Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The WAGD post of the day: the White Plague is back

NYTimes reports very very drug resistant TB is spreading from person to person.

be afraid, be ery afraid...

This potential epidemic has been smouldering for years, and one of these days it will stop merely killing 1.8 million people each year and become a major problem. (yes, I'm being sarcastic).

Grescham College had a talk about the history of TB, aka The White Plague. LINK

the YaleOpen Courseware has a series of lectures on infectious diseases here.

Lecture 18 and 19 are about TB.

some comments on my heydoc blog.

We all iz Chinese

StrategyPage dscusses China. The territorial grab in the west Philippine sea and Duterte making nice is discussed, but this is the part I rarely see talked about in the USA:

Duterte is seen as trying to avoid having a war between China and the United States start so close to the Philippines. Filipino military leaders point out that the U.S. would operate at a disadvantage against Chinese military moves without access to some Filipino bases and that the Philippines would probably be attacked by China no matter what.
That happened to many “neutral” countries during World War II and for Chinese territorial expansion to work the Philippines is an obstacle with or without Americans involved.
The eventual annexation of the Philippines by China is openly discussed in Chinese media. What is happening between the Philippines and China is typical of the approach China is taking to all of its vulnerable and angry neighbors.

they also note that locals hate the Chinese. Yes. Remember, a lot of the economy and government is run by Chinese or their descendants.

 38 percent of Filipinos trust China compared to 76 percent trusting the United States, 74 trusting the UN and 70 percent Japan. Only half trusted the EU (European Union) and fewer trusted Russia. 

Duterte is seen as an outsider, and is popular not despite of but because of his macho approach to law and order. And if he can lie flatter the Chinese make nice with them to get money, well, why not...

historically, in medieval times, the West Philippine sea was ruled by Chinese pirates, not china per se... and they tried to take over the Philippines in 1574 but were defeated.

If the Chines try a takeover, our area will rebel. .., our area has a long history of rebellion.... wlink2 When I first came here, Lolo still had a pistol and a WWII submachine gun hidden in his closet. After his stroke he gave it away and we no longer have guns, but you have to realize there are a lot of illegal and unregistered weapons here. This Bloomsberg article estimates 600 thousand...

but picking on the Philippines, the weakest link, is one way for China to distract their people from the lousy economy and the corruption.

more about China in this podcast.

The Templar conspiracy

BBC article on the history of banking in Medieval Europe.

The Chinese government developed notes to take money with you without carrying cash for robbers to steal, but the Knights Templar were the ones who developed this outside of the hands of kings.

 A pilgrim could leave his cash at Temple Church in London, and withdraw it in Jerusalem. Instead of carrying money, he would carry a letter of credit. The Knights Templar were the Western Union of the crusades....
The Knights Templar did much more than transferring money across long distances.
 As William Goetzmann describes in his book Money Changes Everything, they provided a range of recognisably modern financial services.

 when they were "disbanded", the Italian merchant families took over...

more HERE

If you are reading this, blame a Jesuit

If you are reading this, blame a Jesuit.

Father Z links to a NCReg story of the priest who developed hypertext., the way computers can talk with humans.

In 1949, Fr. Busa met Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, and convinced him to sponsor the Index Thomisticus Project,,. 
 Busa asked Watson to team up on a project that would make word searches on a computer possible. Mr. Watson shook his head and said, "It's impossible for machines to do what you are suggesting. You are claiming to be more American than us." The Jesuit did not give up and slid a punched card bearing the multinational company’s motto, promulgated by Watson himself, towards the CEO. It read: “The difficult, we do it immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.” ...
 And, upon that fateful day, at that fateful moment, in a handshake between colleagues and geniuses, the computer became a great deal more "user friendly." 
The result of this meeting was "hypertext"—the overall structure of pieces of information displayed on a computer display, or other electronic devices, with references (hyperlinks) to other text which the reader can immediately access, linked to each other by dynamic connections that may be consulted on a computer at the click of a mouse.

Fake news and satire on... the Vatican?

Eccles and Bosco blog is a satire on Vatican fake news news, which is only funny if you know the stories and spins coming out about what is going on.

However, today's post about news vs fake news is the best summary of all those controversies that I have seen.

here is the part about the slight of hand on marriage:

Fake news: The Pope holds two Synods on the Family designed to decide whether Catholic teaching has "developed". Cardinal Baldisseri steals copies of the "Five cardinals" book that are being sent out to participants. After the Synod - or, in fact mostly before it - the Pope's ghostwriters produce a muddled document called Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Sex"), which is deliberately ambiguous and bears little relationship to what the Synod has decided. 
 True news: Cardinal Kasper goes to the Pope and says "Let's have a Synod to celebrate the joy of Christian marriage, as preached by the Church for the last 2000 years." 

Italics mine.

 Hijacking a meeting to push a radical agenda is a common political tactic, especially when working with nice folks who don't want to seem so impolite to criticize.


tom Shippey's 3 lecture series on Beowulf (with a mention of Tolkien) is on line.

leture one here

Here is lecture two, posted today:

a lot of it is more for geeks of language and culture than fantasy. I mean, there is no modern equivalence of  someone trying to stop a man/beast invading a party and killing people is there?

oh wait....

Monday, January 30, 2017

Parle Vous?

Ruby's new school will have them learning French and Spanish.

I can teach her Spanish (with a Colombiano accent) but I don't know French.

Wonder if this will help:

isn't the internet wonderful?

Economics lesson for today

Freakonomics describe China, jobs and unemployment. 

For later reading.

and a podcast on the folly of prediction

Uh Oh:

Dilbert warns of signs of how to start a revolution might be brewing.

In the 3rd dimension of persuasion, the protesters need to be proven right, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. So you might see the protesters inadvertently create the police state they fear....

and he notes the danger signal: The demonstrators are delighted to find they are right and will exaggerate the conflict, because the alternative is to confront the fact they might have been wrong.


escalate to terror and get the cops to react.

but this is basic revolutionary theory. Bill Ayers anyone? Anyone else remember the sixties?

