Monday, October 30, 2017

Family news

Here in the provinces, we don't really celebrate Haloween. But 'Undas", AKA All Saints Day shuts the country down. (Nov 1).

Everyone goes home to visit the graves of their loved ones: they clean the grave up, place flowers and candles, and then stay awhile to chat with relatives, pray, and eat a snack.

I sent the maid to clean up Lolo's grave and Joy and I will buy flowers and go there tomorrow: hopefully it will not be too hot or too crowded.


News you can use

Worried if an EMP or solar flare hits that your car won't work?

StrategyPage says: Buy a Hummer.

why? it lacks a lot of the fancy electronics that make it hard to fix, and this also means no electronics for the EMP/Solar flare to fry.

and a lot more stuff about EMP survival at the link, including the bad news: You don't need an atomic bomb to get an EMP.


How to kill a medieval Zombie.

chop it up and burn the pieces.


Monsters are not real, you know.

But maybe they are.

Writing in the New York Times, Bret Stephens takes aim at the curious mix of indulgence, amnesia and ignorance that envelops the subject of Communism. 

How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the [genocidal Ukrainian] famine [of 1932/33]?
 What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?
why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines?
Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press?
Do the same people who rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?
youtube has the audiobook of the Gulag Archipeligo.

and only a lecture on the "catastrophe" of Mao's Great Famine.

Well it is WGBH after all: Can't call it genocide or mass murder in left wing Cambridge.

the article in the NYTimes hinted that since the Nazis were racial bigots, it was worse.

Tell that to the Tartars and other ethnic groups deported to Siberia, or the Ukrainians who were starved into submission.

I saw an article about the Ukrainian nationalists demonstrating last week... essentially celebrating those who joined the Nazis in WWII... but they did so because of the famine, and to a lot of people who saw the atrocities of Stalin close at hand, the theoretical evil of the Nazis was the better choice. Sigh.

and the persecution of the churches is also a blank page for historians.... which is ironic, since it was the churches that essentially caused the peaceful downfall of Russian communism.

Another non PC story.

when I was in college, the famine of the "Great Leap Forward" was going on and some of the kids would quote Mao's propaganda about how ordinary people could grow supercrops or how "barefoot doctors" with three months training could heal people by reading Mao's little red book...

UKGuardian story of how the evidence of the atrocity was ignored and is still under reported in China. But what is the excuse for it's lack of coverage in the west?

and we still here (mainly British) intellectuals who scoff at the "cold war" as if it were just an argument between two equally evil opponents.

Only Reagan was non PC enough to call it what it was" An evil empire.

But we Catholics knew from other sources about the starvation and atrocities that were happening, but we were ignored.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

NETFLIX vs Hollywood

I haven't seen these films, but the big films being pushed is another "the world is ending from global warming (and bad you are the reason why)" film. Or a film about the badness of suburban life with a race card put into it.

In other words, both sound like propaganda, with pretty faces.

So what should you watch? Stranger Things is back on Netflix.

more HERE.

in that universe, we have good guys and bad guys, lots of references to Tolkien and DandD, and a character who reads Anne of Green Gables to his surrogate daughter, the same book he used to read to his own daughter before she died of cancer.


The government using "Eleven" is the evil side of government, but the sheriff is the good side.

Speaking of Tolkien

The Two Towers was on the local channel a couple days ago, and when I was channel surfing I came across this scene.:

The background is that the villages in the Westfold were being  attacked by raiders, and his son went with his men to fight the raiders, and was killed.

Sort of like how the US military was in Niger helping the locals defend themselves from the raiders who are attacking local villages.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Corruption? Moi?

I was checking about the news on ALJ and found that Iceland is having an election. 

Ho hum..

But then I read this:

Why is this election important? In a word - corruption. Iceland is holding parliamentary elections for the second time in just under a year after the government collapsed in September, following a scandal by the governing Independence Party. This follows close on the heels of the collapse of the government a year prior in 2016 when Iceland's then Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson of the Progressive Party, was the first political casualty from the fallout of the Panama Papers after it was revealed that he had been keeping a secret offshore bank account.
so even Iceland is corrupt? Who wudda thot?

or maybe they just are honest enough to get rid of the politicians who were found to be corrupt...

In contrast, the PM of Pakistan got away with his account there due to lack of evidence.

