Wednesday, May 31, 2017


DNA from ancient Egyptian mummies analyzed. 

ancient, but not "ancient ancient" by Egyptian standards.

actually from 1400 to 400 BC... meaning the New Kingdom era, and then the times when Egypt was run by Nubians, Persians and Greeks.

Specifically, the team wanted to see if ancient populations were affected, at the genetic level, by foreign conquest and domination during the time period. "We wanted to test if the conquest of Alexander the Great and other foreign powers has left a genetic imprint on the ancient Egyptian population," added Schuenemann.

The results show that ancient Egyptians were most closely related to ancient populations in the Levant, as well as having close links to Neolithic populations from the Anatolian Peninsula and Europe, thus suggesting the genetics of the Abusir el-Meleq community did not undergo any major shifts. When compared with more recent DNA, the study also revealed modern Egyptians share approximately eight per cent more ancestry on the nuclear level with Sub-Saharan African populations than with Ancient Egyptians.

Architect factoid of the day

AlJ has an article on Zaha Hadid, an architect born in Baghdad whose buildings have won her many awards.

a "headups" if you were wondering who was in that google picture

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stories below the fold

Strangers in a Strange Land. Catholics in the USA. mp3


Sense O Events has a Memorial Day Essay.


via TeaAtTrianon: 
ArtofManliness has an essay on the Hobbit.

ordinary peeople's courage is the theme.


StrategyPae has an essay on the history of Korea, and their search to be independent.

Too many people in the west don't know they were a "colony" of Japan in modern times. But fewer still know of the famine in the 1990's that killed ten percent of their population, or is threatening that country again.

they also note that the "Wanna cry" virus was from that country...and it was done to make money, not as cyberwarfare.


Lining up Christians and killing them? No problem.

Duterte makes another rape joke, SJW and MSM are aghast.

US Embassy puts up another warning.

the attackers "looked Arab", says one witness.
and locals defended their Christian neighbors.


Trump tells Europe to grow up and pay their share of NATO, but Merkal says:
After the NATO and G7 summits, Merkel said at an election rally in southern Germany that "the times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days. "We, the Europeans, will have to take our fate into our own hands.
Yeah. Being grownup is a bitch, ain't it?

the average US citizen is tired of seeing their taxes go to defend affluent Europeans who pay their fair share, while building themselves fancy headquarters (just ignore the cost overruns)....or as (uberconservative) Sundance paraphrases:

…Nice -new- fancy offices you have here.  Obviously with all this extra cash for fancy buildings you must have plenty of room to spend on your own NATO defense.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Family news

It's very hot here, so I am mainly staying inside.

Last night we had a bad thunderstorm, which means all the dogs were under the bed.
 Except the puppies, who are now starting to wander all over the place...

At 3:30am the dogs outside went crazy, but I couldn't find anything. Last time they did this it was an earthquake, but no reported earthquake in the last 24 hours. Oh well...

Ruby and Joy and cousin are still in Manila. Here are the three cousins.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beer post of the day

don't just drink it:

4 other  uses for beer.

I knew about the stain and hair uses, but this one I'll have to try:

4. Ward off bugs
Citronella candles not doing getting the job done? If your guests are getting eaten alive, pour stale beer into buckets and place them in the corners of your backyard. It turns out, small flies and mosquitos are a fan of a cold lager, too. Meaning they will be busy imbibing, and not nibbling on you.

Yuck Spiders

We have small lizards and small spiders here that don't bother anyone, but yesterday a 4 inch spider was snoozing between the sceen and the window, so I sprayed it with roach spray.

probably a variation of the Huntsman spider, who live in sheds and on trees.

Middle Earth enters the space race

with a 3D printed rocket

From the ManBul:
 Reuters Wellington– Rocket Lab, a Silicon Valley-funded space launch company, on Thursday launched the maiden flight of its battery-powered, 3D-printed rocket from New Zealand’s remote Mahia Peninsula. “Made it to space. Team delighted,” Rocket Lab said on its official Twitter account. The successful launch of a low-cost, 3D-printed rocket is an important step in the commercial race to bring down financial and logistical barriers to
A supplied image of the launch and maiden flight of a battery-powered, 3D printed rocket built by Rocket Lab, a Silicon Valley-funded space launch company, at New Zealand’s remote Mahia Peninsula, May 25, 2017. (Reuters)
space while also making New Zealand an unlikely space hub.

Friday, May 26, 2017

How to ban a cute video

AnneAlthouse reports that this video was banned in France... because of two (yes, 2) complaints. And when the video maker appealed, they were turned down again.

 Says spokeswoman Stephanie Billot: "When you show a video of DS kids who say, 'Well, I won't be normal, but I will still be able to love you,' the guilt becomes so unbearable that society rejects it.

Chaos Manner on Comey: Follow the money

I linked to this before, but I am just getting around to reading it.

Jerry Pournelle is a sci fi writer and futurist, who tends toward the libertarian side of the political spectrum. unlike a lot of the background articles, he puts it together for those of us who don't read the business section of the UKGuardian and more importantly, he can write clearly and succinctly.

and it explains the hysteria that Hillary and friends are promoting against Trumpieboy: follow the money.

I wasn't aware of Comey's involvement with the HSBC scandal.

In 2013, the largest bank of England, HSBC Holdings, was deep into a scandal.  Investigations by federal authorities and law-enforcement had revealed that for years HSBC had been laundering billions of dollars for Mexican Drug Cartels, channeling money for Saudi banks who were financing terror, moving money for Iran in violation of the sanctions, and other major criminal activity.  HSBC’s criminality was pervasive and deliberate by the Bank and its officials. 
HSBC was a huge Clinton Foundation contributor (many millions) throughout the “investigation” and Bill Clinton was being paid large personal fees for speaking at HSBC events (while Hillary was Sec of State).   Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department did what they were paid to do, and let HSBC off of the hook for a paltry 1.2 Billion dollar fine (paid by its stockholders), and not one Director, officer or management member at HSBC was fired or charged with any criminal. 
Exactly when everyone involved with HSBC Bank (including the Clintons and all of their “donors”) were being let off without penalty, and cover had to be provided to HSBC, Comey was appointed as a Director and Member of the Board of HSBC (in the middle of the fallout from the scandal).  He was part of the effort to cover up the scandal and make HSBC “respectable” again.
After about a year as HSBC director, despite his lack of any law enforcement experience, no DOJ leadership experience, and no qualifications for the job, Comey was appointed FBI director by Obama.