It's all in Heinlein of course, What do they teach the kids these days?

and the elites are making plans to flee to New Zealand.

me? I'll just hunker down safe here in the Philippines, where we only have to worry about is Earthquakes, typhoons, floods, volcanos and dengue fever....

Travel and visas anyone? Musing on security

Joy and Ruby are going to Manila to try to process her papers to study in Canada. School starts in August so there is plenty of time, but these things take time.

Joy wants to go with her, but we don't know if they will allow family or if she will be able to get a visa in time. They both have passports (Ruby had one because she won two student competitions that sent her to Japan as a prize, and Joy went with Ruby to Japan once, and also recently went to Dubai for an agri export fair). So getting the paper work is not new for them.

An alternative is for me to go with her, since I don't need venting for a visa being a US citizen. However, once we arrive she will probably be whisked off to the school, leaving me alone. On the other hand, I need a vacation... and of course could just fly to Pennsylvania or Florida on a later flight to visit family. The problem: money. Sigh.

When one travels from the Philippines, you have to go through a strict check of you and your luggage... including checking if you have fruit etc. I remember intervening with one poor Japanese who was visiting his fiance who couldn't understand the Japanese translator... turns out he was from Bolivia. I spotted the passport and offered to translate for him (I speak South American Spanish, not well, but enough to clear things up for him).

despite all the security (you are checked three times), no one really trusts it.

One of our cousin's daughters worked as a stewardess and told me a couple years ago that US planes don't park overnight in Manila because of security problems. They take off and park in nearby Taiwan.

Similarly, when you change planes in Japan, they re-screen you and your luggage which is a bit of a hassle, but again they don't trust the Philippines. There has been at least one bomb placed on a plane here.

No, the airport here screens you well, but it would only take a bribe to bypass security.  And this works with incoming passengers, where you have to go through security similar to that in the USA.

However: There was a big scam here where people would "find" something in your luggage (usually a bullet) and take you aside and threaten you with arrest. Locals know what they actually want is a "gift", but some foreigners and honest folk refused and ended up in jail.

People in the US are spoiled, since border security is minimal and you don't need papers to travel from state to state. The US passport makes it easy to travel most places, often you don't even need to get a visa before leaving. But for countries where you do need a visa, the airlines check your papers before  your board. A lot of countries also check you have a return ticket with you, just in case.

Do the new passports have fingerprint etc? My older one does not, although I do have it on my Oklahoma driver's license and on my local residency card. Here in the Philippines you need photo ID for a lot of things-- even schoolkids wear them-- so I carry my residency card instead of my passport.

We have security guards all over the place, often carrying shotguns. The bank has two, one inside to unlock the door, and one outside who mainly helps old folks figure out how to use the ATM machine and help people back their cars out of the parking lot.

There are copes and agri inspectors outside the Palenke, but to get inside the mall you get frisked and wanded and your backpack/purse inspected.

A lot of shops have their own security guards: one guarding a local pharmacy near here shot a thief when Lolo and I were near the palenke shopping. He missed the thief but the girlfriend was killed. I checked to see if anyone needed help, but she was dead. Sigh...No one was charged...

 And politicians need security guards. Are they trained? Who knows... one of my husband's classmate's husband, a former general, used to run a school to train security guards in the Visayas, so many probably are. And they are all over the place.. The mayor, for example, always has one or two, with good reason since there have been two hits on his family, the first one killing our nephew as a bystander and the second at a restaurant on the way home from our cousin's funeral where three bystanders were killed.

So when you read all those stories about murders here, remember they are nothing new. Except this time the bad guys are the target. Unless of course they are targeted by the cops who want a bribe. But Duterte is working on that too...

If it bleeds it leads, and knowing the press is exaggerating what the US press writing about what is going here makes me skeptical about news from the USA against Trumpie boy.

The kerfluffle in the US over immigration is in the headlines: a couple dozen folks stopped, and some with proper papers already left go, and the green card part has been clarified. But never mind. HUMAN RIGHTS! Close the airports with our demonstrations!

On the other hand, it is countries, not religion, that are being targeted, in order to get better venting of travelers.

Hmm... wonder if Bush should have done this after 911 instead of letting all those Saudis be airlifted home.

Excuse my cynicism:

lots of people are stopped at US customs for further screening, including my son, who answered the questions wrong. (he was screened as a non citizen, whereas my other son and I had US passports)... I had to go and rescue him from detention. Half a dozen folks were there with us, so it's not like these things never happen.
So what is going on with immigration? Who do you believe nowadays?

 Ann Althouse (libertarian) links to an article who points out that Trump is merely following a law that had been proposed by Obama but never implemented.

"The public should be suspicious of Trump’s policies and the media should speak truth to power and demand answers from the administration.""But the media should also be truthful with the public and instead of claiming Trump singled out seven countries, it should note that the US Congress and Obama’s Department of Homeland Security had singled out these countries. It should have told us about the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 rather than pretend this list was invented in 2017. Trump’s executive order said 'countries of concern,' it didn’t make a list. That list was already made, last year and years before."Writes Seth J. Frantzman.
ADDED: If you are horrified by what you see Trump doing, is it because when Obama did things like that you just didn't see? Or did everything look different because it was Obama doing them?
addendum: The ban is only for 90 days, not forever. Do any of the MSM reports note that?


Patching weakened hearts

SciDaily article:

Researchers have grown heart tissue by seeding a mix of human cells onto a 1-micron-resolution scaffold made with a 3-D printer. The cells organized themselves in the scaffold to create engineered heart tissue that beats synchronously in culture. When the human-derived heart muscle patch was surgically placed onto a mouse heart after a heart attack, it significantly improved heart function and decreased the amount of dead heart tissue.

Heart cells growing in rectangular, box-like scaffold made with 3-D printing.
Credit: UAB
 more HERE.

paper download here

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Women speaking truth to power



Here’s Mia Love’s speech. Here’s Madonna.

