Friday, December 09, 2016

Godspeed John Glenn

Via BBC: GettyImages

Astronaut,  first American in orbit, the oldest man in space, Senator, and proud US Marine.

Feathers, we haz that

NYTimes: Feathers in Amber: A dinosaur tale.

A 99-million-year-old piece of amber with a feathered dinosaur tail trapped inside. CreditRyan McKellar/Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Microscopic barbules on the feathers of the dinosaur tail trapped in amber.CreditRyan McKellar/Royal Saskatchewan Museum
 the original dinosaur:

An artist’s rendering of a small coelurosaur, which the researchers think may be the type of dinosaur whose tail became trapped in amber. CreditChung-tat Cheung
uh what is that in his mouth?  It looks like a cockroach, but when I first saw it, it reminded me of this:

now, the real question not answered: If that is a tail with vertebrae, could they extract DNA from it to clone another dinosaur?

Discussion HERE and HERE

and such clones don' t have to be limited to being in zoos like in Jurassic Park:

Yum! Kentucky Fried DINOCHICKEN!

the Christmas star

Sense of Events Blog takes off his military helmet and dons his ministerial hat today to write about the Star of Bethlehem.

First of all, no, Christ was not born in December.

The real birthday was probably during lambing season in the Spring and some early churches celebrated it on March 25th, but alas a celebration there would interfere with the celebration of Easter, so this date was changed to the date of the Annunciation/Christ's conception, and the feast day moved to December.

I always assumed that putting the feast of Christ's birth around the solstice was one more way of "Baptizing" a pagan holiday: i.e. taking the good part of that celebration (the return of light, the idea the rich serve the poor).

Sort of like All Saint's day here: The family visit to the grave, eating a meal and leaving flowers and candles and honoring the dead has ancient roots in Asia (if you are not familiar with this, watch the recent movie Kubo and the Two Strings). So now the holiday is "Christianized" because we go to mass that day not only pray for their souls but to ask them to pray to God for us.

Since Paul writes not to get your knickers in a know about dates and feast days, it should not be a big thing, but people being what they are, it is.

SoEblog then refers to this site that discusses the Star of Bethlehem, and summarizes what is there, including more links for your reading pleasure.

The "Star" was probably an astrological conjunction that was interpreted by the Zorastrian Magi as the birth of the king of the Jews. This was shown nicely in the movie The Nativity, how when several planets converge in the sky, it appears to be one star.
There is some confusion is about the year of Herod's death  Long technical discussion about the controversy here. So Christ may have been born later than the 6 BC that is usually quoted.

the other alternative is, of course, a star that went nova, (see the famous sci fi story The Star). However, more recent knowledge of Chinese records fails to show a record of a nova then, so that has been discarded by most authorities..

more discussion here.

the UKMail has a discussion of a similar conjunction in recent years.

the conjunction here is at 1:18

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Here the day that will live in Infamy is December 8th

Because of the date line, the day of attack against Manila was on December 8th.

It is a holy day of Mama Mary, so many were at church at the time.

After news of the attack filtered up to the provinces, Lolo said that his mom decided to evacuate to the farm, which is about 5 miles north of here. She carried a baby (presumably a grandchild of one of the relatives she was caring for) and he carried the food etc. Lolo was a young teen during the war, so didn't join the fight until 1945, although his older brother and cousin joined the insurgency against the Japanese, hiding out in the woods of a nearby extinct volcano.

The Philippines tends to get overlooked in these things: most of the news via google is about Pearl Harbor

SenseOfEvent blog  has a long article about the attack from a military standpoint. (he also points out that in the US that Google ignored the anniversary)

not a lot in our newspapers either... presumably the photos and stories will be on line later today.

But the Phil Inquirer includes this headline from the AFP:

Obama praises Japan at Pearl Harbor rites

Obama is actually praising Japan for being the US ally in times since then, but reading the headline is jarring.

