Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Russia US talk summary

The hysteria of the talking heads on TV make me avoid network news, but the UKGuardian article on what was decided in the Trump/Putin meeting sounds pretty good.

no big agreement, but a discussion of issues that are meaningful to the world.

Asperger's children

a new book discusses Dr Aspberger and his child patients.

As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during WWII, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition for either treatment or elimination. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds―especially those thought to lack social skills―claiming the Reich had no place for them. Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain “autistic” children into productive citizens, while transferring others they deemed untreatable to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child-killing centers.

more HERE.

podcast link on the story

via TeaAtTrianon.

an oldie but goodie from TedRall (11/17/17)

Russian interferance in American affairs: it didn't start with Trump

NYTimes article, (12.08.13): The Russians are Coming!

during the Civil war, France wanted to broker a peace plan, and the UK actually came close to supporting the south, but Russia backed the Union by sending their ships to various American ports...
officially they were neutral, not supposed to take sides, but their presence was interpreted as support for the Union and a warning to other European powers.

Years later, Henry Clews, a banker involved in marketing Union war bonds, accurately characterized the squadron’s visit as a “‘splendid bluff’ at a very critical period in our history.” William Seward, he went on, was “astute enough to see that this visit of the Russian squadron might seem to be what it was not.” Their coming “might have a good moral and political effect in depressing the South and encouraging the North, and causing any foreign powers that might have been considering … recognizing the Southern Confederacy to postpone action.”...
more here at
it was a twofer: Their fleet was protected against the UK/French alliance that was threatening war, but it also helped the Union: by raising morale, by protecting San Francisco, which had no other naval protection available against southern raiders or other pirates.

and it led the the US buying Alaska

David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis wrote " Over the years, popular and scholarly understanding of the visit, which became a disputed topic within the complex history of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, has undergone a significant evolution.
In the earliest American accounts, though the specific circumstances often differed, the prevailing sentiment was that when fears of foreign intervention in the Civil War were at their height, Tsar Alexander II dispatched the fleets as a gesture of friendship and that the action successfully restrained the British and the French."
A fitting climax to this strange paradoxical friendship appeared in the negotiations resulting in a treaty of 1867 for the transfer of Alaska which, although it had been suggested as early as 1845 and contemplated again in 1854 and in 1859, surprised the diplomats of the Old World.
Secretary of State Seward secured a deal to purchase Alaska from the Russian tsar for $7.2 million in March 1867. Although the U.S. Congress initially resisted the idea, citing the price as too high, legislators ultimately agreed to the deal because it blocked a large portion of Great Britain's Pacific access, made Alaska's rich mineral resources available to American entrepreneurs, and provided easier access to lucrative Asian trade. Russia had become increasingly frustrated with the expense and difficulty of supplying its businesses in the Pacific territory, and was thus also satisfied with the sale.

CSpan video discussion here. 

Russia is now reverting to their Tsarist past: a dictator strong enough to stop chaos and anarchy and Islamic terrorism, while being suspicious of western benevolance.

Ironically, if Putin was a true communist, the loud mouth left and their minions in the MSM would probably love him.

GM Food bad: GM Babies ok?

UK says it is okay to edit genes to make designer babies.

long and complicated.

The only opposing voice notes that people don't want GM food, as if adding vitamin A to rice or insect resistance to corn is equivalent to experimenting on embryos.

un, not really.

GM food, if done the right way, has the potential to increase yields and lower the use of chemicals/herbicides/pesticides. (if done the wrong way, expect superweeds. I am ignoring the hysterics who worry about GM food as dangerous: men have been manipulating plants naturally for 20 thousand years, and properly done, GM food is just a faster way to do this).

GM babies to fix a damaged gene sounds good, and would be morally acceptable, until you realize two things:

One: it means a lot of excess embryos discarded and the abortion or even infanticide of infants where it didn't work properly. (of course, no one gets upset about 100 thousand babies in freezers left over after in vitro fertilization, but that only shows how callus the procedure has made the country).