Miami Herald April 2016 article: Hillary was not named, but a lot of her friends and associates were listed. LINK

Bernie pointed out how Hillary supported policies that allowed such banks, although she was not named according to the writer. quipped (again April 2016)

if I were handling PR for the Bernie Sanders campaign, I'd be shouting the news from the Green Mountain-tops. They return showed that Sanders and Jane, his wife, earned $205,271 -- a comfortable enough living for a man who couldn't afford the rent 40 years ago but then clawed his way to the United States Senate.
In other words, Sanders made less for a year of exhausting work on Capitol Hill than his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, earned from ONE SPEECH that she delivered to the massive vampire squid of global capitalism, Goldman Sachs, which paid her a cool $225,000 for a 45-minute job of a speech, a fee that was paid to the once and would-be future White House resident on three separate occasions. (Because, as Hillary shrugged in a 2015 debate, "that's what they offered.")
of course, the irony is that Clinton is given a pass,whereas the public figures Trumpieboy is an ordinary corrupt businessman. and a lot of the companies that use his name actually have nothing to do with him, except for paying him to use his name.

The Republican presidential candidate has disclosed that he has 515 companies, with 378 registered in Delaware, he said last week while campaigning.
ah yes: Delaware. the best kept secret in American business.

...mention the second smallest US state to corruption fighters, and they’ll tell you of a very different Delaware: a place where extreme corporate secrecy enables corrupt people, shady companies, drug traffickers, embezzlers and fraudsters to cover their tracks when shifting dirty money from one place to another.
It’s a haven for transnational crime. Low taxes, the state’s business-friendly laws and a sophisticated court system for hearing business disputes draw thousands of brand-name corporations to Delaware. In fact, nearly 65 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated there, making it the state with more corporations registered within its borders than people. In many cases, firms flock there for legitimate business reasons – but not everyone is squeaky clean.
Say it isn't so, Joe...

In the Philippines, a list of politicians involved in this would take up too much space. There is even talk of Duterte (Mr Clean) hiding millions somewhere. (which he claimed that he "inherited) including claims his son made lots of money from drug shipments.

so what else is new? So where did his family get all that money? Real Estate. They sold their inherited land and cut a lot of trees down.

I have some problems on those who inherit money and even less money from those who get money from building up a business, but even there you have to be smart to make money and you are enabling ordinary folks to get a job.

In contrast, the politicians tend to be parasites and discourage business.

And we know the Marcos money wasn't stolen from poor Filipinos, but was Yamashita's gold.

we can't even solve the Bangladsh casino heist.

in more recent news, a car bomb killed a blogger who was covering the scandal, in Malta...

so killing journalists spilling the beans is not limited to third world countries like the Philippines or Pakistan any more.

Emperor Xi takes over

StrategyPage has a long article on what's going on in China.

Read the whole thing. Corruption is still a major problem, but Xi is pushing the monolithic solution. And the Chinese cyberpirates are lauded, not arrested (which is why the obedient Obama administration didn't make a fuss when our OPM personnel files were hacked I guess: he knew it wasn't criminals but their gov't).

But what about the demographic problems of the future?

they also have stuff about North Korea in there.

and stuff about their big brother spying on everyone trends. Part of this is because their ethnic Muslims who fought with ISIS are due to return and cause problems, but it will extend to everyone eventually. And this article says China is helping Burma fight the Rohingya because that group has a small group of jihadi types spreading violence there.

Finally they bring us up.

South China Sea China appears to have succeeded in buying cooperation from the Philippines. The Filipino government is willing to accept all the legal gifts (aid, investment, loans) China offers in return for not resisting Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Filipino president Duterte pointed out earlier in 2017 that China threatened war if the Philippines went ahead with plans to drill for oil in offshore areas that international law recognizes as Filipino but that China claims actually belongs to them. Duterte openly criticizes other nations for not confronting China and sees no point in the Philippines trying to take on China by itself.

