage salad and vegetable soup for our dinner. Thank you!

Love, Victoria

(Note: Also running a companion piece about making your own sprouts at home.  Delicious, healthy, very nutritious and high protein too.  Fairly easy to do and really cheaper than buying in stores.  enjoy,   Jan)

Growing Sprouts @ home DIY


Sprouts ripe with possibilities

Safely germinating seeds is easy and offers many tasty nutritional benefits


   1. The seeds should be soaked for eight hours

Sprouts have gotten a bad rap in recent years in the wake of contamination and food-borne illness scares, which has made them harder to find in local produce aisles.

But you can safely sprout seeds at home, and there is compelling reason to do so. Sprouted seeds contain proteins; carbohydrates; vitamins such as A, C and D; and essential minerals such as calcium, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the International Sprout Growers Association.

And there is a wide range of seeds to sprout, each with its own flavor and texture. Popular choices include alfalfa, barley, mung bean, broccoli, radish, lentil, soybean, mustard, sunflower and wheat. You can also sprout corn and garden cress, and garbanzo, pinto and red beans. Sprouts can be eaten raw on salads and sandwiches, added to soups and stir fry, and mixed into bread dough for heartier loaves.

When growing your own, use only seeds designated for sprouting. Regular garden seeds have likely been treated with a fungicide or pesticides, making them unfit to eat in sprout form, according to    the Oregon State University Extension.

   2. The jar then needs to rest on its side during sprouting.

Before sprouting, wash the seeds in cool water and remove any cracked or broken ones. Then, soak the seeds in water (about four parts water to one part seed) for about eight hours before sprouting.

You don’t need any special equipment to sprout seeds.

You can use the paper towel method. Simply wet two paper towels, wringing out excess water, and lay them flat. Then spread a thin layer of seeds over the surface and cover with another damp paper towel. Place the towels in a large plastic zipper bag, but leave the bag open, so air can circulate around the seeds, according to the Oregon State University Extension. Place the bag in a dark place, and water two to three times a day by sprinkling small amounts of water over the paper towels to keep them damp.

   3. After 36 hours, the seeds start to sprout.

The second is the canning jar method. It’s appropriate for sprouting most types of seeds. You will need a wide-mouthed quart canning jar, the jar ring or a rubber band, and either plastic mesh, cheesecloth or nylon screen to cover the hole. One-quarter cup of seeds in a quart jar will produce about 2 cups of sprouts. Wash and sterilize the jar before adding the seeds.

After soaking the seeds, place them in the jar and cover the opening with cheesecloth or mesh. Secure the screening material with the jar ring or a rubber band. Rinse the seeds with water two to three times a day by adding water to the jar, swirling it around, then pouring the water out. The screening material will let water out while holding the seeds in, according to the North Carolina University Extension. Lay the jar on its side, so the sprouts rest in a thin layer and have plenty of room.


4. The sprouts are ready to eat in a commercial seed sprouter.

Sprouts prefer to be in the dark during sprouting, so keep the jar in a cupboard or in a paper bag. It will take three to seven days for the seeds to sprout and reach an edible length of 2 to 4 inches, depending on the species. Once the seeds sprout, you can let them bask in the sun, to green up, for a few hours before eating. Don’t leave them too long, or they can become bitter, according to the University of Wisconsin Extension.

There are many professional seed sprouters on the market as well. Many have two to four stacking trays. The benefits include sprouting multiple seed types in a limited space. Many work similarly to the Victorio sprouter. Water is added to the top tray and filters through the sprouts; the excess drains to the bottom, away from the seeds, preventing rot.

No matter the method used, once you’re ready to eat the sprouts, separate the seed hulls from the sprouts by placing them in a pan and covering them with water. The sprouts will sink to the bottom, and the seed hulls should float to the top, making them easy to skim off. Sprouts are best eaten right after washing, although they can be refrigerated or frozen for later.

Most sprouts grow best in temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees but away from drafts and direct heat, according to the Oregon State University Extension.

Denise Trowbridge is a Columbus freelance writer who covers garden topics.

(Jan’s comment:

It is a real pleasure to have fresh sprouts at home, ready when you want them.  I read so often of the problems in buying the sprouts in our groceries, health issues and Lord knows – they often didn’t “look” fresh.  I stopped buying them altogether.  Having grown the wheat grass, it should be no problem to grow the sprouts – even a variety.   Anyway, thought I’d run this for you all to go with the adjacent post from Victoria Boutenko.   These are just great for sandwiches (especially piled high with a cucumber, avocado – umm) and or salads and of course anything you might be doing in a WOK.  Go easy on the heat, however. . .it kills off enzymes etc.,. .  . just sayin”. . . Jan)

January 29, 2013

Why our Workforce struggles.