A lot of stories say that MacArthur was "unprepared" for an attack, but I suspect he was just not expecting such a large attack. But he must have been aware that it could occur, because presumably he was the one who arranged the NMNG anti aircraft battalion to be shipped to Clark Field, where they did manage to shoot down quite a few planes.

and MacArthur did manage to get his mainly Filipino troops to Bataan, where he pleaded in vain for help. Most of those who died in the Death march were Filipinos, not Yanks.

The GI's in the USA despised MacArthur, calling him "dugout Doug" for deserting his troops, but on the other hand he was brilliant: there is a good argument that his ability to see the oceans as a path rather than a barrier made him different from other generals. He also devised a way of destroying Japanese bases indirectly, by passing over Japanese islands to a couple islands up, and then letting those behind the line starve for lack of supplies, probably saved a lot of American soldiers who would have died in a direct assault of each island.

MacArthur was popular in the Philippines: Unlike a lot of Yanks, he hung out with the locals to drink and party and even had a beautiful local actress as his mistress.

And he understood the concept of  Loob...  which could be loosely translated as reciprocity, but is embedded deep in Philipine culture, and is the reason why bribes are not always seen as evil, but ways to cement partnership. It also explains why a person will help another one he is linked to by family or friendship ties.

Filipinos are more moralistic than foreigners generally believe. The most powerful moral obligation in Filipino culture is utang na loob or debt of gratitude. It is the essence of loyalty, commitment, and moral order.
Utang na loob is a form of reciprocity, i.e., a favor must be repaid adequately and properly to show gratitude. Quantifying the original debt may be difficult, but repayment is expected to supersede the original or else acknowledge that payment is partial and needs further reciprocation.Other moral obligations include dangal (honor), puri (also honor), pananagutan (responsibility, accountability), and katapatan (loyalty).

So when MacArthur said I will return, to Yanks this was propaganda. But for Filipinos, it mean he valued them as friends and family and would come back because he had ties with them, and because he said so, and to not fulfill that promise would go against his word as a man of honor.

An old post on relates the attack on Manila but again from the point of view of Americans.

And then there is this:


in other news, the Embassy warned us that terrorists might try to set off bombs etc this holiday season.

So what else is new?

as for priorities. Shabu, corruption, EJK, and  terrorism? No problem.

The real priorities of the western elite:

Watchdog insists we need more access to condoms.... for "men who have sex with men".

Well, guess they can't find any cheap condoms in Malate, but up here they used to have them at the checkout counter a the local grocery store.

And the World bank's priorities is... cigarette smoking. Add a "sin" tax to cigarettes is their idea.

uh, that would only lead people to smuggle cigarettes, Just what we need: Another opportunity for graft and corruption.

And FYI: Up here, most of the working class and poor buy cigarettes one at a time via a street vendor. Only the middle class can afford a pack at a time.

Framing a story or whitewash?

I am reading a small kerfuffle discussing if putting Matt Damon into a story about the Great Wall is a whitewash, or just a good business decision, as the BBC suggests.

The BBCt article points out that casting Damon is not seen as a big problem in China;

Chinese fans, though, did not seem that fussed about Damon's role, instead praising the director Zhang Yimou for bringing "Chiese elements to a Western film".

 The article points out that this is a business decision:

Filmmakers are all looking to conquer the immense Chinese cinema market, which is on course to surpass the US as the world's largest. China's strict censorship laws, as well as rules to protect the domestic film industry, have prevented many Hollywood films from being released in the mainland, so US studios are increasingly co-producing films with Chinese investors in a bid to counter this.

and the article quotes from the Chinese Netcitizen site Weibo to suggest the Chinese are not having as much problem with Damon as the western PC:

Those who did talk about Damon said they liked him and were excited to watch him in the film. One netizen noted that the "influence of Matt Damon" could help the movie succeed, adding that it was a "positive factor".

Here in Asia, PC films are often subtle, but action movies mean you don't have to understand all the dialogue but can just watch the heroes kick tush. This includes films with subtitles.

A famous actor in a film will make more money.

And one of the rarely discussed and non PC items in Hollywood: Black actors are not as popular in Asia due to Asia Racism.