Two: It could lead to designer babies, super babies, and other experiments to manipulate mankind (think Brave New World). Risking the child's life to save it is one thing: Experimenting on a child to fulfill the vanity of parents or scientists is another.

and again, we see the idea that "extra" embryos are destroyed, and that if something goes wrong, the child would be aborted or (in the brave new future) killed at birth.

The manipulated genes would be passed on to the next generation.

The use of "CRISPR" to cut and past genes has been touted as a cure all:

But recent studies show that there are problems.


"Once we realised the extent of the genetic rearrangements we studied it systematically, looking at different genes and different therapeutically relevant cell lines, and showed that the CRISPR/Cas9 effects held true." Those effects included large deletions or mutations that happened even several thousand DNA bases (aka kilobases) away from the target site where CRISPR/Cas9 was used to make the edit.
in other words, it caused mutations elsewhere where the scientists didn't want to change those genes.

So what could go wrong?
Not only could such significant mutations of the DNA code have potentially harmful effects – by disrupting healthy gene and cellular functioning – but the researchers warn that standard DNA genotyping assays may not ordinarily pick up on these mistakes. In the worst-case scenario, if such mangled edits were introduced into humans in a CRISPR/Cas9 treatment, important genes might end up being switched on or off, which could make for potentially serious health consequences.

in other words, all sorts of gene related disease and cancers could be the side effects.

update: Another gene editing program is hyped in this article.

Scientists have discovered a gene-editing technology that could efficiently and accurately correct the genetic defects that underlie certain diseases, positioning the new tool as the basis for the next generation of genetic therapies. This editing platform may be used to cure inherited and acquired diseases. The proof-of-concept study spotlights a promising new gene-editing platform that may eventually be used to treat diseases such as sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other genetic disorders.

after lots and lots of hyping, you read:

Chatterjee and her colleagues still have much work to do to characterize how this platform works and to develop it into therapeutics. They will address these questions in future studies.

duh. so a very very early study that may or may not work is hyped as a cure all...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


So someone stole a small disc containing plutonium from the back of a parked SUV.

One of the Idaho National Laboratory specialists told them, Ortiz said, “that it wasn’t an important or dangerous amount” of plutonium. So they closed the investigation to avoid “chasing a ghost,” Ortiz said.
Idaho National Laboratory spokeswoman Sarah Neumann responded that “from INL’s perspective, the theft was taken seriously” and properly reported to the police and the Energy Department...
. Lab documents state that a month after the incident, one of the specialists charged with safeguarding the equipment in San Antonio was given a “Vision Award” by her colleagues. “Their achievements, and those of their colleagues at the laboratory, are the reasons our fellow citizens look to INL to resolve the nation’s big energy and security challenges,” Mark Peters, the lab director, said in an April 21, 2017, news release.
well, that makes me feel safe.

the problem is not about making an atomic bomb: The problem is making a "dirty bomb" which would cause more hysteria than actual harm.

radioactive substances used in medicine is an easy source for this, but luckily they usually keep track of it.

and then there is the problem of smoke detector dirty bombs.

Half a truth is a lie

quote of the day: From Spengler, who worked in Russia after the fall of the iron curtain to remake it's economy.
Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics.

and not just in Russia and the Ukraine:

Yes, and it's just a coincidence that during the last election, there was a new US ambassador here, (one who had been thrown out of Bolivia for interfering with their election), and just a coincidence that the American girl's husband had CIA ties...

and it's just a coincidence that the Ukrainian billionaire who helped overthrow that country's pro Russian president also was found funding one of our "opposition" newspapers who prints lots of exposes on the so called atrocities of the drug war.

But never mind.

The meme is that Trumpie boy asked Russia to hack Hillary and they did.

But the real story is that Hillary told inspectors that she "lost" 30 thousand emails that she didn't want government inspectors to see, and Trump jokingly tweeted that maybe Russia could find them.

