Thursday, April 30, 2015



A method of treatment that manipulates body structures (especially the spine) to relieve low back pain or even headache or high blood pressure


01  May,

For those who suffer from back pain or stiffness, a properly trained chiropractor can perform just the right adjustments to provide much needed relief. But in a new trend which is currently sweeping the profession, many of these specialists are broadening their repertoire to include the treatment of a number of surprising conditions including asthma, reflux and even autism.

Can the chiropractic profession really provide solutions for these ailments, or does this represent an unfortunate era of quackery within this long-respected field of medicine? That's the central question of the new documentary Chiropractic, a thought-provoking expose on the potential benefits and risk factors involved in choosing an alternative form of medicine for conditions most commonly treated by general practitioners.

"My first call is always the chiropractor," says Helene, a mother of young daughters and one of several interview subjects featured in the film. Helene's views are persuasive, and echoed by many other parents who favor an alternative which replaces the prescription of drugs with a more natural, gentle and personalized form of treatment.

Without a doubt, the spine contains a complex series of structures and nerve connections which control a vast number of crucial functions throughout the body. Yet, the film offers testimony from pain management specialists, surgeons, primary care providers and other experts from the medical field who disagree with the assertion that spinal manipulation can be relied upon as a cure-all. Particularly concerning for these specialists is the idea that more parents are turning to chiropractics for the care of their young children whose nerve and bone structures are still vulnerable and developing.

"The idea that there are energy flows up and down the spine that cause disease in organs doesn't fit with our current understanding of science," reports Dr. Michael Fahey, a pediatric neurologist at Monash Medical Centre in Australia. Dr. Fahey cites several studies which indicate chiropractic impotence in the face of conditions like asthma, colic and ear infections.

The decision to seek treatment from an outside source is understandable, especially given the criticisms and distrust of mainstream medicine within some circles. With reason, balance and scientific clarity, Chiropractic provides the evidence every parent needs to make the most informed decision for their own children.

Watch the full documentary now



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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Afghanistan’s Precarious Future


         Afghanistan’s Precarious Future


                        Thomas Storch

The horrific attack in Jalalabad on Saturday by a group claiming affiliation with the Islamic State was another reminder that security risks in Afghanistan continue to metastasize and threaten the stability of the Afghan government. The coming drawdown of US forces—to be reduced to fewer than 1,000 by January 2017—will not only exacerbate this vulnerability but also reveal a sticky problem: Afghanistan cannot pay for its own government, including its army and police forces, and has no viable path to self-sufficiency.
According to Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko, “It appears we’ve created a government that the Afghans simply cannot afford.”

Early planning envisioned an Afghan economy that would be robust enough to pay for the cost of security by the time US forces withdrew, but today the economy is much weaker and the security forces needed much larger than previously imagined. Preliminary estimates suggested Afghanistan had natural resources worth from $908 billion to $3 trillion and that revenues from their extraction would become “the backbone of the Afghan economy.” The creation of a new Silk Road trade hub was also considered to offer great economic opportunities. “There is stunning potential here,” said General David Petraeus in 2010.

In recent years, however, the Afghan economy has sputtered and projections for future growth are bleak. Given Afghanistan’s history and starting point, its postwar economic growth plans were aggressive; even in very good circumstances, the development of major resources projects and trade infrastructure would have been very difficult. It is now clear that only a  sliver of the revenues anticipated by optimistic government analysts will materialize in the foreseeable future.

Afghanistan’s major resource prospects are high-cost, high-risk projects in a country with deteriorating security, minimal infrastructure, difficult terrain, and few skilled workers. With tepid global growth and the slowing pace of Chinese commodity consumption driving significantly lower commodity prices, major Afghan mining projects are not economically viable in the current environment.

The largest projects were troubled from the outset.

In 2007, China Metallurgical Group (MCC), a Chinese state-owned enterprise, bid dramatically above competitive market rates to win the contract for the Mes Aynak copper mine. The $3 billion agreement included a commitment to build a major rail line and power plant in addition to other supporting infrastructure. To date, MCC, supported by the Chinese government, has made almost no material progress on the project. It has withdrawn its Chinese workers from Afghanistan and is pressing to renegotiate the contract—aiming to halve the royalty rate payable to the Afghan government and backing away from its infrastructure commitments.

The outlook for the Hajigak iron ore project is equally dreary. Recent comments from the leader of the licensed consortium, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), suggest that the $10.8 billion investment is on hold indefinitely. Public market investors see the Hajigak project as essentially worthless, as evidenced by the paltry $3.5 million market capitalization of Kilo Goldmines, a Canada-based publicly listed company that owns a 20 percent interest.

Afghanistan’s plans to become a profitable regional trading hub, limited by security concerns and complicated geopolitics, are also impracticable under current circumstances.

 Indian officials have recently backed away from plans originally developed in 2003 to build a trade route through Afghanistan to the Iranian port of Chabahar.

 Chinese efforts to build a network from China through Afghanistan to the new China-operated port of Gwadar, in Pakistan, are in the early stages of development and will be hugely challenging.

This leaves the US with two bad options:

It can continue to prop up the Afghan government with billions of dollars of foreign aid for an unknown number of years or decrease funding and risk—according to a CNA Independent Assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces—a collapse of the government and civil war.

After spending $686 billion for Afghanistan and related counterterrorism operations, an estimated four to seven billion dollars per year may seem like a reasonable ongoing cost for the US to prevent Afghanistan from slipping into civil war.

As US forces leave Afghanistan, however, it will be increasingly difficult to maintain congressional support for this funding, particularly in an environment of sequestration in Washington, rampant corruption in Kabul, and the  perceived risk of throwing good money after bad.

While there are legitimate reasons for US taxpayers to be reticent to continue funding the Afghan government and security forces, US leaders need to be clear and honest about what the likely consequences of withdrawing funding will be.

To understand them, they need look no further than Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. The Soviet-supported government and security forces did not crumble upon the full withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union, when external financial and military aid abruptly stopped in early 1992, did the army and police truly fall apart. The Afghan government collapsed shortly thereafter.

Thomas Storch is the co-founder of the Zosima Group and a member of the Foreign Policy Initiative Leadership Network. The views expressed are his own. Affiliations are provided for identification purposes, and do not suggest institutional endorsement.
OG Image: 

This won the First Prize for the Best Joke

This won the First Prize for the Best Joke in a Competition in Britain this Year

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, 
and fall asleep. Some hours later, Sherlock Holmes wakes up his faithful friend.
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
 Watson replies, "I see millions of stars."
"Holmes - What does that tell you?"
Watson ponders for a minute and replied
"Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies 
and potentially billions of planets. And
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it's evident that the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and 
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrowBut what does it tells you?" 
Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks.

"Someone has stolen our tent".






The story is hilarious. What it brings out is how we tend to complicate 
issues and then miss the most obvious things. Too much knowledge is of no 
help unless we have the wisdom to guide it to an effective conclusion.