Asian values are self control and modesty, and then we see blacks in Hollywood movies and TV shows mainly as bad guys in action dramas (Hollywood Shuffle anyone?) or see angry and sexually explicit music videos, most of which are black, although Madonna and other white bimbos try their best to look like sluts too.

All of which reinforces the idea that black people are not quite "Civilized". Of course, China figures Europeans are not civilized either, but that's another story no one is noticing.

One question I haven't found answered and am too lazy to google Does Damon play a Chinese, a Mongol, a mixed race soldier, or a European who happens to be there and offers to fight?

that last part has to do with "Framing" the story.

There is another saying: The past is another country. And of course, China is another country. So how does one mediate the cultural gulf so that one can understand the story.

This is also a problem with ancient stories like Troy/the Iliad, where the movie portrays Achilles less savage than the book, and introduces a love interest.

In "Shogun", we have a European introduced to tell the story, as we will presumably have in the upcoming film "Silence".

And one reason that the Lord of the Rings was successful was because the hobbits represented normal middle class Englishmen in the midst of all these noble warriors, proud dwarves, and ethereal elves.

In historical fiction, you frame the story, and add mediators who think like modern people so that modern people can understand what is going on, and explain the cultural aspects so that you are not lost wondering why folks are doing such strange things.


Related item: there is a growing argument that a lot of the anger by "the deplorables" against the Mainstream media is because they (The MSM) do not understand the culture, nor do they try to try to understand it, but instead disdain and ridicule how ordinary people think and act.

Maybe the press needs to frame the story better? Or understand how Trump works?

 During the campaign, I saw a tweet saying: Hillary read Alinsky, but Trump read Sun Tzu.

And today, Austin Bay points out that his phone call to Taiwan reassured the rest of us living under the threat of Chinese aggression.

, Beijing and the rest of the world took notice when the Obama Administration failed to back up its Syrian "red line" threat and its feeble response to Russia's February 2014 invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
The Obama Administration appeared feckless and weak. In the summer of 2014, China increased its aggressive actions in the South China Sea. The smaller nations wondered if the U.S. would support them if China "Crimea-ed" their territory.
Trump's phone calls — as well as his campaign promises to pursue "fair" trade — tell China that the incoming administration understands both "art of the deal" and "Art of War."

ebook here

Or a film about Sun Tzu's philosophy:

Podcast of the week

I usually check out talks given in libraries to find out what books are being read, such as the ones at the Library of Congress, Kansas City Library,, EWTN Booknotes on religious books, or CSPAN's Book TV....Or the podcast from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Usually the books discussed are books about PC subjects, and the fiction books tend to be "MEGO" types, such as one that is described as "marrying controversial topics with nuanced characters".... I take a pass.

. Nah, I am not sensitive. Seen too many real tragedies to feel angst over such things,  and as for PC subjects like "vegetarian cooking", well, for me most of the "vegetarians" I have treated were poor, so it means figuring out how to add protein to the diet to keep their children from dying of kwashiorkor.... But they do have non fiction authors, like this recent talk by Malcolm Gladwell .

But this week, the FLoP has a podcast with Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum is up to number 23?! (My last hardcopy is 16... the used book kiosk shut down at that point, but some of her older ones can be found on Scribd). Heh. An author who I actually have read.

It's early morning so I havent' listened to it, but she is usually funny, so enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Satire of the day

the Taiwanese animator strike again

Family news

Everyone is home and recovering from their trips (Ruby to Japan, Joy to a trade fair in the Middle East).

nest step: How do you get organic brown rice certified as Halal?

The court case about Lolo's will was postponed again until February. Oh well.

It doesn't affect me, since I am not in his will, but it does prevent the property from being sold out from under our feet or being kicked out of "his" home for disobeying his orders. (He can't legally kick us out of property owned by Lolo).

It is quite hot outside, and the downtown is being fixed up with holiday decorations. Here the big decoration is the Christmas star, a parol: but they also have tinsel and lights and often a sleigh with Santa. The stores start playing the Christmas songs (secular) in mid October.