I don't know a lot about the scandal, but the UK Guardian has lots of stuff on it. Lots of other good people in these stories: Iceland's bank problems, Mexican cartels, money laundering,

2015 story there has the time line

most of the story is about UK or European politicians/businessfolk, but they include this part about the Clintons:

 • The leaked files reveal the identities of donors to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation with HSBC accounts in the tax haven, including Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender. The revelations have raised questions over the former secretary of state’s campaigning focus on wealth inequality in light of the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world’s richest individuals....

Key article: Clinton foundation received up to $81m from clients of controversial HSBC bank 

  and yes, it includes a lovely photo of Hillary and family.

 Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton speak during a student conference for the Clinton Global Initiative University in March. Photograph: Matt York/AP

Incuded in the UKGuardian's list of articles is this fact: The whistle blower on the tax evasion scheme went to jail.
for leaking to Wikileaks? for leaking to the press?

No. For giving the information to the cops:

While working on the database of HSBC’s Swiss private bank, Falciani downloaded the details of about 130,000 holders of secret Swiss accounts. The information was handed to French investigators in December 2008 and then circulated to other European governments.

As the saying goes: How Conveeenient...

and this is the funniest part of the Chaos Manner article: Trump apparently isn't as dumb as he seems because he's dealt with crooks before:

Trump knows it is a set up by Comey and that he is probably being recorded (tips from FBI or DOJ who are not part of the corruption?)  Maybe because his phone calls in the Whitehouse as President have already been bugged and released to the media.  (FBI is in the best position to do this) Maybe because he was used to the Mafia in NY trying to shake him down every time he built a hotel.

Rodney Dangerfield call  your office.... 

First lady news and other stuff

Melania pulled out her mom's rosary for the Pope to bless, and the press discovered she was Catholic.

Her family was socialist/communist when she was growing up under the communists, so there might be a religion story here.

she is the second first lady born outside the US, and the second first lady who is Catholic. (but attends the Episcopal church)

And now we are told she spoke Italian in a visit to a local hospital.

and she also speaks

 other languages besides English and her native Slovenian. It's been reported that she also speaks German, French, Italian and Serbo-Croatian.

silly me. I thought she could "barely speak English" and now it turns out she speaks five languages.

and I see the Democrats abroad have organized anti Trump demonstrations... they send me emails all the time on how I have to join the resistance. The emails are really over the top: like they are fighting a crusade against the anti christ. Sheesh.

And who in the presidents entourage released the name of the UK bomber prematurely? The UK Police were keeping it secret until they could pick up his family, and this gave them a headsup...

They will blame Trumpie boy for doing this, but I wonder if it is lack of professionalism among those in his staff,  or a deliberate leak to undermine him.

meanwhile in the southern Philippines, the bad guys are killing civilians and the gov't is sending in tanks.

meanwhile, there was a bomb attack in Jakarta on Wednesday night using a pressure cooker bomb.

and yes, we had an earthquake near here. No I didn't feel it, but the dogs did and woke me up with their barking.

and Duterte made nice and signed some deals with Russia.

Stories below the fold

Migrant Rights has a story on how women are duped into virtual slavery by fake recruiters. and then sent to another country where their families and the embassy doesn't know where they are (so their rights can't be protected).
It’s easy for agents to illegally arrange tourist visas to the UAE for Indian women. Once in the UAE, the agents shelter the women while procuring a job for them in another Gulf country, before their UAE visa expires. The women aren’t stopped from entering other GCC countries as long as they have a job visa. In this process, embassy procedures are circumvented. Women enter another country without the knowledge of their home country embassy, and outside the terms of the MoUs signed between origin and destination countries. 

 The woman in the story is from India, but we have similar problems with recruiters here.

There are quite a few illegal workers in the middle east, but the problem is actually world wide. Poverty means you would rather work for 200 dollars a month (even though your recruiter guaranteed 400 dollars as in the case above) because at home you wouldn't make that much.

In the USA, often illegal migrants work as maids and similarly can be underpaid and overworked...
no one pays workermans' comp, social security, health insurance either. Getting immigration under control is one way to stop this.

of course, even legal maids might not be paid benefits: I remember my mom, who did sewing for a rich lady, helped the lady''s maid from the Dominican Republic to sign up and pay for her own social security .

Of course, we don't pay our own cook a good salary: nor have we paid her social security: this wasn't common when we moved here...instead, Lolo paid the tuition for her youngest son to go to college, and figured he would support his mom in her old age. Alas, he just died of a heart attack...Sigh. But I have started to pay the Social security for our maid, a single parent with only one child.


Library of Congress lecture on post traumatic stress syndrome in Veterans.

Library of Congress has a lecture on King Tut


Hypnosis, mindfulness, and the brain

Lots of stuff about "mindfulness" as a magic cure, but it's just hypnosis lite.

I took a hypnosis course with Dr. Spiegel Pere, but here is a lecture by his son and coworker about hypnosis...