Instapundit ((libertarian/prochoice blog) links to the reason that the press actually covered the march:
 The women’s march organizers blew it, and even the media realize it. “ . . .
Of perhaps more significant interest, however, is the fact that Keilar and CNN were forced to put the March for Life on the same political footing as the Women’s March on Washington.
well, yes. It has been ignored because it didn't fit the narrative.

and no, I never attended, but my son (with his pregnant teenage girlfriend, later his wife) did. That child is now in her 20's and has two kids...


oh yes: Professor Reynolds of Instapundit lost his father last week. Remember him and his family in your prayers.

Happy year of the Rooster

It's Chinese new year. we don't celebrate it here in the provinces, but they do in Manila.

AlJ article has a lot of photos from around the world.

And it's the year of the Rooster: not just the rooster but the Fire Rooster, which is good for the stock market (at least in Hong Kong).

the WAPO has an article about one year of the rooster delicacy: Phoenix claws.

Aka chicken feet.

Yeah, the local street vendors  sell these
but they grill them and apply hot sauce while they were cooking.

And the history of chickens is being rewritten as DNA studies are investigating how chickens domestication spread from SEAsia...from the wild fowl there.

the fire rooster is not a sweet cuddly hen: Think fighting cock.

The Year of the Fire Rooster may be more akin to an American action-adventure film than a martial arts piece, however, with giant rooster balloons now appearing that may bear an uncanny resemblance to new US President Donald Trump.

and here is a short film about the chicken exhibition in Manila Zoo.

O Canada! (or even the Canucks screen you)

If my granddaughter goes to school in Canada we will have to get her visa.

and the same goes if her mom decides to accompany her there on a tourist visa to get her settled.Joy used to have a Canadian visa but didn't get it renewed when she decided not to take the job. So she may or may not be able to accompany her there.

a lot of the stuff on their immigration site is routine: 

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
  • be in good health,
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
  • convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
  • have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
You may also need a:

I went through a lot of this when I adopted my sons (one of whom was a teenager at the time, but over 12 so needed more screening)

and when I moved here to the Philippines as a long term visitor, I came into the country easily (you can get a visa for two weeks on the plane) but to stay longer you need the same documents. (I have a permanent residency here now, but that took a couple of years, even though I was a spouse of a "Balikbayan", a returning citizen).

To visit the USA, our relatives visiting other relatives in Chicago go through this all the time.

You need police clearances, a proof you have money, be healthy, someone to sponsor you when you arrive, and you have to convince them you won't overstay your visa.

and guess what? Canada might not accept your passport:

  • passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
  • non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
  • temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
  • provisional passports issued by Venezuela.

  • Study visas also have similar requirements.

    minor children have similar requirements: and they need paper work that there is a responsible adult to care for them and from their parents agreeing to this.

    again we see this little proviso:

    • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.

    all of this is routine, you know. Americans are lucky: For a lot of countries you just have to show your passport and fill a paper out to visit for a short time. But the dirty little secret is that most countries have similar requirements for visitors who are at high risk to overstay their visas, or for long term stays.

    no we do not live in a borderless world, although you wouldn't know it from the hysteria in the press

    so my question is if Trumpie boy is Hitler building walls, or is he just trying to shut down scofflaws and enforce immigration laws?

    Sounds like he is overdoing it, but if you recognize his pattern, he goes full blast and then will compromise.

    and if Trumpie is Hitler, does that mean Trudeau is Hitler minime?

    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Congratulations Ruby

    Ruby just got an email offering her a full scholarship to study in Canada for senior high school. The bad news: It is an "international" school for NWO leaders so I worry she will lose her faith. Sigh.

    Donald the archangel

    a google of "Obama Messiah" will get you ooddles of links and photos/cartoons (445 000 to be exact). Here is an example, stolen from a website called ObamaMessiah website.(duh).

    President Barack Obama pause as he speaks at the close of the Fiscal Responsibility Summit, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, in the Old Executive Office. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Usually President Obama was smiling and photographed in the light, for he was the lightbringer to a nation.

    so how is the news president photographed? Usually with a snarl on his face, as if he is saying "you're fired".

    But I spotted this one on the Manila Bulletin and I thought WTF: HE NOW HAS WINGS...

    US President Donald Trump speaks following the ceremonial swearing-in of James Mattis as secretary of defense on January 27, 2016 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
    heh. Saint Donald the Archangel. compare and contrast:

    and for those of you with a really geeky sense of humor, contemplate the icon of Saint Mattis holding the Holy Handgrenade.

    the Marine times says that those posting it were forced to take it down.

    Marine Corps Special Operations Command took down this meme of retired Gen. James Mattis from its Facebook page. Photo Credit: Marine Corps Special Operations Command's Facebook page.
    Mattis isn't going to replace Chesty Puller as the Marine you would like most to lead you in time of war, but his legend is growing...

    as for the Holy Hand grenade, that is Monty Python, of course.

    Bhutan part two

    The Flying Lotus blog has only older posts. but has some good cultural stuff despite the fact that it is sponsored by a tour company.

    This one is about Buddhism and the environment link.

    Buddhism stresses desire is bad, and so you try to get along and live in peace. this includes protection of all life. However it also means you don't show anger and tend people what you think they want to hear, in order to live in peace with them.

    the CIA factbook is a good place to start for hard information.

    and the Maoists have caused havoc in nearby Nepal and tribal areas of eastern India. This group had been causing trouble in the refugee camps in the past, but the most recent report I found is HERE.

    they found Shangri La (again)

    Lots of fluffy stuff on the green type sites about the small country of Bhutan.

    Find happiness in simplicity!

    and they are carbon negative and proud about it!

    Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation.


    So no, I know nothing about the place, but I found this more nuanced book at Scribd. I've only started it but found their Buddhist links go way back, and by the way, the country is shrinking because China is reappropriating stealing their northern lands.

    They must be a bit prosperous, because they've had to import construction workers from India. NPR report (2005) notes that has caused a bit of a problem since most are Hindu, and Bhutan is a Buddhist country. But they are only "guest workers" so can't stay there, so no problem with them messing up the culture.

    And there are quite a few of them: doing work the locals don't want to do:

    That isolated mountain country has a total adult work force of roughly 200,000, and nearly a quarter of that number, 45,000, are foreign workers from India, immediately to Bhutan's south.

    a more recent report from the VOA can be found HERE

    so where are they working?

