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Three Peoples: What If Most People Want to be Peasants?

The Free Press WV

In my Three Peoples theory, there is a basic assumption. In today’s world, people start out as People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants. But each in their own way, people are not content with the life of the subordinate; they struggle upwards and become People of the Responsible Self, and start to contribute to society and the world as responsible individuals, not as subordinate peasants and working stiffs.

But what if this is wrong? What if people are perfectly content to sit on their behinds, doing what they are ordered to do and not a jot more, forever complaining about “them,“ yet forever waiting for “them” to solve their problems rather than solving them themselves?

That is what has crashed in upon me with the Trump phenomenon. Donald Trump is promising to Make America Great Again. Not the American People. Not business owners and entrepreneurs. Not responsible individuals each doing his or her share. And the white working class, dying of despair in the ruins of the old manufacturing economy, has rallied to his promise of good jobs at good wages.

Maybe this is the last hurrah of the white working class before it succumbs to the verdict of history, which is always oblivion. Because everything is born to die, humans, jobs, cities, towns, nations, civilizations, religions. Even gods die, Nicholas Wade has written, when people stop believing in them.

On this view, the People of the Responsible Self are a subculture, squeezed in between the vast rabble of subordinate workers and peasants. The real cultural and political action is the Patron/Client relationship between the People of the Creative Self—who used to be warrior landowners but are now the ruling class of the educated elite and the Social Justice Warriors—and the People of the Subordinate Self, the foot soldiers in the social justice army. The first provide the ideas and the leadership; the last provide the votes and the street muscle. The first enjoy the money, power, and the love of beautiful women that come with primacy; the second get a modest competence, and such free stuff as the social justice lords distribute to their loyal servitors.

Is that all there is? I would it were not so.

For instance, the whole point of the modern world and modern capitalism is that people go out and innovate; they create new products and services for their fellow men, acting without permission from the lords, and create the Great Enrichment. Where would we be without these creative, responsible souls that have brought us so much. And yet these inventors and business creators have been roundly excoriated as robber barons and exploiters.

And yet, as Eric Hoffer writes, there are two options in the world. Either people work to the command of a master, or they are responsible for figuring out what to do and doing it. Economics and the theory of the market and the experience of socialist states tell us that the boss-driven economy cannot work. Because, as Ludwig von Mises wrote, the socialist command economy cannot compute prices.

And yet, as Hegel says, in the Patron/Client or Master/Slave relationship, despite appearances, it is the Client or Slave that learns through his work how to master the world and make it serve his needs. The Master sits around, enjoying the perks of money, power, and the love of beautiful women while the Slave acutally learns how the world works.

And yet, as the market participant learns, the way of the world is to find something that other people want and give it to them, in products and services.

And yet, despite the rhetoric of the liberal Patrons that teaches everyone to kow-tow to their Masters or be flayed alive as racists, sexists, and homophobes, in fact almost everyone pitches in with a good grace, and with a live-and-let-live attitude, and almost everyone contributes willingly to the common good, and accepts with a good grace the verdict of the market.

In other words, despite the temptations of subordinate helplessness, people do not wait around for the boss to call the big shots, as bosses like to do. They get on with things and make decisions on their own without waiting for the big guy to tell them what to do. This has been the theme of the modern era both in the civil economy of the industrial revolution and latterly in the just-in-time culture developed by the Japanese. It is also the theme of military doctrine, because the lethal battlefield inaugurated with rifled guns has forced soldiers into hiding where they cannot easily be ordered around by officers and NCOs. Instead, soldiers must be resourceful and self-motivated; otherwise the army cannot function.

There is in this a profound contradiction, and expression of negativity, of two principles wrestling with each other. And that, according to Hegel, is how the world works

Indeed, if all the world’s problem were resolved tomorrow it would be the end of life as we know it. The whole point of life is that we do not know the meaning of “life, the universe, and everything.“

And we never will.

So it may be that, however much we humans seem to be tempted by the Patron/Client relationship, our fate is that we must, like Adam and Eve of old, leave the Garden of Eden and go forth into the world of uncertainty and risk. Because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge and can never go back to the bliss of ignorance and instinct.

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

Data Shows West Virginia Complies with New Ozone Standard

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has recommended that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designate the entire state of West Virginia as being in attainment with the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The recommendation is based upon quality assured data submitted by the DEP’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) from its EPA-approved statewide monitoring network. If EPA doesn’t modify the state’s recommended designation, it becomes effective October 01, 2017.

“West Virginia already complied with the previous 2008 ozone standard statewide. I think the fact that our ozone design values have continued to decrease and we are meeting EPA’s most stringent ozone standard yet is a great testament to the success of our state and regional air pollution control programs,” said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy C. Huffman.

On October 01, 2015, the EPA revised the primary and secondary ozone NAAQS, strengthening both the standards from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. Primary standards are health-based to protect people; secondary standards provide protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings.

The DAQ operates an air monitoring network across the state which measures the concentration of ozone and other pollutants in the air. The ozone design values for West Virginia’s monitors for 2013 through 2015 ranged from 59 ppb in Greenbrier County to 67 ppb in Charleston, Vienna and Weirton. Preliminary data for 2014-2016 also show all monitoring sites’ values below 70 ppb.

Ground level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). A chemical reaction occurs when pollution emitted by cars, powers plants, refineries, chemical plants and other sources is exposed to sunlight. Ozone at ground level is harmful due to its effects on people and the environment. Ozone is also the main ingredient in smog.

In West Virginia, ozone is most likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot sunny days, which is why Ozone Monitoring Season runs from April 1 through October 31. Ozone can be carried long distances by wind, so unhealthy levels in city environments can be transported to more rural areas.

