Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Criteria for personhood

Lots of folks out there have their own idea who is a "person" but Fletcher pushed these ideas back in the 1980's

To give just one lists of criteria of personhood proposed. Joseph Fletcher a bioethicist proposed the following 15 criteria for being a person:
1. Minimum intelligence: Below IQ 40 individuals might not be persons; below IQ 20 they are definitely not persons.
2. Self-awareness: We note the emergence of self-awareness in babies; and we note when it is gone, for instance, due to brain damage.
3. Self-control: Because a person understands cause and effect, he or she can effectively work toward fulfilling freely-selected goals.
4. A sense of time: Persons can allocate their time toward purposes; non-persons 'live' completely in the present moment, like animals.
5. A sense of futurity: Persons are concerned about their futures; persons lay plans and carry them out; they build their futures.
6. A sense of the past: Persons have memories of their pasts; they can recall facts at will; they honor the past.
7. The capacity to relate to others: Persons are social animals; they form bonds with others, both intimate and collective.
8. Concern for others: Persons always reach out to others; non-persons draw into themselves, even pathologically.
9. Communication: Persons communicate with other persons; if they become completely cut off, they become sub-personal.
10. Control of existence: Persons take responsibility for their lives; those who do not guide their own behavior are sub-personal.
11. Curiosity: Persons naturally want to know. If they lose this desire to know, they are less human.
12. Change and changeability: Persons can grow into new phases of life; If they resist change completely and totally, they are sub-personal.
13. Balance of rationality and feeling: Persons have both reason and emotion; one who is distorted either way is not whole.
14. Idiosyncrasy: All persons are different from one another; the less individuality, the less personhood.
15. Neo-cortical function: Personhood requires cerebration; if the higher brain is dead, there is no consciousness, no personhood.

notice this is broad enough to include a normal 2 year old kid, a person with schizophrenia, a person with advanced Alzheimer's disease, or someone with Autistic spectrum syndrome.

And remember: few modern medical schools give the Hippocratic oath anymore...

Luckily, Americans have rights because they are granted by the Creator, but history is full of socieities commiting genocide on those they have decided are not fully human.

Father DeLasCasas, call your office....Paul III is on the phone.

the Jathi problem updated


This is updated to clarify stuff I posted that was unclear.

for later reading, But I have these questions:

is brain death real? well, yes. When the brain is actually dead, if you remove the tubes and respirator people die. Not just the 'upper brain" is dead, but the brainstem that controls breathing and the heart is dead.

but then you hear that families are told the person is "brain dead" and they don't die immediately when they take off the machine.
We hear a lot about these stories, and it means the person is not brain dead.

Often drugs, brain swelling, or other physicological problems interfere with the ability to diagnose brain death.

The problem with kids is that children's brains can regenerate.

So declaring them "brain dead" is problematic.

so are some hospitals declaring children brain dead too quickly?

the hospital claims in Jathi's case she met the criteria for brain death, but her continued survival means either her brain regenerated or they were wrong.

And follow the money: is the family greedy, or was the rush to stop life support to lower the malpractice payment in court?

A brain damaged person needs more expensive medical care (and will result in a higher malpractice verdict) than a dead child.

there is a lot of discussion in the fields of medical ethics about "higher brain death", meaning only the cortex is dead. These people can survive for awhile (I believe the average is six months, but I could be wrong.)>

Then there is the discussion about calling "persistant vegetative state" the same as brain dead.

Again, such a person usually dies within six months: Because of aspiration pneumonia because they can't swallow.

Makes one wonder about Terri Schiavo, doesn't it? She lived for ten years.

as for feeding tubes: They are often placed for staff convenience, because it takes too long for nursing homes to feed these people, and again often allow these people to be cared for in their own homes.

This is not the same as someone in a coma tube fed, a person who cannot swallow at all.

the original Brophy case used the criteria of Pius XII (see below) and sucessfully fought in the courts to remove his feeding tube. He had loudly told many people he didn't want to be kept alive with tubes, and his pious Catholic wife fought to have this done.

but what about Terry Schiavo who was able to swallow but had a feeding tube put in for convenience and then remove it to make her die because her husband wants to remarry?

so do we take the machines off of those with severe brain damage?

That is extraordinary treatment. Ethically yes we can but whether we should is another question.

I agree with Pope Pius XII: we don't need to do extraordinary treatment, and can refuse treatment that only prolongs dying, and if a person is in severe pain, we can sedate a person even if this deep sedation might shorten their life: because we are treating the pain.

(and I have had two cases where we got the person pain free and slowly decreased the dosage and they woke up pain free and lived for a few more weeks or months).

But in recent years, this has morphed to starving people and to "terminal sedation" of those who could live, as the back door to euthanasia.

the dirty little secret: There are people out there who see a deluge of people who are elderly or crippled, and it will cost the government money. So euthanasia is now being pushed as "compassionate" in the same way the argument we should be able to abort a raped 13 year old with a deformed baby.... and like the pro abortion crusade, as soon as the law was changed, it became used for more and more people until it now is done because of convenience and birth control.

watch China: I suspect they will be promoting the killing of the unwanted elderly in the near future, and just like their forced abortion and infanticide programs, it will either be ignored by the MSM or spun as something the west needs to copy?

