Monday, October 23, 2017

The "We're all gonna die" post of the day

Asia News Network via the Phil Inqurer.

North Korea is now producing biological weapons.

It is likely that anthrax and small pox is already used as a biological weapon,” the report said. “North Korean soldiers are vaccinated against small pox, and so are US Army (personnel) stationed in South Korea — against small pox and anthrax.”
North Korea is thought to have 13 pathogens in possession including botulism, cholera and plague, the researchers said.
 so how would they deliver them?

On means of delivery, the report said missiles, drones, airplanes, sprayers and human vectors are likely to be used. It also mentioned human agents as a plausible delivery method of the biological weapons, as the country has 200,000 special forces members.

Legal bribery

The Hill has an article on Russia trying to influence the Obama administration.

my favorite passage:

“In the end, some of this just comes down to what it always does in Washington: donations, lobbying, contracts and influence — even for Russia,” said Frank Figliuzzi, the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.

or as a local wag said about bribery in the Philippines: They accept bribes under the table... and over the table... and with the table.

someone needs to figure out how all those guys in Washington got rich AFTER they were elected.

Inventing the wheel: more complicated than you think

Professor Bulliet argues that inventing the wheel is not the biggest breakthrough in human invention.,,,

In a nutshell, I argue that the whole concept of "the wheel" being invented is misleading -- three conceptually different types of wheels were invented at different times and places, and their uses varied greatly over the centuries.
Furthermore, the idea that the wheel is mankind's greatest invention is basically a myth that began in the twentieth century, largely because of the spread of the third type of wheel: the caster (invented around 1700)...
From the Copper Age onward, many societies that knew about the concept of the wheel chose not to use it for transportation, for various reasons.
Here's an imgur gallery of some interesting wheel images that explain different parts of my thinking.

Wheeled bull from Ukraine This toy is the earliest known object on wheels.
Wheeled bull from Ukraine This toy is the earliest known object on wheels.

the problem: it's not just the wheel, it's the axle and the spokes and being able to turn the wheel, and attaching an animal to the wagon/chariot etc. to pull it.

the Boston Globe has a long review of the book here and using a fixed axel in mines and discusses wagons used in the steppes to carry houses.

and Aramco world discusses how and why these wheeled wagons were abandoned in the Middle East: Camels were cheaper and easier. 

(but) there has been little notice taken of the amazing fact that Middle Eastern society wilfully abandoned the use of the wheel, one of mankind's greatest inventions....
But gradually over the course of the first four or five centuries of the Christian era, and perhaps even earlier, all wheeled transport in the area, from the grandest chariot to the humblest farm wagon, passed out of existence.

the article has a lot more about the domestication of the camel and it's importance to traders, the ability of the nomads to monopolize long distance trade, and how it gradually became cheaper for farmers to rent camels than to haul things in complicated and expensive wagons..

A side note:
and this might explain why the Inca etc. who had llamas to carry loads, never used wagons on their roads...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lonely deaths of Japan


story of a woman whose job it is to clean up and organize the mementos of people who die alone in Japan.

Most,  but not all, are elderly.


dog item of the day

Quote of the week

Kelly said: "When I was a kid growing up I thought a lot of things were sacred in our country.
Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor.
That’s obviously not the case anymore as we’ve seen from recent cases.
 Life was sacred. That’s gone.
Religion. That seems to be gone as well.
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the Summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die in the battlefield, I thought that might be sacred."

This is the part the MSM left out of General Kelly's speech.

there is a difference between printing FACTS and printing the Truth.

book of the week

Braudel's trilogy on the structure of everyday life is available on Intenet Archives.


most histories concentrate on "great men", kings and wars. This series is about technology, trade, and how ordinary people lived.

A bit hard to slog through because of it's length, but easy to read: I have two of the three volumes in hard cover, so usually I just look up something and then read a few pages. But I am happy to get my missing volume and be able to read the series on my tablet.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Honoring dictators, Forget it Jake, it's the UN

From the BBC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a "goodwill ambassador" to help tackle non-communicable diseases.
the BBC then adds this in case you thought the appointment made sense:

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, GenevaThe appointment of 93-year-old Robert Mugabe will cause astonishment among many WHO member states and donors.
A goodwill ambassador may be a largely symbolic role, but the symbolism of giving it to a man whose leadership of Zimbabwe has, critics say, coincided with a collapse of its health service, and major human rights abuses, will be very unpopular. 

Mugabe, after "winning" an election, decided to tear down a lot of middle class areas to punish them for voting against him. He called it "operation take out the trash" and insisted it was slum clearance, but it was not.

UKGuardian article on this from 2005:

The UN's 98-page report concluded that 2.4 million people had been affected, of whom 700,000 had lost their homes or livelihoods or both, in a humanitarian crisis of "immense proportions"....
The language was harsh by UN standards. It said the clearances were a "disastrous venture". It added that the operation, "while purporting to target illegal dwellings and structures and to clamp down on alleged illicit activities, was carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering, and, in repeated cases, with disregard to several provisions on national and international legal frameworks".

one of the buildings town down was an HIV clinic near Harare, run by Sister Patricia, the public health nurse who worked with me.