Again, Obama could have stopped them when they started digging up the sea floor to build artificial islands, but he didn't, and he pressured the Philippines not to do so. As a result, nothing short of a shooting war will get them out, and Duterte figures cynically to try to accept bribes and try to keep them happy.

a bit of history here:

While the Chinese see this continued resistance by many Filipinos as something that can be fixed by increasing the goodies offered and threats made, most Filipinos see China as yet another conqueror, not much different from the Spanish or the Japanese. The Americans threw the Spanish out in 1898 but soon agreed to get out themselves and did so right after World War II, a year late because of the Japanese occupation. The Filipinos remember that and are certain that the Chinese would behave much like the Japanese (as in brutally and with no intention to leave voluntarily).
that is the opinion of the average Filipino: The elite families managed to stay rich by helping the Spanish, the Americans, and the Japanese, whereas our area (and Lolo's family) fought all three invaders. The cooperation of the elite families here with the Japanese occupiers is hush hush, and rarely mentioned...

With all the "Russian" stuff in the news (especially the Uranium bribery via the Clinton Foundation), I wonder if China got away with stuff because of their economic power/threats, or because they too managed to bribe the Democrats via the Clinton Foundation  pressure that administration to let them get away with this stuff.

But a quick google shows that the gifts were from Wang, who is in trouble over corruption with Xi, so maybe not.

Dilbert explains bit coins (or big tech taking over the world)


Today might be one of the biggest days of my life, and it will be impossible to explain why that is so unless you know at least a little bit about blockchain, dAPPS, cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, and the legal distinction between a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) and an ICO. If those words look unfamiliar, one of the biggest technical revolutions the world has ever known is sneaking up on you.
The folks in Silicon Valley – who live about three years in the future compared to the rest of the country – can’t stop talking about this topic. The smartest people in the Valley tell me blockchain will change nearly everything, and already is. It’s like “the Internet” before anyone had heard of the Internet. That’s how big it is.

I have tried to read about this, but I guess I'm too old.
I can manage a computer, but not a smart phone.
I can manage a credit card, but not e commerce.

Lolo didn't even trust a credit card: He'd take $100 bills to pay for groceries at Walmart.

My main question about cashless societies and bitcoin: What happens when it is hacked, or there is a disaster, or if there is a solar flare that knocks out the internet/phones/computers?

We were off line after the typhoon, and had a slow internet for months after the main cable between here and Taiwan was cut by an earthquake (businesses had to go through alternate routes, and our private internet was off for three months).

Lolo didn't trust them, so kept a lot of money, in both pesos and dollars,  in his safe at all times, but because of increased danger of robbery in recent years, I rarely keep more than 200 dollars there at a time, then go to the ATM.

and some people don't even trust cash: I remember when a robbery in our old neighborhood stole jewelry worth more than the house they lived in. I asked my mom about why they would have all that money and live in a modest house, and she pointed out they were Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and remembered that historically you could bribe people with jewelry, and the jewelry would keep their worth if there was hyperinflation as happened in Germany in the 1920's.

Alas, I don't own jewelry (as a doc, I never wore expensive rings or watches). But Lolo, again, assured me if there was a disaster or war  I would always have rice to eat. He lived thought World War II, so knew about such thin
Of course, we "lost" most of our land after land reform allowed the tenants cheap mortgages to buy the land they tilled (translation: we didn't get paid for the land, and going to court was useless). But we are still allowed to own a small amount of land, (and we subcontract our old tenants to grow our rice brand).

But even that could cause a mess if a major earthquake or war hit Manila.

War? Yes. China's long term plans include taking over Taiwan and eventually the Philippines.

History trivia question of the day

Was Queen Zenobia descended from Cleopatra? Or was she just making it up?

probably made up.

But there are a few podcast links there for you to follow the story. (No, I haven't gotten around to listen to them yet). You can find them here at the Ancient World podcast

But what is past is prologue:

I’m still fully committed to finishing the story of the meteoric rise and fall of the Palmyrene Empire, and the series will still conclude with the ultimate fate of Zenobia. In a broader sense it’s also the story of a particular time and place: the Syria of the late third century, precariously balanced between a distant Rome, an aggressive Persia, and the rising power of Palmyra. At the same time it’s the story of Emesa - modern Homs in Syria - the Jerusalem of the Sun God and cradle of the Severan Dynasty. Even after Samsigeramus’ death the city will remain a historical nexus, and witness the murder of a King, the defeat of an Empire, and the first declaration of monotheism by a sitting Roman Emperor.

Palmyra was in the news last year when ISIS tried to destroy some of the ruins.
and there is still fighting in the area of Homs...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Podcast of the week

In Our Time: Feathered Dinosaurs.


related item:

YUM! Kentucky Fried Dinachicken.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Headlines below the fold

China has a new dictator. Good or bad news?

even John Bachelor's podcast notices how Obama abandoned the Philippines when China started to grab our fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea.

Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN, and the US, as well as India, should now be thinking that their failure to build a robust policy on the South China Sea, to prevent de facto PRC control of it, was a mistake. Even support for the ROC’s far more legitimate claims to the Nine-Dash Line islands and shoals of the South China Sea — quite apart from strenuously supporting the claims of the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, etc. — would have paid better strategic dividends than the inept handling the US position in Asia by the Barack Obama Administration, which Beijing exploited rapidly.

and that doesn't even include the Obama administration's interference in our elections. I had to laugh: Duterte's quip the ambassador tasked to do this was a "gay son of a whore" got more publicity than the actual fact of the interference.

oh by the way: last June we  signed a mutual defense pact with Russia.


here the Twitter/facebook/social media are anti Duterte, as is the church (after all, Tagle is running for Pope).

However, the small businesses and tricycle drivers still have their "Duterte for president" signs up, so it looks like ordinary folks aren't following the orders of the elites here.


They finally figured out that the "russia! Russia! RUSSIA!" controversy was funded by the Democrats. Well Duh.
BBC reports.

key point:

There have been plenty of accusations, on both sides of ideological divide, that the FBI has become politicised. Stories like this won't help diminish those concerns.

Summary of the scandal.

key point:

Yet here we have the realization that the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the FBI all worked wittingly or unwittingly with Russians to affect the results of the 2016 election. ....Worse, these efforts perverted our justice system by ... spawning a massive, sprawling, limitless probe over Russia

This goes beyond "dirty politics" or even illegal dirty tricks a la the "watergate" burglars.

the corruption of the FBI to destroy political opponents is a real danger to democracy.This is Obama trying to destroy Trump, so the MSM sort of went along. But do you really want Trumpieboy to go after his enemies this way, using the power of the FBI to destroy his enemies instead of tweets?

the problem? Most of the stuff came after the election: Hillary wanted revenge and used this to delegitimize Trump, using the FBI to do this.

Think "attempted coup by the deep state".

No, I have no idea if this is true, but it will be seen as such by a lot of folks.


AustinBay has a long report on Niger.

West African nations are willing to fight the terrorists, but need help. Given France's military assets in the region and American commitments in Syria and Iraq, the Obama Administration concluded that a small, focused military effort providing training assistance and logistics and intelligence support was an appropriate response.
General Dunford's press conference tells me that he thinks that conclusion was correct. It also says the Trump Administration agreed with the Obama Administration's goals in the region. However, that isn't a point domestic hysterics want to hear.

Italics mine.

That's because the "domestic hysterics" don't care about Africans killed by terrorists, because they want to remove Trump, and any story will do.

As for ignorance of the war there: This is because they don't bother to read the BBC or AlJ where they could find good summaries about what is going on.

BBC notes 4000 French and 12 thousand UN troops are involved. (plus locals).

the US was sent there to help Nigeria and nearby countries to fight the BokuHarem:

  Full report of that conflict here.
2 million refugees, 2000 teachers killed and schools destroyed, 5 million of locals in that area facing starvation, and the "good guys" are corrupt.

notice that part about France's military assets? They have been working with the Sahel governments for quite awhile: ALJ reports on that HERE. 

think tribal civil wars.

part of the backstory is the tribal civil war in Libya.


Another sign that TEOTWAWKI is nigh

Vegetarian Haggis.

for those of you who don't like to eat sheep pluck stuffed inside an ox bung on Burn's Night.

Headsup Dave Barry

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

That Canadian guy and his family who were hostages in Afghanistan

Sort of has disappeared from the news, but SP has a long article on it HERE. 

A new (since early 2017) American government apparently ordered the couple to be found and freed no matter where they were and who held them. The family were soon tracked to a Haqqani hideout in Pakistan and Pakistan was told to either get the family freed or the U.S. would send in commandos to do it and the Pakistani generals did not want that. The 2011 American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani sanctuary (that ISI long denied existed) was an embarrassment the Pakistani military has still not recovered from. Another incident like that would be much worse. 
So Pakistan staged their own “commando operation” near the Afghan border and got the captives (at least the Canadian Boyle) to go along with the cover story

this interests me, because up to now, the bad guys here do a lot of kidnapping for money (mainly Islamic offshoots but also the NPA).