I haven't watched the talk yet, but the blurb says:

Hypnosis is a specific form of brain activity that involves highly focused attention, coupled with dissociation, openness to suggestion, and an enhanced ability to modulate perception. 
I haven't watched the talk, but in the course I took we learned that not eveyone can be hypnotized: It has a neurological basis. And that part about "openness to suggestion" is a two edged sword: It can help you control pain, but it also means you can be open to bad suggestions. And this ability is hard wired. You can be taught to use your ability, but nevertheless how deep you can be hypnotized depends on your brain.

the hypnotic state involves reduced activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, a key part of the salience network, increased functional connectivity between the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a key part of the executive control network, and the insula, which processes mind-body control and pain, and inverse connectivity between the DLPFC and the default mode network, which processes self-reflection. The hypnotic ability to focus attention and modulate perception has clear clinical application, especially in pain and anxiety control.

. And the deep concentration state is similar to tose doing art or music, the Jesus prayer, TM, or watching a movie in a dark theatre...and is probably the basis for faith healing and placebo effect in medicine.

Did I ever tell you about a Nigerian psychiatrist who as a young doc worked in that country's civil war? When they ran out of morphine and anesthetics, he hypnotized them. I asked if he learned this in medical school, and he said no: He learned how to do this from his grandmother, a native healer...


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Before there was Wonder Woman: the Amazon myth

Yemen: bad guys vs worse guys

President Obama was trying his best to be a friend to Iran, but one thing he did that infuriated his "friends" in the knee jerk European left was to back the Saudis and approve of airstrikes against the Yemeni Houthi rebels.

Here is the PC meme from DW:
Instead, Trump chose to feed the Saudis' exaggerated fears about Iran's influence in the region. He explicitly gave his approval for Saudi Arabia's murderous military intervention in Yemen as an important part in the war on terror. If he is really serious about wanting "Muslim boys and girls to grow up free from fear and safe from violence" then he should have asked his hosts to end the Yemen conflict.
Reality check: The Persian/Arab wars predate Islam... and while Iranian backed Assad regime is bad, it has pretty well been realized that the ISIS takeover of the rebels in Syria would be a lot worse.

In contrast, the Houthi, who are helped by Iran, are in some ways as bad as ISIS... maybe worse, because there isn't a lot of reports coming from there, and the westeern press swallows the Iranian anti Saudi/anti western agiprop without bothering to check what is reported by people who actually have people working there.

the UNFPA page has lots of article about how women are suffering and how rights for women have gotten worse especially in Houthi areas.

more here

why does this count? Because the social media can be manpupated with photo ops of "drone/bomb" strikes, but when women die in childbirth or children die of malnutrition, they die quietly.

This Human Rights Watch report starts with the evil saudi part (summary: Bombing the bad guys and killing nearby civilians accidentally is evil), but if you read down you find they didn't start the atrocities: The Houthi atrocities were up front and personal.

Child soldiers? Check. Terror attacks against civilians? Check. Stopping protests? Check. Jailing political enemies? Check. Using landmines in civilian areas? Check

more here.

and most importantly: The lack of civil rights for women. 

In 2011, Yemeni women took the streets to participate in the revolution. Many of them were subjected to defamatory campaigns, which culminated in Saleh's April 2011 speech in which he banned gender-mixing in the demonstration arenas....
Although Islah seems to have been harsh about women’s issues, Houthis are much worse. They are not obsessed with imposing gender segregation, but they obstruct female movement by forcing women to return to their homes before the sunset. All Yemeni political forces are similar in their targeting of women. The victims of Islah are now suffering the same fate at the hands of the Houthis, but with greater harassment and fear given the absence of any accountability for such acts.

Read more:

2014 Reuters article on Houthi oppression against women.

Strategypage on the history and culture of that ancient culture.
this article is about the problem in getting in food to feed their civilian population. Corruption is a big problem.

The rebels are accused of expelling UN personnel needed to inspect aid shipments and the government claims the rebels have been seizing aid shipments and preventing UN personnel from verifying that the aid is going to civilians...

This article notes the Iranian connection, and how they manipulate the press:

summary: President Obama was called a murderer by the "anti war" left for helping the Saudis by using drones (which are more accurate than regular bombings, i.e. fewer nearby casualties).

But now everyone is waiting to see what the new president does.

Trump's visit making nice with the Saudis mean two things; One, the Saudi side (the less bad side) will probably win.

And two: The anti war left will, with Iran's help, be able to smear Trump as a baby killer for doing the same thing as President Obama, but now will actually get lots of press coverage for this in the anti Trump press.

T Rex Quote of the day

Appearing from Riyadh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Secretary Tillerson fielded a slightly offbeat question...
 Wallace commented, “you looked pretty good while you were doing it – frankly, more comfortable than the President or Commerce Secretary Ross. Had you been practicing, sir?”
Tillerson responded: “Well, I hadn’t been practicing, Chris, but it was not my first sword dance.”

from Powerline:

Wikipedia on the dance:

The term 'ardah' is thought to derive from the Arabic verb ard meaning 'to show' or 'to parade'. It was so named because its purpose was to publicly display the fighting strength of a tribe and boost morale before an armed engagement.

and this article notes that Prince Charles also participated in the ceremony on one of his visits.

Toxic facebook

According the the UKGuardian, 54 thousand cases of revenge porn/extortion were removed in one month.

a discussion of how they monitor censor stuff there.

The real problem is riducule/harassment.

My sister in law won't go there after her daughter and the daughter's high school skating teem was harassed. And Ruby gets teased all the time for being a Christian.

Some teenagers are on it all the time, and they are vulnerable to bullies.

and there is no way to stop that.

Teenagers are sensitive to these things, and it may be one of the reasons that teenaged suicide is up.

and yes I use facebbook to check on my relatives, but I only check it once or twice a day.

In contrast, the kids are on their cellphones texting to various sites all the time...

Family news

Ruby and Joy and the cousins are in Korea enjoying the sites. They are staying with Robin's son who just moved there. They intend to shop and to visit the K-Drama studios. The Korean dramas (serials or what we used to all soap operas) are big in Asia, and most of them are G or PG rated.

Here at home, things are quiet: The puppies are starting to wander all over the place, so you have to watch your step.

