Monday, April 12, 2021

yup the Yanks are here

Duterte was threatening to stop the yearly joint training exercizes with the USA, and in recent weeks we have had another bad surge of Covid in the Manila area.

I had assumed that the exercizes had been  called off again  so I was puzzled why I spotted what looked like an A10 flying over three times in the last week...was there a war going on that I didn't know about?

Then kuya mentioned: Yup. The Balikatan exercizes are back on.

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/afp-us-military-open-balikatan-exercise-amid-covid-19-pandemic/ar-BB1fyWlK

No this doesn't mean war with China...it goes on nearly every year and except for airplanes and helicopters we never see them training.

poem for today

 when the news is full of hysterical nonsense, it is time to put things into perspective by listening to a beloved classic poem.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Who ya gonna call?

 when your volcano erupts and you live on a tropical island, who ya gonna call?

No, not Ghostbusters.

The Cruise Lines to the rescue.

more HERE

UKMail has more plus photos


...

in our prayers.

One wonders about the logistics of this: The cruise ships were getting ready to restart cruises, and presumably have staff etc. on board. And one wonders where they were docked when the emergency started. Presumably these stories will be in the news in the near future.

We face volcanic eruptions frequently here in the Philippines, and indeed Taal is still smoking at a low level. But luckily we can evacuate by land.

Covid update: Remember the heroes of today and the past.

 We are fine: In partial lockdown and we have a curfew.

My main worry is that again my checks are taking a long time to get sent to Manila for processing.

The good news: All my W2 forms arrived in Early March (two months late) so I did my income tax on line with Turbo Tax. In the past, Lolo and I had an accountant, but when he got sick, I was unable to get his information from the US banks so started filing on my own. And although it is simple, it's worth it for me,  especially since they keep my old information on their website so now all I have to do is change the numbers of my IRA etc.

The only problem is if they get hacked, of course, but since my federal OPM (Personnel file) was hacked by China a couple years ago, and now I find that my facebook information has also been hacked, well, WTF...

in the meanwhile, we are being asked by a lot of people for monetary help to pay for their medicines. Sigh. Hope my funds hold out... because if I get sick, I will have to empty my bank account.

We have quite a few cases of covid in our area... now we hear that the owner of one of our local grocery stores was reported to have died, and his wife is sick in the hospital.

I'm not sure of how many people are sick here, but the mayor is giving out food to covid positive people, i.e. those who are in quarantine at home so can't work.

Manila is in full lockdown and hospitals are full.

......

but being in partial shutdown again means a lot of poor people out of work (including people from Manila who came here to live with their families because they lost their job).

Sigh.

the high risk are being given the vaccine in Manila, and a few caregivers here have gotten it, but not for we elders yet.

2 million shots from China and Russia to be delivered this month.

But my maid said you can pay to get a dose locally, but it is suspected that it is a fake vaccine. Yup. If there is money to be made, someone will do it.

as for Ivermectin, the DOH here echoes the US FDA and say no it doesn't work. 

But today's paper reports the FDA says it's okay for hospitals in the USA to use it. Ah, but won't that be too late? Or will they let them give it to the cases early who show up in the ER? 

Another opinion on Ivermectin here:



They are giving out the vaccine in the cities here: Mainly the crappy Chinese version. 

I found it was interesting that there was an article insisting that unlike the Pfizer etc vaccine, the Chinese vaccine was made without destroying fetuses (i.e. using cell lines from aborted fetuses, a big topic in the USA). 

This is a big concern for devout Catholics, although my sarcastic opinion is that the pro life types should have brought up this ethical problem a couple years ago with the drug companies (they did, over stem cells, and got such negative MSM propaganda against them that they sort of shut up, and ironically it was a devout Buddhist in Japan was disturbed by the idea that he was destroying life, so he figured a way to make stem cells from adult stem cells, so the controversy sort of disappeared).

well, anyway, the Chinese vaccines are old fashioned vaccine, similar to the Moderna and Sputnik vaccines, which use old fashioned adenovirus techniques to cause immunity... but since Covid works with T cell immunity, it is not certain how long this immunity will last, whereas the more innovative RNA vaccines induce T cells or something like that to cause long term immunity.

One caveat: Just because you test negative for antibodies doesn't mean that you are no longer immune. It might just mean that it might take a few days to up your sleeping immune system to make them. which is why there is talk of who might need booster shots.