     He is paid better than most of the estimated 50,000 migrant workers who, escaping poverty back home, snap up jobs in Bhutan's booming construction industry, building roads, hydropower plants, and tourist hotels.
    yup. Roads and tourist hotels for the western affluent green types who want to visit Shangri la but don't want to live in a hotel without running water and electricity and wi fi in every room.

    so why not hire locals?

    Recent government statistics show that unemployment in Bhutan has tripled in the past three years, rising to nearly four percent, with unemployment rates much higher for ages 15 to 24...
    "Because of education, I guess aspirations have changed," said Sonam Tshering, Bhutan's minister of economic affairs. "We do have an unemployment problem. We have a lot of educated youth coming out on the job market annually. Now they all have much higher expectation. They are no longer interested in blue-collar jobs. Everybody wants to have an office. They want to sit on a chair. They do not want to apply themselves physically. So, the problem that we are facing at the moment in Bhutan is the mismatch between supply and demand."

    in other words, all that stuff about "isolation" is bunk.

    and all that talk about their being a lesson to the world is a lie, based on exploiting their "guest workers".

     From BusinessBhutan:

    One of Bhutan’s spectacular attempt to redefine an alternative development paradigm that thrust happiness as the centerpiece of our development philosophy and our unprecedented effort in conserving its pristine natural environment has drawn numerous accolades in the international arena. We are now praised as a global leader in environmental protection...


     On the home front, our country in the recent times unlike any time before in the past is fast experiencing a burgeoning economic growth and expansion. For an emerging country like ours, formidable and significant stride in a myriad of socio economic dimensions have been made more vehemently in the last decades. This socio economic expeditions of Bhutan per se would not have transpired and materialized without the large segment of Indian workforce who continue to form the cornerstone workforce virtually contributing to the nation building process of Bhutan.
    ah but the workers are happy happy... never mind the construction accidents or the fact that they aren't always paid on time or that they had to leave their wives and families back home.

    We have heard unkempt and thwarting stories of our construction workers undergo great ordeal on matters surrounding delay and nonpayment of wages on time at the hands of some of our Bhutanese employers and construction owners around the country amongst others. Many of us know that back home, these workers have immigrated to work leaving behind their children, wives and family members who depend exclusively on them for their daily livelihood. Delay in their payment means uncertainties of the very survival of their dependents back home.
    It may not be incorrect to assume here that ‘happiness’ which we profess to the outside world, to these group of workers right under our nose would not mean anything above and beyond receiving their hard-earned payment on time. And they have all the right to be happy for having fulfilled the conditions to be happy in the land of the happiness.
    italic mine.

    one is reminded of this happy happy work song sung by happy happy workers.

    so why don't they hire locals?

    Our dependence on them is exclusively attributed to the fact that majority of us do not want to do low skill, laborious jobs that are low paying. Ironically, we are heavily dependent on them while we have our own people looking for employment today. ...One of the greatest paradoxes of our recent times that has apparently and fervently enveloped the Bhutanese populace in general has been the migratory pattern of our Bhutanese urbanites to places like Australia.

    this is hard to figure out, since there is only one college in the area, but the country is trying hard to raise the level of education for their people.

    this is needed because despite the propaganda about "happiness", the illiteracy rate is significant, and the UN report is using adult self taught programs trying to lower this.

    the secret behind their green friendly economy is that most people are farmers or work in forestry, but they are big at hydro electricity, so they can export electricity to nearby India. And having electricity means less forest cut down to cook.

    It is hard to judge all of this, knowing that when a country's self esteem depends on being seen as happy that maybe people won't complain.

    but it might surprise you to discover the ethnic cleansing that happened there in the 1990's.

    more here.

    from the Seattle Times (2016):

    Between 1990 and 1993, more than 100,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese wound up in refugee camps in eastern Nepal. Many languished in those camps for two decades or more, before being resettled in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    In the early 1990s, about 100,000 ethnic Nepalis in Bhutan were expelled or fled from the small Himalayan kingdom, leading to what Amnesty International has called “one of the most protracted and neglected refugee crises in the world.” Of the nearly 100,000 Bhutanese refugees resettled around the world, 85 percent have come to the United States, according to the U.S. government.
    and they could probably be near you:

    Akron's North High School now has a student population that is roughly half Asian, according to district spokesman Mark Williamson.
    About 5,000 Bhutanese refugees have now settled in surrounding North Hill, according to WKSU, repopulating the tired neighborhood and revitalizing businesses and schools.
    WKSU's M.L. Schultze reported Wednesday on the North Hill High School soccer team, largely made up of refugees escaping persecution in Bhutan. Ten years ago the soccer team struggled to keep enough players to qualify for games. Now, the team made it to the city series championship game and is hoping to win it this year, Schultze reports.
    "The charisma, the spirit, the happiness that myself and everyone around this team experiences is just astounding," North Hill Coach Michael Kane told Schultze.

    ah yes, for rich yuppies, Shangri La is looking at a poor underdeveloped country through rose coloured glasses, but for these refugees, the promised land looks a lot like... Ohio (!)

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    Pen in hand, Trump Trumps a lot of stuff

    I disagree with a lot of what Trump is doing, but the reason he is able to do it is that Obama did a lot of stuff (that I disagreed with even more) by "executive order" or some such.

    The US is not a dictator, and when the Supreme court and Presidential orders are allowed to bypass the messiness of democratic input and let the PC decide what should be our laws, then you have a problem. (the US is a Republic, where checks and balances let all sides have a say into things. A democracy is winner take all, and so shut up. A dictatorship is where the guy in charge says shut up, and is able to do it despite public opinion.)

    I ran cross this AFP article in our Manila Bulletin: British Think tank downgrades US to "flawed democracy". I presumed it was because of Trump, but it wasn't: it was about the public becoming distanced from the government: a problem that predates Trumpie boy and actually was the cause of his election.

    The ninth annual index report said Trump’s election in November and Britain’s vote to leave the EU in June were expressions of deep dissatisfaction with the status quo.