(note: We actually have a few politicians here who have said the Philippines need to copy this forced abortion/two child plan of China... luckily they don't have power, but it is an idea that our elite would promote if they had the ability. And now, we are starting to have more elderly without families, something unknown in the past..)

Remember Obama saying instead of fixing his grandmother's broken hip, since she had cancer, maybe they should have just treated her for pain?  that would have been "Terminal sedation" other words, he suggested it would have been cheaper to kill the poor lady, but no one in the press picked up on what he was hinting about.

Psst the bad guys are still out there

StrategyPage has a long post on the top ten major threats to the US.

Well, if ISIS and the Islamocrazies get worse, the Philippines will suffer a lot more than the USA, because we already have them here. and the Moros have a history of aggression against the rest of the population: Cebu still has forts built by the Spanish, not to control locals but to protect locals against their "pirate raids" that had decimated the area, so this goes way back.

Romero specifically mentions the successful defense net of baluartes built in Southeastern Cebu by the long-serving Augustinian missionary of Boljoon, Fray Julian Bermejo, OSA, most of which survive to this day. Due to the exigencies of the moment — the massive decimation of coastal town populations by Moro slave raiders — Bermejo became a military tactician bar none and even created a Christian army of sorts ready to go to battle in the seas. Read more: 

as for the Kurds:  BBC article here:

  They have been there quite a long time and have long wanted to have their own land.

n the early 20th Century, many Kurds began to consider the creation of a homeland - generally referred to as "Kurdistan". After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. Such hopes were dashed three years later, however, when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was brutally quashed.

Why all the fuss about Israel and a Palestinian state, while not mentioning Kurdistan vs the Turks and Iraqis who kept them subjugated?

this was despite Wilson's insistence that peoples should be able to make their own decisions about this.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Family news

Emy is in the hospital with very high blood pressure and transferred to a Manila hospital. I don't know the details, but kefamep her in your prayers.

Joy's relative (who helped tutor Ruby) is also in the hospital recovering from surgery. Ditto.

My tablet died, so I am back to reading regular books. Luckily I brought about 100 with me and also have some from the used book kiosk. I also can read or listen to books on Scribd, but reading books on the computer is awkward.

Conspiracy theories and headlines for later reading

I am busy today, so for later reading so I can figure out the nuances of WTF is going on:

AnnAlthouse on the purple prose in a NYTimes report on conspiracy theories.

So reports the NYT, sounding rather terrified, don't you think? "Russia’s brazen meddling"... "a power never before used"... "a dangerous effort to build a narrative"... "cherry-picked facts assembled with little or no context"... What's really the problem with a dangerous effort to build a narrative" and "cherry-picked facts assembled with little or no context"? Isn't that what we face every day when we read the newspaper?
The Federalist on McCabe and leaking.

This story gives a glimpse into how that original Russia narrative may have been spread around to overly compliant journalists and other members of the “resistance.”
It was the hysteria surrounding this and other stories that led the White House to be frustrated with a law enforcement agency and chief playing games.
As Comey admitted under oath, he did tell President Trump three times that Trump was not under investigation. These private statements to Trump occurred while Comey publicly insinuated the opposite. This story above fits the same pattern.


VDH: from conspiracy theories to conspiracies

What better way to derail a presidency would there be than to allow a blank-check special counsel to search out alleged criminal activity on the part of the president?
We have seen FBI Director James Comey confess that he deliberately leaked, likely illegally, confidential notes of a meeting with president Trump to the media, with the expressed intent of creating a “scandal” requiring a “special counsel”—a gambit that worked to perfection when Comey’s close friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed.
To facilitate those efforts, the counsel would appoint to his team several attorneys who despised the very target of their investigation. In fact, many special investigators have given generously to the campaign of Trump’s past political opponent Hillary Clinton and in at least one case had worked previously for the Clinton Foundation.

or as we were warned in our psychiatry training: Yes, the guy's probably paranoid if he says the Mafia is out to kill him, but first check if the Mafia is really out to kill him.

headsup Instapundit

Speaking of Instapundit: GlennReynolds has an editorial column in USAToday about the Supreme Court representing the "kids in the front row" (i.e. the urban elites).

There’s nothing wrong with thoroughbreds as such, and if the court decided only narrow technical issues of law none of this would matter. But some of the most important social issues of the day come before the court, and given its members’ insularity, the problem is not just that Back Row America’s values won’t be considered — it’s that the court might not even realize it’s ignoring them.
as Reynolds often quips: THIS is how you got Trump.

FYI: this has international implications: the US/UN/EU elites had the power to push poor countries to implement these values at the cost of losing aid.

Yet they didn't see how their liberal sexual agenda, which has decimated the family and the social cohesion in the west, would be even more dangerous to countries where families, not the state, are the source of caring for people.

Even the Pope has complained of this.

And speaking of fake news: The Pope complained of fake news, but it is hard to tell with him, because the reports are filtered through a Catholic press with a liberal agenda, or via the MSM who is clueless and also has an agenda... but reading the news reports, it seems that he (or more probably his minions) just want to ignore questions by thoughtful Catholic bishops and scholars who oppose those trying to morph Catholicism into a PC church that has little in common with 2000 years of Catholicism.