Up to a few years ago, they tended to avoid kidnapping Yanks because they knew the Americans would rescue them (and kill a lot of them) and not pay money.

Their favorites were Italians and other EU types, who often paid cash even though they usually denied it and of course it is illegal.

 But then, President Obama decided it was okay to pay, and this worried me a lot. Of course, by now the NPA in our area has calmed down but still, it was like putting a "kidnap me and get rich" sign on every Yank in the Philippines. And of course, the embassy did nothing to pressure the gov't about the murder of our nephew: The mayor stayed out of jail by bribery, but American pressure would have made someone decide taking the bribe was too risky. But of course, under President Obama, human rights (read abortion and gay marriage) were the big items, not keeping the 100 thousand plus Yanks here safe.

Well, if SP is right, then "the new (since early 2017) American government" is again playing hard ball with the bad guys.

read the whole thing.

And the Pakistanis are building a fence to stop terrorists and smugglers, and a lot of information about the politics, India, Russia and Chinese influences in the area.

Medical Stories behind the headlines

UCIrving is pushing medical nonsense, and the press finally noticed it.

medical professionals who believe that healthcare should be based on treatments validated by science view the very term “integrative medicine” as a path to introduce unproven or disproven therapies into medicine. 
yeah. Read the whole thing. It's quackery.

placebo, suggestion, and hypnosis do work on 30 percent of people: 

about the same percentage of people who test high or moderately high on the neurological test for ability to be hypnotized.

This is religion: and what disturbs me is that we docs are not supposed to push our religious beliefs on people.
Quiet Bible study, saying the rosary, spending an hour in "Eucharistic adoration", doing art or music, having a "Sing" or traditional ceremony or having the local prayer group pray over you all are ways that people integrate their souls, minds and bodies in times of stress and illness.

But these aren't part of the curriculum. I wonder why (/sarcasm).


awhile back I referred to the "Black Legend" of Spanish atrocities.

TeaAtTrianon links to a post at CountingStars with the facts that the legend ignores.

... In 1542 the Emperor Carlos V dictated the New Laws, which expressly prohibited the submission of Indians to slavery and forced labor. To this we must add that between the Spanish population and the Indians there was a great miscegenation, even among the nobles. On the contrary, in British North America, the miscegenation between colonists and Indians was almost non-existent, and the Indians were robbed of their lands and confined to reservations, which did not occur in Spanish America. (Read more.)
and of course, the epidemics, not atrocities,, that killed people were not deliberately spread by the Spanish soldiers who, like everyone in those days, had little knowledge of how disease is spread.


letter in LATIMES:

This country has no use for John Kelly's nostalgia

because respecting those who die to defend civilians from terrorists is soooo yesterday.

As I pointed out a few days ago: Often patients and their families are angry and upset, so they mis hear what you are trying to say, and turn their anger on you, the healer, not on the disease or cause of the death (in this case, some very bad terrorists who attack local civilians in the area).

AnneAlthouse points out that

If we make it too hard to talk to a person in dire circumstances, a lot of people will play it safe and not speak at all.
From "Half Empty" by David Rakoff (who was facing the cancer treatment of amputation of his left arm and shoulder): 
But here’s the point I want to make about the stuff people say. Unless someone looks you in the eye and hisses, “You fucking asshole, I can’t wait until you die of this,” people are really trying their best. Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing. Let’s all give each other a pass, shall we?


eu plans to ban another weedkiller
r because it might cause cancer.

Chemicals often have subtle adverse effects. But banning them might cause more problems.

so how many will die of malnutrition related disease vs how many will die (at a much older age) of cancer? CNN report here says they found 800 cases that might be associated with the chemical... the number of people dying of poverty related malnutrition because there is enough food around, but they can't afford to buy it?

great books podcast of the week: The Gulag Archipelago


Instapundit links to
NYTimes the Long War on Polio.

update: StrategyPage has this on polio:

There is another major effort this year to vaccinate vulnerable Afghan and Pakistani children against polio. In 2016 there were 20 cases of polio in Pakistan and 13 in Afghanistan. There were four in Nigeria, a country that is expected to be free of polio this year or next. In Pakistan and Afghanistan there are still religious problems with vaccination. The Afghan Taliban have openly supported the vaccination program but there still some rural areas where local Moslem clerics or teachers continue to denounce the vaccinations. There is a similar situation in Pakistan, where some fringe Islamic groups will still try and kill members of the vaccination teams. Despite this continued resistance polio cases in both nations continues to decline. F

longer version of this post on my medical blog.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Haloween audiobook of the day

Te news is going more absurd every day, the world is ending, Hollywood is imploding, and now even Haloween is not politically correct for children.