Citizens can check West Virginia’s daily Air Quality Index at s daily Air Quality Index at s daily Air Quality Index at s daily Air Quality Index at s daily Air Quality Index at dep.wv.gov/daq/air-monitoring/Pages/AirQualityIndex.aspx or by calling 866.568.6649 x 274.

More information on West Virginia’s air quality is available on DAQ’s website: s website: s website: s website: s website: www.dep.wv.gov/daq/.

In West Virginia….

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►   Gubernatorial Hopeful’s Coal Mines Settle With Feds

Federal officials have reached a settlement requiring $5 million in upgrades to prevent further pollution by Appalachian coal mines owned by West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced the settlement with Southern Coal Corporation and 26 affiliates Friday.

A news release says the settlement resolves allegations of Clean Water Act violations from Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia mines.

Southern Coal must use an EPA-approved environmental management system, undergo internal and independent environmental compliance auditing, incorporate training, implement data tracking and evaluation measures, and pay escalating penalties for future violations.

The company faces a $900,000 civil penalty and must produce a $4.5 million letter of credit and trust to ensure work is completed.

Justice is the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.


►   Judge Hears Arguments in Possible Hepatitis Exposure Case

Arguments have been presented in the case involving patients possibly exposed to hepatitis at Beckley’s Raleigh Heart Clinic.

Attorney Steve New, who represents 65 of the 140 patients, asked Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick Thursday to consider their cases as part of a class action lawsuit, saying his clients contracted hepatitis from the clinic.

The clinic’s attorney, Don Sensabaugh, asked that the cases be tried separately.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources sent letters to over 2,300 clinic patients in March, saying they may have been exposed to hepatitis B and C as well as HIV.

At the time, officials said they were investigating 12 cases of hepatitis linked to injectable medications given during cardiac stress tests.

Kirkpatrick will make his ruling at a later date.


►   FCC Leader to Join Capito in West Virginia on Broadband

Senator Shelley Moore Capito is bringing the Federal Communications Commission leader to West Virginia to discuss rural broadband internet and health care.

Capito’s office says she’s hosting FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn in Morgantown and Preston County on Monday.

Capito will first host a discussion at West Virginia University’s School of Journalism with Clyburn, professors and students focused on broadband in rural states.

Then Capito and Clyburn will tour Preston Memorial Hospital in Kingwood.


►   Senate Hearing to Discuss Carbon Limits Scheduled in Logan

Senator Shelley Moore Capito will lead a Senate hearing in southern West Virginia about the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee meeting will be Wednesday afternoon at Chief Logan Conference Center. Capito is the subcommittee chairwoman.

The meeting will address regulations stalled in court that limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants to stem climate change. Many West Virginia officials oppose them because they target coal.

Republicans are inviting Eugene Trisko, United Mine Workers of America counsel; local coal miner Jimmy Dale “Bo” Copley II; and Wayne County Commission President Robert Pasley.

Democrats are inviting Karen Ireland, West Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods Program Director, and James M. Van Nostrand, professor and director of the West Virginia University College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development.

2016: Area High School Football Scoreboard: Week 6

The Gilmer Free Press

Area High School Football Scoreboard
Week 6 Games
Gilmer County (5-0) 28 Braxton County (2-3) 14
Midland Trail (3-3) 7 Liberty Harrison (4-2) 40
South Harrison (5-0) 36 Lincoln (4-2) 35
Calhoun County (1-5) 0 Lewis County (4-2) 17
Ravenswood (2-4) 44 Webster County (2-3) 6
Ritchie County (0-6) 8 Summers County (4-1) 41
Doddridge County (4-2) 28 Notre Dame (2-3)  
Wirt County (1-5) 0 Mount View (2-2)  
Phillip Barbour (0-6) 6 Cameron (5-0) 50
Petersburg (3-2) 20 Paden City (1-4) 26
St. Marys (5-0) 21 Valley (Wetzel) (1-4)  
Williamstown (4-2) 7 Parkersburg Catholic (2-2) Saturday  
Parkersburg South (2-4) 12 Richwood (0-6) 30
Point Pleasant (6-0) 39 Van (5-1) 49
Nicholas County (5-0) 25 Robert C. Byrd (2-4) 35
James Monroe (4-1) 9 Grafton (3-3) 0
East Fairmont (1-4) 7 Independence (5-1) 42
Bridgeport (6-0) 49 Clay County (1-4) 14

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   NJ Train Crash Victim Had Just Dropped Off Daughter

The only person killed in Thursday’s horrific New Jersey Transit train crash has been identified as Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, a 34-year-old lawyer who dropped her 18-month-old daughter off at day care before rushing to the train station where she died. “It’s incredibly sad that this child won’t know her mother,“a friend tells the New York Daily News. De Kroon, a Brazilian citizen who studied in Florida, had recently moved from Brazil to Hoboken because of her husband’s career. She was killed by debris and another 108 people were injured when the train plowed through barriers and crashed into Hoboken Terminal during the morning rush hour.

At a press conference Thursday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the train crashed through all the barriers at a high rate of speed, NJ.com reports. “We will not speculate about the cause of the accident,“ Christie said. “The engineer is critical and cooperating with law enforcement officials.“ A passenger who has been doing the same commute to Manhattan for 30 years says he was in the first car and was thrown out of his seat but not injured. “There was a horrendous sound of crashing, just a loud, scary, hard sound. It seemed like we were going for a little bit.,“ he says. “When I got out and saw the damage, it was amazing how far the train went.“ The NTSB is investigating.


►   Lawsuit: Deputy Sent ‘Sorry I Tased You’ Cake to Woman

Sometimes a thoughtful homemade cake just makes everything worse. The Pensacola News Journal reports a Florida woman is suing a sheriff’s deputy she says shot her with a stun gun then attempted to make it right with a questionably frosted cake. The lawsuit claims that in June 2015, deputy Michael Wohlers left his shift and visited Stephanie Byron at the apartment complex where she worked. The lawsuit states Wohlers was upset about Byron’s personal life and tried to “intimidate, harass, and threaten her.“ He took away her sweet tea then shot her with a stun gun in the chest and neck when she tried to get it back, the lawsuit claims. According to the AP, Wohler told his superior that he fired the stun gun into a pillow at his house. He also filed a false police report about it.