Usually everything shuts down by mid December,  which is why I am not surprised the judge decided to take a holiday, but am a bit surprised he went this early.

What it also means is lots of traffic, since our street is one of the detours to go around the heavy traffic to the palenke, three blocks up. This makes it hard to take George, our killer lab, on a walk: He tends to jump and run after other dogs and sometimes schoolkids, and has pulled me over so I have fallen in the street several times.

The new mayor has continued to dig covered drainage ditches that go along the edge of the roads and can be used as sidewalks, so this helps. The reason I note this is because usually street improvements are ignored until a few months before the next election, which is why the previous mayor didn't get around to fixing the flooding in the palenke area until four months before the last election. So things are improving here.

Yellow Jack

For later reading in depth

While the west was going hysterical about Zika (which maybe caused a few thousand cases of retardation but could be used to push population control), there was a yellow fever epidemic in Angola, which even spread a few cases to China,, meaning we are lucky it didn't cause an Asian epidemic.

Yellow fever is spread by the same mosquito as Zika and Dengue, and we have an unchecked Dengue epidemic here in SEAsia.

NYTimes article on the massive vaccination effort to stop it.

they were short of the vaccine so had to get it from other third world countries, and dilute it.

and in case you didn't notice, there are a lot of Chinese working in Africa.

More than 100,000 Chinese work in Africa and many, Dr. Woodall noted, come from tropical southern China where Aedes mosquitoes already spread dengue and could spread yellow fever.

last Nov the CDC noted the vaccine shortage.

history of the vaccine here. the present vaccine has a lot of side effects (aches and pains mostly). it is a "live attenuated" virus grown in eggs. This takes times.

Since it is weak but live, it can cause problems with those who have a weak immune system (think malnutrition or HIV). In Epidemics, no one cares, but the one dollar a dosage problem is a biggie if you are a poor country who needs to vaccinate a couple million folks.

sixty thousand people die every year of yellow fever.

The good news: The shot lasts for years (you are advised one shot every ten years).

technical details for later reading LINK new vaccine in the works? LINK

more on a newer vaccine in the works, with fewer side effects

and a history of Yellow Jack and Walter Reed who figured out how it spread. 

headsup Instapundit

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Reality or group speak?

would ET use language and perceive the world as we do?

related item: Improbable research asks: Do words have meanings?

they write:

We have been advised that this published study possibly says something:

“This essay emerges from an ongoing mother-son dialogue about contemporary gender relations and their genesis in the history of patriarchy. In order to reframe patriarchy as a relational construct, rather than a simple group-based oppression, a performative notion of identities grounds the paper. It offers a critique of the body of literature that has developed under the broad heading of “evolutionary psychology,” insisting that gendered relations are not outcomes of genetic selection, divine mandate, or historical inevitability. An antidotal, millennia-spanning history of gender is offered as an epistemically and politically preferable explanation for patriarchal relations.”
actually, theOtherMcCain publishes lots of similar examples of what is cutting edge feminist group think.

or check out this right wing blog:

the dirty dozen of bizarre college courses.

A lot of it is pretty weird, (one is reminded of the taxicab driver rule: If it would sound crazy to an ordinary taxi cab driver, it probably is).

But with group think, it is outsiders who are getting the boot... starting with private business, then censoring college professors, then pushing people around under "human rights" commissions, then actually using the power of the law to stop those who disagree.

Think Brenden Eich. Think Professor Esolen. Think the Christian cakemakers. Think Mark Steyn. Think the Little Sisters of the Poor.

and with Obamacare and it's guidlines, think doctors, nurses, and Catholic hospitals being pressured into killing patients in the same way I was pressured to do abortions in the late 1960's.

the problem is related to the one I posted about a few days ago: that the proliferation of radical ideas and the censorship of those who disagree with them is not a good thing. Especially when they ignore reality.

This is not a new idea: I was reading up on Burke, who seems to have said the same thing about the French revolution, that wanted to destroy society and it's institutions so they could enact laws based on their latest intellectual fad.