DAVE MARTIN ASSOCIATED PRESS A robot paints brake drums at Webb Wheel Products in Cullman, Ala. Despite no new workers in three years, production is up 25 percent.

Technology taking toll on work force

Many middle-class jobs gone for good

By Bernard Condon and Paul Wiseman ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.

Even worse, most of the jobs never will return, and millions more likely will vanish, labor experts say. What’s more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.

They’re being obliterated by technology.

Year after year, the software that runs computers and other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently many tasks that people always have done. For decades, science fiction warned of a time when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that time has arrived.

  • “The jobs that are going away aren’t coming back,” says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of Race Against the Machine. ‘‘I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years.”
JAE C. HONG ASSOCIATED PRESS Jerald Vance waits to talk to a job counselor at a career center in Las Vegas as the recession was ending in April 2009. Since then, labor economists say 70 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained have been low-paying ones.

The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smart-phones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories are disappearing.

“There’s no sector of the economy that’s going to get a pass,” says Martin Ford, who runs a software company and wrote The Lights in the Tunnel, a book predicting widespread job losses. “It’s everywhere.”

  • The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, ranging from $37,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are midpay. Nearly 70 percent are low-paying jobs; 29 percent pay well.

In the 17 European countries that use the euro, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has not stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through this past June.

Experts warn that this “hollowing out” of the middle-class work force is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated. Maarten Goos, an economist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, says Europe could double its middle-class job losses.

Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers for smartphones and tablet computers. But, overall, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it’s creating.

To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed.

The key findings:

• During the past 50 years, technology has drastically reduced the number of manufacturing jobs. Robots and other machines controlled by computer programs work faster and make fewer mistakes than humans. Now, that same efficiency is being unleashed in the service economy, which employs more than 80 percent of the work force in developed countries. Technology is eliminating jobs in office buildings, retail establishments and other businesses that consumers deal with every day.

• Technology is being adopted by every kind of organization that employs people. It’s replacing workers in large corporations and small businesses, established companies and start-ups. It’s being used by schools, colleges and universities; hospitals and other medical facilities; nonprofit organizations and the military.

• The most-vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for — an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case. As software becomes even more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers — workers who thought they were protected by a college degree.

• Thanks to technology, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index reported one-third more profit the past year than they earned the year before the Great Recession. They’ve also expanded their businesses, but total employment, at 21.1 million, has declined by a half-million.

• Start-ups account for most of the job growth in developed economies but, thanks to software, entrepreneurs are launching businesses with a third fewer employees than in the 1990s. There is less need for administrative support and back-office jobs that handle accounting, payroll and benefits.

• It’s becoming a self-serve world. Instead of relying on someone else in the workplace or our personal lives, we use technology to do tasks ourselves.

Technology is replacing workers in developed countries regardless of their politics, policies and laws. Union rules and labor laws might slow the dismissal of employees, but no country is attempting to prohibit organizations from using technology that allows them to operate more efficiently — and with fewer employees.

The lingering pain of the Great Recession is not entirely a result of technology’s advances. Other factors are keeping companies from hiring — partisan gridlock in the United States, for example, and the debt crisis in Europe, which has led to deep government spending cuts.

                        *                    *                *

.In the United States, the economic recovery that started in June 2009 has been called the third straight “jobless recovery.” But that’s a misnomer. The jobs came back after the first two.

Most recessions since World War II were followed by a surge in new jobs as consumers started spending again and companies hired to meet new demands. In the months after recessions ended in 1991 and 2001, there was no familiar snap-back, but all the jobs had returned in less than three years.

But 42 months after the Great Recession ended, the United States has gained only 3.4 million, or 45 percent, of the 7.5 million jobs that were lost. The 17 countries that use the euro had 3.5 million fewer jobs last June than in December 2007.

  • This truly has been a jobless recovery, and the lack of midpay jobs is almost entirely to blame.

Fifty percent of the U.S. jobs lost were in midpay industries, but Moody’s Analytics, a research firm, says just 2 percent of the 3.4 million jobs gained are in that category. After the four previous recessions, at least 30 percent of jobs created — and as many as 46 percent — were in midpay industries.

Others studies that group jobs differently show a similar drop in middle-class work.