     So now Trump Inc. has pen in hand and voila: One million hysterical tweets/facebook posts/blog comments.

    Dilbert laughs and say: Yes, and that is why he will be seen as sucessful.

    You’re probably seeing the best persuasion you will ever see from a new president. Instead of dribbling out one headline at a time, so the vultures and critics can focus their fire, Trump has flooded the playing field. You don’t know where to aim your outrage. He’s creating so many opportunities for disagreement that it’s mentally exhausting. Literally. He’s wearing down the critics, replacing their specific complaints with entire encyclopedias of complaints.
    And when Trump has created a hundred reasons to complain, do you know what impression will be left with the public?
    He sure got a lot done.

    Philippine news

    AlJ reports that the UN denies suppressing a report on how Middle Eastern countries abuse the civil rights of those living there.

    well, duh. It's an open secret that the UN is too busy pointing out Israel's problems. One is reminded of that snarky Jewish carpenter: remove the plank from your own eye before you remove the splinter from the eye of your neighbor.

    yet ALJ misses the big story: A million Christians in Saudi Arabia with no churches allowed. Of course most of them are foreign workers...

    and abuse of  their rights is another big story.

    This one happened in California, so it's not just Arabs.


    the massacre of police in a raid on terrorists is being checked on why it happened. Uh maybe follow the money?

    Mr. Duterte wanted Aquino to explain why the SAF and not the Army was deployed when the police commandos were trained to combat urban terrorism. He also wanted to know why Oplan: Exodus was kept a secret and why Aquino concealed the fact that it was a US Central Intelligence Agency operation apparently carried out with the former President’s blessing.
     Mr. Duterte also asked who got the $5-million US bounty for Marwan.

     Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/865902/aquino-blames-napenas-for-mamasapano-debacle#ixzz4WugWMEyN Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
    essentially it was a botched raid with no backup, and the local MILF saw it as a violation of the peace treaty being negotiated so joined the terrorist side. But apparently the CIA gave lots of equipment to help the raid, and the military didn't know it was going on (to prevent a leak of what was planned). So when the SHTF, there was no backup.

    or maybe the ransom was why it was kept secret. Usually there is a big public outcry on such things, but this one was sort of swept under the rug after the intial reports...


    Police scams exposed. Yes, a major problem.

    drug lord's bank accounts frozen.

    what was behind the slaying of a Korean businessman? more HERE.

    backstory at Rappler about police preying on Korean businessmen (illegal gambling link?)

    one of the problems that caused massive flooding a few years back was the illegal fish farms in Laguna. They are finally being dismantled.

    tlots of stories complain only the low level drug dealers have been targeted.

    But this story might suggest trying to get the VIP's might cause more bloodshed:

    4 killed in serving a warrant for a narco-mayor.

    this was in the south, but our area is called the "wild west" after two governor candidates' bodyguards had a shootout a few years ago.

    Many politicians have a few bodyguards, but some have a lot of them...

    China's long term plans?

    AustinBay has an article about the west Philippine sea island grab.

    China thinks in the long term.

    but while the US press was hyperventillating that Trump might insist that laws passed about immigration must be enforced and not ignored by government officials, we had this headline that was ignored: China put missiles on Russia's borders.

    StrategyPage discusses that here (scroll down).

    More astute Russians observed that China could not win a nuclear exchange with the U.S. but could against Russia. And China would not want to nuke the Far East, they want to take control and fill the place with Chinese. Those DF-41s are well placed to blast Russian nukes and ICBMs far to the west. For many Russians China is seen as the only real threat to Russia and any Chinese move out there is nervously discussed in the Russian media (to calm people down) and privately (to discuss what is really happening on the Pacific coast). China has ancient claims on much of the Russian Far East and is openly replacing Russia as the primary economic, military and political force in Central Asia.

    I've written before on China's moving into the silk road and the maritime silk road. The latter means that their artificial islands could bar shipping and economically affect Japan, Korea, and even India.

    Thursday, January 26, 2017

    survival guide

    All those planning to go into survival mode get lots of fancy things, but actually the best guides are often those of the past.

    History of Laundry

    Mother earth article on washing clothing the old fashioned way.

    here, commonly the laundry is done outside by hand: this is a local commercial on our tv.

    Yes, the poor often have TV's (you can buy a used one from Korea for $20 dollars here, and a cheap washer is about that much but will wear out in six months; a good washer costs 60 dollars, so only the middle class have them, and even then often they are only used for sheets etc). No, I've never seen a wringer like the one my mom had on top of her washer in the 1950's, before they had "spin cycles" in the wash machines.

    the LOL version on how to wash the clothing.


    when we arrived, we had a US style washer, that spun the laundry. Alas, it burnt out from over loading (a problem we still have).

    So back to the hand washing, but when we had guests, wringing out the sheets took two girls, and was a very  big thing: so I bought the staff a spinner that spins out excess water, and later bought a wash machine so they didn't have to do them by hand. Why didn't I buy both? Well, that was before I had social security so my income was limited to my savings, and also because buying the washer/spinner should have been done by our stepson, who was clueless to the problem since the girls needed the job and were afraid to complain.

    The washer and spinner are bought here separately: unless you can afford a over a hundred dollars for a US imported washer that has a spin cycle. As for hot air driers, presumably they are available, but not used.

    Things are hung up outside... or inside during the rainy season. Usually the monsoon rain is in the afternoon, so the trick is to hang it out in the sun and take it down as soon as it dries.

    In the humid weather, however, you need to iron clothing to get it truly dry (the real reason for ironing underware, which is often cotton and thick so doesn't dry easily).

    Here it is not a problem, but our European nuns in Africa didn't iron their uniforms in the good old days, because of their vow of poverty... until they realized that  blotflies laid eggs in the wet fabric and the sisters started getting boils.

    here we don't have that problem, but often you need to use bleach to get the odor out because of the humidity and bacteria grow when you don't launder every day.