But religious law, common law, and customs encode the experience of millions of years of human experience. They at least are reality based, unlike the ideas of philosopher kings.

or as Feynman put it:

"For a successful technology," Feynman concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
one could say the same thing for a gender theory that ignores a couple million years of evolutionary biology and how humans have made rules and customs to defend the family for at least 10 thousand years.

I understand why the snowflakes insist they need to ignore the Great Books and the ideas of western philosophy, in the name of "diversity", but you know, they never include Asian or Confucian ideas into their critiques either.

so much for "diversity".

Science stuff below the fold

sciencedaily articles.

YoYo dieting makes the brain think you are living in a famine prone area, so adjusts the appetite to put on weight to live through the next famine.


Hemophiliacs lack a gene needed to clot blood. A recent experiment replaced the gene. Could this be a cure?

ues it could but the actual technique used is not mentioned. Previous experiments didn't work because the body's autoimmune system destroyed the new protein.


doctor burn out reaching epidemic proportions.

Burnout is a major problem in the healthcare industry and is often driven by excessive workload, imbalance between job demands and skills, a lack of job control and prolonged stress

the modern stress on economics in medicine, plus the pressure from insisting paper work be done in minute detail means your attention is switched from caring for the patient to documenting the disease.

Most of us didn't go into medicine to do paperwork.

And now, we are required not to treat the patient, but to obey the guidelines or else.


Baby boomers smoke weed as they get older. Actually most of them started as teenagers and just kept smoking, not new users. But the use has gone way up in recent years: This is probably because we pre 1960's folk are getting older, and the boomers got older too, so it's not so much that they usage has increased as the population changed to include these druggies.

what is not mentioned: The actual rate of use.

The danger is lowered ability to think as the brain ages.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Hitler was a druggie

That is actually well known to docs, but the extent of methamphetamine abuse in Nazi Germany wasn't limited to Hitler, nor to the troops who took it to stay alert.

There is a well known fact that the US used short term stimulants during WWII, and they are supposed to be use even to present time so that pilots can stay alert... leading to a few tragic "friendly fire" type accidents.

But drugs were also used a lot in war in the past.

and now drug use is a big undiscussed problem in the Middle East. The article mainly mentions meth, and the UKMail mentions ISIS' use of cocaine, but TheSTonedSociety webpage has a long article about drugs in today's war in the Middle East.

AlJ has an article based on a recently published book that discusses these facts well known to doctors and soldiers but little discussed in the public and includes a lot of stuff from history.

The Shabu (meth) epidemic in Asia is growing, which is why Duterte is so eagar to stop it. So many of our OFW travel all over the world that the Philippines is already a drug shipping hub. As usually happens, a lot of it is sold locally, which has exacerbated the murders associated with robberies which in the past were common but not especially violent, not to mention the corruption associated with the drug trade.

Of course, I am old enough to remember when "meth" wasn't a controlled substance. Then truckers who took it started hallucinating and getting in accidents and they clamped down on it.

College students would use it to study then would have to crash, because stopping it you ended up severely depressed. So often they smoked marijuana to get through the depression and then the cycle started again.

My father worked for a small dental company merged with a larger one that manufactured drugs, and one day he mentioned they were shipping meth to clinics in Mexico, presumably to be resold in the USA...

like all drugs, using small amounts carefully, especially if you are using it to correct a problem (i.e. mild depression in the elderly, as diet pills, ADHD) is not a problem for society. But the abuse and psychological addiction problems are real.


Did I tell you our town's drug rehab site is around the corner from our house?


yes,  I know it's John Bolton, but I'm happy someone in the USA finally noticed the Chinese grab of the West Philippine sea.

Now, if only the "Greens" would start protesting the destruction of the coral reef habitat and the valuable fishing ecology there.

Podcast of the week

Ottoman history podcast covers a different point of view, not just in history but in the interaction of culture and empires.

For example, today's podcast is about the Pasteur Institute

In this episode, we sit down with doctor, philosopher, and historian Anne Marie Moulin to talk about the history of the Pastorians and the early establishment of Pasteur Institutes in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. We explore the role of the Ottoman Empire in the creation of the Pasteur Institutes and their global network, and we consider the relationship between medicine and religion, politics, and colonialism in North Africa and the Middle East.

usually the analysis of the Middle East and Islam is based on the "colonialism of the west is evil" type stuff. Fair enough.