Another building torn down was a convent in QueQue, again that housed some of the African sisters who I worked with.

file AFP

And I won't even go into the threats and massacres by his "green bombers"  in the past, or that he has decided to reorganize the group for the 2018 election.

Of course, all sins forgiven because he is an open communist.


for non Yanks and non movie buffs:

the source for the "Forget it Jake" quote is from the movie Chinatown.

the Science Religion debate

Father Spitzer on EWTN has a series of talks about this problem (along with other religious related items). Apple link or Youtube.

And here is a podcast at John Bachelor's site.

there seems to be a delusion that all scientists are atheists, but it's more complicated than that. The Vatican Astronomer pointed out that the percentage of believers in science is the same as the population (common in the US, rare in Europe).

And of course, as one of my teachers observed: most physicians are not religious per se, but do believe there is a God, because we see so many die who should have lived, but also see people who we expected to die go on to recover. And we see Gods hands in the religious beliefs of those who take loving care of our handicapped and elderly patients.

Imagine there's no heaven

Pope Francis channels John Lennon

and love means never having to say you're sorry

Philippine news

ASEAN Meeting is scheduled to meet at the old Clark Air force base. The base was given back to the Philippines after the left insisted the US leave, but right before the USAF left, Mt Pinatubo happened and covered the base with a foot of ash.

Nevertheless, the old base (like Subic) has bee converted to civilian uses: It has an international airport, lots of businesses, and holds meetings.

Pampanga (like our area) used to be notorious for the communist led insurgents, but nowadays not so much. Our lovely ex president Gloria did a lot to improve the area.


The Bird flu epidemic has seemed to settle down in our area. A lot of chickens, and also quail and ducks had to be killed (quail eggs are common here, and duck eggs are salted and sold, or used for balut).

However, I am seeing a lot of live chickens in cages in the last few weeks being sold by vendors on the street (not in the palenke). I am wondering if they are selling them to eat: If the bird is alive and well when you take it home, you know you won't be eating "double dead" meat or chicken meat from a sick chicken that was killed before it could die on it's own.

Luckily, it was ordinary bird flu, not the virulent one that is simmering around China (and could morph to kill humans as it did in 1918).

The reason I notice: These are white chickens, the type you eat, and medium sized.

Here, a lot of folks have fighting cocks in their backyard: Usually red ones with impressive feathers, under a small shelter and with a leg tied so it doesn't get lose.

It says a lot that although the local dogs are often left out at night to do their thing in the vacant lots, and we do have stray dogs (alas) that wander around, yet few of these cocks seem to get killed. They are pretty mean...

Duterte thanks China for giving the Philippine military decent rifles etc. which were used to kill the terrorists in the south.

He said the Americans and the Israelis only allowed Filipino troops to use their equipment without leaving them behind. “They are not willing to give it to us unlike China—no payment,” he said. “The thought of helping us was something that was useful to the community of the world.”

President Obama denied requests for weapons to "punish" Duterte early in the anti drug push here. And called him names. This was accompanied by hysteria about all those murders (whereas murders in the past were rarely even noticed, even when US citizens like our cousin's death by the ex mayor or the FilAm vet down the street killed by robbers, presumably druggies,).

But hey, Obama did nothing to help PNoy when China destroyed our reefs to build their artificial islands to claim the west Philippine Sea.

But Trumpie boy? A bromance. Place horrified tweets by SJW HERE.

 And yes there is a Trump tower being built in Manila, but it's run by Trump Jr.

But Trump isn't military as much as doing deals, so presumably will understand when Duterte does the same.

Oh FYI: The Russians are coming! the Russians are Coming!

and they are delivering much needed weapons to fight the bad guys too...

as for the war in the South: Marawi is now essentially liberated, the the leaders and money men are dead... what is left now is a couple dozen hold outs and a lot of booby traps and hidden mines.

now the soldiers are being welcomed back, 

most of the US press is not saying: Good job, guys.

Like the liberation of Raqa, victories in the war on terrorism is not usually celbrated because... war is evil, dontchaknow? And for the MSM in the USA, veterans who risked their lives to liberate cities, and dead military heroes are only in the news if they can be used to push the hate Trumpieboy meme.

So the MSM are busy warning: This is not the end to ISIS linked guys.

And so expect to see lots of breathless and admiring stories in the US MSM about how the bad guys are soooo powerful... or stories complaining how those bad soldiers destroyed the city in order to liberate it.

Uh, the problem with Muslim terrorists/slavers has been going on here for over 300 years, long before ISIS.  (as for the Middle East: well those wars go back 3500 years to the Battle of Kadesh).