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The lawsuit claims Wohlers later tried to apologize to Byron with a cake. Frosting on the cake reads “Sorry I Tased You” and shows two stick figures, one apparently shooting something with wires at the other. This shoddy frosting work could be Wohlers’ undoing. As the lawsuit notes: “The cake Wohlers baked…clearly shows…Wohlers firing the Taser at Ms. Byron.“ Wohlers has since changed his story, saying he fired the stun gun at Byron during a moment of “horseplay.“ Wohlers resigned from the sheriff’s department last year while being investigated for misconduct. On Monday, he was banned from serving with any Florida law enforcement agency for one year. Byron is seeking monetary compensation for a violation of her civil rights, battery, and more.


►   Police Violence Leads to Far Fewer 911 Calls

The so-called “Ferguson Effect” says homicides go up after high-profile police-on-citizen violence because police become too worried about being investigated for use of force. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a new study published Thursday has another explanation. Researchers found that 911 calls related to crime dropped 20% in Milwaukee following the horrific beating of unarmed black man Frank Jude by off-duty cops in 2004. The effect lasted for more than a year, totaling more than 22,000 fewer crime-related 911 calls, according to the Atlantic. And 56% of the decrease occurred in black neighborhoods, despite black neighborhoods making up only 31% of Milwaukee. Researchers are calling it the “Jude effect.“

Researchers found similar declines after police killed Sean Bell in 2006 in New York City and assaulted Danyall Simpson in 2007 in Milwaukee. Police violence “de-legitimizes the criminal justice system in the eyes of the African-American community,“ researcher Matthew Desmond tells the Journal Sentinel. The study concludes that incidents of police violence “make the city as a whole…less safe,“ the Christian Science Monitor reports. Jude’s beating was followed by a 32% increase in murders in Milwaukee. The spike in homicides can potentially be attributed to the drop in 911 calls, which are used by police for all sorts of crime fighting. “No act of police violence is an isolated incident, in both cause and consequence.“ the Atlantic quotes researcher Andrew Papachristos as saying.


►   SC Shooting Victim ‘Fighting for His Life’

One of the two young students injured in Wednesday’s school shooting in Townville, SC, has been released from the hospital after being shot in the foot, the Greenville News reports. But the other, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, is “fighting for his life,“ per a statement by Jacob’s family, posted on the Facebook page of state Rep. Alan Clemmons (he’s a close friend of Jacob’s aunt and uncle). “Due to the massive blood loss he has sustained a major brain injury,“ the statement reads. “Jacob is in very critical condition, and we are hanging on every second.“ The boy described by Gerald Gambrell, one of his older brothers, as being at “the top of his class in first grade” was shot in the femoral artery in his leg, per Clemmons, and had actually died and been revived two times—once while being transported and once while in surgery.

Family and friends note how much Jacob loves attending school at Anderson County’s Townville Elementary, with the pastor at his church telling the News, “He’ll make you laugh and tell you he loves you.“ A GoFundMe account set up for Jacob and his parents has already raised more than $90,000. Meanwhile, the superintendent of Jacob’s school district says active-shooter training and drills likely helped minimize the carnage on Wednesday, noting staff members “put their fear to the side because they put those children first,“ per the AP. And the community is hailing volunteer fireman Jamie Brock—who kept the unnamed teen shooter subdued until cops arrived—as a “hero,“ CBS News reports.


►   Arrest Made in 26-Year-Old Murders of Girl, Her Babysitter

A southwest Florida man has been charged with raping and killing an 11-year-old girl and her babysitter 26 years ago, the AP reports. The Cape Coral Daily Breeze reported Wednesday that Cape Police Chief David Newlan says detectives learned last week that a recent arrestee at the Lee County Jail matched DNA from the old crime scene. State officials confirmed the evidence matches 54-year-old Joseph Zieler. Authorities say the bodies of 11-year-old Robin Cornell and 32-year-old Lisa Story were found in a Cape Coral apartment in May 1990. Robin’s mother had been out for the night and discovered the suffocated bodies when she returned the next morning. Investigators didn’t immediately know of any prior connection between Zieler and the victims.

The victims had both been sexually assaulted, authorities say. The little girl was found, naked, on her bedroom floor; her babysitter was found in bed. The case has been featured on America’s Most Wanted more than once. Zieler has been charged with homicide murder, sexual assault, and other crimes.


►   California Man Shot by Cops Had Vaping Device, Not Gun

The black man fatally shot by police on Tuesday after adopting what police called a “shooting stance” was holding a 3-inch-long vaping device, not a gun, police have confirmed. Protesters gathered for a second day in El Cajon, Calif., on Wednesday to demand answers in the death of Alfred Olango, CNN reports. Mayor Bill Wells said he had seen video of the incident and he understands protesters’ anger. “I saw a man who was distraught, a man who was acting in ways that looked like he was in great pain, and I saw him get gunned down and killed and it broke my heart,“ he said. “If it was my son, I would be devastated.“ He says the FBI has joined the investigation.

Olango was shot by officers responding to a call about somebody behaving erratically. Video of the aftermath shows Olango’s sister, who says she told cops he was unarmed and “mentally sick” and needed a “crisis communications team,“ reports the Los Angeles Times. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Olango, head cook at a Hooters restaurant, was a 38-year-old whose family came to the US after enduring horrific conditions as refugees in Uganda. He had numerous brushes with the law and served time in prison on drugs and weapons charges, though friends say he was getting his life back on track until the death of a close friend on Friday sent him into a deep depression.