    Most of my clothing is knit/sports style, so usually it doesn't have to be ironed, but the good clothes worn for business do have to be ironed.

    the favorite soap here is a soft white laundry bar that will take your skin off if you do a lot of wash; but now folks buy "sachets", i.e. single dose packets of laundry deteregent which coast 15 cents. Fabric softener is also in sachets, but bleach comes in bottles of various sizes. The old fashioned type is preferred by our laundress, so a lot of my clothing has white spots on it; I've tried buying all colour bleach, but alas this doesn't kill the smell/germs as well.

    A lot of stuff is sold in sachets here: laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste...(and also 3in1 coffee and powdered drink mix and snacks)...it costs more, of course, but if you are paid 6 dollars a day, who can afford to buy in bulk? but a sachet is only a few pesos, and you can buy it when you have a little extra cash.

    The dirty little secret is that folks like to have a little luxury in their lives.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    ET call home post of the day

    IF there is an ET out there, then all the churches would go into apoplexy, right?

    Or maybe not. As SenseOfEventsBlog notes:

    The Church first faced the question of life on other worlds oh, more than 800 years ago.
    There was a push from the University of Paris in the late 13th century to have the Church make it dogma that there are no worlds other than our own and that life cannot exist elsewhere.
    This push was condemned by Paris' Bishop Etienne Tempier and was condemned by France’s Council of Bishops in 1277. It never made it to the Vatican. The Church has never held that God has not or could not bring forth life anywhere that God chooses, including other planets.
    and of course, in case you didn't notice: Angels are non human extraterrestrials

    So CSLewis could write science fiction with Mars not only populated with three types of intelligent beings, but a planet where they talked to their Eldil all the time...

    Family news

    Ruby had her interview for an overseas scholarship type program. The problem: except for Canada, it is a partial scholarship, and all the students want the Canadian placement. So if she gets a partial scholarship she'll have to stay here. Her father won't support her, and I can't afford it.

    So today she is again in Manila interviewing with a local senior high school.

    I should point out that she is graduating tenth grade, and usually would be  attending college, but two years ago they changed schools to a 12 year program, so a lot of schools don't have the last two years.

    So I am again alone. A farm worker relation of Joy sleeps here for safety, as do the dogs. George the cat killing Labrador is the only dangerous dog, but the smaller ones are noisy and can be aggressive too.

    the local LDS church is around the corner, and I often run into the young folks working there. The latest one stopped me on the street: young ladies this time, one from the Visayas and one from Australia.

    The missionaries from all sorts of churches are sniping at the local catholics, and busy converting them: mainly the middle class who want to feel superior to the hoi polloi. Those left are the elite (either corrupt or believing in the religion of green/liberation theology) and the poor.

    the Pope is popular because he backs the poor, but his pushing of the green religion and destroying morals are a worry. We finally will have the US off our backs trying to push the liberal sexual agenda on us by threatening they will stop all aid if we don't, thanks to Trumpie boy, but now the Pope is doing the same thing.

    Oh well. May you live in interesting times. I stay because of the sacraments.... and attend the dawn mass with those who have to work. Contrary to other places, it is full of men of all ages, not just women, so that is a good sign.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    reading assignment

    Orwell's Politics and the English Language

    Stuff below the fold

    StrategyPage podcast on 2017. Also an older one on China. also here.

    they also have an update on Mexico's problems with crime and corruption, and the recent riots there.

    it's not just Mexico: there are major scandals in South America about corruption: Argentina and Brazil.

    but AlJ reports the Panama papers found a Pakistan connection too..you bribe through the relatives, in this case the daughter.

    families are part of the corruption link: You have to know who is related to whom to figure out how the money is stolen.

    and it's an open secret that Clinton supporter Amal Clooney got Gloria out of jail.
    Gloria was Bill Clinton's classmate...

    poor Gloria...Innocent politician who was persecuted by her political enemies.

    Arroyo is detained over alleged plunder for using P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds for personal gain from 2008 to 2010.
    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/729034/un-body-gloria-macapagal-arroyo-detention-arbitrary-illegal#ixzz4Wdex7gnU 

    and that doesn't include the "hello Garci" scandal or the Broadband scandal... how did she do it? a lot of the corruption was via her husband, but never proven of course...

    see, husbands do come in handy to hide open bribery


    how to make friends and influence people post of the day:

    the very partisan Gateway Pundit links to a report on how the families of Medal Of Honor winners were assaulted by SJW in Washington DC when they attended a dinner/ball there honoring their loved ones.

    this is the third annual inaugural ball for service members, so it isn't exactly partisan...


    the fight for the family in the Catholic church is a bigger fight than what you will read about in the MSM.

    this article notes that the assault on marriage by today's society and the present Pope has deep theological and sociological implications; but the article also reminds people that  the Virgin Mary is on the side of her son, against divorce...

    and to understand what he is talking about, you need to know the Catholic folklore about Fatima: 2017 is the 100th anniversary of a famous "vision" of the Virgin, who predicted World War II and the rise and fall of Communism, and the assassination of a pope...but there was more than that:

    Though it is disheartening, the battle in the Church over the sanctity of holy matrimony has reached the highest levels, just as our Lady said. Cardinal is pitted against cardinal, bishop against bishop. In the wider culture, marriage has been redefined; biblical and natural law teachings have been set aside.
    At this point I don’t think that our culture has a definition of marriage at all; it’s whatever anyone wants to say it is. This is no minor error; it is a civilization killer.
    Something tells me that this year of 2017 is going to be critical and that we had better pray — a lot more than we have in the past. Repentance is also crucial. Being sleepy in the battle cannot be an option. We are at a turning point. Perhaps the hundred years of trial are ending; they might end well or they might come to a dreadful conclusion. That is why we must pray.
    of course, Pope Francis will be aghast: How dare these rigid fundies oppose me!
    Or maybe he might paraphrase Stalin's quip: How many divisions does the Pope Cardinal Burke and the "dubia" bishops have?

    This is like Hillary dismissing the "Deplorables"... and we all know how that turned out.

    one is reminded of a quip about a football game between Notre Dame and another secular university. After the secular coach noticed them praying, he reminded the Notre Dame coach that "God has no favorites" in the game; the Notre Dame coach agreed, but reminded him: "Ah, but his Mother does"...


    some good news: Peace talks about Syria just might work, says AlJ...