They "accidentally" took my Samsung recharger with them to Korea for their cellphones so I can't use my tablet:  I am stuck reading the books I brought with me or surfing on my large clunky computer.

For later reading

For later reading: Futurist Jerry Pournelle (libertarian) discusses the long career of James Comey.

The Pope reportedly gave Trumpieboy a copy of the green encyclical.

He gave Trump three bound papal documents that he has written that to some degree define his papacy and priorities. One focuses on the environment, demanding an end to a “structurally perverse” economic system that has turned Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” 
so let's go back to famines and living a green lifestyle in huts?

Maybe Trumpie boy should have given the pope a copy of the encyclical Centesimus Annus, about capitalism and freedom...

no, I am anti pollution, and one of the problems of prosperity is the loss of local valuable farm lands to industrial growth.

In Nueva Ecija, about 25 percent of rice and vegetable farms had been turned into commercial areas, depriving farmers of means of livelihood.

-but it ignores that many many locals have left the area to find jobs in Manila or as OFW due to lack of jobs here, and because farming means staying poor...

a lot of rice is lost due to primitive farming techniques... even our rice crop profit was harmed again this year because our rice drier went on the blink again and it's too wet to dry it the usual way (spread it on the ground in the hot sun).

and I won't even list the numerous scams that divert help for farmers into the pockets of the politicians. link..

and last time I looked, there was a lot of stuff in the Bible about people who defraud the poor.Maybe the Pope whould tweet about that a bit more.

A lot of the corrupt politicians in the Philippines are good Catholics (/s).

also for later reading:
NYtimes on the health care kerfuffle.

No matter how good the plan, we will read how Republicans hate poor people and want to kill them.

As for paying I don't have an opinion. I worked for the IHS, so am leery of single payer plans, but hey, they are better than profit oriented HMO's or having people go to the ER for free care because that is the only place that can't legally turn them away if they aren't insured.

The problem is the paperwork, (lots of money going to non caregivers inflate the cost of medicine) and the second problem is making guidelines replace clinical judgement. (you spend so much time documenting negative trivia that you don't have time to talk to the patient).

The fake news of Trumpie's trip include complaints his wife didn't wear a veil in Saudi, but did wear a mantilla when she saw the pope.

NPR discusses the nuances of head coverings here.

Summary: It's complicated.

Actually, as a doc, I think she should have worn a hat in Saudi for sun protection, not for political reasons, a

And the Pope blessed her rosary says one story. Huh? Yes, she is a Roman Catholic according to Wikipedia, but of course she is married and attends the local Episcopal church with her husband.

That should make the trad/catholics go into a hissy fit.

Philippines in the news: oh Duterte is winning, so expect the story to fade.

Philippine city back in government control.

and the gov't is claiming that the usual idiots used the social media to spread lies:

“The news being circulated by these terrorists and their sympathizers are spurious and are meant to spread lies and disinformation,” Arevalo said. “It is propaganda to attract foreign terrorists’ support and recognition,” he added Arevalo also said that the reported ‘eyewitness account’ that Amai Pakpak Hospital has been occupied and the people there were held hostage is also untrue. The Marawi City Hall, he said, was also not occupied as was earlier reported.
the main scandal here is not the attack, but that the government wasn't aware of their plans. The backstory: The MILF and others trying to make peace are now in trouble for keeping quiet (although one must add that they probably have relatives in the group, so family trumps politics).

This is in contrast to the attack in London, or some of the attacks in the USA, where friends and/or family members had reported the bozos as dangerous, but they were cleared because of pressure of political correctness.

I was watching TV, and even the usual opposition people are muted in their replies. LINK

thisis because some of these groups have imported bomb makers...and they could attack Manila.

We live with this: but actually we are more in danger from political feuds and drug addled criminals. The NPA is around, but quiet, except for when some of them morph to kidnap, kill or steal to get money. (for example, the hit on our nephew was ordered via the ex mayor, but the hit men were ex NPA).

part of the fall out: Pressure on the communists/NPA, who could be caught in the middle where martial law is declared.

They are fading out, and are in negotiations with the president, but this could be their death knell if more jobs and less corruption result.

But their "leaders" living in luxury in Europe are calling for war.

“The necessity of waging revolutionary armed struggle becomes ever clearer. Thus, the New People’s Army (NPA) must be ready to accelerate the recruitment of new Red fighters as Duterte’s martial law convinces more and more people to take up arms against the rotten system,” the CPP statement read.

sounds like they are reading the MSM instead of asking the opinion of the locals. And as the article points out, they don't exactly control the "boots on the ground"...

StragegyPage take on what's going on here:

 The security forces had been receiving a lot more tips about Abu Sayyaf activity this year and several them led to a building in Marawi City where the wounded (in a recent battle) Hapilon was recuperating. The military underestimated the number of gunmen (not all of them Abu Sayyaf) available in the city to protect Hapilon. The mid-day raid soon escalated to a larger battle involving hundreds of troops and at least fifty gunmen trying to protect Hapilon. They did this by calling in more gunmen and attacking multiple targets in the city, including city hall, a Catholic church (that was burned down) and a university campus. By nightfall the electricity was cut to most of the city and the Islamic terrorists had taken over a dozen civilians hostage. This appears to be a typical ISIL suicidal last stand. Abu Sayyaf and the other Islamic terror groups have taken heavy losses over the last year, both in terms of manpower, public support and, most importantly cash flow. Even religious fanatics have expenses and these have increased for Abu Sayyaf while income declined. It was time for a bold and desperate move.

And, yes, there is a connection between this and the drug war here:

President Duterte ran Davao City for two decades so he is familiar with the region. Mindanao is also where most of the Moslems live and long a center of criminal activity like the drug trade and smuggling.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Holy Underware

I was watching Braveheart yesterday (one of the dvd's I brought with me but hadn't watched for awhile)

And yes, they showed what was worn underneath the kilt when at one point they "mooned" the British.

but Jamie wears a long shirt under his quilt

ah but what about Clare?

if you remember, she was wearing a 1947 dress, but the locals thought she was only in a shift.

and there is a scene where she puts on the shift and bustle and corset under her costume.