Ah but Turks ran the place for hundreds of years so maybe you need to check the backstory.

Headlines below the fold

The huge Islamicist rally in Indonesia got a lot of press (against a Christian governor of Chinese ethnicity for "blasphemy").

how do these Islamicists define blasphemy?

Jakarta has been rocked in the past months by major protests against Purnama, who is accused of insulting Islam by criticising opponents who used Quranic references to attack him ahead of an election in February. 

AlJ now reports a huge rally against that rally.stressing unity and tolerance.


Trump talks to Taiwan, Japan activates their Marines. What's going on? FilAm Fernandez at PJM disusses.

The First Island Chain, for those unfamiliar with the term, refers to a network of peninsulas and archipelagos which mirror the China coast, and whose possession blocks Beijing from direct access to the broad Pacific. Japan considers denying the First Island chain to a foe as essential to her defense. For many years the same string of islanders served as America's strategic frontier in the West. Recently China has been challenging the US by a series of encroachments. Trump's actions may signal that he will start to push back.

and not mentioned: China's grab of the west Philippine sea also blocks the sea routes to Japan and Korea.

People think the ocean is big but the route has narrow points that could block all traffic.

and of course China used to own VietNam, and sometimes hints that they used to run the northern Philippines, so you can see why Duterte had no use for Obama's weak defense of our seacost.


who needs soap operas? The televized Senate hearing is due to have a the confrontation between the lovely lady's driver/gigalo/alleged drug loot collector and Espinosa, the son of the drug lord who was killed in jail resisting police to stop him from spilling the beans.

in the meanwhile, a Chinese gambling tycoon who was ordered arrested managed to flee to HongKong.
Bribes to officials to look the other way, hiring illegal immigrants to run the gambling franchise, and not paying taxes.

This was not Manila, but in Pampanga's Clark zone. i.e. in the province that is the home of another lovely lady whose bank account balooned while running the government.

No links of course, and if you mention any links you will be pulled into court like poor Bishop Cruz for "libel" against her husband.
again, to understand what is going on here, you need to recognize the family links and the friendship links, *which I don't)  and the fact that the provinces are run by clans.

New Speak and tyranny of xe

A long discussion of the way the gender deconstrutionists not only ignore biology but are behind the war on free speech.

a small excerpt of a long nuanced paper. The law he refers to is in Canada, where hate speech is persecuted by independent bodies who have loose definitions on what is hate and what they can censor.

I think the law makes discussions of biology and gender illegal. I think we got a taste of that in the TVO Agenda interview I had where [U of T transgender studies professor] Nicholas Mack said ‘well, the scientific consensus in the last four decades is that there’s no biological difference between men and women’. It’s an absurd proposition. There are sex differences at every level of analysis.
he then mentions the scientific evidence that negates the PC idea:
There are masculinity/femininity scales that have been derived; they’re basically secondary derivations of personality descriptors. There are huge personality differences between men and women. There’s literature looking at differences of men and women in personality in many, many societies throughout the world. I think the biggest paper examined 55 different societies. And they rank societies by sociological and political equality. The hypothesis was that if you equalize the environment between men and women, you eradicate the differences between them. In other words, if you treat boys and girls the same, the differences between them will disappear. But that’s not what the studies showed. In reality, they get bigger. Those are studies of tens of thousands of people. The social constructionist theory was tested. It failed. Gender identity is very much biologically determined.

how bad is the theory? Well, even the Pope has said these ideas are dangerous because they ignore biological reality and destroy the family, which is the basis for society. And maybe if he stopped his war on marriage rules and war on people who use airconditioners he might even get around to writing an encyclical on this.

there is a lot more there about the tyranny of SJW weaponizing compassion eto destroy western civlization and it's institutions,

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Musical interlude of the day

Ruby watched the movie during her airplane flight and said she cried.