 Heh. the Philippines has discovered a "new way of bribery".

no more payola, it's now called "demurrage":

When the release of a shipment is delayed, the importer is forced to fork out the amount they are asking to facilitate the flow of documents for their eventual release),” he explained.

in other words, a small gift to get the paperwork done. Nothing new about that: just a new word to describe a bribe to do the work you are supposed to do.

Philippines is asking the French drug company to refund what they were paid for that risky Dengue vaccine that was pushed on us without mentioning that although it cut ordinary dengue, it could increase the rate of fatal dengue.

No report on whose palm was greased to push this, or if the Philippines was chosen to be the guinea pig to see if the vaccine worked as it was supposed to do (i.e. that it was still an experimental vaccine but we weren't told that) .


Monday, January 29, 2018

Yum. Vegemite

Vegemite is the Australian version of Marmite.

A yeast extract food high in Vitamin B, and you either love it or hate it.

But it looks like...well, place description here:---------------.

well, now NewsAustralia reports:

BOFFINS (i.e. scientists) have discovered a way of turning human waste into a “Vegemite-like” food for astronauts. Sounds delicious, right?
According to The Independent, Pennsylvania State University microbe researcher Professor Christopher House said recycling the waste into food would be a serious problem-solver for space expeditions.
Bringing food from earth takes up valuable space and weight, while growing food on board requires a lot of water and energy. “We envisioned and tested the concept of simultaneously treating astronauts’ waste with microbes while producing a biomass that is edible either directly or indirectly, depending on safety concerns,” he said. “It’s a little strange, but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite, where you’re eating a smear of ‘microbial goo’.”
actually the real trick is to smear it lightly across your toast, because it is very salty/strong tasting.

ok guys: sing along:

The miracle

sigh. Beautiful.

a longer more boring film from PBS:

===========actually I prefer this version:

spreading rumors

My father once mischievously predicted that his company's stock was going to split, and sure enough several days later it split.

I have no idea why he did this, except he tended to be a jokster.... or maybe because his business sense told him it might happen.
But I do know he was not in the upper escutcheons of his company, so did not have insider information.

However, the rumor he started was widespread before the stock split.

So anyone trying to get an "inside trading" conviction would find a dozen people who said they "had been told" this information. Proof of "insider trading". You know: Like why Martha Stewart went to jail after someone told her and some other people about a company's plan.

But of course, it wasn't an insider illegally giving out information to insiders. There was one source, my joking father.

This story came to mind when the NYTimes had a breathless story about Trump wanting to fire Muller.

here is the headline:

Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit

but was this true?

Newspapers might use anonymous sources (but without telling their readers, you have to trust them these sources have no political agenda to lie or spin).

And using one source, especially one anonymous source, without a second witness to confirm the story, is not exactly good journalistic practice.

But the NYT insists they had "four sources". Implying four witnesses. Again, anonymous witnesses, but hey, they wouldn't lie to the NYTimes would they?

Except they aren't four witnesses.

If you bother to read the article, the exact source of the claim is:
according to four people told of the matter...
so, not four witnesses, but four anonymous people who were "told" about it. So probably only one actual source, who is also anonymous.

In other words, one anonymous witness started the rumor.

and this supposedly happened in June. So why is this article being released now as if it is news?

I am sure Trump has angrily said he wanted to fire Muller for months, but the point is HE DID NOT.

and if I, an isolated great grandmother in the rural Philippines has figured this out, it makes me wonder: Why is this seven month old story being released now? Maybe to counter the good economic news?

and ironically, the NYTimes article lists the many reasons why any logical independent observer might also want Muller to be fired, including hiring politicized lawyers and conflict of interest.

Also ironically, the article denies these things should make the President worry, because Muller would never push a conviction without good evidence.

Dr. Bruce Ivins, call your office.

Prison reform?

“The vast majority of incarcerated individuals will be released at some point, and often struggle to become self-sufficient once they exit the correctional system...We have a great interest in helping them turn their lives around, get a second chance, and make our community safe.”
so who said that? Trumpieboy.

just opening his big mouth, of course.

Or maybe not: He tends to get things done, and the article points out programs in places like Texas that have alternative sentencing and also have cut the rate of going back to prison, and that some people who did this were at the meeting and there are indeed things that could be done and this is discussed, albeit not in detail.

Of course, most prisons are state run, not federal, but it could pressure states to do the same.

I know nothing about prison and prison reform, but this was an overlooked item in the news.

from national review, an anti Trump republican site.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Tragedy And Hope

John Lothe has posted more chapters on his excellent narration of Quigley's classic book Tragedy and Hope. It is a huge book about modern history by a professor at Georgetown best known for influencing Bill Clinton.

latest episode: Chapter 14: world war II...

Duterte gets investments, jokes

The Inquirer has a colorful article on Duterte's trip to India seeking investments and cooperation.

for example, we might start getting more generic medicines from India, and got more promises to invest in renewable energy and IT projects.