►   Texas Prisoners Can Read Hitler, but Not Jon Stewart

It’s Banned Books Week, literature’s annual celebration of the books that have challenged social order and standards over the years. When you think of banned books, you probably think of school reading lists, but book censorship can be even worse in prison. Texas’ penitentiary system, the largest in the US, prohibits prisoners from reading more than 15,000 separate books, the Observer reports. The policy is supposed to prevent prisoners from reading books containing information on how to commit crimes or manufacture controlled substances, any information on prison riots, or certain sexually explicit material, the Washington Post reports.

On the banned list? Friday Night Lights, Jon Stewart’s America (the Book), the poetry of Langston Hughes, even some Shakespearean sonnets. But Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s infamous screed, is allowed. The reason for the odd bans? Prison mailroom workers must review every book sent to the prison, and they’re encouraged to “quickly identify a reason to censor a book to avoid reading the rest of the book.“ This can be as little as a single usage of a racial slur (which is what got Friday Night Lights banned), regardless of context; for example, a depiction of rape gets the classic The Color Purple on the banned list.


►   500K U.S. Homes Can’t Afford Plumbing

Americans living in nearly 500,000 homes in the US don’t have what the New York Times—in an eye-opening piece—calls “basic dignity.“ That basic dignity includes running water, a bath or shower, or a working toilet. It’s that last one plaguing rural black communities in the South, who are living in “deep, biting poverty” thanks in part to the still-lasting effects of slavery and Jim Crow. One woman whose family makes just $12,000 a year can’t afford the $6,000 it would cost for a functioning septic tank. Instead, she runs a pipe from her toilet to the woods behind her house. “The smell gets so bad,“ says another woman who uses the same system. “There’s nothing we can do.“

It’s a problem without an easy solution. Without addressing deep-seated poverty, there will always be Americans who can’t afford septic tanks or other sewage solutions. And with an impoverished tax base, municipalities can’t afford to expand their sewer systems to cover rural homes. Meanwhile, it’s a public health hazard for families already at risk due to poverty. Rain can cause makeshift sewer lines to back up into homes, and improperly disposed-of sewage can get into drinking water. While it’s illegal to not have a functioning septic tank or sewer line, fining people isn’t seen as a long-term solution. And it means people have ended up with criminal records simply because they are too poor to afford plumbing. Read the full story HERE .

In The World….

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►   McDonald’s offers Halloween choco-pumpkin fries in Japan

or those who can’t get enough of pumpkin-flavored treats during Halloween, McDonald’s Japan is offering french fries covered in pumpkin and chocolate sauce.

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The fast-food chain came up with the “Halloween Choco Potato” to mark its 45th anniversary in Japan, where trick or treaters enjoy pumpkin-spiced food and beverages to celebrate the October holiday.

“The flavors of pumpkin and chocolate went unexpectedly well and it was quite tasty,“ Ayano Ishikama, 22, said after sampling the fries at one of the chain’s restaurants in Tokyo.


►   UN warns of ‘merciless abyss’ in besieged eastern Aleppo

Syrian government forces continued their push into rebel-held districts of Aleppo on Thursday as international officials issued dire warnings of an ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria’s largest city.

The U.N.‘s humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council that the conditions in eastern Aleppo, which is besieged and assaulted by all sides by government forces, had descended into the “merciless abyss of humanitarian catastrophe.“

Speaking to the Security Council via video link from Geneva, O’Brien painted a grim picture of the conditions in the war-wracked eastern part of the city, where at least 320 civilians including 100 children have been killed in the past week. An additional 765 have been wounded.

O’Brien’s report noted that the U.N. now calculates that 861,200 Syrians are trapped in sieges — a nearly 50 percent increase from the last estimate of 586,200. The new figure reflects the government’s protracted blockade around eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 250,000 people or more live.

Most of the besieged citizens, divided across at least 18 locations around the country, are trapped by government forces, and international observers are beginning to accuse both Damascus and its close ally Moscow of war crimes.

The U.N. embarked on an ambitious plan early this year to establish regular humanitarian access to Syrians living under various sieges but was reportedly stymied by the government as well as a restrictive covenant between rebels and the government to limit assistance to 60,000 of the most distressed, divided among four towns. At that time, a total of 487,000 Syrians were estimated to be living under siege.

O’Brien said certain Security Council members bore responsibility for global inaction on Syria and ended his address saying it was time to “place the blame.“

In Aleppo, rescue crews were working for the third straight day to clear the rubble and search for survivors of presumed Russian or Syrian government airstrikes on the eastern al-Shaar and al-Mashhad neighborhoods that flattened residential buildings and killed at least 23 civilians, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Germany and Turkey condemned what they called “blatant breaches of international humanitarian law” and renewed calls for a cease-fire.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke by phone Thursday, said Russia, the Syrian government’s chief backer on the international stage, bears “special responsibility to calm the violence and thereby give any chance to a political process,“ according to a statement released by Merkel’s office.

The White House said Thursday that Merkel also spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama by phone as well, and both agreed that Russia and the Syrian regime “bear special responsibility for ending the fighting in Syria and granting the U.N. humanitarian access to besieged and hard to reach areas in Syria.“

Meanwhile, airstrikes destroyed the last remaining bakery in Anadan, an opposition town north of Aleppo, activists said.

Adnan Medlej, an activist from Anadan, said the bakery was hit shortly after it distributed bread to the town’s remaining 2,000 residents and others in nearby villages. After intense bombings that devastated the town’s infrastructure, most residents have fled to other areas in rural Aleppo province.

A video shot by Medlej shows the bakery destroyed and a crater outside, with water leaking and walls scorched.

On Wednesday, government shelling near a bread distribution center in Aleppo city killed six people.

Meanwhile the U.S. and Russia escalated their war of words over the catastrophe as government forces kept up their assault on Aleppo’s rebel-held quarters.