Lots of stuff went undernearth the dress, and this is how you would have to make them.


more about18th century "unmentionables" at East of the sun Blog, via Tea at Trianon.

one of the things that is not well known is that pockets were not part of the skirt/dress back then, but were separate, which of course allowed them to be much larger than the small ones we see now.

3. Pockets A pocket (or a pair of them) was tied around the waist since actual pockets stitched to the garments didn’t happen until the 19th century. They could be of plain linen or be beautifully embroidered (even though no one would see them) and have a rather big size since they should hold all the necessities of a woman (think about all a girl would carry in her purse nowadays).

Another Loser attack in Mindanao

Dilbert says Trump has relabeled ISIS as "Loser" or "evil loser" and suggests that this was a smart move, since putting that label in to the headlines will discourage the lost boys who want to see themselves as valiant warriors that terrify people will now get the "you evil loser" meme reinforced.

So now the loser group that bombed the innocent folks at the Davao market have been losing to the Philippine military, so decided to try to take over a local city run by Muslims under modified sharia law.

I should note that usually the evil losers only hit Christian villages, or majority Christian cities like Zamboanga,but the press outside the Philippines usually assumes everyone in Mindanao is a Muslim, so misses the religious angle, and the government is loathe to correct the impression, for fear that local militias might start fighting back, as they did when populist Erap was president... which led to a lot of payback murders (similar to the private vigilante payback murders of druggies and drug pushers that is blamed on Duterte now).

The story of what is actually going on can be found in this Inquirer story which notes that this was a response to a raid on their headquarters that wounded their bigshot head. So the bad guys decided hey, let's do an offensive, but instead of attacking Christian enclaves or majority cities like their compadres did in the past, they decided to hit one of their own cities, presumably where they won't get a lot of opposition.

The Maute group is one of less than a dozen new armed Muslim groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and formed a loose alliance in the southern Philippines in recent years. 
Hapilon was reportedly designated the leader of the alliance. The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte’s hometown, last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offences.

this is in contrast to the AP/UKMail breathless report.  Yes, it points out that they are bad guys, but hey, they are written up in most US news papers as glamourous bad guys, and the attack is in response to the fact that they are getting their asses kicked in recent months, so they need a nice glamours healine

. The local autonomous (Muslim) governments are being asked to intervene for peace here... 

Senior members of the ARMM’s peace and order council are now consolidating plans, via an online teleconference system, on how to respond to the situation in Marawi City.
“These acts of terror are happening in a historic predominantly Muslim city. People sowing terror and says it is being done in the name of Islam should be ashamed of what they are doing,” Hataman said

so will locals get tired of these thugs, who have now turned on their own? No water, no electricity, in hot season? Developing...

the government is denying a full takeover so far (of course, no one trusts these reports either) but we heard Duterte is declaring martial law in the area, and hopefully this won't result in the fragmented and chaotic response that the gentle PNoy put up with when Zamboanga was attacked.

Duterte is flying back from Russia, where he was making nice with Putin, asking for aid and jobs, figuring that it won't have "human rights" strings attached to it... not just the drug killings: in the past US and EU aid came with strings that insisted on changing our laws to allow divorce and abortion to get aid, and now insisting we stop raiding drug cartel outposts and stop the vigilante killings.

For what it's worth, the congress here just passed a one year moratorium against impeachment proceedings against Duterte: Impeachment under the last two presidents was a game to get you face on TV and not really a serious game, but in Duterte's case, there was a suspicion of outside backers to the kerfufle, and the people are saying: Stop.

The gov't is discouraging social network posts by locals, knowing that these will be used as propaganda., both to glamourize the evil losers and to cry "HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS" against Duterte and the military.

Duterte was talking to Putin, asking for modern weapons. Didn't the US give him modern weapons under Obama? Well, Obama and a Hillary ally threatened Duterte last year, cutting aid, including military aid, in protest to drug killings that were exaggerated in the press (the same press that ignores the many more drug cartel related murders in Mexico), so he is not taking his chances with the PC in the US State Department.

oh yes: An d incase you are wondering why the increase in attacks all over the world, well, it's because Ramadan starts on May 26.

Here it means schools and banks are closed.... unlike the US, we don't have bigots objecting to religious holidays like Christma,s Easter, Ramadan and Eid...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rubber Duckie post of the day

A British village is protesting the failure to repair potholes by using rubber duckies.

HELEN WRIGHT More than hundred ducks floating in potholes in Oxfordshire village Steeple Aston.

or if that doesn't work try one of these rubber Duckies

Family ties, business ties, and Trump's business connections

The LATimes has a story about Trump's son in law and his friendship/business relationship with a Saudi prince.

Starting last winter, even before Trump took office, the two trusted family advisors quietly joined forces to mend U.S.-Saudi relations strained by President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which the Saudi rulers opposed, and his moralizing on human rights. which they disdained. The results were clear Saturday as President Trump arrived in Riyadh — the first stop in his first trip abroad. Kushner and Prince Mohammed kept a close eye on the president and the king during a long day of ceremonial and substantive events, including a roaring military flyover in an azure sky, a tribal war dance by men wearing flowing white thobes and waving huge silver swords, and the signing of a $110-billion arms deal, parts of which began under Obama.

A lot of the press sees Trumpie boy through the eyes of politics: they don't get his sarcasm and hyperbole (used to make a deal: as in bargaining at the Palenke for a better price, which is how business works here ) and isn't recognizing that he is working as a businessperson.

This is, of course, how business works in the Philippines: not just loud bargaining (no quiet negotiations) but conducting business via personal ties.