ASSOCIATED PRESS    Steven Herman, left photo, is shown when he was head of the Library of Congress storage facility in 2003. At right is the “bookBot,” the current automated retrieval system in use at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

Some of the most-startling studies have focused on mid-skill, mid-pay jobs that require tasks that follow well-defined procedures and are repeated throughout the day. Think travel agents, salespeople in stores, office assistants and back-office workers like benefits managers and payroll clerks, as well as machine operators and other factory jobs. An August 2012 paper by economists Henry Siu of the University of British Columbia and Nir Jaimovich of Duke University found that these kinds of jobs comprise fewer than half of all jobs, yet accounted for nine of 10 of all losses in the Great Recession. And they have kept disappearing in the economic recovery.

  • Webb Wheel Products makes parts for truck brakes, which involves plenty of repetitive work. Its newest employee is the Doosan V550M.  It can drill holes on both sides of a 130-pound brake drum without missing a beat, and it doesn’t take vacations or “complain about anything,” says Dwayne Ricketts, president of the Cullman, Ala., company
  • Webb Wheel hasn’t added a factory worker in three years, though it’s making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase.

“Everyone is waiting for the unemployment rate to drop, but I don’t know if it will much,” Ricketts says. “Companies in the recession learned to be more efficient, and they’re not going to go back.”

  • In Europe, companies couldn’t go back even if they wanted to. The 17 countries that use the euro slipped into another recession 14 months ago, in November 2011. The current unemployment rate is a record 11.8 percent.

European companies had been using technology to replace mid-pay workers for years, and now that has accelerated.

“The recessions have amplified the trend,” says Goos. “New jobs are being created, but not the middle-pay ones.”

Developing economies have been spared the technological onslaught — for now. Countries like Brazil and China still are growing middle-class jobs because they’re shifting from export-driven to consumer-based economies. But even they are beginning to use more machines in manufacturing.

  • One example is Sunbird Engineering, a Hong Kong firm that makes mirror frames for heavy trucks at a factory in southern China. Salaries at its plant in Dong-guan have nearly tripled from $80 a month in 2005 to $225 today. “Automation is the obvious next step,” says Bill Pike, the company’s managing director.

“By automating, we can outlive the labor-cost increases inevitable in China,” Pike says. “Those who automate in China will win the battle of increased costs.”

       *                     *                *

Candidates for U.S. president last year never tired of telling Americans how jobs were being shipped overseas. But many jobs cut in the United States and Europe weren’t moved. They vanished.

“It doesn’t have political appeal to say the reason we have a problem is we’re so successful in technology,” says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. “There’s no enemy there.”

      *                    *                  *

What hope is there for the future?

Historically, new companies and new industries have been the incubator of new jobs.   Start-up companies no more than 5 years old are big sources of jobs in developed economies.  In the United States, they accounted for 99 percent of new private-sector jobs in 2005, according to a study by the University of Maryland’s John Haltiwanger and two other economists.

But even these companies are hiring fewer people. The average new business employed 4.7 workers when it opened its doors in 2011, down from 7.6 in the 1990s, according to a Labor Department study released last March.

  • Technology probably is to blame, wrote the report’s authors, Eleanor Choi and James Spletzer. Entrepreneurs no longer need people to do clerical and administrative tasks to help them get their businesses off the ground.

(Jan’s comment: 

I bet many would agree that this article is a real downer.  It  leaves me wagging my head and concerned about the fates of our upcoming “citizens”   What kind of shot at fulfilling their dreams are even somewhat realistic?   And further – what has gone so wrong?  

As it states a few lines up – “there is no enemy there.”  .  .  .  so this says to me that my instinctive reaction is all wrong.  History suggests that ‘Americans’ dig down, go deeper and get creative.  That’s how we survived, grew stronger and became a truly great nation.  I have showcased companies who have survived, kept their businesses afloat because they cared much about their people – employees.  They cut different corners than what we are reading about here.  Why?  Because they chose not to out-source or lay off people who had become like family to them.  So less profit was the way to do it.   “Stayin’ Alive”  That’s kinda more the small town attitude rather than WALL STREET where the ‘smart money’ lives and breathes.  It’s doubtful that I am alone in that kind of admiration.   