Then came the "colorful" part:

The official agenda out of the way, the President was back in his usual element in a speech addressing Indian investors just before his flight home.
In a semicoherent rant, Mr. Duterte took on the Islamic State (IS), local drug traffickers, US imperialism and Kim Jong-un...
Though he did not address the alleged threats against him by the IS, the President referenced its promised reward of virgins in heaven to extremists who would die for their faith. He should also lure foreign investors to the country by promising them virgins, he said. He followed this up by saying that he’d rather have his virgins here than in heaven.
Reprising his earlier rants against the United States and the United Nations, President Duterte slammed the United States for “acting like the conscience of everybody and trying to police everybody,” and the United Nations for having “no purpose at all.”
in other news, local activists asked Canada to take back garbage they dumped in the Philippines.

No word who will pay for it


Factoid of the day: The Takin

From CoolGreenScienceBlog: The Takin is a rare mammal living in the Himalayas

While its range includes many countries – including parts of India, Bhutan and Myanmar – most naturalists and hard-core mammal watchers encounter the species in China...
Many accounts describe it a creation of Dr. Seuss. Taxonomists call it a “goat antelope” and others call it a “gnu goat.” Even famed biologist George Schaller describes it as a “bee-stung moose” due to its super-sized schnoz. There’s nothing else quite like it. It probably most closely resembles a less-shaggy musk ox, but it actually is more closely related to wild sheep.

Sichuan takin kid. Photo © Ted / Flickr through a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

.headsup JohnHawks

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Commercial of the week

2018 Superbowl commercial from Budwiser:

No, I don't watch sports on TV here, although we do have several sports channels that Lolo used to watch (but he watched mainly basketball and boxing).

RBF: 7000 BC

LiveScience: The face of a lady who lived 9000 years ago was reconstructed by an artist.

Stunning Re-Creation Shows What Stone Age Woman Looked Like 9,000 Years Ago

The final reconstruction, with lifelike silicone skin, reveals what the 18-year-old woman may have looked like some 9,000 years ago.
Credit: Oscar Nilsson

so why is her expression best described as having the "resting bitch face"?

"It is necessary to get the impression that there is something behind the eyes, that it actually has a soul," Nilsson said. He emphasized that he doesn't want his creations to look like characters or stereotypes. He feels his sculptures best awaken the imagination when their facial expressions are somewhat inscrutable — appearing dour from one angle and pleased from another.


Straw man arguments: We haz that

An example of this type of manipulation in the MSM is this video is making the rounds, and of course a lot of folks are shouting memes, but essentially it is a classic show of how the MSM destroy people, in this case, she is using straw man arguments, trying to put words into his mouth, and unlike most people he actually corrects her...


in this case, he is trying to point out nuances, and the interviewer keeps rephrasing incorrectly his arguments to distort what he is saying.

in other videos, he makes the argument about government laws forcing people to use pronouns. These types of laws have a lot of implications: Because using the half dozen or so "preferred" pronouns is not only hard to do, but it forces the way one speaks under force of law.

and once you change the language, you change the way people think.

It is one thing to be polite: It is another to force language to push an agenda from above.

Ruby says her oh so PC school in Canada are pushing this, and she correctly noted that in the name of making trans etc. people feel okay, they are making believing Christians uncomfortable by coercing their behavior and as a result, coercing them to change their opinions that some behavior is more desirable and more moral than other behavior.

even Pope Francis has pointed out the absurdity of radical gender theory, and warns that it could destroy the biological basis of the family and destroys the biological, sociological, and evolutionary realities behind the family, which in most countries is the core basis of society.

Recounting the story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor, Francis said to receive the money, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught gender theory.
"This is the ideological colonization," the pope said. "It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure." "It is not new, this," he continued. "The same was done by the dictators of the last century. They came with their own doctrine -- think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth."

this is probably harmless in the affluent socialized west, where government subsidies provide a social umbrella so you can do your own thing, but here in Asia, it is the family that is the institution that enables a person to thrive, care for children and the sick and elderly.

It isn't just government policies that caused this: The "sexual revolution" culture encouraged selfishness and freedom from responsibility, and then a bunch of women deserted by their boyfriends aborted their kids, and became feminists. And the media, alas, has spread such ideas of false freedom and irresponsibility to the entire world.

Has modern culture resulted in freedom for people, or resulted in isolated individuals who find that their utopia is hell?

From a UAE paper:

‘Sad’ Britain? Minister for Loneliness to deal with realities of modern life

May described loneliness as the “sad reality of modern life” that affects millions of people in UK. “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved one – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with” said May.
In a population of 65.6 million people, Britain has more than 9 million – equivalent to the population of the UAE - who say they are always or often lonely according to the British Red Cross. The charity calls it a “hidden epidemic” that can affect people of all ages at various times in life such as retirement, bereavement or separation. 
A report in 2017 has said that loneliness was as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is also a proven fact that people who have happy and stress-free lives live longer than those who are bogged down with stress or are unhappy and lonely....
Loneliness doesn’t affect just the elderly. It is also being perpetuated by a consumerist, individualist society with a deconstruction of the community.
The technological revolution has also meant that we can all live more unconnected lives with so much being done through the computer and the internet from the comfort of your own home, without any physical interaction with other people. Human interaction is becoming unnecessary and it is demolishing real sociability and replacing it with a virtual reality which can be the cause of loneliness among the younger generations. 
In traditional Christian, Muslim and Confucian culture, the importance of the family is a basic idea.

In effect, the elites and opinion makers in the UK destroyed religion, and no one seems to recognize the problem is lack of religion/ethics in one's say of living.

So I can see all those good Muslims reading that article shaking their heads and saying they are glad they don't live in the UK.

I was always an outlier: ignoring pressure and comments by the girls in my school, who pushed the idea "women are stupid so shouldn't be doctors" ideas of the 1950's, or the "have sex, use drugs, don't study too hard" memes of the 1960's....:

Part of this was because I never based my life on happiness, but on duty and using my talents to help others.

Hmm... duty, responsibility, hard work.

I guess I'm just an old fogie/ self righteous prig.

one news item today says the class at one big shot university on "Happiness" has over 1000 people signed up.

The problem? Is the goal of life one's personal happiness?

In the past, sages said otherwise: they stressed living a virtuous life and doing one's duty.

Or in the old Baltimore catechism: the goal of life is to know, love and serve God, and serve our neighbor, by doing the duties of our daily life.


Well, anyway, Peterson has a new book out: I'll have to keep an eye out for it on Scribd or at the bookstore, but here is a summary:

... supposedly he has a big following on youtube: mostly by young men who were never taught how to live life.

. and society's jester, Milo, analyzes the controversy of the first interview I posted up top:

Friday, January 26, 2018

China vs India/SEA update

A follow up from a previous post: From Legal Insurrection (a lawblog).

it sounds like the Philippines (and Taiwan and Vietnam) aren't the only ones being pushed around by China, and having their territory grabbed.

India, Southeast Asian Countries Step Up Maritime Cooperation to Counter China

Maritime alliance comes amid India’s ongoing border row with China...
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is rolling out the red carpet for the leaders of Southeast Asian countries on the eve of India’s Republic Day.
What is being described by the Indian media as a diplomatic ‘coup’ in India’s ongoing territorial row with China, ten heads of states from Southeast Asian countries will finalize the details of a new maritime mechanism with New Delhi and attend tomorrow’s Republic Day parade, an annual event that showcases India’s military prowess.
Last year, Indian and Chinese troops brawled with each other over a territorial dispute in the western Himalaya region. Both countries went to war in 1962 over similar border disputes. Nearly 55 years later, the two Asian countries continue to face off each other along 2,000 miles of contested mountainous border.
the blog links to this Reuters report on the meeting.

“China’s distinctly hegemonic moves in the last few years in the South China Sea and its growing assertiveness have made ASEAN look towards India as a partner for equilibrium,” said Arvind Gupta, former Indian deputy national security adviser who now heads the influential Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi with close ties to the ruling government.

just a reminder that it isn't just Trumpie boy making China mad: China, seeing the weakness of the Obama administration to defend the Philippines, has become aggressive... and one of the results is that local countries are realizing that they have to defend themselves.

No more Pax Americana.

One hates to say it: But after years and years of the international left and third world ridiculing America and criticizing the world police, as they say: Watch what you wish for: You might just get it.

Persecuting the faithful

There are two "catholic" churches in China: One is under the thumb and obedient to government policies, and one is illegal but independent, and persecuted by that communist government.

SCMP article on this.

and it's not just about Catholics: the millions of Bible Christians who attend illegal/unregistered "house churches" are being targeted too.

The fight over who runs the church goes back to ancient times: in the Anglican and Russian Orthodox churches, the churches bowed to the King/czar, but in western Christianity, the Pope insisted on the independence of the church.

Now Pope Francis is planning to destroy that idea (and the Catholic church in China) in the name of niceness.

 OnePeterFive, who is one of those "fake news" sites that the Pope is complaining about, has an article on the problem with lots of details.

In a blog post in June, 2016 — no longer available online — Cardinal Zen told Chinese Catholics that they could not follow the pope into an agreement with Beijing.
According to La Stampa journalist Giannie Valente, who quoted that post in a disapproving piece that same month, Zen had advised the faithful in China that any agreement between the Vatican and Beijing would “most certainly have the pope’s approval,” and that “at the end of the day, one’s conscience is the ultimate criterion for judging our behaviour.
So, if your conscience tells you that the content of whatever agreement goes against the principle of our faith, you should not go with it”.

Cardinal Zen's statement HERE.

so why worry?

Because putting all Catholics under the thumb of a tyrannical government means there will be less outside pressure to stop persecuting Christians, and this will give a green light to persecute believers who refuse to kowtow to the government... and this would include increasing pressure on the growing underground Bible "house churches".

More here:

AsiaNews (a Catholic news site):

The Vatican asks legitimate bishops to step aside in favour of illegitimate ones
Last December, Mgr Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou (Guangdong) was forced to go to Beijing where "a foreign prelate" from the Vatican asked him to leave his see to illicit bishop Joseph Huang Bingzhang. He had received the same request last October.
Mgr Joseph Guo Xijin, ordinary bishop of Mindong, is expected to become the auxiliary or coadjutor of illicit Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu. Sinicizing the Chinese Church means supporting the principle of independence and follow the leadership of the Communist Party.
I should note that Catholics do not have to obey the Pope's political orders. Heck, even Dante put one political pope in hell for this.

but these moves are on top of moves to pretend the Bible doesn't condemn adultery and to give the Eucharist to people living in sin, something Paul warned against.

so the slow schism continues... and one wonders what will cause a major earthquake that will destroy the church, something that has a huge geopolitical implications. UKGuardian discusses.

a lot of the Pope's minions are trying to make the church conform to modern western ideas of sexuality and making what is sacred just a nice fiction, so they can get along with the powerful in Europe and the American elites.

But the deplorables are saying: NO. Not just those nasty right wing Catholics that the UK Guardian article complains about, and not just those stubborn Chinese bishops who refuse to make nice with their tyrannical government, but the African church is objecting to his so called reforms, calling it "eurocentric".

Thomas Becket, call your office.

Pennsylvania history

Centralia Pennsylvania is famous for their burning mine.

But the BBC has a report of the church that remains open.

it is a Ukrainian Catholic church (i.e. eastern Catholic).

Yeah. In our small coal town, we also had two Catholic churches: A Roman and a Ukrainian Catholic church. Plus a Ukrainian Orthodox church (our Russian Orthodox church was in the next town). Lots of the miners came from eastern Europe.

There was a joke that our restaurant called "the Perogie Palace" served tacos and hamburgers too.

and apparently this one escaped the rabid whitewashing by the modern "Liturgists" who wanted churches to look like airline waiting rooms instead of churches.

We had lots of fights over this: and won some when folks got the city to declare the church "historic buildings".

Sigh. Remember when Catholic churches in the US were beautiful?

Headlines below the fold (mother and child edition)

AnneAlthouse quote on modern movies. After forced to watch a bunch of previews she comments:

Notice how they all have strong female characters at the center but everything is paranoid, violent, and sexual. This is what Hollywood gives me? I felt like I was dragged into the mind of one of the sexually abusing Hollywood producers. Of course, the actresses do what they are told, and I, the little person in the dark, passively sit there watching this fantasy. I'm free to leave. Why don't I?

why, yes. The female characters are not women, but fantasy women by corrupt men in Hollywood.

And I always wonder: Where are the kids?

One of the most touching moments of Aliens 2 was Ripley rescuing the little lost girl. twice. (back story: Ripley's own daughter died during the 40 years she spent in hibernation).



and this British politician is related to a mummy:

Long article on Zika in the USA: 2000 plus cases neonatal cases. For later reading.


protests in India after rumors that a famous story from history that was filmed implied the Hindu queen in the defeated kingdom had a sexual relationship with the conquerer. Not true but a lot of folks protested.

Movie review here.

Here’s how it goes, just in case you are one of those rare people who haven’t been breathlessly following the film’s troubles: the Rajput king Ratan Singh (Kapoor) is the hero, the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji (Singh) is the villain, and the object of their mutual adoration is the utterly gorgeous Padmavati, who will always and forever be a good Indian girl, and later, wife. When we see her first, she is fleet of foot and clear of eye, a joyous free spirit who has a will of her own. She ends up committing ‘jauhar’, her life and death circumscribed by male notions of honour.
uh, not really.

The story of suicide to prevent one from being raped, after one is raped, or even being killed defending oneself against an attacker is not about men, but about women who defend their own honor against someone trying to control them.

I have heard stories of women committing suicide or being murdered because the victim resisted her attacker even in modern times: both against the Russian troops entering Germany and in modern times against serial killers (alas which are too common in the USA: Maybe because of all those movies about them makes them see themselves as heroes?)

well anyway: Here is the preview:

story in history:

hmm. the bad guy is a Muslim... What I wonder: Where are the Muslim protests?


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Background: West Philippine Sea

With good reason the Philippines contests China's claims to its territory. In 2012, Scarborough Shoal (in the Spratly Islands) was a reef, a "sea feature" well inside long-recognized Filipino territory.
The shoal is about 250 kilometers from the large inhabited Filipino island of Palawan. It is 1,200 kilometers from China, Bullying its weak Filipino neighbor, China seized the area.
In May 2013, a Chinese general said China would secure its South China Sea territorial claims by wrapping them with ships, air patrols and garrisons, the military "layers" akin to protective cabbage leaves. Cabbage has sprouted around Scarborough Shoal.
There are now reports of Chinese "developmental activity" in the area -- meaning preparation to construct an island. It is a slow but steady invasion. Chinese companies create "territorial facts." Using dredges and lots of concrete, construction teams turn what geographers call "features" (rocks, shoals, etc.) into man-made islands with bases. It's literally concrete nationalist territorial expansion. China's claims are as ridiculous as they are enormous
a future war: and they got away with it because Presdent Obama stopped the Philippines from opposing them, saying take it to the courts instead. We won, but who will force China out?

Duterte is called "anti American" but he simply doesn't trust the US, partly because of the interference in the Philippines social issues and problems, but also because under treaties, the US was supposed to defend the Philippines from aggression, and under Obama they refused to do this. So Duterte knows nothing short of a shooting war will get out the Chinese, so is trying to "ride the tiger" and milk them for all the money they will send (while destroying their drug dealers and smugglers who are bribing our politicians and destroying local industry.). I say smugglers, because it's not just Shabu or drugs: Illegal onion imports has bankrupted local farmers here, illegal logging often sends the lumber to China, and counterfeit medicines mean you can't tell if your blood pressure medicine or antibiotics will work.

As for the West Philippine Sea: for us, it is only stealing our natural gas/petroleum, fishing areas, and destroying the local ecology. So what else is new?

where it is really important geopolitically is to Japan and Korea: block these shipping lanes and it means a long detour south to go around to east of the Philippines (and China is threatening to take over some shoals to the west of Luzon too).

China is now demanding that foreign ships, like the USS Hopper, receive permission to pass through the region. The U.S., however, objects. Washington regards freedom of navigation (air and sea right of passage) as a vital global interest and actively opposes maritime territorial claims that intrude on recognized international shipping lanes.
oil routes
they are also pushing around VietNam, which has actually fought back. Vietnam was once Chinese territory, so they know they have to fight for their country.

But this is part of the idea of monopolizing trade: and you can see how they are slowly threatening India on the sea, and in the long term, India is a threat: If for no other reason then in the long term China has a major demographic problem, and India does not.

related item: China is militarizing the area 

January 21, 2018: China has begun building a multi-sensor system for obtaining constant data on the precise location of surface and submarine vessels in the South China Sea. Surface surveillance would be carried out by a constellation of ten remote sensing satellites so that the South China Sea is under constant surveillance. Satellites at an altitude of 600 kilometers would be equipped with SAR (synthetic aperture radar) and digital cameras. A typical SAR can produce photo quality images at different resolutions. At medium resolution (3 meters) the radar covers an area 40x40 kilometers. Low resolution (20 meters) covers 100x100 kilometers.
This takes care of surface ships (including diesel-electric subs when surfaced). Since 2010 China has been experimenting with such an array, using three satellites moving in formation over the western Pacific. China announced that the first South China Sea satellite will be launched in 2019 and all will be in orbit by 2025. By 2030 the Chinese Navy will have 260 ships, 30 percent more than the American fleet. Those satellites and the rest of the sensors will add to that numerical superiority and make the South China Sea a very dangerous place for anyone the Chinese do not want there.

Oh: by the way: The Philippines now calls this area the West Philippine sea. Please adjust your vocabulary.

What if you stopped an epidemic, and nobody cared?

Bush Jr was the one behind PREPFAR, but few in the West know of the program, or how many lives it saved in Africa...this article notes millions of lives were saved.

From ScienceDaily.

Between its launch in 2003 and September 2017, PEPFAR-funded programs delivered antiretroviral therapy to more than 13.3 million men, women and children; voluntary medical male circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition to more than 15.2 million men; prenatal care that led to the prevention of 2.2 million perinatal HIV infections; and support for more than 6.4 million orphans and other vulnerable children impacted by HIV.

...In the commentary, the authors recount the circumstances in which PEPFAR was conceived more than 15 years ago. Research supported by the NIH and others had led to the development of antiretroviral drugs and treatment regimens that increased life expectancies among people diagnosed with HIV from years to decades, and drastically reduced AIDS deaths in resource-rich nations. However, millions of people in resource-limited nations continued to die without access to adequate therapy. Seeing an opportunity to reduce suffering, President George W. Bush established a program to share the benefits of these scientific breakthroughs and other HIV services to prevent infections and treat people in 14 nations with high rates of HIV infection...

The hospital where I had worked in Africa had such a clinic, and the public health sister I worked with had her clinic destroyed by Mugabe's "throw out the trash" program, that destroyed "illegal" houses in areas that voted against him.

I send one of the sisters I worked with there money for her nieces and nephew's school fees: Two of her brothers died of HIV related complications before the program started, and she just lost her niece who had a neonatal infection and was on treatment, but died of secondary infection shortly before she was due to start college.


It's not that Africans are more promiscuous: but men are men, and educated men often have multiple or serial mistresses (or as we call them here in the Philippines, "second wives") and the chain of disease spreads more quickly due to other customs, such as lack of circumcision and the use of Depo Provera or drying herbs used by women "down there".

the low rate of HIV in the Philippines vs the high rate in Thailand might be our custom of "tuli"... one proof that the Caliphate, not China, used to run the place.

the unsung heroes

Moving from the conspiracy websites into the MSM:
Lots of stuff about the FBI/deep state conspiracy to exonerate Hillary and spy on the Trump campaign by using a FISA warrant.

essentially, not just "overlooking" Hillary's misdemeanors, which a lot of folks figure is business as usual (part of the problem: why bring a complicated case when famous folk are rarely convicted: see Senator Menendez recent court case). The real problem was that Trumpie's tweet about Obama "wiretapping" him during the campaign might be true: because there is information dripping out about the FBI/CIA to spying on Trumpie boy's campaign.

How can the "deep state" push back against such stories? well, they did charge General Flynn for lying to the FBI because he denied saying something that they had heard him say in an illegal wiretap... and General Flynn was their enemy.

All of this reminds me of Nixon using CIA operatives to spy on the Democrats: political spying under the guise of "national security" (the poor Cubans were told the burglary was for national security).

Watergate began because a lowly security guard named Frank Willis, stumbled on the burglary, reported it, and the story was picked up, not by the WaPo political folks, but by their local reporters as a police case.

in this case, one of the unsung heroes: the local AZ reporter who spotted Clinton and reported on his meeting with Lynch.


The meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton might not have been known if not for a local reporter who received a tip about it.
Christopher Sign, morning anchor at ABC15 in Phoenix, ...explained that he received a tip from a "trusted source" about the meeting and then met with management at the station. "Naturally my jaw dropped," he recalled.
 but for football fans, he's not a reporter: He is a former Alabama football player.

The facts are that Sign wasn’t a bit player in the story, he was the headliner who uncovered it and broke the news of a secret meeting between two of America’s most powerful figures. And he’s not just a local reporter; he’s an anchor on ABC15 in Phoenix. And when you talk to Sign, what he makes sure you really know about him is that he had the privilege of playing football for the University of Alabama under legendary coach Gene Stallings.
“My college football experience on and off the field prepared me for moments like this,” Sign says of the intense media scrutiny surrounding his breaking news report. “Being under pressure. Being under stress and under the microscope. These are things Coach Stallings prepared us for. He used to always say, ‘do your job and everything else will be fine’. I thought about that a lot as things were unfolding after we broke the story.”


 Frank Willis was the faceless security guard whose report started Watergate

Did you know Willis was black? And had a sad life after his earth shattering discovery made history. Sigh.

Paul Blart, call your office.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ursula LeGuin

Ursula Le Guin has died.

Le Guin's books melded dragons and wizards with spaceships to tackle earth-bound problems of race, gender and class.

and did this years before it became a fad.

This one's theme is about a ambivalent/changing gender society.


and this one is a parable that is still so non PC that no one wants to discuss it: it can be interpreted many ways:

 did we build our wealth on the suffering/exploitation of poor people in the US and in the Third world?

alternative interpretation: do we abort our children who get in the way of our careers?


Mythgard institute has a series of discussions of her novel the Dispossed, about an anarchist society (in contrast with an earth that resembles today's world). More nuanced than you think.

Davos-Speak translation

In Davos, our unelected self chosen masters will be discussing our fate, but for ordinary folk, it comes down to: WTF are they talking about?

So the BBC has an article on how to translate Davos-speak.

here is an example.

Telegraph (as a verb!)

To "send or communicate by or as if by telegraph" according to the Merriam Webster dictionary.
Generally used at WEF to denote someone signalling a future move - for example a central banker hinting, or telegraphing, that they may raise interest rates (Rather than, say, heading off for early cocktails).

Businesswoman talking to colleagueImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAre we telegraphing our transformative impact, or just visioneering for the future?

so what is going on there?

WEF’s glitziest annual meeting sees itself as the “foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year”. In short, it’s a giant networking event for business and political leaders around the world to discuss the world's most pressing issues during the day and have a jolly good time at various parties, dinners and events every night.

Ah, but what is really REALLY going on there?

Calling Alex Jones...

Religious decline: not?

Virtue on line reviews a Harvard study that contradicts the press meme that religion is dying. A long subtle report: read the whole thing.

essentially the numbers are stable. Maybe increasing: because those leaving religion come from wishywashy or non practicing families who have few (or no) kids, while the believing families are having a lot more children, which counteracts the decline in numbers.

One problem I have with the resport: Where are the Catholics?
much of this assumes an evangelical definition of Christian (e.g. "30 percent" of Americans say the Bible is the actual word of God". )

Uh, Catholics say The Bible is the inspired word of God, meaning he inspired the ones who conveyed the stories by mouth and later inspired the scribes who wrote it down, and maybe even inspiring the ones who copied and translated it. Saying it is the word of God implies it was written by Him, (or dictated by Him, as is the claim about the Koran) which is not quite the same thing.

so things are not as bad as the meme says, because: Hey look at all those kids.

but a lot of Catholics in PC diocese, along with a lot of mainstream churches, are hemorrhaging members, some of whom become vague believers who rarely go to church, but some join evangelical churches and become strict believers. Think VP Pence.

 There has been a growing gulf between the faithful and the dabblers for quite some time, with the first group growing more numerous. Think about the church you attend, relative to its belief system. It is extremely likely that if your church teaches the Bible with seriousness, calls its people to real discipleship, and encourages daily intimacy with God, it has multiple services to handle the coming crowds.

Which is why I wonder WTF the Pope is doing when he is busy trying to destroy Christian ethics and beliefs to make it more user friendly. But that's another issue I have discussed elsewhere.

Chuck Berry in space

DavidReneke reports:

Somewhere out in the great abyss of space, an alien may be jamming to Chuck Berry this very moment. Now, earthlings can buy the very same record. The Washington Post reports that startup Ozma Records is poised to begin shipping copies of the famed Golden Record that NASA sent into space aboard the two Voyager spacecrafts in 1977. The original records, made of copper and coated in gold to withstand the rigors of space, contain the music of Berry, Beethoven, and others, along with various greetings and animal sounds from Earth.

 (AP Photo/NASA)
 Wikipedia lists what is on that record.

including this Chuck Berry hit;


 and are the ET's trying to answer us: Astrocast on those strange radiobursts...mp3 link