So when the world is absurd, just remember: Stephanie Plum's world is even worse.


Monday, October 23, 2017

The "We're all gonna die" post of the day

Asia News Network via the Phil Inqurer.

North Korea is now producing biological weapons.

It is likely that anthrax and small pox is already used as a biological weapon,” the report said. “North Korean soldiers are vaccinated against small pox, and so are US Army (personnel) stationed in South Korea — against small pox and anthrax.”
North Korea is thought to have 13 pathogens in possession including botulism, cholera and plague, the researchers said.
 so how would they deliver them?

On means of delivery, the report said missiles, drones, airplanes, sprayers and human vectors are likely to be used. It also mentioned human agents as a plausible delivery method of the biological weapons, as the country has 200,000 special forces members.

Legal bribery

The Hill has an article on Russia trying to influence the Obama administration.

my favorite passage:

“In the end, some of this just comes down to what it always does in Washington: donations, lobbying, contracts and influence — even for Russia,” said Frank Figliuzzi, the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.

or as a local wag said about bribery in the Philippines: They accept bribes under the table... and over the table... and with the table.

someone needs to figure out how all those guys in Washington got rich AFTER they were elected.

Inventing the wheel: more complicated than you think

Professor Bulliet argues that inventing the wheel is not the biggest breakthrough in human invention.,,,

In a nutshell, I argue that the whole concept of "the wheel" being invented is misleading -- three conceptually different types of wheels were invented at different times and places, and their uses varied greatly over the centuries.
Furthermore, the idea that the wheel is mankind's greatest invention is basically a myth that began in the twentieth century, largely because of the spread of the third type of wheel: the caster (invented around 1700)...
From the Copper Age onward, many societies that knew about the concept of the wheel chose not to use it for transportation, for various reasons.
Here's an imgur gallery of some interesting wheel images that explain different parts of my thinking.

Wheeled bull from Ukraine This toy is the earliest known object on wheels.
Wheeled bull from Ukraine This toy is the earliest known object on wheels.

the problem: it's not just the wheel, it's the axle and the spokes and being able to turn the wheel, and attaching an animal to the wagon/chariot etc. to pull it.

the Boston Globe has a long review of the book here and using a fixed axel in mines and discusses wagons used in the steppes to carry houses.

and Aramco world discusses how and why these wheeled wagons were abandoned in the Middle East: Camels were cheaper and easier. 

(but) there has been little notice taken of the amazing fact that Middle Eastern society wilfully abandoned the use of the wheel, one of mankind's greatest inventions....
But gradually over the course of the first four or five centuries of the Christian era, and perhaps even earlier, all wheeled transport in the area, from the grandest chariot to the humblest farm wagon, passed out of existence.

the article has a lot more about the domestication of the camel and it's importance to traders, the ability of the nomads to monopolize long distance trade, and how it gradually became cheaper for farmers to rent camels than to haul things in complicated and expensive wagons..

A side note:
and this might explain why the Inca etc. who had llamas to carry loads, never used wagons on their roads...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lonely deaths of Japan


story of a woman whose job it is to clean up and organize the mementos of people who die alone in Japan.

Most,  but not all, are elderly.


dog item of the day

Quote of the week

Kelly said: "When I was a kid growing up I thought a lot of things were sacred in our country.
Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor.
That’s obviously not the case anymore as we’ve seen from recent cases.
 Life was sacred. That’s gone.
Religion. That seems to be gone as well.
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the Summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die in the battlefield, I thought that might be sacred."

This is the part the MSM left out of General Kelly's speech.

there is a difference between printing FACTS and printing the Truth.

book of the week

Braudel's trilogy on the structure of everyday life is available on Intenet Archives.


most histories concentrate on "great men", kings and wars. This series is about technology, trade, and how ordinary people lived.