I read the book and yes, it's a tear jerker.

The Coming Schism

The possible schism has been whispered about, first on conspiracy sites (i.e. the prophecy of St Malachy) then in right wing blogs that want some of the Vatican II stuff stopped, and now it is starting to be discussed on mainstream Catholic publications, and even noticed by the NYTimes.

the issue seems to be Francis' push for "mercy" as in "it's okay for catholics who are in a sacramental marriage to get divorced and remarry, and if they don't have papers, no problem: Just receive communion anyway". This was done even though the "bishops" synod did not approve of this.

But the problem is a lot deeper: it goes to the nature of what is sin, and if there is an objective standard of right and wrong.

from the Catholic Thing:

It’s worth noting that only one of the five questions posed for clarification by the Cardinals had to do with admitting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to the Eucharist. In a way, the other four questions point to even more significant problems relating to the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the objective situation of grave habitual sin, and the critically important formation of an objectively true conscience.

David Warren adds more

.Bergoglio intended what amounts to sabotage;...I do not think this can be doubted any longer; nor can I doubt the consistency with which he has insulted reliable Catholic teachers, and the longsuffering Catholic faithful, in his words, his flighty and irresponsible gestures, and in his persistent appointment of craven liberal mediocrities to vital Church offices. He has been described, aptly, as a papal wrecking ball. 

Mercy is fine: We all need it.

But anyone who actually has worked with people recognizes that "mercy" is easily morphed into being a co-enabler of evil.

Sigh. Time to get the rosary out and start praying...

Saturday, December 03, 2016

we are the dead, short days ago we lived

StategyPage has an essay that is mainly about the problem of Islamic terror, which has had numerous outbreaks in history.

It is all about a religion that has, for over a thousand years, urged its followers to make war on people who not accept (“submit”, which is what “Islam” literally means) Islam. Actually it is worse than that because even within Islam millions have died because of disputes about which form (there are dozens of them) of Islam is the one correct approach.

but they point out that the main source of civilian murder in the 20th century actually was communism:

The major offenders have been; USSR (61 million killed), Communist Chinese (38 million), Nazi Germany (20 million), Nationalist Chinese (10 million), Imperial Japan (six million), Cambodian communists (two million), Ottoman Turks (1.8 million), Vietnam (1.6), Polish communists (1.5 million), Pakistan (1.5 million), Yugoslav communists (one million.)
There are a number of surprises on this list. For one thing, Islamic terrorism doesn’t show up, even though it there as a major component of the deaths attributed to Pakistan and the Ottoman Turks.

and here is the big story rarely discussed in the MSM: The bias didn't start with "fake news" or with the MSM's bubble.

one reason that the press, who is getting a lot of chaff from Trumpettes, is not always believed is because they didn't report these stories of communist atrocities. These stories were well known among the Catholic communities, who often had survivors of various communist regimes in their midst, including Eastern Europeans, Vietnamese, and Cubans....

Overall most people think the Nazis were the worst offenders when it came to democide but they are really only number three. That's because the communists managed to hide their mass murders for most of the century, aided by the tendency of the free world media to believe a lot of the propaganda regarding the "Worker's Paradise". (italics mine).
I'll give a more modern example.

I just peeked at a bad cam copy of Hacksaw Ridge, (to see if I would spend money to see it. The answer: No... too violent). One scene shows Japanese surrendering and then killing the off guard American soldiers. Similar stories were told by acquaintances who fought in Vietnam. So SP goes on to note how the US press seems to inflate "civilian deaths" that make the west look bad in war:

A good example was the news stories in the late 1990s about the killing of South Korean civilians by U.S. soldiers in 1950 near No Gun Ri. This incident, and many similar ones, have long been common knowledge to U.S. soldiers who served during the Korean War or later.

they then explain why:
It was a not uncommon practice for North Korean troops to wear civilian clothes and mix in with fleeing South Korean refugees in order to get behind US troops...
 As a result, civilians were often fired on if they approached troops who feared (often from past experience) that there were armed enemy soldiers mixed in with the civilians.
Right now, the press is lamenting Assad's seige of Aleppo, and the bombing of "civilians" in Yemen. Previous atrocities and ethnic cleansing of Christians? Not so much.