It was a joke, but you wouldn't know that from the PC press.

and the hack was a low level skill hack that could have been done by any high school geek (but apparently not the FBI).

and the information? That Hillary's dirty tricks stole the nomination from Bernie, and that she wasn't the only one who snobbishly looked down on working folk, akd "Deplorables".

this, not the ads on Facebook resulted in working class men voting against her... as for me, I stopped going to facebook because the memes posted there by liberal friends and relatives, which before the election were full of anti Christian hate, have gotten worse.

Dilbert says if the Democrats win, they're coming to get you, and I wonder if he is right.

As for the SC judge: One reason for the "culture war" in the USA is that the elites changed laws via the courts. Essentially, allowing a dictatorship. So appointing a judge that judges law instead of making it up will be a relief.


related item: StrategyPage on what's going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. read the whole thing. Dead human shields are used to manipulate the media, and the recruits from "religious schools" remeains a problem.

The Special Forces did not find gossip about distant cousins a few provinces away to be boring, much less details of why one tribe or clan was not on speaking terms with another (often it had to do with a dispute generations old). The Special Forces were often considered annoying by their own superiors, the CIA and senior government officials because the Special Forces operators, after much tea and much listening reported a much different reality than the media was pushing. Who to believe?
If I rely on SP a lot, it is because they get things right about places where I have worked or live, so I figure they have it right about other places too.


oh, that mayor in our area that was killed?

No, it wasn't Duterte: or drug related.

Yup. Business contract dispute. Figures.

Family news

the young dog decided to have her puppies beneath my bed.

I moved her to a box in the bathroom.

Result: 7 puppies. No wonder she looked so big.

Internet on and off, still waiting to get the wire fixed.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Racism posts for the day

SagaThing has a podcast about Icelanders on trial. mp3

and for recommended reading:

racism.... we haz it.

and EdX has a course on medieval sagas LINK


Our church in Oklahoma, built with Osage money, had a shrine to St Kateri, a Mohawk woman who fled to Quebec to follow her faith.

Catholic mushy biography at this podcast:

her mother was a Christian from another tribe who was kidnapped and then married a chief.

Later, Kateri was left an orphan, and when the Jesuits came through she fled with other converts to Quebec.

The key in the short film is that she built a bridge between Catholicism and Native Americans: The key was mysticism.

I have to laugh at cynical westerners who say her "biography" sounds like she was copying neurotic French mysticism: presumably they are not aware of the mystic traditions of various Native American tribes.

the book facing east from Indian Country includes her biography, (including some suspected R rated stuff that may have been behind her desire to move)

Lots of PC nonsense about colongial times out there from both sides: so I am happy that historians try to portray both sides as people trying to cope with change, and how bigotry (and wars and disease and desire of the immigrants for land) upset this balance.


There were two terrible terrorist attacks in Argentina back in the 1990's, and the cover up included a lot of big shots.

Now, Argentina is pressuring Russia to send the Iranian terrorist to them for trial. He is there trying to make a deal with Russia because evil Trumpieboy placed the sanctions back into place because they were cheating.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Afternoon tea

Trump and spouse had afternoon tea with the queen.

Here is a short film on how to give an afternoon tea:

and here is how it is done right:

this BBC site has instructions on how to do an afternoon tea: LINK

here it has recipes for afternoon tea cakes.

some American hotels hold afternoon teas and gourmet food, including some hotels with the Trump name: so I suspect mr "hands on" Trump would know how it is done: from an Oprah segment in 2011:

Thailand rescue

BBC has a lot of the backstories about the rescue of the boys caught in a cave in Thailand.

the Thai SEALS did their best, but were not experienced in cave rescues:(and this might explain why one of those brave SEALS died).

Outsiders who had expertise in saving people soon arrived and started to train them. The rescue from a cave with irregular walls etc. is a bit more complicated than rescuing folks from a mine.

British Cave Rescue website discusses.