This story is telling us that entrepreneurial “Start-ups”  are what accounted for  large percentages of new jobs in U.S. Maybe there is more ‘bang for the buck’ in that concept than appears on the surface.  Example;  I have personally had an idea about something which I would love to do regarding starting a company –  a  business.  I truly dig the concept of recognizing a need and filling that, because that IS how good stuff happens.  .  .  e.g. if there is something you want and it’s not “out there”. . . .well maybe somebody aught to try to get it out there  him/her self or myself.  If I really want this thing – others do too.   .  .  .  just sayin’.  .    There is start up money to be had, especially if you’re a woman (pardon my sexism).  In my case, I have let my age hold me back.  I’m too old to be xxxxxxxxxxxxx doing that, there’s not enough time. . .but what if I lived to be 102 and still had my wits about me?   How cool is that?   This idea was a handcrafted product done by craftsmen; would have needed a smallish workforce.   Have always preferred handmade or custom made over synthetic anything done overseas.   But that’s just me.   

And our brilliant American technicians – where are they now?  Anytime one needs a little help from the ISP or Cable company – your phone call is answered in the Philippines or elsewhere.  We really have to start demanding “Made in America” if we are to keep our sanity.   My 3 week ordeal in December and early January  dealing with just that sort of thing (changing companies) nearly landed me in the hospital.  And I intensely dislike that!).   Just trying to suggest that most of us would rather deal with our friends and neighbors rather than an overseas, non-English speaking stranger. And where we can manage it – – we should strive to make it count by means of our wallets.    

Get creative – – why not see what you can make “grow”.  .  .  Jan

January 26, 2013

Man rids Lyme w/Gerson Therapy

(This is a brilliant account of one man’s “paying-it-forward” recounting of his experience with Lyme Disease as it nearly destroyed him.  His recovery was not swift, but it was sure.  Frankly, amazing.  Believe it or not, this was a story tucked away at the bottom of the Gerson Therapy, briefly post from January 26, 2012.   I found it by following some links.      This man is some hero to have gone thru so much – – my hat is really off to him.   Jan)

“The Real Me is Returning” | Lyme Disease & the Gerson Therapy

Posted by on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My name is James and I’m here to share a Gerson Therapy story concerning my recovery from Lyme disease.

A couple years ago I would not have had the strength or desire to stand up to tell my story. But now that I’m well on my way to a Gerson recovery, it’s important for me to pay it forward and make a difference in someone else’s quality of life. I’m simply a local volunteer with nothing to gain from sharing my story but perhaps some good karma.

I want to help educate others who do not have cancer but would benefit from the Gerson Therapy. The Gerson Therapy is perhaps best known as a cancer treatment, but can also help people like me, who suffer from chronic, non-malignant diseases.

What is Lyme Disease?

For you who are unfamiliar with Lyme Disease, here is a quick rundown of what it is, and how it affects the body:Back in 1977, the people of Lyme, Connecticut discovered a correlation between a deer tick bite and a life-disrupting illness.

These ticks have the potential to administer an infectious bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete that has the ability to proliferate in all areas of the human body. It has the ability to suppress and hide from your natural immune system, and to transform itself into a protected dormant state when under attack by antibiotics.

Originally, the general symptoms consisted of a big, round red bullseye-shaped rash, followed by flu-like symptoms like fever, headache and stiff joints.

The typical prescription for Lyme is 30 days of antibiotics and the expectation that the illness would just go away, and you could just go back out into the world and enjoy your life.

However, many people are not healed after a mere 30 days, especially if the disease is not caught right away. My story turned out to be far more complicated, as this bacterial infection went untreated for many years, and became a chronic disease.

How it Started

In 1989, while living in Connecticut, I remember getting a bug bite. I did not notice a tick embedded in my skin, so I dismissed the rash as a simple spider bite that I had picked up while raking leaves. It was fall, so the symptoms that followed seemed like just a seasonal flu. Following the brief illness, everything cleared up and my life continued as usual.I have always been competitive in athletics, jogging and cycling on the weekends. Over the years, I started to suspect that these activities were taking a toll on my body. The aches, the pains and the fatigue were getting worse over the years. I figured I was just getting older.

What I didn’t realize was that I was developing neurological problems that were gradually interfering with my life. Things like ear ringing (tinnitus), forgetfulness, confusion and lack of drive.

I thought I was treating my body right. I took supplements, ate what I thought were well-rounded meals and exercised. Yet these symptoms kept getting worse. Little did I know I was digging my own grave…

I was eating lots of toxic processed foods which included meat, dairy, gluten, salt, sugar and, to wash it all down, lots of diet soft drinks that were filled with aspartame. I was working unprotected with chemicals and metals, which were being absorbed into my body.