Government forces seized the Handarat neighborhood along the contested city’s northern flank, forcing rebels to withdraw further from a crucial supply route to the city’s east, the Castello Road, pro-government media and observers said. A government blockade of the road has kept the opposition-run east under siege since mid-July, with the exception of a month-long period where rebels broke through the government’s southern line.

But gains have proven ephemeral in the battle for Aleppo: government forces captured Handarat last Saturday, only to surrender it again Sunday.

Syria’s military also released a video purporting to show a freshly captured neighborhood in the city’s historic center.

The video shows damaged traditional buildings, with arched ceilings and stone walls, in the Farafra neighborhood which rests at the foot of the city’s towering central citaDelegate Soldiers and allied militants are seen walking past mounds of debris, twisted metal bars, and caved-in ceilings. The government claimed it expelled rebels from the front-line neighborhood Tuesday.

A top Russian diplomat meanwhile called a U.S. threat to halt cooperation with Russia in the Syria conflict an “emotional breakdown” and said Russia is willing to support a 48-hour cease-fire around Aleppo.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday rejected Washington’s calls for a seven-day pause in hostilities, but said Russia is willing to support a 48-hour truce for humanitarian purposes.

Damascus blocked assistance from reaching eastern Aleppo during a week-long cease-fire which collapsed earlier this month.


►   Bill Clinton, Obama Join Dozens of Leaders at Peres Funeral

Shimon Peres was laid to rest in Jerusalem Friday in a ceremony attended by thousands of admirers and dozens of international dignitaries—a final tribute to a man who personified the history of Israel during a remarkable seven-decade political career and who came to be seen by many as a potent symbol of hopes of Mideast peace. President Obama, Bill Clinton, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas headlined a long list of world leaders who converged on Israel’s national cemetery, Mount Herzl, for the event, the AP reports. In a nod to the Palestinian leader, Abbas had a front-row seat at the memorial service for Peres, who died Wednesday at the age of 93.

In an emotional eulogy, Clinton described Peres as a “wide champion of our common humanity.“ He described a warm, 25-year friendship and recalled a meeting with Peres where Israeli and Arab children sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.“ Obama, visiting Israel for the second time as president, hailed Peres as a man who saw “all people as deserving of dignity and respect” and understood the Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews and therefore must be equal in self-determination. The funeral was Israel’s largest gathering of international dignitaries since the 1995 funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon’s partner in peace, who was killed by a Jewish nationalist.

West Virginia Receives “B+“ Grade in 2016 National Survey by the Center for Digital Government

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Chief Technology Officer Gale Given announced today the Center for Digital Government designated West Virginia with a B+ grade in the 2016 Digital States Survey. West Virginia received the same grade in the last survey, which was conducted in 2014. 

Under the Digital States criteria, a grade of “B” reflects a state that is “trending up. They show results in many survey categories, and their leaders use modernization to change entrenched practices to prepare for more sustainable operations. Incentives for collaboration are in place, and performance measures are used in key areas.” 

Over the past two years, West Virginia has achieved success through the use of technology in numerous areas, including:

     
  • Reduction of labor costs by automating services for the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, including requesting personalized plates and official driving records, as well as processing payment of license renewal fees;
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  • Growth of broadband services throughout the state as a result of a federal grant;
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  • Promotion of online businesses and educational growth;
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  • Creation of WV Help, a mobile app that delivers immediate contact information and support resources for those confronting crime, violence and child abuse; and,
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  • Development of the West Virginia Flood Tool, available for mobile devices at mapwv.gov/flood, which assesses flood risk to properties within the state. The West Virginia Flood Tool is designed to provide floodplain managers, insurance agents, developers, real estate agents, local planners and citizens with an effective means by which to make informed decisions about the degree of flood risk for a specific area or property. 

The Digital States Survey was designed to highlight best and emerging technology practices that can be shared across state borders. The survey recognizes these achievements and provides a common reference for all 50 states in the ongoing work of finding better ways to do the public’s business.

 “With limited budgeted dollars, West Virginia has maintained its commitment to expanding technological programs and services within state government, affecting our constituents throughout all 55 counties,” said Given. “The momentum that the Office of Technology has experienced thus far continues as we focus our attention in many areas, including cyber security, which will have a great impact on our citizens.” 

The results of this survey may be publically viewed at www.govtech.com/cdg/digital-states/Digital-States-Survey-2016-Results.html

The Center for Digital Government is a government research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local governments and education. 

Tips For Anyone Who Can’t Afford EpiPens Anymore

The Free Press WV

1. Talk to your doctor.

“We are the liaison between patients, pharmacies, insurance companies, advocacy groups, and schools — we see it all,” says Eghrari-Sabet. Your doctor or allergist is a great resource to find out about the different coupons, price-assistance programs, and grants available to cut the cost of EpiPens.

Your doctor can also provide the necessary school forms for parents who need their child’s school nurse to stock the medicine. They’re an incredible resource and they are there to help you.


2. Get an EpiPen savings card with coupons that can reduce the cost up to $300.

If you visit Mylan’s website EpiPen.com, you can sign up for a savings card, which reduces your out-of-pocket cost for one two-pack EpiPen carton by up to $300 (depending on your insurance), and you can use this coupon for a maximum of three cartons each year.

“You can either bring the physical card in with your paper prescription to the pharmacy, or your doctor can put your savings card ID number on an e-prescription,” says Eghrari-Sabet. It’s also possible that your insurance could cover half of the EpiPen cost, in which case you’ll then be paying zero dollars with the card at the pharmacy.


3. Make sure your pharmacy has applied all possible coupons.

It may sound obvious, but the experts say that pharmacies fail to apply coupons for prescriptions all the time. “They’re moving so quickly, and often they’ll accidentally overlook the savings card ID number on your e-prescription or forget to apply the coupon properly so you end up being charged the full price,” Eghrari-Sabet says. So come prepared with your savings card or ID number and insurance information, and double check whenever you use them.