Underground rescue has its own unique set of problems. Obstacles such as vertical shafts and climbs often with waterfalls, constricted and twisting passages and squeezes, static and flowing water sometimes completely flooding a passage, mud, loose rock, foul air, route finding and communications problems abound as, of course, does absolute darkness...Rescue from such an environment requires techniques that are often unique to cave rescue teams and with which other rescue services are normally unfamiliar.
again from the BBC:

John Volanthen and Rick Stanton had been braving Tham Luang's narrow, murky passageways for several days, laying out guide ropes and searching for signs of life. On Monday, the two men finally reached Pattaya Beach. But there was nothing. They continued onwards into the darkness. Then, a few hundred metres further, they found an air pocket. "Wherever there is air space we surface, we shout, we smell," John told the BBC. It's a standard procedure for such rescue operations. "We smelt the children before we saw or heard them."

but only one of the boys, a native of Myamar, could speak English and had to translate for him.

more at the link about the rescue.

And yes the boys were given an anti anxiety medication: but I didn't think this was inappropriate: Heck, we docs give small doses of anti anxiety medicine to people getting an MRI because panic and claustrophobia is so common (15% need it). And in this case, if the boy panicked, he could die.

update: Apparently they sedated the kids and wrapped them up on a stretcher and swam carrying the boys.  And along the way they were transfered to other divers, and checked periodically by doctors to see they were okay.

Not quite Elon Musk's submarine but close to it.

Another small detail: The Australian doctor and the Thai SEALS left behind after the boys were rescued had to get out quickly because the Pumps draining the cave failed at that point.

UKMail has lots of photos, 

Hacking? We haz that

the "russia Russia RUSSIA" kerfuffle has a couple of Russians finally indicted for hacking an easily hacked insecure email server of the Democrats.

supposedly these evil people then released stuff about how Hillary was planing to steal the election from Bernie, which made a lot of blue collar workers in the midwest who couldn't care less about Bernie mad enough to vote against her.

just ignore that "deplorable" quote that made them mad...

place facepalm here:

So I am happy they found the evil Russians.

But when is someone going to get angry about the Evil Chinese government hackers who stole my federal personnel file, along with a 21 million other folk's personal information?

from Wikipedia:


FBI Director James Comey stated: "It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government."[33]

Speaking at a forum in Washington, D.C., Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said: "You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did."[34]

President-elect Donald Trump said: "China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names. How come nobody even talks about that?"[35]

why is no one talking about it?

because politics.

The same reason no one hears stories of identity theft by illegal immigrants. 

According to a recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration audit, the labor market includes a shocking 1.4 million employed illegal aliens who in 2015 used falsified or stolen Social Security numbers to get hired.

My rant about being a team player in government, (and Tuva, just for fun)

I worked for state and federal government institutions for years (mainly because the alternative was to work for HMO's who refused to treat people without proper insurance).

Good for free care, but bad because the institutional rules and budgetary restraints were more important than the patients.

The background of the smirks in the Congressional hearings is not the smoke and mirrors of political hacks, but the idea that one needs to be a team player.

and if you aren't, believe me: There are ways to get rid of you, not just by a simple firing for minor offences, but by making your life miserable (in my case, nurses who just were not there when I needed help with a patient, and when I complained loudly about this, I was written up for being "unprofessional), or by doing a transfer to a worse place.

hence the "smirks": screenwriter Roger Simon calls this "inappropriate affect", but to a lay person it seems like it is someone who knows he is getting away with stuff because his tush is covered.

or maybe he was just nervous and was one of those people who smile/smirk when they are nervous. Who knows?

don't ask me: we are 12 hours difference so I didn't watch the hearings (but because European time is only 6 hours difference, I do see Trumpie boy's news conferences while surfing channels).

a good film showing how people are pressured to go along with the institution and keep quiet, but how some manage to try to sneak out the truth to outside investigators can be found in this film about the Challenger disaster.

at 20 minutes, the guy says he doesn't want to rat on his co-workers, and then Feynman is pressured to stay with the team to investigate what went wrong... and then it gets worse...

Wikipedia article has more information on this trouble maker:

One of the commission's best-known members was theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. His style of investigating with his own direct methods rather than following the commission schedule put him at odds with Rogers, who once commented, "Feynman is becoming a real pain." During a televised hearing, Feynman famously demonstrated how the O-rings became less resilient and subject to seal failures at ice-cold temperatures by immersing a sample of the material in a glass of ice water.[5] 

and later he realized that he didn't so much "discover" the problems as much as being quietly spoon fed the information by a lot of folks who wouldn't dare come forth and directly talk about the problem.