But the big discussion now is how to rebuild the place. Lots of people there to help, including China, who is trying to make nice so we won't notice them stealing our fishing grounds and the oil beneath them.

(and hopefully we won't see most of the aid diverted into the pockets of politicians, as happens alas too often here).


Friday, October 20, 2017

Standing on the back of a dead hero (part 2)

Credit: Task and Purpose.
This is a follow up about a post from earlier today, where a US Congressperson exploited the death of a hero to make political points.

I am still upset about it, because unlike most of the Hollywood, NYC, or Washington Elites, I have relatives in the military.

I figured that Trumpieboy made an awkward remark that was, alas, misunderstood.

But does anyone in his or her right mind think he said something deliberatly cruel to ridicule the hero or the widow? Of course not. But as a doc, I know that:
a: people sometimes misunderstand what you say

B. in times of stress and grief, often the messenger gets blamed.

But here, I suspect the congressperson, after the call, inflamed the widow's grief to make her think the president was ridiculing her. Huh? What sane person would twist a sympathetic phone call this way? To upset the poor widow more than she already is upset?

Or was it to reframe what was said, so as to have the widow "remember" the phone call in the way that the congressperson suggested, so she could twist the death as political fodder?

(In times of stress, people do not remember things accurately, which is why often docs have papers signed with a witness pressent, or even tape the conversation for high risk patients).

But it gets worse. The Congressperson then went and told her story of cruel Trump to the press, who immediately picked up the story: it was all over the news.

This was worse than using the story to ridicule the President: The story implies he deliberately was cruel.

So General Kelly, who also lost a son, gave a speech about how hard it is to lose a son, and how hard it is for a president to talk to a family when this has happened.

So what does the congressperson do?

Victory Girls says it best:

Today Chief of Staff General John Kelly shamed Rep. Frederica Wilson... for politicizing the death of an American soldier. So how did Rep. Wilson react? Did General Kelly humble her? Did she apologize? No. And not only no, but hell no! In fact, Wilson called herself a ‘rock star.’ And then she laughed about it, so very pleased with herself.... 

it was never about supporting Sgt. La David Johnson’s pregnant widow and their young children. It was all about making political hay.
Let’s be honest here — she doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about this Gold Star family, except when they were politically expedient. As a result she got the attention she craves, and now she thinks she’s a “rock star.”


And a prayer for the families of the soldiers, not just the Green Berets but the soldiers of Niger who died. They too are trying to protect their families and loved ones against the Bokuharum, who are terrorizing both Christian and Muslims in that area of Africa.

Drudge has a link about "investigating" the deaths, but as I noted in a different post a few days ago,  StrategyPage noted last week that this was a training exercize, where the Green Berets were training local soldiers, and they did not pick up that there were bad guys in the area.

as for air support: SP also notes that after the Niger attack, the French, who are in the area doing similar training against terrorists, supplied helicopters and backup quickly.

So no, it has nothing in common with Benghazi, which is another "talking point" that some are trying to raise.

Dirty little secret: Special Forces soldiers are all over the world training locals to fight in the war on terror: not just American but Australian (in Indonesia) and French (in North Africa). And these soldiers get little publicity, of course.

For example, right now the US is helping with the siege in the Southern Philippines. Not as combat soldiers, but in gathering intelligence, and in training (our soldiers know "jungle warfare" but not urban warfare, so training was needed to lower the casualty rate and protect civilians).

Similar things have happened here, when the military  trains against the Abus in the South, or even against the NPA: Usually you train where it is supposed to be safe, but it's a big area, and the bad guys often have spies that tell them where the soldiers are going, so you get attacked anyway. And sometimes the soldiers get killed.

That is sad, but that is war.

And like medicine, the dirty little secret is that you don't win all the time: Patients who should live sometimes die on you. And I still have terrible memories about these fights against Death, that I lost.

So excuse me if I remain angry at a narcissistic politician who dances on the graves of those defending the country.

if she wants to ridicule people, why not start to ridicule the Bokus who have killed thousands of civilians. And maybe ridicule their supporters who send them "aid money" or their supporters in the west who see them as the good guys because they hate America and will pretend they only want peace, so they will feed the press with negative news of "mission creep" or "the Muslims don't want us there" or similar propaganda.

update:  It says a lot that, at the end of the long sorrowful speech by the General, that he gave another example of an out of place speech at a different memorial service by the congresslady involved, and used the proverb empty barrels (make the most noise) implying she didn't care about the dead FBI agents they were honoring but her speech was about her own wonderfulness.

So not only did the MSM ignore the powerful speech by General Kelly, taking one description out of context to distort the meaning of his speech, but they now are echoing the speech as racist.

Sigh. This is fake news: Not making up news, but by cherry picking and distorting and mischaracterizing what is said.

And it will be picked up by the 3 minute hate types on Facebook and Twitter, as if it was true.