This is why the experts are insisting that if you had covid you need another dose of the vaccine, since often you revert to negative antibodies.

Dr. C's discussion today is about vaccine side effects here: 25 million doses given a couple dozen deaths.


 
----------------
in other news: Today is a holiday here in the Philippines: The Day of Valor. It is the anniversary of the fall of Bataan, and the start of the Bataan death march.

photo souce: http://www.aiepro.com/closed-day-valor/


Duterte is comparing the frontline workers to the brave Filipino heroes.





The USA is not good at remembering those who died to let them live in freedom, and the cancel culture Karens and woke types despise any talk of heroism, and so would probably condemn any commemoration of this as being a celebration of whiteness.

The problem? Most of those who died were Filipinos defending their country against a very cruel invader, and the Americans who were there included many NM NG members, who included Anglos, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

Which is why the only place I have seen this commemorated every year is in Alamagordo, New Mexico. 

....

 MacArthur needed anti aircraft weapons and so they sent the NM NG units to Manila just before the invasion, and many were in the Battle of Manila, and in the Bataan death march.
NMNG Wikipedia article .

I first learned about their history when I worked with the Apache in Mescalero, and found a plaque commemorating Bataan in the church.

 Several local Apaches served there, and the priest in charge of the mission went with the NMNG to Manila, and survived Corrigedor, the death march, the POW camps, and later the hell ships that took them as slave labor to Japan and Korea.

Father Braun was a missionary who worked in Mescalero before the war, and had a colorful life: His Wikipedia page is here which mentions him as being present when President Quezon took his oath of office, but also for his work burying the dead and saying mass under dire circumstances.

After the war, he served the Hispanics in the Phoenix area, and is still remembered by them LINK



Thursday, April 08, 2021

Quote of the day

 

Archbishop Chaput observes that “the most telling feature of our era is that it weakens bonds.” That weakening begins with the forgetfulness of where we came from and therefore of who we are. By weakening our bonds with the past, the agents of impiety more easily weaken our bonds in the present. ,,,

Sunday, April 04, 2021

China is gaslighting the Philippines on their vaccine.

 They are pushing the Chinese vaccine here in the Philippines...and in other poor countries such as Indonesia. It is a form of vaccine diplomacy, to get allies in a region where Chinese aggression is making them disliked.

So we have a slew of articles telling us how wonderful the vaccine is.


Lots of Gaslighting going on.

The western sources point out:


the rollouts come despite a growing number of questions over the effectiveness of the shot, which last week was revealed to have an efficacy rate of just 50.38% in late-stage trials in Brazil — significantly lower than earlier results showed. That rate only barely crosses the 50% efficacy threshold as set by the World Health Organization, and far lower than the 78% previously announced to much fanfare in China earlier this month.

Ah, but that's now what the obedient press is telling us:

No, it protects 80 percent of folks, not 50 percent.

And those deaths in Brazil that stopped the chinese phase 2 trial?. No, not from the vaccine.

China is claiming they had no deaths at all when they gave out their vaccine to their own people.


But it appears gaslighting is going on. Not just in these articles, but in the social media with all their scare stories of bad side effects of the western vaccine.

here is a pure propaganda piece from Rappler, a site originally that was partly funded by a guy suspected as being a CIA front (foreign money to news sites is illegal here). So I don't know what is going on: They are left wing and anti Duterte but maybe things are changing. Given their history of taking foreign money, one does wonder 

LINK

ah but this article does admit that China's reports are iffy but that fact doesn't stop the writer from quoting China's lies fantasy fictional reports.

But China has struggled to gain international trust for its vaccine candidates, hindered by a lack of transparency on test results.

It has also been slow to complete Phase 3 trials, which had to be conducted abroad due to China's success at curbing the spread of COVID-19 within its own borders.

Chinese officials have repeatedly assured the public of the vaccines' safety, claiming that there have been no serious adverse reactions.

 PHilstar notes that when the vaccine was given locally, 29 had side effects out of 3000  vaccinations, including one serious... 

Manila Bul quotes the  company that made the Sinovax who said there were no problems. And of course, China never lies.

No fatal side effect has been recorded from the use of coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech so far, according to a company official.



This early Lancet study with low numbers involved showed 50percent had side effects


From Bloomberg: in Indonesia, we read: 

Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus shot created antibodies among 97% of those administered with it in a final stage trial in Indonesia but its efficacy has yet to be determined, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.