The most famous quote from his alternative report on the problem is this:

"For a successful technology," Feynman concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

But of course, the hearings are about public relations, not about reality: "fake news" is about how to spin the story, often by eliminating part of the facts and exaggerating or using logical fallacies to push your emotions so you stop thinking...


and a lot of the investigation information of the Challenger disaster from Feynman's point of view be found in this book, which can be downloaded from Internet Archives. LINK

As for Feynman, this is the tv show that made me want to learn more about him and his work:


Small factoid about Tuva: some people think they have links with the Navajo tribe.
more HERE.

Friday, July 13, 2018


US News article. with lots of examples and discussion.

seeing family members by the elderly and dying is not uncommon.

hallucinations are pathological (psychotic patients hear voices, but seeing visions is usually organic, i.e. drugs or brain damage).

However, normal people have such experience too.

The AmerIndian patients said this was being in contact with "The other side"... and we held ceremonies periodically in our nursing home to keep away the bad spirits that sometimes haunted them.

Some of this might be partly from drugs or isolation: my aunt used to enjoy visions of her family in the nursing home, and even talk to them: when my mom arrived, she would simply come back and be perfectly oriented to reality, so it was not a psychotic experience.

but how about people who are not dying?

Andrew Greeley, in one of his books, commented that he included a "throwaway" question about this in several of his social surveys and said five percent of people have such psychic visions, and most of them tested as mentally normal in the rest of the survey.

however, most folks stay quiet about these things, for fear of being crazy. However, the ones who have psychiatric problems are more open about it, which is why such experiences get a bad reputation.

Catholics consider most of these things as a vivid imagination. But of course God can work via dreams and imagination (and via speaking tongues or inner inspirations, i.e the small quiet voice of conscience and memory). In only a small percentage of cases are such phenomena supernatural: most are a variation of normal ways of perceiving things. (related to art and music creativity).

In some culture, these visions are seen as "real": and here the danger is pride before they decide to get followers to follow them (e.g. cults). The trick for doctors (and clergy) is to discern what is going on: good, harmless, or (in rare case) evil.

but the great majority of such happenings are just part of ordinary life.

yes. And often widows/widowers see or feel the presence of their deceased spouse.

Overall, evidence suggests a strikingly high prevalence of PBHEs - ranging from 30% to 60% - among widowed subjects, giving consistence and legitimacy to these phenomena.

Via Instapundit, who comments:

This happened with my dad at the end.

My mom would have incidents of what would happen in the future, mainly as dreams.

Me, no. However, as a doc, if I got a bad feeling about someone, I found that I should pay attention to this. Instinct from experience? probably...

Human trafficking 101

The latest podcast from StrategyPage is on human trafficking. LINK

for fun and profit (and sex).

criminals and NGO's tra la.

if you go to the first link, there are also podcasts on the Philippines, nuclear weapons, NoKorea, Russia, and Iran in Syria.

update: A couple of books by Jim Dunnigan are available to borrow (free subscription) at internet archives.

Easy guide to the background of what is going on.

Drama of the week

An oldie but goodie from the BBC: Four parts but part one is here:


author's background HERE.

the book can be borrowed (free sign up) from internet archive: LINK

Mocking Trump? Too late

The hysterics in the UK are putting up a huge baloon of Trumpie as a baby having a tantrum, presumably to embarass him.

Except of course, that Trumpieboy, like the baby having the tantrum, will probably get his way.

I had to laugh: at his news conference, Trump pointed out that insisting the rich Europeans pay their share of defending themselves was not new: that President Obama told them the same thing.

So the press stories either imply Trump is a bully for telling Europe to pay their fair share, or (althernative fake news) saying: well Trump didn't do anything here, so if they do pay their fair share, it is thanks to Obama, not him.

Ridiculing Trum doesn't work well, of course.