See Fukuyama's book Trust, which describes how capitalism requires trust, and describes two versions of it: Trust of family, or trust of those you know through intermediate institutions.

The first, seen in Asia/Arab coutries and most of the world, is that you trust only your relatives/ clan members or "compadres" (close friends). This is how Lolo thought. He only trusted family, or the family members of those who traditionally worked for our family as farmers, maids etc. who are considered part of the family here.

you can see the problem: how do you find a job when you don't know anyone? (Another problem: Petty theft. Since they are part of the family, often things they need and you don't seem to need disappears. Sigh.)

Here in the Philippines, it makes it harder for outsiders to get a business opportunity if you aren't part of the elite families, or aren't Chinese. (which is why our family went into medicine instead of business or politics).

the second way of influence: where intermediate institutions allow you to make connections.

This is what we see in the USA, but are starting to see here in the Evangelical churches, who help their members get jobs and where businessmen are able to have outside ties with other businessmen. You also see this in the Rotary Club, the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, etc.

The problem with either form of Trust, that it can lead to corruption, where you give "the good guy"a pass on a minor thing like taking bribes, because everyone does it and hey, he's a ____ (fill in the blanks: a fellow Mason/ member of my church, husband of my cousin, etc.)

This second line of trust, via institutions, has one advantage over family based trust: it allows outsiders to join the club.

But you still have outsiders, so there is a push to get ways for outsiders to have their own clubs etc. or deliberaatly encourage them in ways for them to make these valuable contacts.

That is what the various NGO's and UN's initiative for women (such as the World Bank's initiative for women entrepeneurs incorrectly called Ivanka's fund in recent news reports) is about: Getting business women into the loop. (and a lot of third world women a re in business, but at a low level e.g. street vendors).

Neither of these systems are "good or bad": Both are open to corruption, so government oversight is needed. However, this allows the unelected bureaucrats power, and soon regulations become a more important than reality.

But of course, in places like the Philippines, people don't pay attention to the law. A small "gift" will make the law go away. Which is a problem.

I knew things were improving in Colombia when a civil clerk refused my "gift" and lectured me about it.

In the Philippines we are, of course, in transition in all of this, but personal ties do matter,as we saw when a friend of Hillary who arranged for the UN to protest a graft case against a lovely ex president who was a classmate of Bill's.

So its nice to know that one of Duterte's friends is a friend of Eric.

In other words, personal ties matter in business, and in diplomacy.

I suspect a similar personal ties to the Arab world via Trump's and TRex's business connections. And he is using these connections to get things done.

This enables you to bypass the red tape and get on the phone to settle things.

Peace in our time? I'm not holding my breath, but at least they are talking.

On the other hand, this business way of doing things can backfire.

So when Trump notes to Comey that Flynn is a good guy (presumably Trump was hinting that a lot of the charges are an attempt by his enemies because he openly opposed their helping ISIS), it was just doing business as usual...  But taken out of context, it can be spun to seem otherwise.

On the other hand, no one except the dittoheads got upset when Bill Clinton talked about grandchildren with Loretta Lynch, and voila Hillary's corruption problems disappeared, hey no problem. She's a good guy who didn't mean to break the law, so give her a break.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Pirates hit Pirated windows users

StrategyPage discusses the latest cyber attack.

they note that evidence suggests the source was North Korea, but also note what I noted in an earlier post:
it hit China (and Russia) the hardest because lots of folks there use illegal Microsoft Windows programs.

 It did not make any sense for North Korea to unleash Wannacry because most of the victims were in the few countries (China and Russia) that still supported North Korea. These two countries were hard hit because both depend heavily on illegal copies of Windows and other software. Most users of the illegal Windows software don’t bother to pay for security and other software updates provided by other hackers who supply these updates for a fee. Microsoft will not upgrade illegal copies of its software. Worse, even though Microsoft regularly releases free updates via the Internet many users do not immediately apply those updates (because updates sometimes break something else).

you also can listen to the podcast here.

Factoid of the week

Not only does screen legend Leslie Caron play the reclusive countess in the British TV series The Durrells, but the show is a family affair:

Speaking to What’s on TV, Leslie explained why she loved the fact three generations of her family worked together on ITV’s hit Sunday night drama: “I’m absolutely thrilled. It was just so comfortable and pleasant to do scenes where my grandson (Ben Hall, who plays lovesick Donald) was acting… And my son (Christopher Hall) was the producer so I knew I couldn’t ask for any favouritism, and I didn’t! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

human trafficking

The press reported Trump's speech to the Coast Guard raduates as a "pity party" but if you actually watched it, it was a good speech, and the whining was only one line in a long speech.

. video here.

and,  you might have missed this part of the speech to the Coast Guard:

Just days from now, you will put this vital skill into the service of your ships, your sectors, and your country.  You’ll serve as deck watch officers on our amazing Coast Guard cutters. You’ll bring law and order to the dangerous waters as boating officers.  You will block illegal shipments of cash, weapons and drugs.  You will battle the scourge of human trafficking -- something that people haven’t been talking about.  One of the big, big plagues of the world.  Not our country only -- the world.  Human trafficking.  
luckily, Trumpie boy  tweeted about this. or we might have missed it completely.

and it's not just talk: Ivanka is on it (ignore the sneers and innuendos here too).

A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers joined Trump, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Heidi Heitkamp, as well as anti-human trafficking experts and leaders. Next week is "Combating Trafficking and Child Protection Week" in Congress, Trump said, and nine pieces of legislation will directly address the issue.

in between the snide remarks here, NYMagazine admits:

Unlike other issues she’s grappling with, such as promoting women in the workplace and designing a family-leave policy, the First Daughter appeared to have an actionable plan to introduce legislation that will address human trafficking. “We have been conducting interagency meetings to understand the scope of the issue, as well as gathering recommendations from the academic, public and private sector,” she said during the approximately three minutes that the press was allowed in the room. “Today, we bring an additional and critical group to the table, legislative leaders, to discuss concrete steps through legislation.”