    Russia, Turkey and Iran are behind the talks.

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Computer hacking take two


    Hacking politicians

    The Inquirer has an article about cyberwar against India.... much of the article is about stealing industrial or military secrets but it includes this snippet:

    Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was hacked in November while the elite National Security Guard’s website was reportedly defaced with profanity-laden messages for Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.

    yeah. Trumpie's friend Theil is mentioned in the article: local companies are copying his techniques to stop hacking.

    Its newest offering Prophecy is modelled on products made by Palantir Technologies, a private security firm whose founders include Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and whose clientele includes the CIA and the FBI.


    and although the Chinese stole my federal personnel file, along with a lot of other information, hacked the FDIC, had put spyware on my cheap Chinese made computer and a lot of local cellphones, this was not considered a problem.

    and then there was the casino heist here in Manila where Chinese gangsters stole Bengladesh's money from the Fed in NYC and laundered it via our banks here. Bengladesh and the Philippines were blamed for their lax laws that let them do it but none of the mobsters who got away have been charged.

    there is a cyber war going on. Even Hollywood made two movies about it. But it wasn't a priority until Hillary got caught in dirty tricks.

    The world is nuts, so what else is new?

    I am ignoring the marches of the upper middle class white women who want to kill their own children in the name of feminism. Sigh. Oh well. Makes them feel so superior to the rest of the hoi polloi aka "Deplorables", who don't want to pay for this.

     Of course, the dirty little secret is that 54% of white women voted Trumpie boy, but never mind.

    The "minorities" voted Hillary because of the BLM and immigration kerfuffles.

    And the Catholic bishops backed Hillary despite Democratic pro abortion policies and the lawsuit against the Little Sisters of the Poor because Immigration. The nuns on the bus are right there demonstrating according to one Catholic site. I'm not surprised.  Politics trumps babies you know. What was that about "The least of my brethren" they don't understand?

    Trump was against  illegal immigration, but was exaggerated in the press to think all immigrants were at risk. Well, they sort of were.

    What both had in common was people like my son would be stopped and taken in if they couldn't prove their citizenship. Driving while Black/Hispanic (or in Minnesota, while "American Indian") is very real.

    As for anti Islam: Well, that too is not new. I remember the anti Catholicism against Kennedy (and the open  anti Catholicism in the Democratic convention of 1992)... and as for Muslims being accused of being enemies, well, my German Grandfather was investigated in World War I for being pro German for singing German songs...

    but when gangs terrorize people, maybe someone needs to enforce the laws, even at the risk of hurting people's feelings. And when people who have committed terror were reported by friends and neighbors for being pro terrorists, and then the FBI lets them lose, one does wonder if things have gone too far the other way.

    Kenda discusses this, (see my earlier post) and points out to someone who wanted to rid the country of thugs that they only way to do this was to establish a Gestapo, but if we wanted democracy, well things will be messy. But note that didn't stop him from finding murderers. Again, balance is needed.

    And I worry about the environment, Our coal town when I lived in Pennsylvania had red running rivers, and no one drank the local water... and our house faced the slag heap, which had been stablized by planting trees in it so didn't collapse, but the house I bought had been under 6 feet of water when a local dam collapsed in the 1970's...

    So will Trump's minions bring us back to the bad good old days? but I will wait to see what happens. Sustainable development does not mean back to the middle ages poverty, but sustainable development, i.e. improving the quality of life without destroying the environment.

    So where are these stories?

    Well, they are related.

    Well, China just decided that having 33.5 million more young men than women might (just might) be a little bit of a problem...  it's Nixon's fault, and the fault of the NWO who followed Ehrlich's population explosion ideas and decided forced killing of excess children was the way to go, and persuaded China to do this.

    But you don't need forcing people you know: Iran is ZPG because the Mullahs decided to promote fewer kids to save their economy, and most other countries just gave access to family planning and the women decided it themselves. Even the Philippines went from 6 kids per woman to 2.5 kids per women over the last 30 years, and we promoted only natural family planning (but allowed private organizations to give out the pill etc).

    This might change under Duterte, however, (and with the Vatican having Ehrlich talking to them about sustainable development, well, one guesses the One World order church of ZPG is just around the corner).

    One of the dirty little secrets that few socialists like to notice is that China has lifted their people out of poverty not because of socialism but because they allowed capitalism to flourish...

    .and keeping their population under control is part of this.  Ah but who will care for the grandparents when there are few young? Robots or just kill 'em all? Just wondering....

    I sing the body Electric, as Ray Bradbury wrote. You may remember the Twilight zone episode...

    come to think of it, maybe sexbots are the way to go for all those lonely men...

    hmm... sounds like the Stepford wives are becoming reality.

    in the meanwhile, China's air pollution is killing people... one blog claims that the reason that it is so cheap to manufacture in China is that they don't have environmental regulations..

    the question is if we will see the US going back to pollution with Trump pulling back the regulations too far, or if China will no longer be cost effective because they start enforcing their laws.

    So am I paranoid? Or hopeful? Both.


    Jordan and Jeremy Clarkson

    StrategyPage discusses how some Islamic countries reject the crazies, (with good leadership and letting their "deplorables" have a say in silencing the loud mouths who elsewhere threaten them and even kill them if they object). We read about this struggle in nearby Indonesia and Bangladesh, but SP notes that they are not the only places where the crazies are unpopular:

    One country they cite is Jordan, who recently fought off ISIS with the enthusiastic help of the locals.

    This is no accident and is the result of having one of the best trained and reliable security forces in the region and being the beneficiary of a lot of help with equipment and specialist training from the United States and Israel. This because the senior leadership of the country (a monarchy) have a centuries long track record of being effective and generally beneficial rulers.

    You can see the site where they trained here, because Jordan let the Grand Tour crazies use their training site to fake a rescue mission a couple weeks ago.

    Saturday, January 21, 2017

    Why Forgive?

    You may have read that Detective Steven McDonald of the NYPD just passed away.