And to paraphrase Instapundit: THIS IS HOW YOU GET TRUMP.

Happy Diwali festival

Al J story on this festival, celebrated in India.

Also known as Deepavali in India, the five-day festival is celebrated to commemorate the return of Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom after 14 years of exile....
While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region, the festival is celebrated to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.


Dilbert explains how to make a "rocket man" haloween costume.


Chinese aggression and hatefilled Congressladies hogging headlines.

StrategyPage article on how China is bullying the Philippines, and Duterte, noting the failure of the US (under Obama) to confront them, has left the Philippines vulnerable, since there is no way we can win a shooting war with them.

so now, with bribes and threats, the Philippines will "Share" resources with China.

The aggression of China, and also the war in the South getting worse, are both result of Obama refusing to send aid to the Philippines if they didn't pass gay friendly laws (that aren't needed), legalize abortion (which is seen as evil by all religions here) and later, to punish Duterte for his drug war (but actually because he won and they wanted the "american girl" to win).

So SP has a lot of detail about the war against the Islamicist terrorists moving to Mindanao because it was seen by them as safer than in other countries, and guess what happened? A lot of "foreigners" were behind the present battle.

and they dare say that religion is indeed part of the problem.
The Marawi City battle killed a lot of the most dedicated Islamic terrorists but it also demonstrated how Islam keeps generating more “more Islamic than thou” religious fanatics generation after generation.
More Islamic majority nations are trying to deal with this militant intolerance problem (that no other major religion has) if only because this attitude has crippled areas where Moslems predominate.
Islamic conservatives have successfully suppressed scientific and political progress for over a thousand years and that has become much more obvious during the last few centuries as the West moved ahead in multiple areas.

some people insist Islam needs a "reformation", but this goes back to Thomas Aquinas and the reframing of Aristotle's thought to make logic/science and religion compatible, and that God was rational,

Pope Benedict used Manuel II's argument in order to draw a distinction between a Christian view, as expressed by Manuel II, that "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature", and an allegedly Islamic view, as explained by Khoury, that God transcends concepts such as rationality, and his will, as Ibn Hazm stated, is not constrained by any principle, including rationality. 

and we all know how the MSM spun that statement...

Most Filipinos respect our troops (even though they might disrespect some of the corrupt generals and most of the politicians who are corrupt too).

Our soldiers joined even though they knew they might die, because to defend the innocent is their job.

General Kelley's speech says it better than I can.

Kelly was criticizing a politician who took the President's comments out of context to gain publicity and praise from the SJW and MSM.

The spin was Trump said the soldier did it for money and if he was killed, he knew what he was getting into (the congresslady's spin was Trump said he deserved it).

But Trump was actually saying he was proud and brave, and knew he was going into danger when he enlisted, so is a hero.

an editorial in the Phil Star said the same about our soldiers, and notes the SJW/Elite here who shrug off their bravery.

The story of PFC Dhan Ryan Bayot is just one example of the kind of courage and heroism displayed by our soldiers as they fight to defend our beloved country from murdering, vicious barbarians who think nothing about burning churches and schools and killing innocent civilians to establish a reign of terror....
any of us often forget the kind of sacrifices they make and take their service for granted – and sometimes, I find myself getting angry at those who mock and ridicule our armed forces and look down on our soldiers. They get very little pay, and the hazard and combat pay they receive for risking life and limb is laughable. ...

because even here in the Philippines, too many of our SJW come from elite families who politicize everything and ignore or ridicule our soldiers here, who are usually from working class or families who own small farms or businesses,  implying they only enlisted for the money (when they could make more in Saudi of course).

If I am sensitive to this, it is because my husband and his brother fought in WWII against the Japanese invasion, my son in law and grandson are in the USNavy...

 I was in the National Guard for awhile (but never called up). (My only "War" experience was worrying I would be killed,as many of my friends were, during a nasty war when I worked as a doc in Africa.)

we missionaries also knew what we were getting into when we signed up, and saying that doesn't lessen the bravery of those killed for volunteering to go into danger.

Hillary's facebook problem: Trolls vs ads

A bunch of boring articles are shouting "RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA" and the latest was that Russia bought anti Hillary ads on Facebook... but only a few.

What is being ignored: The usual suspects (SJW) who take the meme and daily post five minute hates on Facebook were usually pro Hillary. So the few ads would be outshouted by the meme warriors. And a lot of the "progressive" hatred there (before the hate Trumpie boy meme took over) were openly anti Christian.

And no one is bothering to see if the result of the meme warriors and five minute hates have negatively affected facebook in older folks.

I go on facebook to see what my grandkids are doing.

I know that I avoid facebook due to the anti Christian hatred there, and because to find out what my grand kids are doing I have to wade through recommendations to friend people I don't know, ads for all sorts of stuff I am not interested in, and nonsense.