I have read about a lot of small raids in the US in recent weeks (a big sting? A new priority? or ust putting the raids into the news, whereas no one noticed it before).

Ah, but there was a big raid on a horrid internet child porn den here last week. The Austrailians were behind the raid, cooperating with local cops.

Why is this significant? Becauses criminals here in the Philippines traditionally pay off the cops. Now with Duterte, not so much.

Both thse guys are not good politicians, but both are pragmatic leaders who get things done.

so why does every news article include self righteous press negative opinions using memes taken out of contest that have nothing to do with the story being reported? Or memes that ignore the real story (e.g.  the "Russia stole the lection for trump" meme ignores that Wikileaks was about Hillary's dirty tricks and corruption, including stealing the primaries from Bernie...I'm old enouh to remember when reporters won pulitzer prizes for these types of stories.)

Question: Why did Seth Rich go to Wikileaks about the dirty tricks instead of the WaPost? Anyone? Anyone?

But the press takes one remark (or sometimes one paraphrase of a remark out of context) and uses it to smear them.

reading te press, one would think Trumpie has been sitting around whining.
But Dilbert has a list of what he actually has done:

Things That Are Positive The economy Trade deals China relations Russia (our frenemy) is working with the U.S. on Syria, North Korea China is putting pressure on North Korea Jobs Healthcare progress (more to do) Supreme Court nominee confirmed Tax reform maybe Optimism for an Israeli-Palestinian “deal” Safe Zones coming along for Syrian refugees Illegal immigration down over 70% because of Trump’s persuasion alone. Business confidence high.
he's done a lot for a man we keep hearing is "unfit to be president".

Just saying...

Do You speak dog?

LATimes story says a lot of owners do understand what their dogs are trying to say

Yes humans really do understand their dogs — at least some of the time. Pet owners and women were particularly good at interpreting growls, a new study finds. (Steven Senne / AP) 
 my vet has this poster on her wall:

or maybe not:

Stories below the fold

C SPAN hwill be remembering Army nurses.



Evidence shows humans were in Australia 42 thousand years ago.


Dan Carlin's R rated "Hard core" history podcasts can now be found on youtube.

This one is about Xerxes, the bad guy of 300 fame, plus a lot more.


Chibok irls reunited with their families.

but alas a lot more children remain in captivity.


King John and the Magna Carta

and this article is about his mom, Queen Eleanor.


China's new silk road propaganda machine is running full tilt.


the next fossile fuel: Methane ice?

uh oh:

The potential threat is that methane can escape, which would have serious consequences for global warming. It is a gas that has a much higher potential to impact climate change than carbon dioxide.
So the trick is to extract the gas without any of it slipping out.

reversing net neutrality rules.

I don't know enough about this to have an opinion.


Podcast of the week

Secret fire podcast: An evangelical take on Tolkien and other geeky subjects.

Older podcasts at internet archives. (there is a torrent link there for easy download).

Musical interlude of the day

one of my favorites: I have the CD of this:

Heartwarming story of the day

from Plough.

caring for a special needs child

Every morning, we were simply thankful that he was alive. Without an intuition that Matthew’s precious life had a spiritual purpose, the daily letting go of the boy I had come to know and love might have seemed impossible. Through Matthew, surrender to the natural ebb and flow of life was written into our hearts. We felt privileged to be the ones closest to him because he transformed us from people who were merely living to people who were living with purpose.

Someone recently asked me, “Why did you waste a year and a half fostering that boy when you could have been making a difference by fostering a healthy child?” Although a well-meaning question coming from an individual with a deep love for God, it stung me profoundly. Have we forgotten that we, as human beings, are called to do more than just live healthy and successful lives? Have we forgotten that we are called to do more than simply nourish our bodies? Have we forgotten that we are called to give, that we are called to community? Have we, as a culture, given up on the intrinsic value of each human life?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stories below the fold

Slaves in the US? Yes, the Filipina maid who isn't paid.

as Freepers comment: No, this is alas common, in Saudi, Dubai and Hong Kong. And it wasn't uncommon in the US in the past. The reason? Poverty.

As my husband remarked: You are not poor as long as you have enough rice to eat.

lots of stuff about the mistreatment of foreign workers at Migrant


The hype about Trump "colluding with the Russians" is over the top...

 wasn't the "hacking of the election" the release of information about Hillary's corruption and her dirty tricks used to steal the primaries from Bernie? 

and if Wikileaks is Russian and a threat, then why was Pvt Manning released from jail, (oh look at her new hairstyle, poor dear!) and why are the charges against Julian Assange getting dropped?

Spengler calls it a bloodless coup.

and other people are even more blunt.

I mean, when you lose "TeaAtTrianon", you have a problem. Of course, MariaElenaVidal wrote a biography of Marie Antoinette and how the revolutionaries smeared the queen to overthrow the government. And we all know how that revolution turned out...

 "Oh NO All the Trumpies are Russian Spies converting to the Russian Orthodox church 

apparently none of those fact checkers at Time Magazine recognize St Basil's cathedral.


Suicide on the Indian Reservaation.

Sigh. Yes. A good post of that terrible problem.

IHS page on prevention of suicide on Indian reservations.

Despite the strengths of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families and communities, suicide remains a devastating and all too frequent event. Complex, interrelated factors contribute to an increased suicide risk among AI/AN people and include mental health disorders, substance abuse, intergenerational trauma, and community-wide issues. Factors that protect AI/AN youth and young adults against suicidal behavior are a sense of belonging to one's culture, a strong tribal/spiritual bond, the opportunity to discuss problems with family or friends...

this article discusses the problem in Canada.


Inter racial marriage statistics: One in six couples married today, and one in ten of total marriages in the USA.

Yup. Been there, done that.

(headsup Instapundit)


there is a kerfuffle about some beauty queen who said no, health care is not a right.