 

but the Epoch Times notes: 

 The Strange Sinovac Vaccine Phenomenon: Countries Report Increased Cases After Using Vaccine

the Chinese vaccine was used in Brazil, and now it is being reported that it doesn't protect people against the new virulent mutation there.

Sigh.

Excuse the technical problems with the post: Blogger has "eaten" it twice so I had to repost it.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Family news

 we are again in shutdown, so no church services for us and no family get togethers.

Sigh.

Guess I'll have to go back to hibernating.



Movie of the week

 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Better dead than sued

 


Manila area and Bulacan are in a full shut down, but we are in a modified shut down.

DOH opinion on Manila area is here.

I have to wear both a mask and a face shield to walk the dog, even though I usually am not within ten feet of others.

The registration here for voting etc. has stopped, since it meant you had to sit outside the office until it was your turn. The small kiosks selling face shields, food, and various other things in the parking lot of the old city hall are still up however.

The Bank has limited hours.

this is bad: We had recently reopened (with masks and distancing) so people again were getting paid. Now they are out of work again. 


The Mayor is planning food aid to those affected by the virus:

The epidemic has flared up again alas:

so where are the vaccines?

Duterte says that the private sector can now import their own vaccines

Well, good, except that it will mean that some will just give out fake vaccine shots, of course, to make money. 

Corruption kills. Duterte blames other countries for the problem in getting vaccines, but since the government has been the reason we didn't get the Pfizer vaccine and delaying the importation of other vaccines, it does make one wonder.

 Indeed, one commenter noted that the government was the barrier to private entities who wanted to import the vaccines: and that this could have been allowed as early as last November. 

The Inquirer had an editorial asking that the private sector be allowed to help import the vaccine last January.

The business sector is again asking if they can do their own importation and give the vaccine to their employees.

so what is the hold up?

It comes down to money: The government doesn't want to agree to pay for those who get side effects of the vaccine.

So better 5 million unemployed, a near economic collapse and a couple thousand dead rather than agree to pay compensation for side effects of an "experimental" vaccine.

So the Pfizer deal in January that fell through and it means not allowing the private sector to buy and give out vaccines to their employees:

UA (emergency use authorization), hindi papayag ang pharma companies na walang indemnification… it protects the pharmaceutical company and the private sector as well,” said Concepcion. The indemnification is a guarantee that the Philippine government will pay compensation in case the vaccination has adverse consequences.

This Rappler article from February explains goes into detail about the liability question that is behind the delay.

The reason why indemnification funds or programs are required of countries is because vaccines being used worldwide are still under emergency use authorization (EUA), with only limited short-term data available on the full effects that could arise from receiving a shot.
Under indemnification programs, governments agree that distributing entities like COVAX, along with vaccine manufacturers, will not be held liable for unexpected adverse events. This is a risk governments absorb during the pandemic when granting vaccines emergency use approval.

So how did the Chinese vaccine end up being the only one being used? Maybe because the social media anti vaxx hysteria is about the western vaccines, not the Chinese vaccines. Hmm... wonder why.

And wonder why the Government approved to cover the side effects of the Chinese vaccine, which only stops half the cases, while dragging their feet in doing the paper work for the western and UN vaccines? Place conspiracy theory here.

It's not that the Chinese vaccine doesn't have a significant rate of side effects, but hey, if you die after the shot, they will claim you died of something else, (just like it is being claimed for the western vaccines).

Ironically, the Chinese government illegally gave 100 000 of  their own citizens working here the vaccine late last year, and they set up their own clinics to treat their sick. (I wonder if they don't trust Philippines clinics, or if it might be because it's better to treat people who don't speak the local language in a clinic where patients can be treated by those from their own country who speak their language).

WaPost article from January about the illegal vaccines being given in the Chinese community here (and notes the Phil military and some big shots got shots too).

and notes that China is using "vaccine diplomacy" in many poor countries.

ya think?

And at least one comment at the Inquirer wonders why the Chinese vaccine is being allowed but paper work delays mean the other vaccines haven't come (the gov't of course insists it is the evil western countries who won't let the vaccines come here, just ignore the deals that fell through because the paperwork over who pays for side effects wasn't done).

Translation: better dead than sued.

Mortality might be one to five out of a hundred for the disease, but 2000 out of 75 million for the shot, but guess which one makes the headlines?

Duh.

There is a lot of foot dragging to ensure people be kept safe, and if a lot more die for lack of a vaccine, well it's not their fault.