Freakonomics discusses Gluten and celiac disease.

podcast link

old NYTimes article HERE.

both overdiagnosed (thanks to a sensitive lab test, mild cases are now being diagnosed) and under diagnosed (a lot of mild cases of irritable bowel disease probably never got diagnosed in the past).

the gene varies in different populations

CD has a worldwide distribution, being described in different ethnic groups from North and South America, Europe, south and west Asia, Australia and New Zealand[,]. The disease is rare among Africans and not expected among populations with no HLA DQ2, like Chinese and Japanese, except in individuals presenting HLA DQ8[].

west Asia and south Asians do have the problem.

but the low incidence in China might be from under diagnosis, or dietary, but the disease can be found in those with irritable bowel syndrome.

This article suggests it is "rampant"  and blames the westernization of the diet, (i.e. less breast feeding, earlier weaning, and the increased use of bread instead of rice in the diet) and notes that it is more common in areas with Caucasian genes (western China... they are presumably discussing the Uighur, who are Turkish in origin).

what you have to realize is that in places with primitive water supplies, diarrhea in children is common, and is indeed one of the major causes of death in young children. So a child with failure to thrive and diarrhea would just die, and everyone, including doctors, would assume it was from the many diarrhea causing diseases in the environment.

But now, with clean water, such cases are rare, so a child with constant diarrhea and failure to thrived would be seen by doctors and checked for food intolerance, including lactose deficiency and celiac disease.

a full review of the history of the disease can be read here.

this map from Dr Shar Institute shows incidence, but note all the blank areas.

 a new epidemiology of celiac disease, characterized by growth in the traditional fields and spread into new regions of the world

just like previous studies showed the disease was rare in Asia, but is now being diagnosed, one wonders about the low rate in Africans. Again, unsafe water supplies lead to lots of diarrhea deaths, and diarrhea from protein deficiency due to earlier weaning and/or using a baby bottle but not being able to afford powdered milk.

So who has money for an expensive lab test when children are more likely to die from norovirus, measles or malaria?

but as Africa follows Asia out of rural poverty to urban living, one suspects it will be found to be much more common, and it will be diagnosed more often.

and replacing traditional diets of sorghum, maize and rice in some areas with wheat based food might make cases more common.

Rice is, of course, gluten free, and might be one reason that so few cases of celiac disease were seen in rice eating areas, but what about maize, which is a staple in many areas, i.e. East Africa, Latin America?

Ironically, that is unclear: most lay sites say avoid it, but it seems to be less problematic.

This article says maybe

Hypothetically, maize prolamins could be harmful for a very limited subgroup of CD patients, especially those that are non-responsive, and if it is confirmed, they should follow, in addition to a gluten-free, a maize-free diet.

Comment of the day

The 60's and 70's generation got sex, drugs and Rock &Roll. My generation got broken homes, 12 step meetings and political lectures masquerading as music. 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Russia! Russia! RUSSIA!

the NYTimes reports: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation amid Russian Uranium Deal.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

That story is from April 2015, on Page A1, so there is no reason that folks don't know about it.

but the NYT printed a correction:

Correction: April 30, 2015 An article on Friday about contributions to the Clinton Foundation from people associated with a Canadian uranium-mining company described incorrectly the foundation’s agreement with the Obama administration regarding foreign-government donations while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Under the agreement, the foundation would not accept new donations from foreign governments, though it could seek State Department waivers in specific cases. The foundation was not barred from accepting all foreign-government donations.
so did they get a waiver, or who gave it to them?

but the deal has gotten some press lately as Russian money going to American politicians is being investigated by Congress..

and nobody accepted bribes, you know: the article notes:

Amid this influx of Uranium One-connected money, Mr. Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for a majority stake in Uranium One. The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its investor conferences.

yes. Everybody does it, so there.

the story again hit the "fake news" sites because it is still being investigated by someone in Congress, according to The Hill.

Headsup Gateway Pundit, a "fake news" site that nevertheless knows how to google stuff.

Fake news and other spin

I am ignoring most of the US press because the stories are anti Trump all the time, and they seem more like propaganda outlets than news outlets.

For example, then there is an absurd story that the security guard from the LV massacre has popped up and given an interview on... Ellen (!?).

Now Ellen is a nice lady, but not a newsperson or anyone with expertise in hotel security, so one suspects she asked softball questions.

Lots of conspiracy theories that this is why he was "allowed" to go there: because if hard questions were asked, the hotel might be found to be lax in security (duh).

Alternative conspiracy theory: She paid more than other news sources.  Well, that would make sense, but I suspect other more reliable news outlets like the National Inquirer (/s) would pay more than Ellen.


The good news: The Fall of ISIS.

Blame Trump and Russia... which is why the MSM is sort of ignoring the story.

Most of the airstrikes in Syria are by the American led coalition. This is followed by Russian and Assad aircraft (who work closely together) and finally the Israelis and Turks. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is rapidly losing it personnel and territory because of constant attacks by just about everyone (Turks, Kurds, Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies as well as the Americans and sundry other minor players). 

