Wednesday, August 21, 2019

gotta dance








you mean Greenland wasn't a joke?

A lot of what the press calls Trumpieboy's lies are just him blowing off steam (not to be taken seriously) or his use of exaggeration or satire to bring attention to something he wants people to notice.

So I laughed when I saw this


actually, that is a photo shop of Trump Tower in Las Vegas.

And this article mentions there has been some quiet buzz about buying Greenland.

Did you know the WashPost says that Harry Truman tried to buy it way back when?

It’s something that President Trump has repeatedly asked his staff to explore in recent weeks, bewildering top aides. But he’s not the first to ponder the question, which was first floated in the 1860s, when a report commissioned by the State Department under President Andrew Johnson concluded that the icebound island’s abundance of fish and mineral resources could make it a valuable investment. And in 1946, President Harry Truman’s administration went even further, offering to purchase Greenland from Denmark in exchange for $100 million in gold. “People have forgotten about how important places like Greenland were in the Cold War,” said Ronald E. Doel, an associate professor of history at Florida State University and a co-editor of “Exploring Greenland: Cold War Science and Technology on Ice.”

the SCMP notes that what might have inspired Trump bringing the issue to the attention of the MSM was because of China's Arctic push. 

They also have this article about China's interest in the Arctic.

and more HERE. about China's take over of the world's trade routes.

Summary: There's oil in them there hills oceans. The Artic ocean's petroleum resources are just beginning to be explored, and it would be handy to own an airbase there (or maybe even a port).


Transport hubs, such as the Greek port of Piraeus and the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, appear to be a preferred target for Chinese acquisition. Chinese firms now control roughly 10 percent of cargo port space in Europe, according to data from the International Transport Forum.....The CCCC bid for the airport contract would represent another major investment. The airport has an estimated cost of 3.6 billion Danish krone (U.S. $560 million). Such a massive infrastructure project for whatever company wins could potentially set Beijing up as a major economic driver for Greenland.
Like elsewhere in Europe, “the big fear is that even a small Chinese investment will amount to a large part of Greenland’s GDP, giving China an outsized influence that can be used for other purposes,” said Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, an associate professor at the Royal Danish Defence College’s Institute for Strategy.

influence such as pressuring the government to close the huge US base in Thule. 

then there is China's interest in mining rare earth elements (which China is trying to get a controlling monopoly all over the world and a Chinese company has already invested in the Kvanefjeld project).

And then there are the military/missile/geopolitical aspects. The short route for missiles to hit the mainland US goes over the Arctic.

Actually, since Russia owns much of the Arctic, I see this more of a threat to Russia than to the USA. And China thinks long term: And since they once owned Siberia, and China has lots of their citizens moving to work in Vladivostok, one wonders what will happen in, say 50 years or so.

in summary: By a single tweet, Trumpieboy has brought up an important geopolitical issue that few people knew about.

Am I the only one who finds this very interesting?

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update: I removed a sentence about the nuclear torpedo and the recent Russian nuclear accident in the essay because it was vague and I have to do more research on this.

Vice has a summary of the accident here.


: BelmontClub article on Russia's nuclear powered drones in the artic. 
more HERE.
and Stratfor has an article on Russia's plan to take over the entire artic region, and that the trade routes are important to China.

Chinese aggression

At the very start of his podcast, Scott Adams points out that the name of the Chinese company and the CEO behind the Fentanyl/opioid epidemic is known, and that maybe someone should do something about it. For him it is personal, since his stepson recently died of an overdose.

The article he is mentioning is found here. and HERE, where the SCMP notes that the criminal gangs change the chemical structure to get around the narcotic laws in China.

Not in the article: All you have to do to get around the law in China is bribe the local officials, of course, and note that the article mentions that it wasn't until Trumpieboy pressured Xi that fentanyl trade was made illegal.

the SCMP is from Hong Kong so doesn't follow the party line all the time (remember, one reason for the Hong Kong protests was an extradition law that would allow "dissidents" to be sent to China for all sorts of stuff). However, Wikipedia reports AliBaba owns the newspaper, and that is a Chinese company.

AliBaba is the Chinese equivalent of Ebay/Amazon, that lets people in villages access to all sorts of stuff on line that in the past was not available to them.

But Jack Ma, the founder, is a member of the communist party, and according to Wikipedia the SCMP is being influenced by the party line (i.e. refusing to frame stories via the western memes but more sympathetic to the Chinese point of view).

StrategyPage has a long essay about China's illegal takeover of the West Philippine sea. Like Hitler's slow take over of nearby countries in the late 1930s, everyone knows it is illegal but no one wants to go to war to stop them.