Fast-forward to 2002.

I participated in a 24-hour mountain bike race and ended up with flu-like symptoms that lasted three weeks. After that, my body produced new major symptoms seemingly every month.It was then that I began the typical Lyme patient story. I saw five different doctors, who all said they could find nothing wrong, and told me they were unable to help me. So, I began to do my own research online. I came up with many possibilities.

  • Illnesses that matched my symptoms included: rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), lupus, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Gulf War disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and Lyme disease.

Because I recalled that bug bite I got while living in Connecticut, I started with Lyme. So, I found a special lab in Palo Alto and an LLMD (Lyme-literate doctor) and confirmed my research. I tested positive, and was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

What to do?

Without a question, I followed the LLMD’s advice. I took antibiotics by the handful for over a year, yet I didn’t feel any better. I finally said “enough is enough!” and made the decision to stop this destructive approach that was simply maintaining a level of mildly reduced Lyme disease symptoms.Six months later, my symptoms were back, but now stronger then before. The disease had progressed, and began to cut deeply into the quality of my life.

On a scale of five, I went from a two to a one. I was so sick, but nobody knew because I still looked normal.

My mental ability was degrading fast. I had only one good hour per day, which I eventually used to assemble a list of problems that I wanted to fix:

My body was infected with Lyme disease. My blood was loaded with mold, fungus and parasites. My gut was bloated every day and I had sensitivity to foods. My diet was incorrect and I craved salt, sugar and carbohydrates. My body was limited in its ability to carry oxygen. My body was storing chemicals and metals in the soft tissues and bones. My body’s soft tissue and bones were sore and nothing seemed to help. My brain activity was failing and I was becoming a worrying person. My idiosyncratic pattern of what I did every day to get by needed to be broken.

I was determined to fix these problems, so I did more research. Online, I found a pattern of references to Dr Max Gerson and his treatment for cancer. I watched the documentary The Beautiful Truth and decided to order Charlotte Gerson’s book Healing the Gerson Way.

I read it once, then I read it again and took notes. I decided to give it a try.

Going Gerson

Right off the bat, I learned that my sick body had to be treated as a whole, not as a collection of symptoms. I didn’t know what the process was going to feel like, as extreme detoxification and hyper nutrition were new to me.I started slow. My first week, I took one coffee enema a day, along with a couple of juices, fresh fruits and salad.

The second and third week, I upped my regimen to two enemas per day, with juices and following the diet.

The second month, I started taking three enemas per day, with 6-8 juices, and following the diet.

The third month, I started doing 3 to 4 enemas a day and started using the castor oil treatment once a week, along with the diet and juices.

Ever since then, I typically do 4 enemas a day and castor oil three times per week, with the juices and following the Gerson diet.

On a typical day, I would make and eat the Hippocrates Soup 1-2 times daily, usually accompanied by a salad and/or some other cooked vegetable dish.

Within the second or third week, I started feeling results. My gut no longer felt bloated and my skin stopped hurting. I began to believe I was heading in the right direction. I was soon to realize this was the calm before the storm.

Healing Reactions

The days I did a castor oil treatment, it felt as though I had just eaten a large meal and all my blood was in the core of my body digesting food. My extremities were so cold that I would wear gloves and three layers of clothing (in sunny Southern California, mind you!).As I continued, relief became a long, drawn-out torture. Every inch of my body became ultra-sensitive. I wanted to be left alone and stay in a dark room with no sound and the heat set to 80 degrees. Yet, I forced myself to participate and stay engaged with life.

These bodily sensations and a roller coaster of emotional feelings lasted for a year.

I started using castor oil packs, saunas and clay packs and toughed it out. [Editor’s note: While in this particular instance James found some relief using a sauna, the use of saunas is not recommended for patients on the Gerson Therapy due to the risk of electrolyte loss and dehydration.]

Getting Better

What I discovered was enlightening, and if someone had described it to me, I would have not believed them.On castor oil days, my body eliminated a black, tar-like goo after administering the castor oil enema. The last colon push produced a feeling of relief that resonated through my entire body.

I knew I was getting better. There were small but significant signs of improvement:
My energy level improved and I no longer needed to sleep during the day. My focus improved and I could spend more time working. My inflamed joints shrank and became more flexible. My hair began to grow on the top of my head. My varicose veins on my legs began to shrink. My aerobic breathing reduced when riding my bike.