    NPR report on why he was considered a NYC icon.

    McDonald died Tuesday at the age of 59, after being hospitalized Friday for a heart attack. In the more than three decades after his paralysis, McDonald took on the stature of a larger-than-life symbol of forgiveness — a police officer whose sacrifice was heralded by generations of mayors and institutions in New York City.
     "No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement. "Like so many cops, Steven joined the N.Y.P.D. to make a difference in people's lives. And he accomplished that every day."...

    McDonald went on to become something of an ambassador for the NYPD and for his Catholic faith. He met with Pope John Paul II, spoke to New York City classrooms, co-wrote a book on his recovery, campaigned for gun control and against stem cell research, even had an award named in his honor by the New York Rangers.
    From Plough magazine on why he decided to forgive his attacker.

    Our faith suddenly became very important to us: the Catholic mass, prayers, our need for God. It was God’s love that put me back together. And it came from many different corners. Christians of every orientation, Jews, Muslims, and people of no faith at all were rooting for me...
    People often ask if I forgave Shavod right away, or if it took time. It has evolved over the years. I think about it almost every day. I was angry at him, but I was also puzzled, because I found I couldn’t hate him. More often than not I felt sorry for him. I wanted him to find peace and purpose in his life. I wanted him to turn his life to helping and not hurting people. That’s why I forgave him. It was also a way of moving on, a way of putting the terrible incident behind me...
    We still struggled every day. My wife wanted to know why a teenager had to do this to me. Growing up, my son saw other fathers and sons playing and wanted to know why he couldn’t have that experience with his dad. We still struggle. I have learned that prayer is something we do in our time and the answers come in God’s time. And prayers are not always answered the way we think they should be.

    Stuart Ramson/Invision for Kelly Cares Foundation


    ironically, the NPR article notes he corresponded with his assailant in jail but refused to intervene for him to get early parole,

    The correspondence ended after McDonald "turned down a request from Mr. Jones's family to seek parole," according to the Times, saying "he was not knowledgeable or capable enough to intervene."

    This might not make sense to the Francis-church types, who believe the best about everyone, but those of us in the real world, who have seen evil, know that it is one thing to forgive someone, and another thing to let the perpetrator go free because he "fakes" repentance and maybe repeat his crime against someone else.

    In my time as a doc, I treated three babies who were left in the care of a father who had abused them in the past but repented, so was allowed by family (and in two cases by the social worker) to be alone with the kid again... two of the kids died...

    Children of light underestimate the evil of the children of darkness, as one sarcastic Jewish carpenter warned once said after telling a parable about a crooked steward who was embezzling his employer.

    Joe Kenda, call your office...

    Niebuhr's famous essay about the problem here.

    Family news

    We have guests (the sister of Joy's cousin, the sister of their pastor's wife and family visiting from the states).

    They arrived last night after 10, and are staying in the apartment/guest rooms. We hope the dogs don't bite them, although we did try to keep the dogs on our side of the house.

    Ruby and her father were staying up to cheer on Trumpie boy anyway, but of course I'm the one next to the door so answered the doorbell.

    It has been cool, so I hope they didn't need blankets.

    Since I was up, I checked on the inauguration coverage. Without sound, since the commentary was inane. We now have BBC, so I checked with them, and saw the same snippet of "protesters" three times during one hour of watching: They were the anarchists in black, about 100 young folks, running around, and then a reporter got a camera and so one obligingly went to a window and tried to smash it. I saw that snippet three times. No other protesters, I guess, despite their teenie-booper reporter on the mall who found one Alabama couple and interviewed these strange creatures (twice) about how they disagreed with each other on politics. Sigh.

    CNN mainly showed the march of the zombies politicians, but as I said, I kept off the sound most of the time.

    I gave up at midnight, so didn't see the inauguration. The world hasn't yet exploded, but give it time.

    update; They are all leaving to visit Bataan. I was invited but declined. I am getting too lazy to travel in my old age.

    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Quote of the week

    the more things change, the more things stay the same:

    Not long after [Andrew Ferguson] and I met, we were driving down Pennsylvania Avenue and encountered some or another noisy pinko demonstration. “How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?” “We have jobs,” said Andy.
    [P. J. O`Rourke, from the introduction to Parliament of Whores, published in 1992]

    Headsup VDARE. 

    Stories below the fold

    StrategyPage summary on what is going on here in the Philippines:

    read the whole thing which explains why Duterte is still popular. (less crime).


    Father Z reviews the Young Pope, and hasn't decided if he likes it or not.

    no, it hasn't been shown here yet.


    MedievalNet says a lot of Post Apocolyptic stuff is actually a return to the Middle Ages.

    She only uses two or three SciFi for examples, however.


    Someone is phoning in bomb threats to Jewish community centers in the USA.

    They suspect white supremicist of course.


    And the really, really important research article of the week:

    from Improbable research:

    Is your dog watching TV? they summarize several studies on the subject, but the answer is:

    “The dogs in this study chose to not watch TV over any TV content; even Coronation Street failed to hold their attention which rather suggests that TV watching, for dogs, maybe much less fun than wandering around, eating, taking a drink, sleeping and playing with toys.” [our hyperlink]

    See: A dog centred approach to the analysis of dogs’ interactions with media on TV screens – awaiting publication in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

    Word of the day


    I ran across it in a commentary that compared the US kerfuffles today to Monty Python.

    In the wake of these stories.....(two writers) have written about the self-devouring ouroboros of intersectionality.

    The only place I had run into the Ouroboros was in Eddison's sci fi/fantasy novel, which alas was too dense for me to get through.

    Cover of The Worm Ouroboros first edition (London: Jonathan Cape, 1922)
    Ebook here  or HERE.

    But Wikipedia says Eddison didn't invent the beast: It goes back to the days of early Egypt, but was kept alive by gnostics and alchemists as a symbol of the cytle of life and death.

    but for the scientific types, it is the symbol of Benzene: Kukule was trying to figure out how to fit molecules into the structure and fell asleep and saw atoms as snalkes, then one of them bit his tail, and voila: he figured out that Benzene was a ring.