One of the dirty little secrets about the drug war in the Philippines is that the Chinese cartels are behind much of it.

and the bad news is that the smuggling into the country here is getting worse. Or maybe not: What seems to be happening is that more illicit drugs are being found.

as for the 'drug war' so hated by the "human rights" types: things are indeed safer now. And remember, a lot of the deaths the "human rights" types count and blame on Duterte are vigilante or personal pay back hits because people don't trust the justice system.

and it doesn't make the "Human rights" types more believable when they wine and dine De Lima for criticizing Duterte's war on drugs, when everyone here knows about the Bilibad prison scandal,
may get back in the news because the cops have arrested her bag man this week.

a couple years ago, local wags spread around a faked pornographic video of her and her driver that made everyone here laugh at her, since she is one of the few Filipinas who is actually ugly.

as for Duterte's war on drugs: The human rights folks haven't noticed that crime is down and that the murder rate isn't up much worse than before it started.

And for ordinary folks, things are now safer.

But ordinary folks safety doesn't count to "human rights" types who often live in gated communities and recruit among the affluent college students.

----------------------------------

related items: lots of complications about the "trade war" of the US with China.





and an article on the Chinese food crisis.

they have a major problem because they have to cull millions of pigs with African Swine Flu...

(we don't have it here yet, but it is only a matter of time until it gets here, via smuggled pork). Indeed, the Ag folks are worried it is already here since there are reports of pigs dying.

and this podcast is about the demonstrations in Hong Kong.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Catching up on news below the fold

Since I have been busy with Joy in the hospital, and our internet was dead for two weeks, I am trying to see if things have changed, and the answer is no. Not if you read the regular MSM.

they are avoiding the huge HongKong demonstration story, with it's economic and political implications: lots of stuff out there on various sites about what it means.

But the Philippines is worried that China will start arresting our OFW in China as "spies" if we take a stand, and there is a lot of worry about 130.000 OFW, (the MB says there are 250 thousand living there) mainly caregivers or professionals, who live in Hong Kong. Will they stay or go if China invades Hong Kong ... rumors are that China is having local hooligans disrupt the peaceful protest to give them an excuse to invade...


 If this happens, many Hong Kong folks will up and leave (I understand many of the rich have second homes in Vancouver Canada, just in case) but what about the ordinary folks, and what about their maids/nannies/ nurses/ etc who are Filipinos?

presumably most will stay in place and try to find other work, but it is another complication to Phil/Chinese relationship where China is stealing our fishing grounds but we aren't supposed to notice. All of this is why Duterte to try to make nice with China despite the fact most ordinary Filipinos distrust that country.

as for the rest of the news, I decided to check with commentaries and conspiracy sites to see what I have missed.

I understand that the FBI is going to list everyone who reads conspiracy theories as dangerous, but hey, since I kept quiet about a VietNam protester who was a fugitive from justice hiding next door back in the 1960's, along with some pro life stuff I managed to get published, I figure I have a file somewhere in Washington (not to mention my federal OPM file, which is now hacked and in China, probably in the same place as Hillary's emails) so what me worry?

the biggest political story not reported is that the russia Russia RUSSIA conspiracy has imploded so badly that an editor at the NYTimes has decided to change their emphasis from Russia to racism in order to destroy Trumpieboy and his minions.

a good summary is Scott Adams, who discusses this along with hoaxes in the news here.

in an earlier podcast, he dismissed the various Epstein death conspiracy theories, and dismissed it for a very interesting reason: He insists big business/ big institutions are just not that efficient. (and since his Dilbert cartoon spoofs big business, I suspect he has experience behind his saying this).

this, by the way, is called Hanlon's razor:




sounds about right. 

So what does the conspiracy types who follow Q say?

Praying medic says Q is more worried about some lady whose sex cult is associated with Hollywood than Epstein. Since other conspiracy sites think Epstein was CIA or Israeli intelligence getting dirt on people for blackmail purposes, it makes one wonder what else is out there.

One of the advantage of the Epstein scandal is that it has pushed the Catholic bishops scandal off of the front pages. 

Except that the modern Jeramiah, i.e. crazy Ann Barnhart, is pointing out that Epstein isn't the only sex trafficker who has been silenced to protect the powerful: one hooker who had information on the Pope's seedy friends involved in sex trafficking in Argentina was probably offed a couple months ago. Yes, she's crazy, but then you read this and it makes you want to vomit.

so why do I read her? Because she dares to be a whistleblower on the corruption in the Catholic church...I once lived in the Altoona diocese when we Catholics knew what was going on but couldn't get anyone to notice....

but she also has expertise in finance, so once in awhile she notes corruption in Wall Street etc... such as a couple weeks ago she that mentioned John Corzine, has now had his hedge fund approved. 
WTF?