It seemed like I was slowly walking backwards in time. All my Lyme disease symptoms, one after another, reappeared and then disappeared. In my eighteenth month on the therapy, I got a big, big reward: the chronic neck pain I had lived with for over fifteen years was no longer there. It had miraculously disappeared.

Slowly, slowly, my neurological and psychological issues are diminishing. The real me is returning. These toxic brain issues are deeper in the body and hiding behind many cellular and chemical protective barriers. I believe it will take more time for the Gerson Therapy to fully drain these toxins out.

  • In conclusion I can personally say that the Gerson Therapy is a full body restoration for Lyme disease.

Today, I can write a list of what I’ve regained after years of struggling with Lyme disease:

I have recovered from a toxic body,
I am receiving the nutrition my body needs.
I have restored damaged organs.
I have restored chemical balance.
I have restored my immune system.
I’m well on my way to removing my neurological symptoms.

Lyme disease rehabilitation without antibiotics is possible. I feel fortunate to have learned this important information, and the discipline to follow it through.

My life has been given a second chance!

About the Author

James C. is a recovering Lyme disease patient living in San Diego, California. He is an avid cyclist, and is passionate about educating fellow Lyme disease patients about the healing possibilities of the Gerson Therapy.

The Healing News
A shortened version of this story previously appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of the Gerson Institute’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Healing News. To subscribe to our newsletter and read many more articles on health, wellness and patient recoveries, become a member today!

Mullet sentencing set for Feb 8

(Guess we’ll know soon enough what this Bishop with the “heavenly singing voice” will be getting.  It’s been some story!    Even if his felon cohorts in prison do enjoy his lullabies – I sure wouldn’t want him singing me to sleep. Jan)

Sam Mullet, Amish Leader Convicted Of Beard-Cutting Attacks, Gives Jailhouse Interview

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 12/05/2012 5:38 pm EST Updated: 12/06/2012

Sam Mullet

Blessed with a heavenly singing voice and unfazed by tough inmates, the Amish bishop convicted of hate crimes against other Amish said he’s won the respect of his fellow felons.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily, Sam Mullet described life behind bars following his conviction for a series of hair- and beard-cutting attacks on other Amish in rural Ohio last year.

He also refuted scandalous allegations that he exploited his position of authority as the leader of a dissident sect to have sex with married women, including his daughters-in-law, on his 800-acre farm in Bergholz. Instead, he claimed that he provided “sexual counseling” to men and women on his compound.

“They say I went to the women, but they come begging to me for help,” Mullet said.

His lawyer dubbed him the “Amish Dr. Ruth.”

  • The 67-year-old preacher faces life in prison when sentenced on Feb. 8 for hate crimes and conspiracy. The 15 men and women who were his co-defendants could receive the same sentence.

Since his conviction in September, Mullet has slowly adjusted to prison life. Inmates bestowed him with the nickname “O.G.” — for original gangster — a term he was unfamiliar with, but he recognized it as “something good.” Mullet also told the Daily that he’s popular, because he sings hymns after the lights are turned out and because he’s generous in the commissary.

The renegade bishop explained why he broke away in the mid-1990s from mainline Amish communities. Mullet saw the dissolution of traditional Amish culture. Boys rode their buggies while listening to stereos, girls skated on roller-blades, he said. There were parties with beer in the woods and girls “in their birthday suits” inviting dates into their beds.

The reactionary movement Mullet unleashed in 1995 by founding a splinter group of Amish led to its own ethical lapses. As the leader of the community, Mullet imposed his brand of justice. Men who broke his rules were paddled and locked in empty chicken coops. Ex-followers said he had sex with the married women and, according to the federal prosecutors, committed incest with his daughters.

  • Some followers lost faith in Mullet’s leadership beginning around 2005. After his son Eli was hospitalized for a mental breakdown, members of the community learned that Mullet was having an affair with his son’s wife.

The disaffected members left the community and the followers who reaffirmed their loyalty to the group made changes that eventually led to the beard-cutting attacks. Mullet and his followers were at an existential crossroads following a defeat in court in which one of Mullet’s daughters lost custody of her children to her ex-husband who’d defected from the group. Around the same time, a council of higher ranking Amish bishops overturned a shunning that Mullet had imposed on the parents of the former son-in-law.

Smarting from the setback, Mullet told the Daily that some of his followers decided to cut their own beards as an act of self-purification. Later, they spread the practice as a punishment against rivals in the Amish community.

Mullet continues to deny he ordered any of the attacks.

January 25, 2013

RLS and rebounding

 Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?   get Help NOW !