Actually, that is a fake argument Health care is a responsibility of the family to help out, and if one is poor, then the responsibility falls to local churches/charities and the local community to provide it.

Before efficient HMO's took over, we docs just wrote off a lot of our unpaid bills, and often we supplied medicines (samples or meds we bought to stock our office) for our patients.

Yes I believe the government should supply free medicine for those who can't afford it, which is why I worked for the IHS...but the serious problem of medical rationing is never quite addressed.


and the art article of the day:: artists makes Rambrant SMILE
familOlly Gibbs, 27, from London, decided to use an app on his phone to change the expressions on 'miserable' Dutch portraits and make them happier (pictured, Rembrandt's self portrait before and after its transformation) 


Friday, May 19, 2017

Important stories below the fold

Why is there a global shortage of Penicillin?

AlJ has a very long and fact filled article that discusses not only the diseases affected, but the problems in modern day pharmacutical businesses

They are actually talking about the long acting shot here:  you can give the long acting shot in the third world (which means you don't have to worry if they take all their pills).

It is commonly used to treat syphilis (including congenital syphilis), strep throat (with it's complication of Rheumatic fever.

Problem: it's on "old" drug so not a lot of profit, and there has been a problem with some Chinese companies who make it... and India is underpriced by the Chinese companies so isn't making a lot of the drug.

The article also discusses the failure of drug companies to develop newer antibiotics.


Also from AlJ: The Ebola outbreak in the Congo


from PhysOrg: Can CRISPR save the world?

Only if you allow it to. It is a way to edit genes, as in GM food...

and the aim is to make plants resistant to fungus and other pests. They discuss wheat, and potatoes.

 but actually the big problem right now is Bananas: All bananas have a narrow genone: they don't produce seeds, you have to grow them from another plant...
and much of those produced for export are monoculture.

. In the first world, they are a fruit, no problem, but in parts of Africa and Asia they are a major source of calories.


I'll have to read up on the latest cyberattack, but I find this interesting:from GlobalVoices: China's computers are involved: half of the affected computers are in China.

Part of the blame is that  students are playing games on the university computers.

but there is also this: A lot of computers there (and in the Philippines for that matter) use pirated versions of windows. Here, you have to watch it when you buy a computer: Often the Windows or other programs you bought look fine, but then you find you can't load upgrades, or you get a notice that you have to buy a real version of the software, which of course is often ignored by people.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stuff below the fold

latest masterpiece theatre show worth watching:

however, the book has a lot more about animals, which in the TV series is more about the people.

book here.

Huge political demonstration shuts down bridge and hiway in Chicago, gets in the headlines.

nah, it's only the Catholics praying for peace and remembering Fatima, so you won't read about it. Via FatherZ.


Austin Bay discusses the art of the deal in North Korea.

via StrategyPage:

Good news of the day: Colombia is prospering.

The bad news of the day: Venezuela is collapsing.

my son just finished a long visit to Colombia with his new (Mexican/American wife).


tips on interpreting the fake news hype of the day.

actually, that is advice on how to handle terrorist events. but given the number of stories that are being hyped and retracted, it is a good way to read the ordinary MSM who are coordinating with Hillary's minions to overthrow the president.

headsup EdDriscoll at Instapundit, related item:

NICK GILLESPIE: All This Impeachment Talk Is Pure Trump Derangement Syndrome. “For god’s sake, they wanted him impeached even before he was the Republican nominee.”
The Russian story was concocted by Hillary  and so Muller will face the music if he doesn't go along with the predetermined meme...

Seth Miller, call your office...

update: Dilbert's take:

If you can sit passively while watching the Opposition Media turn “hope” into “asked Comey to end the investigation,” you are part of the slow assassination of President Trump. And you are also part of the slow assassination of the next president, and the next. If Trump goes down from leaks, Mutually Assured Destruction kicks in automatically.


Sigh.... Tornado alley has these all the time.
One dead in Oklahoma.


Family news

Court hearing about Lolo's will probate postponed again until June.

No problem. We still get the profit from the rice etc because most of his land etc was dual ownership.

Ruby and Joy will be going with the cousins for a short vacation in Korea at the end of the month.

And w found Robin's son just moved there working for the military, so got in touch with him. They might shack up in his apartment to save money.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

other news below the fold

Philippines will send workers to Beijing, and is willing to negotiate about the West Philippine sea. 
Remember, Obama refused to help the Philippines and told them to take it to court instead of stopping the islands being built... and now only a shooting war will get them out.

Seth Rich's death finally made it into the news.  Now some are reporting he was scheduled to testify to the FBI the next day. Uh, wonder if Mr Comey sat on that story for a year.

I seem to remember there was another guy "accidentally killed" the day before he was scheduled to testify last year.

and then there is the conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton fired the head of the FBI the day before Vince Foster committed suicide.

Place conspiracy theory here.


Iran is holding an election. AlJ report here.

"The nation", however, is not a monolithic entity. It is a dialectical proposition. It is gendered, classed, racialised and ethnicised. One should never mistake the rhetorics and politics of bourgeois nationalism for the dynamic effervescence of the layered consciousness of the nation at large.
Rouhani is a globalist neoliberal par excellence - the Hillary Clinton and Emmanuel Macron of the US and France put together. Building on the nuclear deal he made with 5+1, he can open the Iranian market to foreign investment, strengthen the middle class, reduce the rate of unemployment, categorically disregard the impoverished segments of the society, and preserve the ideological foundation of the Islamic Republic at one and the same time.
His opponents from Raisi to Qalibaf are obscurantist, nativist charlatans. Just like Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump, they sing the song of the poor as they single-handedly collect the riches of the status quo.
Corrupt charlatan or corrupt lying establishment candidate? They compare the election to the US's election, except of course that the Mullahs are the puppet masters, not Goldman Sachs/Soros/the Illuminati etc. (/Sarcasm)


The WAGD story of the day: Ebola is back.