We see this mindset with medicines that might or might not work to save lives.

the WHO is discouraging another cheap drug that seems to both prevent and treat Covid if given early: 

Ivermectin. 

According to this article, there if a planned "double blind" study going to be used in the Philippines, but since there is no approved "human" version, hey don't dare use the  Ivermectin approved for animals. 

The dirty little secret: the problem with "double blind" studies are that they often compare "apples and oranges": The statistics are often from  patients who are critical  and in the hospital: But as I have pointed out, other anti virals for influenza and for Herpes infections have to be started early to work, and many people don't seek a doctor's help early on, and of course the tests might not show positive early in the infection (which is why international travelers who tested negative are continuing to spread the disease all over) 

If there was an approved package saying "start this if you think you have covid symptoms", as is being done in some places in India, probably thousands of lives would be saved, but never mind. 

About the problem of lawsuits for side effects: One thing you have to realize is that here in the Third world, corruption is rampant, and the government here is dubious about vaccines with side effects after the Dengue vaccine scandal.

A poor person who gets sick after getting the shot will think he got sick from the shot, even if he is suffering from another infection or illness. And hey, if that means they can get money, why not?

In medicine, we used to call these cases the "green poultice" treatment: That injuries awaiting compensation won't get better until the court case is settled. So if one allows compensation for side effects, hey, a lot of people who get ordinary side effects will notice them more. And this doesn't include of course the possibility of fraudulent claims.

add to this the "anti vaxx" hysteria, and you have a perfect storm.

heck, even Biden's new health chief is now hysterical on youtube about the epidemic. WTF? Get a back bone lady: This is not about your angst. Just the facts, ma'am.

She seems to be saying if you evil Christian Republicans who refuse to wear masks are to blame: without mentioning the problem of the new Brazilian strain of the virus which is both more infectious and possibly more lethal than previous strains.

The Brazilian strain of covid is now in the Philippines, and there is a worry that it might be partly to blame for the latest outbreak.

the Brazil strain is also causing a terrible outbreak in several Latin American countries: and as a doctor, I worry that it will be spread to the US via those illegally crossing the border to seek a newer life in the USA.

Right now, over 100 thousand illegal entries from Central American, some of whom are covid positive and being released into the local communities.

One wonders how many carry the new more infectious and more lethal Brazilian strain of the virus.

But the vaccines do protect you against them, so don't worry.

Now, if we could only get the shots here. 

Because unlike China, the US is not arranging for their citizens to get the vaccine. Heck, the local VA hospital in Manila has limited treatments to veterans, and won't test you. But nothing on their website about Covid shots. LINK

and the Embassy continues to say: no shots for you, Joe.

The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. U.S. Veterans currently receiving healthcare benefits from the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic will continue to receive e-mail updates about COVID-19 vaccinations directly from the VA Clinic.

yes, if you are a disabled veteran, you are still waiting for the email to say if you can get a shot.

One other note: 

I understand why these people are coming to America. If I lived in a hell hole with crime and few economic opportunities, and heard that the US border would be open to all comers, I would have packed my bags and started hitch hiking north too: hoping to get in before someone in the government realizes it was a mistake and recloses the border.

But you know, this could be done in a better fashion by open visas for people who want jobs, and then allowing them to take approved buses or planes to enter the USA to resettle them, using military bases for housing if they need to find a place for them to stay.

They did this for the Vietnamese refugees years ago, and during a similar influx during the Mariel boat lift.

Many of these refugees had family members or friends in the USA, and who provided them a place to stay. One suspects many of today's refugees could similarly be settled with help of families or by churches who would sponsor them until they found a job.

But never mind. The real scandal is that no one seemed to be prepared for the influx.

By the way, did I mention my son is visiting his wife's mother in Mexico? His wife and mother are dual citizens, thanks to President Regan's amnesty. And their children are full Americans who have jobs in the USA.


---------------------------
update:

The Brazilian strain entered the Philippines via Japan from an overseas Filipino from Brazil came home....

and there is a perfect storm with the huge influx of Central and South Americans who are entering the USA and a possible new outbreak of this newer, more virulent version of Covid. 

Which explains the hysteria of Biden's health expert (who for some reason preferred to condemn Trumpie's minions instead of telling us about where this latest outbreak is coming from ).

Also note the part about Brazil's president being criticized in the press, because of his anti China policies. 

....