I learned about the misery of RLS from a commenter on a post  in which a particular medicine was being eliminated due to it’s very real  danger that it was showing with common usage.   Too many people were being injured   as it was being overused and it posed a real threat to internal organs.

I remember that I had genuinely sympathized with this lady and attempted to inform her about EFT and  seriously wanted her to try it. She was impatient with my attempts and was full of worry about what her life was going to be with out the medicine she had come to rely on. I do understand – – both her frustration and my own good intentions which were  probably considered intrusive and unwanted.   We all do what we can and what we must.

I have not forgotten about her though.  At the time, I had only a hint of the problem she lived with.   Such leg disturbance rarely happened with me.  And I would have to get up and do some exercises and moving around in order to return to bed and sleep.  This was not what I wanted to be doing at the early hours when I was exhausted and needing sleep.    But I didn’t know what else to do.  I did discover that EFT solved the problem for me, so I was grateful.   In those days,  I kept my rebounder in the basement along with other exercise equipment.  My basement is large and pleasant with many of my favorite things down there.   However, my new, replacement rebounder that I bought  during the last year or two is something I use more frequently so I have kept it up here and handy and convenient.   I love this thing.

I have not been diagnosed with RLS and maybe what I get is not really that, I donno.  Getting older and less active, sitting too much at desk or computer doing the things I want to do,  the legs can really act up.   Can’t be ignored.   A few minutes of “rebounding” is all it takes and I’m fine again and good to go.    It crossed my mind that this is something which many of those RLS sufferers aught to know about.

It wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.   I can’t imagine an easier way of handling a major problem.   I have posted on Rebounding 3 or 4 times, but I have close to 1700 posts here now and I don’t know quite where they are without much time searching through them all.  I bought my first one used at a garage sale and was satisfied, but wanted a really great one (I’m worth it).  Have always enjoyed using the mini trampoline for ordinary health reasons of circulation,  for the lymph, cells, joints and so on – – am a true believer on these things.  You can feel the benefits if you use them with regularity.  And you know your are helping yourself.

So just passing this on,  a simple little hint that maybe can help someone.   .     .     just sayin,    Jan

January 24, 2013

X-worker sues / flu shot

Ex-worker sues over flu shot

Woman’s refusal based on veganism


CINCINNATI — A former longtime customer-service representative at an Ohio hospital has filed a lawsuit after she was fired for refusing to get a flu shot because she is vegan.

  • Many hospitals require employees to get a flu shot because of their contact with vulnerable patients. But some employees take issue with the requirement and refuse.

Sakile Chenzira, a 58-year-old Cincinnati woman, was fired from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in December 2010 for refusing to get the shot as required of all employees at the hospital. It’s unclear whether she had direct contact with patients. Chenzira cited her veganism, whose practitioners do not consume animal products; the flu vaccine contains a small amount of egg protein.

  • Chenzira sued the hospital on Dec. 28, 2011, seeking a minimum of $650,000, and the case is set to go to trial before a jury in July.

In the lawsuit, Chenzira accuses the hospital of violating her civil rights and discriminating against her religion.

The hospital argues that veganism is not a religion, comparing her situation to a 1992 case involving a Ku Klux Klan member whose lawsuit over being fired for participating in a pro-Hitler rally was thrown out by a federal judge who ruled that the KKK is political and social in nature, not religious.

  • “Chenzira has pled no more than a dietary preference or social philosophy for what she consumes, which is insufficient to state a claim for religious discrimination,” the hospital’s attorney, Eugene Droder III, wrote in his request in April to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Chenzira argued that her veganism constitutes a moral and ethical belief as strong as any religion and even cited Bible passages that she argued backed her up.

Late last month, U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel agreed to throw out one claim in Chenzira’s suit, but ruled that she still can pursue her claim of religious discrimination, writing that it’s plausible that Chenzira “could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views.”

Chenzira has told The Cincinnati Enquirer that being vegan guides her entire life.

  • “When they force you, I don’t think that’s fair,” she said. “I just feel they should be more open to people’s religious beliefs.”

Droder declined to comment, citing the pending litigation, except to say, “The hospital did the right thing here.”

With an earlier-than-usual flu season that has been worse than recent mild seasons, more hospitals have begun requiring their staffs to get the flu shot and cracking down on those who don’t.

(My comment:    I believe that a majority of people believe that it is unjust to force people to comply with actions they are opposed to and in this case – actions she believe would be harmful to her body.  Actually, a FREE PEOPLE should not have to be required to do to their bodies that which they believe is harmful.    It is immoral and corrupt. This would and should apply to all which any person deems appropriate and correct for him or herself.  After all – this is STILL America and citizens do have freedom of choice.   