The bad news: The powers left standing will now fight each other

As ISIL is being put down everyone is thinking about the next phase of the civil war. The winners want to get rewarded for their service. The Syrian Kurds want autonomy in the northeast (mainly Hasakah province) and protection from Turkish efforts to keep the Syrian Kurds away from the Turkish border. That’s going to be a problem. There are more problems in the north, such as the FSA (Free Syrian Army). This group was a major player early on because it was largely secular and popular with Western nations. But most Syrian rebels preferred more radical groups like al Qaeda and eventually ISIL. FSA continued to exist and eventually found a patron in Turkey, which apparently plans to turn over control of the Syrian side of the border to FSA, if the Assads and Syrian Kurds can be taken care of.

Read the whole thing at StrategyPage.


we still see soldiers in trucks here once in awhile, and every bank and large business has security guards with rifles guarding them.

and since the city jail is down the street, we see the open air minivans carrying prisoners now and then. (similar to the open air vans that local barangays use to help the poor shop at the palenke etc.)

But now we are starting to see cops on motorcycles. The Inquirer has the story.

hoping to stop the tandem murders of people someone doesn't like.. Yes, some of these are by off duty cops pulling a "dirty Harry" hit against known criminals... but a lot are paid hits, not just by politicians against their rivals, but by ordinary folk who don't trust the courts to get justice. And a lot are criminal gangs who do drive by shootings, often in retaliation against snitches or rival gangs...

All the SJW in Manila are ridiculing this, but since a lot of them tend to live in gated communities, and get their talking points from the left, keep that in mind when you read the comments.

The numerous murders by druggies robbing homes, or by our politicians, etc in our neighborhood before Duterte took over didn't bother them: but this is why the poor voted for Duterte instead of "the American girl", who was the chosen candidate...

The Green Berets killed in Niger were fighting the Boko Harum, but the press headlines are the Trumpieboy are that he insulted someone when he called the families.

Because everything must be politicized, you know, to foment Trump hatred.

But why were they there in the first place? Because President Obama sent them there in 2014...

Backstory from before their deaths from Reuters in 2015 HERE.

A Reuters reporter was the first to visit the detachment, which is among about 1,000 U.S. Special Operations Forces deployed across Africa. In Chad, Nigeria, Niger and elsewhere, they are executing Obama’s relatively low-risk strategy of countering Islamic extremists by finding local partners willing to fight rather than deploying combat troops by the thousands. The new approach, which Obama announced in May 2014, is far from being a silver bullet for the United States in its global battle against Islamic militancy. 

italics mine.

the backstory is not just the Boko Harum but the ongoing war in the Sahel, which gets little or no press coverage, partly because most of the special forces types there are French.

StrategyPage discussed this little covered war HERE. and has this note about the ambush:

October 4, 2017: In the northeast, just across the border in Niger four American Special Forces soldiers were killed when the training exercise (a large patrol) they were supervising was ambushed. Four of the Niger troops were killed as well and even more American and Niger troops were wounded...
The attackers were believed to be Islamic terrorists from Mali. In less than an hour French helicopters were in the area to evacuate the wounded and in the next 24 hours French troops and more aircraft from Mali moved to the Niger border to search for the attackers.
Italics mine, because another story had a father of another of the troops wondering why they had no air cover.

The press picked this up and started saying this was "Trump's Benghazi", i.e. implying that he refused to send help for those who were ambushed. Uh, in Benghazi the help was told to stand down for political reasons. Here, the French air support arrived within an hour.

And SP has the backstory:

 The area where the attack took place had never experienced an Islamic terrorist activity before but the border is long and the Islamic terrorists have been known to move around the area without attracting attention because the locals tend to avoid groups of men with guns.
Apparently Islamic terror groups had established a new smuggling route that ran through this areas. The U.S. has 800 troops in Niger, mainly to train Niger troops but some also maintain a number of Reaper UAVs used for surveillance. The smuggling operations often appear (especially from the air) like commercial or aid group traffic.
read the whole thing.

AlJ notes that the SJW are not protesting the many killed in a truck bomb in Somalia. Why Not? Racism?

Well, no: because they were killed by Islamic terrorists, and the left loves Islamic terrorists, and most SJW are leftists.

This is the same reason the SJW ignore the deaths in Yemen: They can't blame the US or the west for what is essentially a fight between the Saudis and the Iranians.

But the failure to notice the many killed or fleeing the war in the Congo is indeed racist. UKGuardian story from January 2017.

Congo’s Catholic church said in a recent report that more than 3,300 people had been killed in Kasai since October. The church blamed government forces, their proxies and the insurgents. More than a million people may have been displaced and were threatened with malnutrition and disease – historically the two biggest killers of civilians during conflicts in the country – it added.
more recent report about nearby Burundi at Crux. (which reports Catholic news).