A lot of Westerners laughed at the Chinese Trump as chicken.

The original "Trump Chicken" was actually put up in front of a mall in China, but westerners thought it was mocking him, proving the proud American elites are culturally illiterate.

You see, in Asia, it was the year of the fire rooster:

Rooster, not chicken. As in "fighting cock". Here, cockfighting is a major sport, and a lot of our neighbors have their fighting cocks outside under a small shelter so they can eat bugs etc. rather than keeping them in cages.

now, we don't have a leash law, so one would think that these chickens would soon be killed by stray dogs, but they aren't: Because they are very aggressive, and the dog would probably lose.

and in Asia, roosters also announce the dawn, so are seen as responsible, and of course, roosters are "alpha males" and like women. More on the personality of fire roosters here.

So when the snowflakes sought to embarass Trump with their rooster, they had it wrong: it was a compliment.

people (aka the MSM) all talk as if Trump had a "thin skin": but it's not that: He fights back, and like the Bronx kid he is, he fights dirty.

His tweets send educated "better dead than impolite" types up in arms, but the rest of us just laugh: they take him literally, and don't see the joke, or that by tweeting he gets his message out to ordinary folks past the babble of the network talking heads (both left and right).

so anyway, the baby trump isn't going to embarass him (although I wonder why it was allowed: Isn't it a hazard and a security threat? well, probably not as dangerous as a terrorist with a drone I guess).

Trump in the USA has been around for decades, and is well known to those who read the tabloid instead of the NYTimes.

And he is able to mock himself: Ann Althouse posted this on her blog, after posting her horror that there is going to be a "Green Acres" broadway play instead of something edgy, like praising the Marquis de Sade (the original #me too SOB... he tortured maids and other lower class women, but never mind).

yes, that's Trumpie boy.

rural uncoath hayseeds making fun of effete Europeans/ city folks has been a mainstay of American comedy since colonial days.

Giving away the Crimea and parts of the Philippines

I was watching part of Trumpieboy's news conference, and when they asked about the Crimea, he reminded them that it was President Obama who let Russia take over that area, and that they have invested millions of dollars into the area.

well, at least the Crimea was historically part of Russia.

But the Philippines was never part of China, and the West Philippine sea was never part of China, unless you mean that Chinese pirates who harassed, destroyed and captured slaves were part of China.

Obama also essentially let China take over the shoals in the West Philippine sea, because when they started their slow takeover, President Aquino was told by the USA not to try to stop them while they did their slow take over, but to take them to court.

(Slow takeover: first, put up barriers against our fishermen, then move in and harass them, then move in and dig up the sea bottom to build artificial islands, then militarize the islands).

So the courts decided in our favor: it is the anniversary of our winning of the court case, which occurred shortly after Duterte took over. Big deal. So what next? Should the tiny Philippines try to attack them to get them out? They now have airbases and weapons on those artificial islands.

Actually, VietNam has gone to war with China in the past over similar aggression: Viet Nam lost, but the message was sent.

But of course, VietNam was actually part of China once, and they remember that. This is the backstory of their ethnic cleansing of their Chinese ethnic population after the communists took over.

So on the two year anniversary, these banners were put up all over Manila: ABS-CBN:

Photo Credit: Ronald Gustilo
22 hours ago


But of course, the Philippines was never part of China, and the last time they Chinese tried to take over Luzon, it was by Chinese pirates, not their gov't. Like the Japanese, they figured the Filipinos would prefer another "Asian" overlord, but they were wrong: The locals helped the Spanish throw them out. (They threw out the British too, but that's another story).

however, throwing out a bunch of pirates is not the same as throwing out a nation with nuclear weapons and a couple million soldiers and lots of technology stolen from the west.

and the banners were not put up by China, but by the opposition, to troll Duterte who is trying to make nice with China, given the fact that it would take a war to get rid of them now.

One does doubt that Duterte will copy Indonesia's pogrom of their Chinese community, who was seen as a fifth column for communist takeover back in the 1960's, but the animosity is there, and with China using the Chinese diaspora community as part of their aggression against neighboring countries, things could get bad quickly.