No medical treatment of any kind should ever be mandated for or against – ANY TREATMENT: whether it be vaccinations, cancer treatments and so on.   God does not reside in the AMA alone.  This is beyond the province of the courts.  In my opinion – it is criminal.   If enough people would and could suffer these corporations to cough up enough money on say a couple of hundred thousand  or million dollars for all the harm they do. . . believe me, it would be a different story and that perhaps is the saddest part of all – – that it should come down to money rather than principles of decency.   

Furthermore, it is pathetic that anyone should have to drum up phony concepts in order to play this deceitful, evil and corrupt game.  Damn, this riles me up – my blood is boiling again.  This crap is going to kill me.  Jan)

Wha’s up with Harry?

Harry ends Afghanistan duty

Prince struggled to balance army job, role as royal

JOHN STILLWELL ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS    Britain’s Prince Harry completed a 20-week deployment in Afganistan. He described feeling boredom, frustration and satisfaction during his tour.

LONDON — Capt. Wales is coming home to be Prince Harry once again.

The Ministry of Defense revealed yesterday that the 28-year-old prince is returning from a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan, where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps. It did not immediately divulge his whereabouts.

In interviews conducted in Afghanistan, the third in line to the British throne described feeling boredom, frustration and satisfaction during a tour that saw him kill Taliban fighters on missions in support of ground troops. He also spoke of his struggle to balance his job as an army officer with his royal role — and his relief at the chance to be “one of the guys.”

“My father’s always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that,” said Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. “But it’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army. Everyone’s wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing.”

Stationed at Camp Bastion, a sprawling British base in the southern Afghan desert, the prince — known as Capt. Wales in the military — flew scores of missions as a co-pilot gunner, sometimes firing rockets and missiles at Taliban fighters.

“Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” he said. “If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game.”

Harry’s second tour in Afghanistan went more smoothly than the first, in 2007-2008, which was cut short after 10 weeks when a magazine and websites disclosed details of his whereabouts. This time, the news media were allowed limited access to the prince in return for not reporting operational details.

Prince Harry, known as Capt. Wales in the military, flew scores of missions as a co-pilot gunner.

A member of the air corps’ 662 Squadron, the prince was part of a two-man crew whose duties ranged from supporting ground troops in firefights with the Taliban to accompanying British Chinook and U.S. Black Hawk helicopters as they evacuated wounded soldiers.

He said that while sometimes it was necessary to fire on insurgents, the formidable helicopter — equipped with wing-mounted rockets, Hellfire laser-guided missiles and a 30mm machine gun — was usually an effective deterrent in itself.

Harry shared a room with another pilot in a basic accommodation block made from shipping containers, and he passed the time between callouts playing video games and watching movies with his fellow officers. His security detail accompanied him on base, but not when flying.

“It’s as normal as it’s going to get,” Harry said of the arrangement. “I’m one of the guys. I don’t get treated any differently.”

But he said he still received unwanted attention at Camp Bastion, which is home to thousands of troops.

“For me it’s not that normal because I go into the cookhouse and everyone has a good old gawp, and that’s one thing that I dislike about being here,” he said. “Because there’s plenty of guys in there that have never met me, therefore look at me as Prince Harry and not as Capt. Wales, which is frustrating.”

Ever since Harry graduated from the Sandhurst military academy in 2006, his desire for a military career has collided with his royal role. After his curtailed first Afghan deployment, he retrained as a helicopter pilot to have the chance to be sent back.

The speed and height at which Apaches fly make them hard for insurgents to shoot down, but Harry’s squadron commander, Maj. Ali Mack, said the prince still had faced real danger.

The danger was underscored soon after Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in September, when insurgents attacked the adjacent U.S. base, Camp Leatherneck, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding several other troops.

Harry said he would have preferred to have been deployed on the ground with his old regiment, the Household Cavalry, rather than spending his tour of duty at Camp Bastion, a fortified mini-city.

“I’d much rather be out with the lads in a PB (patrol base),” Harry said. “The last job was, for me personally, better.”

Despite the frustrations of base life, Harry said he relished the flying: “As soon as we’re outside the fence, we’re in the thick of it.

“Yes, OK, we’re supposedly safe, but anything can go wrong with this thing, but at the end of the day we’re out there to provide cover and protection for the guys on the ground,” he said.

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