Business insider has a list of his bad decisions and a more recent (2017) article in the NYTimes notices the settlement of his "curious case" with MF Global, where he "lost" his customers a billion dollars or so. But apparently he apologized and all is forgiven?

Like Epstein's millions, (where did he get that money?) such numbers make my head spin. :And then people wonder why conspiracy theories pop up...

And I won't even go into the list of dead bankers claimed on the crazy site Infowars, but then you read about a dead blogger in Malta, the Bangladesh cyberheist via a Manila casino, (most of which was diverted to China and then some of it to North Korea), the Panama papers, the Ghosn/Nissen scandal, and a million scandals with the Vatican bank.

How can ordinary folk judge such things: For example, the Deutschebank scandal might mean something big, but Dilbert points out that flagging accounts are common and don't mean much, but this could point to money laundering, etc etc. So what do these things mean, and who does one believe when those who are in charge are crooked, or are accused of crimes, and one doesn't know how to sift the false rumors/fake news from the truth?

Belmont club discusses the problem of lack of trust due to the collapse of ordinary moral standards in today's world...


and here in the Philippines, the diversion of rice funds, rebuilding funds, etc etc. is just a routine occurrence. 

and nobody trusts other people, unless you know them or are related to them.

Such lack of trust is one reason that people stay poor and outsiders won't invest in the Philippines.


But what happens when the multinational banks that run the world are found to be crooked? What do ordinary folks do?

place conspiracy theory here.

But it's only money, so no one seems to be worried about it.

We own rice fields and sell organic brown rice, and my husband promised me if I moved here I'd always have rice to eat. 

Unless China invades Luzon and deports me (been there, done that... twice, when I was a doctor working as a missionary in Africa...so I have contingency plans for this).

So I'm fine. But what about my kids and grandkids?

In my prayers.


Cat item of the day

A small scale model, or maquette, of the Félicette statue with the full globe underneath. 
DavidRenekespaceblog notes:

Fifty-six years after a cat named Félicette became the first feline to launch into space, plans to build the cosmic cat’s first proper memorial are beginning to take shape.

More about her flight at Space.com 


the bad news?

According to Wikipedia. Felicette did not live happily ever after:
Félicette was euthanized two months after the launch so that scientists could perform an autopsy to examine her brain.

Sigh.

--------------------
related space news: the moon is now inhabited (maybe) by Tardigrades


Poldark ditches author, becomes boring

I read the entire series of Poldark, some on Scribd or internet archives, and some via youtube where the audiobooks were posted (some are still there, until the copyright cops find them).

The first four seasons of the latest Poldark TV series pretty well echoed the books (with editing of course) but the newest season seems a bit weird and out of character.
Guess what? They didn't follow the books. So it is all made up, and what is worse, the producers decided to inject political correctness in the plot.

Anglophile blog explains:

It seems there’s been a little bit of confusion, so I just want to clear something up: this season is not based on any of Graham’s Poldark novels. This is a definite break from previous seasons, which did follow the novels, but the writer and creators didn’t want to follow Graham’s 10-year progression with the story, so this season is entirely off book.
Why not follow the books? Because they prefer to make up politically correct plots about slavery, or because the lead actors don't want to age?

so the new series seems to be in the mid to late 1790s. 

Some of the stuff in the new series make one roll up one's eyes in disbelief.

Hardheaded George hallucinating the ghost of his wife? A lot of spouses "see" or hear their dead spouses, but this is completely out of character for George.

Slavery issue brought up... political correctness trumps all. Poldark was not involved in slavery, except to note sarcastically that the anti slavery types seemed to care more about slaves 3000 miles away than the child laborers slaving in the factories of England. (or in Poldark's mines, for that matter: Poldark justifies it by noting correctly that the alternative is starvation. Something to keep in mind when people laud those good old days of simple folks down on the farms, where there wasn't enough food to go around).

And the French revolution? well, just a back story for the slavery issue. 

And then there is the lady revolutionary who is vexing Demelza. One wonders why Demelza or Trudie, neither of whom are shrinking violets, put up with her. 

Poldark's nephew in the army has a romance, a young woman whose father is an evil pro slavery plantation owner from the Indies, and who plans to marry her to George. They are discussing eloping. 

But in the real books, which had skipped 10 years, Poldark's nephew was fighting Napoleon (in 1808) and visited by Poldark who was investigating the Penisular campaign for the government and if I remember correctly, the nephew marries a local girl there, and brings her home. 