Later stories are about the murder of wildlife activists, because of course SJW care more about wildlife than black children.


more bad rumors for US Catholics at Father Z.

if you don't understand my anger, try reading this, 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The shocking things they wouldn't print

the uberliberal Jesuit magazine has censored an interview with a gay activist with a black husband.

Who wudda thot?

well, it's Milo of course.

 Although you grew up Catholic, you now say and do many shocking things in your public career which seem to be at odds with your childhood faith. In what sense do you still consider yourself a Catholic? 

 Plenty of saints were shocking, to say nothing of our Lord, who got in a spot of trouble for His shocking claims, as you might recall.
I am certainly no saint, but I don’t think “shocking” is a helpful way of approaching the question of Catholics in public life.
It doesn’t settle much to say that the current Pope is shocking to many Catholics, including me.
Or to note that I’m shocked by supposedly Catholic politicians who make laws in flat contradiction to the natural law, which you need no faith to grasp.
In my case, do you mean it’s shocking that a Catholic like me is loudly worried about Islam, which has waged war on Holy Mother Church for more than a millennium?
Or that I say Planned Parenthood’s abortion crusade amounts to black genocide?
Or that I’ve supported Pope Paul VI’s criticism of artificial contraception so strongly that Hillary Clinton attacked me for it in her presidential campaign?
Frankly, what’s really shocking is that a poor sinner like me has spoken out more on contraception than 99% of our bishops, who seem too preoccupied with diversity and climate change to talk about God.


and there is more.

Headsup TeaAtTrianon

Survival tip of the day

------ and if you use the double sized one, you can keep your eyebrow pencil sharp while facing the end of the world

Conspiracy theories in the news

WTF is going on in the investigation of the Las Vegas shooting?

even the conservative NReview is wondering WTF is going on.

"catholic" reformers meet in Boston and pull a few fast ones on dogma.

So is the Pope incompetent or ignorant when his friends say things like this?
Kaveny used curious language to describe Our Lord’s teaching on marital fidelity: “Jesus clearly disfavored adultery.”...
italics mine.

Ah, but they have the right to change Jesus' words because:

Kaveny adds: “We do not need to disturb Jesus’ teaching in order to refine and develop it in these ways, in ways that moral theologians and canon lawyers have always done.”

and it gets worse;

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., who also spoke at the conference, uttered an incredible statement that dovetails with Kaveny’s remarks. He said: “It is no longer possible to judge people on the basis of a norm that stands above all.”

ah yes: Who am I to judge pops up again.

The Catholic Thing via Father Z.

George Orwell call your office.


via Instapundit:

Soros officially gives his "open society" foundation a lot of money. (Yes, I think you could call 18 billion dollars a lot of money)

Back in the early 1990's, the Open Society was using funding to find ways to make "end of life" easier... Sort of using slithering language to re image what they wanted. (non treatment became refusing unwanted treatment that harmed the patient became overdosing him to death became direct killing)...

Well I am aware that overtreatment can cause suffering, but also that if you do it correctly, sometimes the patient lives. But if you do it the way they want to do it, you make sure the patient dies.

The Open Society also supports legalizing all drug use, but they pretended they only wanted to legalize medical marijuana...


The reporter who blogged about money laundering and other shenanigans revealed in the Panama papers has been killed by a car bomb. LINK.

In our prayers.


there has been a conspiracy theory about Russia buying US uranium reserves , but now the story is back in the news.

The Hill:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin's atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

headsup Instapundit.


Duterte is pushing our jeepneys to modernize to improve air pollution, and to keep routine maintenance done so that accidents from failing brakes etc. are fewer. Rappler has details about the modernization program.

The jeepneys etc. said screw you and went on strike. They claim it is too expensive and will raise fares for the poor.

So Duterte closed all schools and government offices.

Joy said it didn't help: Traffic was still terrible but everything was open.

rappler discusses more here.

 The traditional jeepney running on fuel (left) alongside an electric jeepney. Photo by Rommel T. Juan

Jeepneys comprise only 2% of the total vehicle population in Metro Manila yet they contribute a staggering 80% of its total air pollution. The former icon of Filipino culture is not something to be proud of anymore. It has lost its luster. It has turned into a symbol of decay and neglect.
Aside from air pollution, there is also a deep social issue in the jeepney transport system that can only be seen if you look closely enough. This is the oppressive "boundary system" that has evolved through the years. It's a somewhat antiquated feudal system that oppresses the driver and eventually, even the jeepney owner or operator.
Under the boundary system, the driver has to operate for an unspecified number of hours to raise a fixed amount of fares that he pays directly to the jeepney owner. This minimum amount is called the "boundary" that goes to the owner or franchisee of the jeepney line. After filling up the jeepney tank, the driver keeps anything in excess of the boundary as daily earnings.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fake News and bad logic

Science stories

Beothuk DNA in Newfoundland suggests they are related to the Mikmac.