4. Call your insurance company to check on your deductible and any limitations.

If you’re not sure about what your insurance plan covers or how your deductible works, call your insurance company before you’re in a pinch. If you do have a deductible, you’ll have to meet that before your insurance will start covering the prescription cost.

You should also ask if they accept EpiPen coupons, since some private insurance companies do not, says Eghrari-Sabet.

“The last thing you can do is call and complain, and ask the insurance company what to do if you can’t pay for a life-saving drug, because then the pressure is there to change,” says Eghrari-Sabet.


5. Apply for Mylan’s patient assistance program.

Most pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs (PAPs) to provide free or low-cost drugs to people with financial hardships who can’t pay for their medication. Mylan’s EpiPen patient assistance program provides the injector to low-income patients, but they set their own eligibility requirements, says Eghrari-Sabet.

In order to qualify, you must be a legal U.S. citizen, have no prescription insurance coverage, and make at or below 400% of the federal poverty line. Mylan actually increased the income level from 200% to 400% on August 25, 2016, due to mounting pressure.


6. Call a patient advocacy group for help understanding your insurance plan and options.

While doctors are a great resource, they can also get tied up with other patients and clinical responsibilities. “Patients need to know that there are advocacy groups for people with allergies who are there to answer all of your questions,” says Eghrari-Sabet. These groups have employees and volunteers ready to help every single patient, no matter how long it takes. They can explain the price change, walk you through your individual insurance plan and deductible, and help you find the right cost-assistance program. Here are a few to get you started:


7. Ask if your company’s HR department offers cost assistance to employees.

If you receive health insurance through your company, sometimes human resources can help. “You can ask your HR department for assistance if it doesn’t cover the EpiPen and you’re having financial hardship and the company might have resources to help you pay,” says Eghrari-Sabet.

Not to mention, lobbying for the EpiPen to become a covered benefit under your company’s healthcare plan could result in tangible changes in the following year when the insurance plans change and roll over.


8. Ask your doctor’s office if there’s any way for them to get free samples from their pharmaceutical reps.

“If a patient isn’t able to afford the drug, we can talk to our EpiPen [pharmaceutical company] reps and tell them about the patient’s case without revealing personal information, so hopefully they’ll give us a free sample,” says Dr. Reenal Patel, physician at Allergy & Asthma Care in New York City. Doctors obviously won’t be able to do this for every patient, but it is an option you can explore if you’re in a tight spot.


9. Make sure your child’s school is opted into Mylan’s school partnership program, which supplies EpiPens to schools for free.

Most states have legislation which requires schools to stock EpiPens, but the laws aren’t always enforced, and many schools just don’t have them on-hand, says Eghrari-Sabet.

Mylan does have a program, “EpiPen 4 Schools” which provides four free EpiPens, a storage unit, and free training guides to your child’s school. “Each year I write thousands of prescriptions just for EpiPens to give to the school nurse because they don’t carry them, so this is incredibly cost-saving,” says Eghrari-Sabet. You still need to see a doctor to get the appropriate forms, which you can do during your child’s annual checkup during the summer before school starts.


10. Check the expiration date before you pay for an EpiPen to make sure it’ll last at least one year.

No matter what you pay for your EpiPen, check the expiration date. You wouldn’t buy milk that expires tomorrow if you can buy milk that expires in a week, right? Same goes for the EpiPen. They can last for up to 18 months or even two years, says Eghrari-Sabet.

If it expires in less than a year, the experts say you can ask for their newest carton or ask for the pharmacy to order new cartons immediately. “Make sure you check the box immediately when they give it to you, before you pay, because once you pay you can’t exchange it,” says Eghrari-Sabet.


11. Explore alternative epinephrine injectors.

EpiPen is the only FDA-approved epinephrine auto-injector covered by most insurance companies. Mylan patented the injector design so the alternative options are very limited, says Eghrar-Sabet. One cheaper, FDA-approved version called Auvi-Q had success until it was recalled in 2015 due to inaccurate dosage issues. Adrenaclick is another FDA-approved auto-injector, but it’s hard to find and most insurance companies won’t cover it so it’s not much cheaper. The FDA actually made it illegal for pharmacies to prescribe Adrenaclick as a low-cost alternative to the EpiPen if patients couldn’t pay.

“The last resort is a bottle of epinephrine and syringes to do it yourself, but this isn’t FDA-approved and you also need to know how to draw up your exact dosage in the syringe and inject yourself, which is almost impossible to do if you’re in the heat of anaphylaxis,” says Eghrari-Sabet. It’s really only a viable option if you happen to be a trained medical professional with an allergy.


12. Become an advocate, and ask your state congressperson for EpiPens to get on the Preventive Drug List.

The Preventive Drug List outlines that certain preventive health benefits and prescription meds are exempt from your deductible in high-deductible health plans. If EpiPens are on the list, then federal rules allow you to pay zero copay or coinsurance at the pharmacy even if you haven’t met your deductible.

“Congress has the ability to say that EpiPens need to go on the list because they are truly lifesaving and everyone who needs them should be able to get one,” says Eghrari-Sabet. Even though writing a letter isn’t a short-term solution, it’s a great way to advocate for yourself as a patient and fight for federal laws that could make EpiPens free in the future. You can learn more by visiting the American Allergy Foundation of America or the Allergy and Asthma Network advocate information pages.


13. Finally, don’t give up until you can get an EpiPen.

“My biggest fear is that this price change will cause people to think that the EpiPen isn’t worth buying, or it isn’t worth using if people think the reaction isn’t serious enough or worth a $600 treatment,” says Eghrari-Sabet.

The reality is, using an EpiPen is always worth it, because you may have no idea if a reaction is life-threatening until it’s too late.