But as was noted above, the new novels skipped 10 years and are mainly about Poldark's children and the next generation. Lots about smuggling and romance, some stuff about Ross' son being interested in the newfangled steam engine, and some plots about the Napoleonic wars mentioned above. And by the way, George does remarry a widow who bears him another child, (a girl this time)... but by the last book, it went completely downhill (Bella went on stage? Give me a break).

so why not jump 10 years? 

Because they prefer to keep the pretty faces instead of reality I suspect. Or maybe because the later books aren't just about Ross and his wife, so you would have to confuse the fans with new characters.

Both Poldark and his wife still look too young for the parts now, especially when you realize that people aged faster back then.

As for the latest shows: they resemble a "soap opera" with predictable plots.

So yes, watch the series for the cinematography and the characters, but don't expect  high quality plot development.

Of course, I've only watched two shows because we tend to get the series later, so maybe it will improve.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

China stuff

the HongKong protests are big, but few in the US MSM seem to be noticing.

Strategypage podcast on what this is about and a more recent article about China.

The government is currently waiting out the protestors and refusing to meet any of their demands. Even the extradition law is still waiting to be revived, rather than completely withdrawn as protestors demanded. The current cycle of protests began on June 4th when Hong Kong was the only place in China were large groups could gather to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Hong Kong is the only place in China where you can do a lot of things. Tiananmen was a spontaneous 1989 demonstration that scared Chinese officials a great deal as they saw it as potentially the start of a Chinese version of the early 1989 collapse of communist rule in East Europe.
and the local PhilInquirer has an article on China's bad year.




and another article on how China is using Cambodia to get around Trumpieboy's sanctions, and notes that big debt is essentially making Cambodia into a Chinese satellite nation.

Quote of the week

from George Orwell:


“In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British.” ― George Orwell, England Your England

and this is from a classic book by a fighter pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain: the Last Enemy: describing how pacifism was in vogue when he studied at university:


The seed of self-destruction among the more intellectual members of the University was even more evident. Despising the middle-class society to which they owed their education and position, they attacked it, not with vigour but with an adolescent petulance.
They were encouraged in this by their literary idols, by their unquestioning allegiance to Auden, Isherwood, Spender, and Day Lewis. With them they affected a dilettante political leaning to the left.
Thus, while refining to be confined by the limited outlook of their own class, they were regarded with suspicion by the practical exponents of labour as bourgeois, idealistic, pink in their politics and pale-grey in their effectiveness.
They balanced precariously and with irritability between a despised world they had come out of and a despising world they couldn't get into. The result, in both their behaviour and their writing, was an inevitable concentration on self, a turning-in on themselves, a breaking-down and not a building-up. To build demanded enthusiasm, and that one could not tolerate.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Family news

Internet out for over a week. But much of that time Joy was in the hospital for surgery so I could surf there but not post.

She is well and eating now.

Ruby is back from her vacation in Singapore and helping her mom with the business until her mom recovers.

She leaves for college in two weeks.

Her dog, Angel, a small white terrier, died. Cancer. But not a lot of pain and we kept her comfortable with pills so we left her die here at home. Sigh. That is the last of the dogs we have had for years... the next generation is young and doing well, but all farm mongrels

what we need is a huge vicious dog, like George our Labrador, who scared everyone and often would bite strangers if they got too close.

It has been stormy/ monsoon weather for the last week, which means wet weather and flooded streets, but no major floods... The city is putting in more drainage (with covers) and fixing the older covered ditches, which have crumbled under the weight of rice trucks going down the street (or maybe because they used cheap cement).

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Immigrants? We wuz them

I am on the internet (right wing sites this time) busy defending the Catholic position to help immigrants in need (both legal and illegal) in the USA.

Sorry, fellahs, most of them just want to work and support their families.

I agree there is a need for regulation. I suggest they do as the Middle East and richer Asian countries do here: let job recruiters or sponsors into these countries for people to apply, so people won't just arrive and be dropped on an overwhelmed asylum system. Similarly, churches could sponsor families similar to how the Vietnamese families were housed and helped by churches after the fall of Saigon.

But alas, although Trumpieboy is right in the need to regulate the immigration system and put a fence up to keep out drugs and criminals, but politics trumps sanity I guess: So instead the Democrats play the racism card and it is the height of insanity when the mod squad congresswomen condemn the overcrowded asylum camps as "concentration camps" while voting against their own party's bill for emergency funding to improve conditions. WTF?

A pox on both their houses.