The idea that "Peace for our time" will be achieved by giving the aggressor a little bit of land, and he will remain quiet didn't work for Chamberlain, and now Obama's policy of non aggression against a Chinese grab of islets belonging to the Philippines is showing the same thing.

And by the way: The Chinese moves are destroying the ecosystem in the areas, meaning it is destroying the Philippine fisherman's livelihood (while Chinse fishermen try to fish all over, overfishing the areas owned by other countries).

Inquirer story about that here(July 2018):

Filipino fishermen have accused their Chinese counterparts of destroying the coral reefs and harvesting giant clams at the shoal.
residential spokesperson Harry Roque has said the Philippines will not protest the destruction of the reefs and instead bring it up in the next bilateral discussion with China.
But Batongbacal said the Duterte administration should have a “more urgent effort” to change its policy “from a passive observer to being an active protector.” “We really need to protect the fishery habitat and fish stocks in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
so who cares if China destroys the ecosystem?

Not the environmentalists, of course.

But one does wonder why Korea and Japan didn't notice that a militarized base on an artificial island in the West Philippine sea might enable China to block their shipping lanes.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free

from a comment on this essay about the newfangled Vatican religion.

Since plastic is the new “Enemy Number 1,” its use has been forbidden in all of the offices of the Dicastery: all employees and officials will now bring glass beverage containers from home, use only metal cutlery, and so forth.

what? Why not just encourage the use of chopsticks: either "green" ones from bamboo, or the reusable ones.

And since Catholics are by nature missionaries, the intention [of the Dicastery] is to extend this initiative to all of the Vatican offices. But that’s not all: because of their infinite desire for the good, the Secretary of the Dicastery has also announced the objective of becoming “carbon neutral,” or neutral from the point of view of carbon anhydride emissions which – according to the theory which sees human activity as the primary cause of climate change – are alleged to be the cause of global warming.

So you mean they will cut off their airconditioning in those hot Roman summers?

The Pope says they don't need airconditioning, but a lot of Asians beg to differ. Luckily they aren't Catholic....

the Economist: Half the airconditioners used today are in Asia.

And here in the rural Philippines, the local stores are selling lots of them: local price lists starts at 8000 pesos for a small one.

Yes, the minimum wage is 300 pesos a day, but remember: Lots of people are now middle class, and often money from OFW is used to upgrade their houses: concrete houses that won't be eaten by termites, LPG stoves, televisions/DVD player, and of course cellphones are now common. But the middle class is starting to buy wash machines and airconditioners as they move out of poverty.

This article say China is buying a lot of them, but  but it's okay: They set the temperature to higher than those dang Americans who are "addicted" to lower temperatures.. Duh. (but not mentioned is the reality: You don't run the Aircon that low because the price of electricity is too high to stay really cool. For example, I turn mine on when it hits 85).

another related item:

The Federalist checks out the screaming headlines that Trumpie boy hates breast feeding.

my take here.

again, the problem is modernity and complex. Breast feeding is lifesaving in poor rural villages, where other sources of protein for children is unavailable.

But things are changing: And the world is getting more urban and richer.

Presumably the critics see all third world women as slaves to be forced into the traditional lives (which is the real basis for the modern feminist screed the Handmaid's tale: Only good for breeding and feeding.)

No, I haven't seen the TV screed, but from the descriptions it sounds more like a distortion of the problems women faced in poor countries where dire poverty (not the evil patriarchy) gave them little "freedom" if they wanted to eat.

again, without seeing modernity and the economic improvements of the last 50 years, Trumpieboy's arguments make sense for the increasingly common urban middle class woman in the third world, who now can decide to remain single, or limit their kids to 2 or 3, or to run a business but need "Yaya s" and milk formula to raise the kids.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dogs at work

Stories behind the hyped headlines

StrategyPage has an article about Syria: about the implications of the 5 million refugees (mainly Sunni) and how this is changing the face of the Middle East in nearby countries.

for example, it could lead to another civil war in Lebanon,
and about why most nearby countries want the Iranians gone.