“You don’t sit around wondering if you need an EpiPen when your throat is swelling up — you just need it,” says Eghrari-Sabet. And patients should exhaust every single option they have until they can get the treatment they need.

West Virginia Residents Urged to Get a Flu Shot

Officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources are reminding residents to take steps to prepare for the upcoming flu season. In a newly launched public service announcement, Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Bureau for Public Health Commissioner and State Health Officer, urge West Virginians to get a flu shot to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The 60-second video features Bowling and Gupta discussing the importance of the vaccine for everyone, especially those at high risk for flu complications.  The public service announcement was filmed at Saint Francis First Urgent Care and Wellness Center in Charleston, West Virginia, where Secretary Bowling received her flu shot.


“We all need to make a commitment to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the flu this season,” said Bowling. “Now is the opportune time to consider basic preventive measures such as the flu vaccine, and I hope this public service announcement encourages someone to take action today.”

Gupta underscores the importance of not waiting until the middle of the flu season to get a shot.

“The flu shot not only helps protect you and your family, but also residents among our most vulnerable population,  including young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, as well as those with chronic health conditions,” said Gupta.

In addition to getting a flu shot, Gupta said there are several preventive steps you can take to fight the flu:
• Wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
• Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.
• Stay home when you are sick.

Flu symptoms include quick onset of fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough. Persons who may be suffering from influenza-like symptoms should see a medical provider right away. For more information about the flu, please visit www.dide.wv.gov and click on “Influenza.”

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

COMMUTER TRAIN CRASHES INTO STATION, KILLING ONE, INJURING SCORES

The wreck in Hoboken, New Jersey, renews questions about whether long-delayed safety technology could have prevented the tragedy.


HOW TRUMP IS UPPING THE ANTE

The GOP candidate resurrects Bill Clinton’s impeachment, thrusting the former president and his infidelities into the already-rancorous presidential campaign.


KILLINGS IN CHICAGO REACH GRIM MILESTONE

The city saw 91 homicides in August, its deadliest month in two decades.


WHO’S JOINING WORLD LEADERS FOR SHIMON PERES’ FUNERAL

Obama flies to Israel to pay tribute to a fellow Nobel Prize laureate - who also labored for peace in the Middle East but failed to achieve it.


TWO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS HAILED AS HEROES

One neutralized a teenage gunman at a South Carolina elementary school, while the other treated a young boy who had been shot.


WHERE CALLS FOR CEASE-FIRE REMAIN UNHEEDED

Government troops continue their push into rebel-held districts of Aleppo as international officials warn of an ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria’s largest city.


BANK BOSS ROASTED YET AGAIN

Angry lawmakers heap another round of blistering criticism on Wells Fargo’s CEO, pressing for details about what senior managers knew about allegedly illegal sales practices.


TOP SCIENTISTS UNIMPRESSED BY PARIS ACCORD

The agreement to fight climate change, even if heeded, won’t be enough to avert dangerous warming levels in about 35 years, they say.


JANET JACKSON’S PLANS BEAR FRUIT

Months after saying she was planning a family, the singer is spotted sporting an apparent baby bump.


U.S. HOPING TO AVOID MORE RYDER CUP DISAPPOINTMENT

Europe has won six of the last seven Cup competitions, and eight of the last 10 dating to 1995.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Second Agency Drops West Virginia’s Bond Rating a Level

Another major credit rating agency has dropped West Virginia’s bond rating.

Fitch Ratings announced the downgrade Wednesday from AA+ to AA, calling the outlook negative amid uncertainty in the state’s economy.

Fitch says economic and financial challenges are largely due to significant domestic and international momentum to reduce coal usage. Fitch also cited current low natural gas prices and lack of transmission capacity.

Fitch expects challenges to continue for several years, applying financial stress until the coal decline bottoms out and is replaced by expansion in the state’s other natural resources, or some other positive development.

Fitch called West Virginia’s demographic profile weak, mentioning its steadily declining population.

Fitch praised the state’s reserves and low debt.

Standard & Poor’s dropped West Virginia’s bond rating in April from AA to AA-minus.


►   State Officials Applaud Legislation That Will Supply Flood Recovery Money

After the spending bill was blocked, West Virginia officials are applauding the passage of legislation that includes flood recovery money.

The House voted Wednesday night to send President Obama a bill to avert a government shutdown and put $500 million toward West Virginia and Louisiana flood relief. The Senate voted earlier Wednesday.

Senators stalled the bill Tuesday after many Democrats opposed the lack of money for Flint, Michigan’s lead-contaminated water. A dozen conservative Republicans also opposed the bill.

Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito commended Wednesday’s turnaround.

Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who requested $310 million more in federal flood cash, said additional money will help make communities stronger than ever. It’s unclear what the bill awards West Virginia.

The June floods killed 23 people and ravaged West Virginia communities.


►   WVU Researchers Say State’s Economy Is Recovering, Slowly

West Virginia University researchers say economic indicators show West Virginia is further emerging from a recession.

The university said in a news release that the Mountain State Business Index has posted gains in four of the past six months. The index combines seven economic indicators to measure the expected swings in the state’s economic activity.

But the statement says the state’s recovery from the recession has been lackluster compared to previous business cycles due to the devastating floods in June and other economic issues.

WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research director John Deskins says it remains uncertain if stronger economic growth will occur in the coming months.


►   Charleston Moves Forward with Fireworks Restriction Bill

A bill that would limit the use of fireworks in Charleston is moving forward.

A City Council committee on Tuesday voted to recommend approval of the bill, which will advance to the council for a final vote next week.

The bill would restrict the use of fireworks to four days per year, including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve.

Those looking to use fireworks for a special occasion on any other days would need to seek permission from the police chief.

City Attorney Paul Ellis, who drafted the bill, says the council will be able to make changes to it by removing or adding days that fireworks would be permitted before it takes a final vote October 03.