Trump usually uses hyperbole as a negotiating tactic, but one of the "side effects" is to encourage bigotry against all foreigners and immigrants (who take the jobs of Americans who resent being unemployed, but also by some of whom don't want to work that hard and resent the hard working newcomers, ..).

 It' s not so much "racism" as seeing immigrants as "the other", someone dangerous. And many blame the immigrants for their inability to find a job (whereas the real reason was predicted 40 years ago: a globalization run by the elites who put profit over the common good, and decided to export their jobs to China etc. rather than upgrade American workers with education etc.).

 The press with their anti Trumpieboy hatred only makes things worse, since ironically these "deplorables" only want the same thing as the immigrants: to be left free to work and support their families...

Racism accusations just make things worse, of course. You see, the elites making the accusations tend to live in an upper class bubble, whereas the "deplorables" live in the same neighborhoods as immigrants and minorities. Yes, they fought each ether over jobs, but as the immigrants assimilated, within a generation, everyone is intermarried...

None of this is new, of course.

Some of my ancestors arrived half starved and sick, fleeing the Irish Potato famine. My great grandfather was orphaned and raised by Catholic sisters in an orphanage; presumably his parents died on one of the "coffin ships".

There is some criticism of the Catholics not being "woke"back then, since they were not pushing anti slavery in those days before the civil war, but this ignores that the major "civil rights" problem  that Catholics faced was the prejudice against the immigrants.
From Wikipedia:
The term Know-Nothing Riot has been used to refer to a number of political uprisings of the Nativist American Know Nothing Party in the United States of America during the mid-19th century. These anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic protests culminated into riots in Philadelphia in 1844, St. Louis in 1854, Cincinnati and Louisville in 1855, Baltimore in 1856, Washington, D.C. and New York in 1857, and New Orleans in 1858.

Ironically the only major film that showed this was "Gangs of New York": which ironically was directed by an Italian American, and starred non Irish Italians as the Irish fighting the New York City establishment.

and yes, the Catholic bishops worked with the immigrants and fought for their rights.

In one of the ironies of history, Bishop Healy of Boston and Portland Maine, the first African-American Catholic bishop, was one who defended the rights of the Irish immigrants in those days.

Healy's siblings also were prominent: His brother was dean of Georgetown for example, but it was his Brother, "Hell roaring Mike", who is best known in history as a Captain of what would now be considered a Coast guard vessel that patrolled the Alaskan coast,  a job that included defending the rights of the Native Americans  and doing law enforcement in that vast area.

You know, America has always been a "melting pot", and one would think that it would be better if politicians remembered it and promoted what people have in common instead of encouraging hate speech and insisting people should stay in their own group.

 A good quote to remember (from wikpedia article on the Gangs of New York)

The country was up for grabs, and New York was a powder keg. This was the America not the West with its wide open spaces, but of claustrophobia, where everyone was crushed together. On one hand, you had the first great wave of immigration, the Irish, who were Catholic, spoke Gaelic, and owed allegiance to the Vatican. On the other hand, there were the Nativists, who felt that they were the ones who had fought and bled, and died for the nation. They looked at the Irish coming off the boats and said, "What are you doing here?" It was chaos, tribal chaos. Gradually, there was a street by street, block by block, working out of democracy as people learned somehow to live together. If democracy didn't happen in New York, it wasn't going to happen anywhere. — Martin Scorsese on how he saw the history of New York City as the battleground of the modern American democracy.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Family News

I spent yesterday working on renewing and changing my visa. Probably another trip to Manila will be needed in the next few months.

Joy is still coughing but her lungs are clear so I told her to check when she can have her surgery done.

Ruby is visiting a classmate in Singapore with her other classmate, a Canadian.

I might be able to catch up with the news etc. later today, since it is the weekend and quiet.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Family news

Ruby has two class mates (one Canadian, one Malasian/Canadian) are visiting.

They just got back from a couple days in the new, improved (and cleaned up) Boracay. They said it is full of Koreans. That sounds about right. We have a lot of Korean tourism here: And in Baguio, up in the mountains (where it is cool), there are lots of Koreans, mainly students studying English: it's cheaper than going to the USA. A lot of English teachers in Korea also come from the Philippines.

It is Palenke day, so they went to shop for used clothing etc. Since our cook Dita overcooked the Talapia for lunch (again), I suspect they will also buy something to eat.

They plan to go to the mall with Chano to buy food and snacks and other stuff.

Joy has a bad cough and is waiting for it to clear to have surgery.

Dr. Angie will perform it with her daughter in law, also an Obgyn doc. The bad news? The daughter in law is in the hospital with Dengue fever, which since the rains came has caused a major outbreak in the Philippines, including quite a few cases here.