Wikipedia has the story of their slow extinction, including outright murder and deliberate capture of women (including one captive that might have gone home with the Vikings).  But most of them died from the usual reasons: disease and displacement by aggressive newcomers.

the article includes stories of some of the survivors past that point but mainly those who intermarried outside the tribe.

"The Beothuk were unable to procure sufficient subsistence within the areas left to them."[5] They entered into a cycle of violence with some of the newcomers.
Beothuk numbers dwindled rapidly due to a combination of factors, including: loss of access to important food sources, from competition with Inuit and Mi'kmaqs as well as European settlers; infectious diseases to which they had no immunity, such as smallpox, introduced by European contact; endemic tuberculosis (TB), which weakened tribal members...
By 1829, with the death of Shanawdithit, the people were officially declared extinct.[8] 


The story of many indigenous folks.

Baltic clams and worms release as much CO2 as 20 thousand cows.


Look to the Sky: Chinese Space Station due to crash back to earth.
nor is it the first one to do so:

n 1979, NASA’s Skylab space station hit Australia during its own fall to Earth, and the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station followed suit over Argentina in 1991.


the tough life of small farmers on gov't reserves in the Amazon.

Interesting experiment.


How the "S" Bend made modern toilets possible.


BBC report on the California wildfires. It's the Diablo winds making it worse.


BBC: backstory on Chinese society and families

half a million Chinese are studying overseas, and most will return.


Stories behind the headlines

What's wrong with saying let a person's conscience be your guide?

The problems of subjective feelings vs reality was discussed as far back as Socrates, say actor Kevin O'Brien.

Socrates made fun of Protagoras’s homo-mensura, which asserts, “Man is the measure of all things.” For clarity’s sake, the homo-mensura can be interpreted as this: “The human-animal’s perceptions and opinions determine the value of all things.” According to Socrates, Protagoras may as well have asserted, “Pig is the measure of all things,” or, “Baboon is the measure,” since those creatures also possess “the power of perception.” Protagoras, foiled by his own maxim, is “no better authority than a tadpole, let alone any other man.” If Protagoras’s homo-mensura is truly so weak, why does anyone bother to uphold it? One possible answer: it makes crowds happy.
As the ancient progenitor of truthiness and alternative facts, the homo-mensura helps sophists win over audiences. “Everyone’s opinions are meaningful and valuable! You can decide on any scientific, political or artistic subject for yourself!” (Cue applause.) The worst effect of the homo-mensura is that it renders futile any attempt to examine or refute “each other’s ostentations and judgments,” for each individual demands respect and narcissistic recognition. “This is surely an extremely tiresome piece of nonsense,” Socrates decided.

, "Your individual situation determines the morality of your actions! You can decide what is right and what is wrong! For God Himself is asking you to put yourself in that position! It's what He wants!" (Cue applause.)

related item: Was the Moral Majority right?

well, those rules were not just made up by the puritans because they didn't like you having fun. Traditions, religious laws and common law are how societies distillate the pragmatic lessons of thousands of years of human experience.

In the meanwhile the Pope wants the church to regress to the morals of the hedonistic 1970's, in the name of "mercy".

Truth is an embarrassment, says David Warren

As we see in society at large, and now hear even from Rome, sincerity becomes the substitute for faith. What is true can only be “true for me,” and the genuineness of a feeling substitutes for the content of the faith itself.
This is what a pope is now preaching: not against the content of the Catholic faith, which all his predecessors accepted as true; rather against their view that this content has importance — that, in effect, the truth is true, and commands our adherence because it is true, whether we find comfort and pleasure in it, or not.
Instead, any view sincerely held is taken as acceptable, and though we might technically allow it is in error, we must “accompany” the holder to death’s door.

What's wrong with this picture?

Harvey Weinstein call your office.


Yesterday, someone on CNN was discussing removing Trump from office. And someone dared to email them and say: a lot of folks would see this as an illegal coup.

why yes.

But why do some people decide to push this idea on an international cable news network? Well, CNN International does tend to be anti American, but even so...

So what has Trumpie boy done recently?

Let me count the ways says Molly Hemingway at the Federalist.

glennReynolds remarks:

Meanwhile, consistent with Scott Adams’ theory, the press has quit calling Trump Hitler and is now calling him incompetent. Soon, Adams predicts, they will pivot to, “well, maybe he’s competent, but we don’t like what he’s doing.”


since I am on a rant about truth and spin and reality: Could I mention that the press has done a lousy job at reporting on the Las Vegas shootings? Three time lines so far.

And I am still waiting to hear where his Filipina girlfriend comes from. Mindanao or Luzon? Catholic, Protestant or Muslim?

I mean the Pinoy community must have some clue, (everyone has a relative who knows someone who knows someone else in the Philippines) but no one seems to have researched much, not even the press here...

The conspiracy theories are starting to sprout in the vacuum.