And the rebels in Yemen make the Mullahs of Iran look like pom pom girls, so maybe they need to be wiped out?

so who do we believe? NGO's who mainly work in "safe" areas and will see only the problematic stuff done by the "good guys" (and maybe even believing the tall tales told by the other side pretending to be "innocent civilians" as happened in the Iraq war Lancet civilian casualty study?)

And who is worrying about the civilians caught in central Africa's wars?


We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flander's field...

related item: getReligion blog recommended this NYTimes article on the Sunni Shia problem. more at NPR.

Philippine news

Well I've been saying this for quite some time, but I'm happy someone in the USA has noticed.

Reuters (via Drudge) does mention the real reason why Duterte is mad at the USA:

not just it's pressure to stop the drug war, but the elephant in the room

In an article in Foreign Policy magazine before the U.S. election, Trump campaign advisers Peter Navarro and Alex Gray blamed the bilateral breakdown on the Obama administration's failure to intervene in 2012 when China seized the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which the Philippines considers its fishing ground. "Washington's utter failure to uphold its obligations to a longtime, pivotal ally during one of its most humiliating crises has no doubt contributed to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's low opinion of American security guarantees — and his recent move toward a China alliance," they wrote.

yes, Obama did nothing and even discouraged the Philippines from "aggression" (i.e. defend the fishermen trying to fish in their traditional areas).

As for the murders blamed on the gov't: The article mentions 2000 drug related deaths. Other articles put the number at 5000.

This Inquirer article crunches the numbers:

2000 by copes in raids on drug dens or during arrests.

Probably another 3600 who are "extrajudicial killings" or "vigilante killings".

The problem is that only some of these are EJK by government/police/military hit squads, i.e. guys who decide to become dirty Harry and kill the guilty without trial.

A lot of these are payback by people against those who escaped justice. Some might be by cops, or ex NPA members, who have access to guns, but some will be requested by ordinary folks.

And some, of course, are by drug pushers etc who are killing either witnesses or those they think ratted on them (i.e. informants).

and of course then we have ordinary robbers now using guns and killing instead of just robbing. They are probably not in the statistics. But a lot of robbers are drug users who need money. And these murders and robberies are why the public defends Duterte.

This week's NEJournal has a lot of stories about corruption, murder attempts against politicians and of course bribery/corruption that has allowed illegal logging to denude mountains that could lead to major floods, and claims of bribery behind the onion import scam that is devastating our onion farmers.

Includes this tidbit:

He said 3,717 suspected drug dealers were arrested, 805 of these in Nueva Ecija.A total of 307 were killed during police operations while 343 were victims of alleged vigilantes.Meanwhile, Aquino said the regional police is authenticating an inter-agency intelligence report that 18 Central Luzon officials, mayors and vice mayors among them, have links to drug syndicates.

compare and contrast to Chicago's 800 murders this year. Or the 15000 killed this year by Mexican drug gangs.

We have had at least three neighbors murdered in routine robberies over the last few years. Presumably by drug addicts. And the side effect is police and politicians who are on the take and look the other way.

Our new mayor says he is cleaning up the place, but my son sardonically notes his father's hands were not clean here.

True, but on the other hand, the ex mayor (who was buried last year with a big Mass complete with Knights of Columbus body guard) was behind the murders of our nephew, and although finally indicted never did get to trial. The result of this slow justice system was an additional hit on one of the witnesses that killed three bystanders (that coincidentally happened a few days after the original mayors daughter became mayor), plus several pay back murders against those involved in that family's murders, the latest this year.

In other words, one of the dangers of Duterte's aggressive drug war is that it encourages people to take justice in their own hands.

One of the problem is that unless you know all the backstory, you can't judge the story. So is the lovely lady outing corrupt officials, or is she just as bad as they are, and using the attacks as a smoke screen?

I have no idea. I can't keep up on all the politics.