►   West Virginia man accused of shooting deer in DC

There is no deer season in the nation’s capital. No hunting of any animal is allowed within the District of Columbia.

Police say that didn’t stop Vernon Goyne of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, from putting on camouflage and trying to bag a buck in a residential neighborhood of northwest Washington.

Officers found Goyne preparing to hit the wounded deer with a stick in the woodsy Palisades neighborhood Tuesday.

Scott Giacoppo with the Washington Humane Society says the 250-pound deer - known as an Imperial Stag for its 14-point antlers - had to be euthanized.

Goyne faces five charges including animal cruelty and possession of an unregistered firearm. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

The Downside of Government Programs

The Free Press WV

I hadn’t heard of Edward Conard before, but apparently he worked with Mitt Romney at Bain Capital. So he should know a thing or two, being as how Bain was what you might call a corporate repair shop. Its job seemed to be taking in beat-up corporate jalopies and doing a complete makeover, before sending them back on the road, all fixed up and slicked up.

Conard’s first book was Unintended Consequences, “which set the record straight about the financial crisis of 2008 and explained why U.S. growth was accelerating relative to other high-wage economies.“ In other words, it wasn’t the banks’ fault.

Now in The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class Conard shows how how pretty well all the standard nostrums won’t work to get the economic moving again.

Yes, he says, inequality has been increasing, but only at the very top end. And how are the 0.0001 percent getting rich? We all know the reason. It is chaps like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates coming up with long-shot technology startups that can grow into $500 billion corporations with very little additional capital.

The thing to understand about today’s knowledge-based economy, compared to the old manufacturing economy of old is that it doesn’t take much to scale up to a global scale. In the old economy a Rockefeller or a Ford had to borrow money and/or sell shares to scale up; a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t. He gets to keep all the value for himself and his startup buddies and early VC investors.

Aside: Someone once told me that they had encountered Bill Gates in a store just after Microsoft had gone public. He asked Bill why he did it. Gates answered: to share the company with the employees.

But who cares about the inequality? Zuckerberg isn’t hurting anyone except when he is buying the houses close to his place in Palo Alto. He is making money just like an entertainment star does, because people all over the world love his product.

The basic proposition in the modern economy, according to Conard, is this. To succeed in the modern economy you need two things, “properly trained talent” and a capacity for risk-taking.

And the reason that the US has been growing faster that our high-wage pals in Europe is that we have been doing the knowledge economy thing better than they.

That doesn’t necessarily mean “education.“ Most people going to college are majoring in things that have nothing to do with the new economy. And according to Conard, pretty well all the usual suspects to fix education aren’t going to make a difference. Most useful training takes place on the job.

And most people don’t want to put their savings at risk. That is why we have banks. Banks take risk-averse savings and lend them to people that are taking a risk. Of course, lending is supposed to be properly collateralized and credit-worthy. But sometimes you get a Black Swan and the banks go south.

So how do you mobilize risk-averse savings? You have to balance it with equity. That just means that the startup guys need equity capital to provide a cushion against failure for the risk-averse folks. The more equity out there the more risk-taking propositions the economy can address.

Here is where Conard introduces something I didn’t know. Apparently one of the provisions of Dodd-Frank is to make it harder for the Fed to act as lender of last resort.

Rather than strengthening the Fed’s ability to act more effectively as a lender of last resort in a bank run, policy makers have done the opposite. They have made banks more responsible for bank runs by intentionally weakening the Fed’s ability to act in a panic. Banks pulled back by raising credit standards.

Hello! The “Intellectual Yet Idiot“ class provoked the Crash of 2008 because the Fed felt it could not rescue Lehman Brothers under current law. So the Fed is still stupid like it was in the 1929-33 crash. The whole point of the Fed is to be a lender of last resort that lends whatever it takes to keep the financial system afloat, as per Lombard Street by Walter Bagehot. And then worry about the fallout later. Period.

In the event, not just the Fed but the US government ended up guaranteeing just about everything in the financial system, as my usfederalbailout.com shows.

The point about the banking system is that is really is doing a conjuring trick. It is taking risk-averse savings and making it into semi-risk capital. Of course that proposition goes south every now and again.

But the big message of The Upside of Inequality is that there really is not much that government can do about inequality or indeed anything else. Yes, we should help the poor, but we should not expect to get much result. We should fund education, but it is not going to have much result.

What we could do, in a chapter called “Real Solutions,“ is this:

  • Encourage “ultra high-skilled immigration.“ Because that would help the “properly trained talent” problem. 
  • Lower the marginal corporate tax rate, to attract employers back to the US. 
  • Demand balanced trade. Not to save manufacturing jobs but because when we run a trade deficit we import a lot of risk-averse capital that gets invested in government bonds. Not good. We need more risk capital. 
  • Increase bank guarantees, not reduce them. 
  • Don’t enact a middle-class tax cut. That would slow growth.


Of course, after reading a 250-page policy book I rather wonder about the premise of policy analysis books. They are always recommending some sort of pushme-pullyou hydraulic replumbing of government to get the right pressure to force growth—or equality or justice—out of a sputtering jalopy.

But what do people really want? The working class of 200 years ago was walking from starvation to wage jobs in the city. The immigrants from Mexico have been doing the same.

But once everyone has got to the city and has got a half-decent job, what then? Most people just want to sit back and live a modest life and blame “them” if and when things go wrong. They don’t care about “growth” except when their part of the world is declining, and the kids have to move away to get a job. But they do want that free stuff the politicians keep offering.

Really, nobody has thought about what comes next. What you might call the Downside of Government Programs and free stuff.

OK. We know what comes next. The whole big-government edifice crumbles to dust because its free-stuff concept has completely wrecked the economy and the culture.

But after that. What do we do then?

Come on geniuses. Give it your best.

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

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