For later reading.


SP also has an article about China's attempted take over of the sea routes, not just by aggressive take over of the shoals in the West Philippine sea, but by "lending" poor countries money to upgrade their port facilities, and then taking these ports over when those countries can't pay back the loans.


yes, your smart TV is spying on you.

But hey, if you have a Chinese cellphone, that has spyware in it so they can watch your moves.

The Chinese surveillenace of their people in cities makes London look like a wimp.

SP has had a couple of articles noting this "backdoor" spyware has made the US military wary of Chinese cellphones and computers, but the latest report is that the quadricopters now being used says the brass is worried these also might also be vulnerable to Chinese control.

Don't ask me: I don't have a cellphone.

but my Chinese made computer did have spyware on it, and when someone found that out and it got publicized we removed it.


heh. Trump pardoned ranchers who were framed by the FBI.

not in the article: The judge threw the case out of court a couple months ago
Navarro rebuked federal prosecutors — using the words "flagrant" and "reckless" to describe how they withheld evidence from the defense — before saying "that the universal sense of justice has been violated" and dismissing the charges.

heh. So while the MSM is hyperventilating about the newest SC nominee who might actually follow the law instead of making up law by fiat, Trumpie boy sent a clear message to the people in the west who are mad at aggressive gov't land grabs, while also giving a finger to aggressive prosecutors who break the law to get their man.


Uh, build the wall?

NPR.(May 2018) notes that Mexico has a border problem with Central America, and enforces the law sometimes.

Rather than amassing troops on its border with Guatemala, Mexico stations migration agents, local and federal police, soldiers and marines to create a kind of containment zone in Chiapas state. With roving checkpoints and raids, Mexican migration agents have formed a formidable deportation force. Since the Southern Border Plan launched, Mexico has deported more than half a million Central Americans, including almost 82,000 last year, according to data from Mexico's Interior Department. Since 2015, Mexico has deported more Central Americans annually than U.S. authorities have, in some years more than twice as many.

LINK:(Crisis, May 2018)

Kidnappings have soared across the south since 2015. Not only are the border states now the main conduit for cocaine trafficked from Colombia’s Pacific coast, but violence is fuelled by the fragmentation of the once dominant Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, combined with the rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the spread to southern Mexico of Central American street gangs, notably the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).
The proliferation of cartels and gangs has intensified turf battles over protection rackets. Long the victims of crime while travelling north, Central Americans must now run an extended gauntlet of criminal organisations ready to kidnap, physically and sexually abuse or kill them. Gangs have even staged raids on migrant shelters.
Yet, in many border towns, locals perceive Central Americans themselves as responsible for the rise in crime, prompting a backlash, including calls for southern Mexico to build a wall of its own. Refugees and migrants face increasing discrimination and are often trapped between erratic state institutions, predatory criminals and alarmed locals.
the answer is, of course, controlled immigration, but never mind.

the best answer is to actually fight the criminals and make it safe for people to stay home, but hey, when Duterte does that, the internaional SJW get into a tizzy and try to make him out a monster.

but it worked in Colombia, so it could also work here.

And the Diplomad2.0 blog says Mexico's newly elected president is a leftist/populist who has links with Mayor Guilliani.

related item: Border control agents in New England? Yup. to catch criminals and drug smugglers.

and not just drugs: one of these agents, a lowly grandmother, saved the lives of thousands when Customs agent Diana Dean thought he was acting suspicious so searched the car, and stopped the Milleneum bomber from coming into the USA.


Israel is planning to go to the Moon.

the geeks behind this were inspired by the Lunar X prize.

The project began when young engineers — Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub — decided to build a spacecraft and take part in the Lunar Xprize competition sponsored by Google, which originally included a $20 million prize for the first group of contestants to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.
and yes, Elon Musk's SpaceX is also mentioned.

Place Mel Brooks joke here:

Good news:

The boys from the cave have all been rescued.

and the article explains the origin of the different animals: They represent the individuals and countries who sent help.

from the facebook site of the Thai Navy Seals: