Friday, November 27, 2020

Family news

No we didn't have a big Thanksgiving celebration, altho in past years we celebrated it with friends in Manila, now with the virus that is canceled.

We did have a turkey at the farm that we we going to prepare for family and staff, but when the typhoon hit, a tree fell on it and killed it, so the farmer caring for her cooked her up adobo style, and sent us our share of the meat. (Usually the deal is we supply the animal and feed, but they care for it and get half the meat).

They have been busy trying to salvage and harvest the remaining rice that was damaged by the typhoon. They are so busy that where our roof was damaged still only has a temporary covering, and the trunks of tthe palm and banana trees are still cluttering out yard, although some of the leaves and fronds have been removed. The larger pieces will sit there until the large farm truck and some of the farmers will be able to come down, cut the trunks in smaller pieces,and haul it off.

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but it is Christmas season, so both Joy and Kuya are busy doing deliveries and supervising staff at various trade fairs. Joy is also teaching a class to a business meeting in nearby Pampanga...not a big meeting, but they are holding it on line and they will broadcast or zoom the speech from there.

Lots of sick people coming to the door asking for help to buy medicine and in one or 2 cases to pay hospital bills. The cook's niece age 37 is now receiving dialysis...the mayor has opened a clinic that gives free dialysis, something that was not available until recently,for the poor, but there is still the expense of medicine etc. She should have a kidney transplant of course, but it would mean going to an expensive hospital in Manila and finding a relative who is a match who could afford to take off from work... there is no money for any of those things.

And of course with the virus people avoid the hospitals.

Hopefully we will have a vaccine by spring, and the economy will reopen. But in the meanwhile its sad for folks who were becoming middle class now drifting back into poverty.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

The fashionable are trying to destroy American history, but Tom Cotton reminds one that the first Thanksgiving was 400 years ago


the reason the Pilgrim story is more important than, say, Jamestown is because the Pilgrims fled not to get rich but for religious freedom.

a lot of immigrants fled tyranny in Europe: not just those fleeing war, religious or ethnic persecution, but people seeking the ability to have a better life for their children... 

a dirty little secret that a lot of Americans don't realize is that in many countries, it is nearly impossible for the lower classes to better themselves because the elite have a lock hold on the economy. 

So one alternative is to move to America and be free to work, You start out as caregivers or taxi drivers or construction workers or join the military, but the important thing is that these jobs will give you a living wage to support your family, and your kids can go to college. 

 For example, are you aware that Immigrants own 18 percent of small businesses for example and 30 percent of new small business start ups are by immigrants?. (hence the joke Biden made about not being able to enter a 711 if you don't have an Indian accent: Although many of these are actually Pakistani and in some areas many are Koreans or other immigrants). 

As Biden opens the door, millions more will get the opportunity to do this in the same way my relatives are now happy American citizens in Chicago, and in the same way that my daughter in law is a proud American thanks to Reagan's amnesty of immigrants who lacked proper papers.

The idea of Thanksgiving is thanks to God for his blessing: not just being free to worship as you wish, and being equal to every other man. Which is why immigrants are more patriotic than elite students who have had years of distorted history education by anti American teachers: because immigrants know the other side of the story, that America has faults but next to other countries it is a haven of peace.

I've read several snotty editorials ridiculing the song "God Bless America" because they figured America didn't need to be blessed. What they are missing is that the phrase "God Bless" in English is a way to thank someone for a gift. Which is why it was a Jewish immigrant who wrote "God Bless America" to thank America for his freedom:  because his family fled the pogroms of Russia and his family was safe when the Nazis started killing his relatives who didn't leave.

One of the things about K Dramas that make me aghast is how the lower classes take abuse from the elites...when we watch them, I often tell my daughter in law that I wouldn't put up with it from an employer or from my mother in law, but my daughter in law here is Filipino and she sighs and tries to explain it to me, because her culture is also Confucian and emphsizes obedience to one's elders or bosses...

In contrast, Americans figure they are all equal and won't take S*** from anyone.

and the rich business types who think these immigrants will supply cheap, obedient labor need to remember it only takes one generation until the immigrant or their kids will start talking back to them, just like other Americans.

Finally, despite all the propaganda, Thanksgiving stresses cooperation between neighbors of all ethnicities. 

No, the Pilgrims did not commit genocide: The local Indians had been decimated by Smallpox and other diseases brought to them from trading with European fishermen and traders at a time when the germ theory and understanding of how infection spread did not exist.

 There is a complicated story behind why the local tribe wanted to help the settlers, but part of it was to assure peace and trading benefits from the newcomers (the peace lasted for 50 years) and for help against neighboring tribes who were their enemies (think guns). Smithsonian article relates the back story. LINK.

Facing East from Indian Country relates the nuanced history Summary here.  Scribd audiobook version. or borrow from internet archives.

and in a lighter note:

Bringing back Versailles

AnnAlthouse has a blogpost quoting a WaPo article about the establishment being happy they can run things again. 

Back to normal will mean more state dinners, a prestigious and glamorous way of reestablishing global ties. And it means that Washington events traditionally attended by the president and first lady for the better part of five decades — the Honors, the Alfalfa dinner, the Gridiron, Ford’s Theatre gala and the correspondents’ dinner — will likely return to their former glory."

Let them eat ice cream cake. (a saying that goes back to the days of Louis XIV, and was never said by Marie Antoinette by the way).

one of the reasons that the French revolution occurred was that the radicals manipulated the public opinion that wanted change so they could get into power. But the reason they had support is that, in a year of famine, the elite of Versailles partied on.

so is anyone noticing that the US elite are now openly rejoicing that they are again in charge?

The alternative press has noted this. However, the alternative press is being deplatformed one by one by the social media moguls with little outcry from the establishment that is pretending they want to make nice.

I am so old that I remember how the left was the one who objected to the fact that the press/MSM was run by a few rich corporations that slanted the news to control people.

but hey, even Noam Chomsky finds that he is censored (in India) for saying such things.

and the alternative media were the ones protesting how the MSM ignored stories of Biden's son's corruption, pretty well ignored the plan by the international elite to reset the economy, and the statements of those who might be in the Biden administration that the government should not put America first, but to let China take over the world.

the Biden's son's bribes job related salary for doing nothing is essentially a bribe. Given China's increased aggression against a dozen of it's neighbors, who they plan to take down one by one (the Philippines being first, because we're the weakest link) I don't find this story comforting. 

But of course, it's only a matter of time until Biden is discarded for Kamela Harris, a woman who got her influence by schmoozing around with the SanFrancisco elites but didn't win any of the Democratic primaries.

on a lighter note:

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Bring in the (Chinese) Herbs

can Chinese herbs cure Covid?

 the Manila Bulletin reports:

Lianhua Qingwen, manufactured by Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., is the first traditional Chinese medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the country. While it was used for mild COVID-19 patients in China, it is only registered as traditional medicine in the country that can be used by patients with respiratory tract infections and symptoms like difficulty in breathing, fever, muscle soreness, and runny nose....

so is it a cure? 

sorry, no. It merely helps symptoms of chest congestion.

 The ingredients contain ephedra, and anti mucus ingredients, so it sounds like a mixture of herbs that relieve symptoms (Think the Chinese equivalent of Nyquil). 

: It includes forsythia, honeysuckle, ephedra (ma huang), armeniacae, gypsum, isatis, dryopteridis, houttuynia, pogostemon, rheum, rhodiola, Chinese peppermint (bohe), and liquorice.....As a drug, ephedrine is a decongestant and bronchodilator. It is used for temporary relief of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing due to bronchial asthma.... . Common side effects are heart palpitations, nausea, and vomiting. Some notable dangerous reactions include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and sudden deaths.

here is a local video about the mixture.



in the meanwhile, the Philippines is trying to get the US vaccines. Korea reports they have ordered the Pfizer vaccine.

and China? They have given their partially tested vaccine to a million people.

WSJ article here discusses how China and Russia are using vaccine diplomacy, something that I have discussed in previous posts.

quick: Can you find what is wrong with this claim?

In the statement, dated Wednesday, Sinopharm said it was leading the world in all aspects of vaccine development, but didn’t offer evidence from ongoing international clinical trials that its vaccine is effective. Because China has few infection cases within its borders, Chinese firms have had to conduct trials overseas to test their vaccines’ efficacy. Their Western counterparts have also recruited participants internationally. Sinopharm has argued that its vaccines work based on anecdotal observations from people who aren’t participants in the trials. Many were inoculated because they were headed overseas.

Hint: they admit they don't have evidence it works.

not good evidence: This Lancet report sounds impressive, until you realize is is about a small number of cases (700 healthy young men) and of course, it assumes that the Chinese never lie about such things.

Hint: they claim it works because of "anecdotal" reports.

Hint: they did the trials overseas. Using poor people as guinea pigs is only protested by activists if done by western pharma, of course. NPR reports on the vaccine use.

Hint: they claim there is no covid in China. A claim that is applauded by a lot of western media, and only Breitbart questions if that is true, although that is an article from last March.

but if there is little covid in China, maybe it is because they started using the untested vaccine on high risk folks as early as last summer.

they are only now conducting phase three trials (something done by US vaccine manufacturers last summer). 

But hey, from the standpoint of poor countries, who cares about a couple dead from side effects if it helps to open the economy, since the shutdowns are literally killing people (from malnutrition related infections, from untreated or undiagnosed diseases, from unwanted pregnancies being aborted by hulots, from people not being able to afford their BP or diabetes medicines because they lost their jobs). 

the anti vaxers and the Democrats like Cuomo who dissed Trump for trying to get the vaccine approved early when the reports showed it worked with few problems are literally chosing "safety" from side effects rather than safety for people at risk.

China choses the cost/ benefit ratio: because in the long run, a heck of a lot of people will benefit from a vaccine that might have side effects and might not work as well, but it will allow the economy to open so that economic releated deaths will be fewer.

And put conspiracy theory here that the covid is being pushed in order to promote the Great Reset, so a lot of the bots pushing anti vaccine propaganda were successful in keeping a safe vaccine from being released early. (hint: this already worked: how many more would have voted for Trumpieboy if the vaccine was released two weeks earlier?)

so is China's vaccine screwing up the Great reset, or is it part of their plan? I suspect the first, because China will make money and also gain good political points in third world countries from pushing their vaccine early.

CS Lewis remembered

CS Lewis passed away on Nov 22 1963, the same day as JFK and Huxley. 

He was ridiculed by his more PC peers for his old fashioned approach to Christianity, but you know, those PC attitudes are now considered quaint: I mean, the Fabians had the headlines then and maybe now with the Great Reset, but seeing the deaths from socialist utopias in the past makes one wonder if Lewis will outlive them all as a prophet: in That Hideous Strength fortells what is happening today: the elite who despise ordinary folk making a technocratic utopia.  Hmm... I thought the Great Reset was a myth made up by idiots, but hey, it's happening in front of us and if you go against them, hey, you will be deplatformed and banished.

Personally, I find Lewis a bit brittle in his writing, but I first read him as a sci fi fan with the book Out of the Silent Planet. 

some of the themes are the evils of colonialism by positing earth men who aim to settle humans to displace the peoples of Mars...  in other words, OOTSP was a novel about racism:

On Malacandra, three races live in perfect harmony under the rule of the benevolent spirit Oyarsa. Lewis contrasts the happiness on Malacandra with the turmoil on Thulcandra, or Earth, where racism has led to widespread discord.

 A PilgrimInNarnia blog publishes a transcript of CS Lewis' Obiturary.

again, it sees Lewis as old fashioned and out of date, opposing the trends of modernism that ruled Oxford in those days.

Dr. McGrath wrote a biography of CS Lewis and has a lecture about his influence here.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Vaccine news: keep it cool

 notice nothing is 100 percent: but your odds are good for not getting the covid virus is you get the vaccine. Here is one discussion on the data, and other videos with some information about the Philippine's plans in the other videos.



,,,,,ah, but as the saying goes: The devil is in the details. And a spoiled vaccine doesn't work.

This discusses the problem of cold storage so that the vaccine does not spoil: 

the Pfizer vaccine requires ultra cold storage, which is not available in most places in the Philippines. 

But the Moderna vaccine only requires cold storage that can be found in ordinary refrigerators.

from Newsmax:

....A key advantage of Moderna's vaccine is that it does not need ultra-cold storage like Pfizer's, making it easier to distribute. Moderna expects it to be stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F) for 30 days and it can be stored for up to 6 months at -20 degrees Celsius. Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctic winter. At standard refrigerator temperatures, it can be stored for up to five days.

In Africa, we ran into this problem when the measles vaccine was first released in the 1970s. We did have a refrigerator that would stay cool for 24 hours without electricity, so we could keep it frozen, but many small clinics in the small villages did not, so we had to bring it and give the inoculations in a way that the vaccine was still cold until it was ready to be given.

And then how did we transport this for our baby clinic outreach sites that might take an hour or two to get there and another couple of hours to do the inoculations? we used a beer cooler tub with lots and lots of ice.

I posted a link to this BBC article about the difficulties in getting measles vaccine in the DRC to rural patients to stop an epidemic that has killed 7000 children so far.

one will see a similar problem with the covid vaccine: and as for the Pfizer vaccine that requires ultra cold storage: sorry, no way that it will be a practical answer for stopping the epidemic in poor countries.

Tony Blair's organization has a long report about the problem of getting the vaccine into Africa: LINK

and for you conspiracy types: Yes it discusses covid passes so you can travel.

But it also points out that these infectious disease passes have been used for years: In the past, you needed one for small pox, and you still need one if you are traveling from an area with Yellow fever.

and no: it's not a micro chip but a small yellow booklet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

To the rescue...russia russia Russia (the vaccine)

The Manila Bulletin says the Russian vaccine might be available here by January

There is also talk about the USA making the Pfizer and Modena vaccines avaiIable.

We need 50 million doses, so all are welcome.

And for the rabid prolifers who won't get a vaccine using aborted fetus cell lines, the Moderna vaccine is pure in this ethical issue.

I am a bit cynical...the left hates the vaccine because Trumps operation warp speed developed it quickly. The data by August suggested it was safe and worked, but political operatives like Gov. Cuomo said he wouldn't let the vaccine be used in his state. So now the election is over, 2 vaccines are suddenly being made available.

I wonder how many elders died because the vaccine did not get an early release in August? And now Powerlineblog in Minnesota said their nursing homes are getting cases.

Sigh. Send the vaccine into nursing homes ASAP please.

Here, the maid reported that the mayor's wife, and maybe the mayor, tested positive.
Sigh. In our of the best and more honest mayors in the Philippines.

 Much of Luzon was declared to be in a state of emergency due to 2 typhoons back to I reported in previous posts the second one went right over our area....And we are still cleaning up.

One of the farmer's daughters is sick and came to be checked out. She has rheumatic heart disease and brought a bunch of papers from her evaluation 2 years ago. They recommended surgery, but even the discount for the poor meant they needed 2000 dollars. So they just went home. Now she is worse and has jaundice, so we sent them to Dr Angi who put her in the local hospital for evauation.

Kuya will work with the father to get her certified as indigent so she can get help for hospital bills.

Her husband works in Taiwan, but is stuck there due to quarantine and has lost his job and survives by doing odd jobs.

A sad case since replacing two heart valves in someone who is this sick is risky...but less invasive release of the stenotic valve might help if full surgery would be too risky...but would have to be done in Manila...

Finally, the dogs are due for their rabies shot. Usually I take them, but with covid the maid took them one at a time.

At the vet, after his shot, Barry got off the leash and ran away, and tried to hide in the middle school yard across the street..they caught him but not before he scared some of the kids. Luckily he doesn't bite.

I am back on my tablet so excuse typing errors.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Typhoon damage

 we are already busy cleaning up

here is a video on youtube about the damage to our Plaza: the Christmas tree was blown over as were some trees and part of the food kiosks ..............
here's another video from the bridge near our town;

the town is cleaning up: a lot of the debris and broken tree limbs have been removed from the streets, and many people have replaced their roofs with new tin roofs or temporary ply wood protection.

Kuya is busy trying to salvage the rice that was blown flat by the winds and repairing the damage to the bodega etc. at the farm.

there are still debris in our front yard, but the fallen banana trees have been removed.

we are still on the water pump, so I guess city water is still low pressure, but the internet and electricity are back.

The bad news? The cable to the modem in my room was cut when the roof (actually the skylight part of the roof) blew off. Since the business wifi reach here I'm able to blog again in my room, at lower bandwidth unless I sit in the living room.

But it's hard to sit in the living room because our female dog is in heat and has been hiding under the rattan chairs while the male dogs fight over her on and off.

Speaking Truth to Power

 quote of the day: 

the rabbi explained that his goal was to defend the “most beautiful idea in the history of civilization," the concept of love as the origin of new life.
"What made the traditional family remarkable, a work of high religious art, is what it brought together: sexual drive, physical desire, friendship, companionship, emotional kinship and love, the begetting of children and their protection and care, their early education and induction into an identity and a history," he explained.
“Seldom has any institution woven together so many different drives and desires. … It made sense of the world and gave it a human face – the face of love.
For a whole variety of reasons, some to do with medical developments like birth control, in vitro fertilization and other genetic interventions, some to do with moral change like the idea that we are free to do whatever we like so long as it does not harm others, some to do with a transfer of responsibilities from the individual to the state … almost everything that marriage once brought together has now been split apart. Sex has been divorced from love, love from commitment, marriage from having children and having children from responsibility for their care."

from a speech given at the 2014 Vatican conference on Marriage by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died this week.

quoted at Get Religion Blog.