A bit hard to slog through because of it's length, but easy to read: I have two of the three volumes in hard cover, so usually I just look up something and then read a few pages. But I am happy to get my missing volume and be able to read the series on my tablet.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Honoring dictators, Forget it Jake, it's the UN

From the BBC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a "goodwill ambassador" to help tackle non-communicable diseases.
the BBC then adds this in case you thought the appointment made sense:

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, GenevaThe appointment of 93-year-old Robert Mugabe will cause astonishment among many WHO member states and donors.
A goodwill ambassador may be a largely symbolic role, but the symbolism of giving it to a man whose leadership of Zimbabwe has, critics say, coincided with a collapse of its health service, and major human rights abuses, will be very unpopular. 

Mugabe, after "winning" an election, decided to tear down a lot of middle class areas to punish them for voting against him. He called it "operation take out the trash" and insisted it was slum clearance, but it was not.

UKGuardian article on this from 2005:

The UN's 98-page report concluded that 2.4 million people had been affected, of whom 700,000 had lost their homes or livelihoods or both, in a humanitarian crisis of "immense proportions"....
The language was harsh by UN standards. It said the clearances were a "disastrous venture". It added that the operation, "while purporting to target illegal dwellings and structures and to clamp down on alleged illicit activities, was carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering, and, in repeated cases, with disregard to several provisions on national and international legal frameworks".

one of the buildings town down was an HIV clinic near Harare, run by Sister Patricia, the public health nurse who worked with me.

Another building torn down was a convent in QueQue, again that housed some of the African sisters who I worked with.

file AFP

And I won't even go into the threats and massacres by his "green bombers"  in the past, or that he has decided to reorganize the group for the 2018 election.

Of course, all sins forgiven because he is an open communist.


for non Yanks and non movie buffs:

the source for the "Forget it Jake" quote is from the movie Chinatown.

the Science Religion debate

Father Spitzer on EWTN has a series of talks about this problem (along with other religious related items). Apple link or Youtube.

And here is a podcast at John Bachelor's site.

there seems to be a delusion that all scientists are atheists, but it's more complicated than that. The Vatican Astronomer pointed out that the percentage of believers in science is the same as the population (common in the US, rare in Europe).

And of course, as one of my teachers observed: most physicians are not religious per se, but do believe there is a God, because we see so many die who should have lived, but also see people who we expected to die go on to recover. And we see Gods hands in the religious beliefs of those who take loving care of our handicapped and elderly patients.

Imagine there's no heaven

Pope Francis channels John Lennon

and love means never having to say you're sorry

Philippine news

ASEAN Meeting is scheduled to meet at the old Clark Air force base. The base was given back to the Philippines after the left insisted the US leave, but right before the USAF left, Mt Pinatubo happened and covered the base with a foot of ash.

Nevertheless, the old base (like Subic) has bee converted to civilian uses: It has an international airport, lots of businesses, and holds meetings.

Pampanga (like our area) used to be notorious for the communist led insurgents, but nowadays not so much. Our lovely ex president Gloria did a lot to improve the area.


The Bird flu epidemic has seemed to settle down in our area. A lot of chickens, and also quail and ducks had to be killed (quail eggs are common here, and duck eggs are salted and sold, or used for balut).

However, I am seeing a lot of live chickens in cages in the last few weeks being sold by vendors on the street (not in the palenke). I am wondering if they are selling them to eat: If the bird is alive and well when you take it home, you know you won't be eating "double dead" meat or chicken meat from a sick chicken that was killed before it could die on it's own.

Luckily, it was ordinary bird flu, not the virulent one that is simmering around China (and could morph to kill humans as it did in 1918).

The reason I notice: These are white chickens, the type you eat, and medium sized.

Here, a lot of folks have fighting cocks in their backyard: Usually red ones with impressive feathers, under a small shelter and with a leg tied so it doesn't get lose.

It says a lot that although the local dogs are often left out at night to do their thing in the vacant lots, and we do have stray dogs (alas) that wander around, yet few of these cocks seem to get killed. They are pretty mean...

Duterte thanks China for giving the Philippine military decent rifles etc. which were used to kill the terrorists in the south.

He said the Americans and the Israelis only allowed Filipino troops to use their equipment without leaving them behind. “They are not willing to give it to us unlike China—no payment,” he said. “The thought of helping us was something that was useful to the community of the world.”

President Obama denied requests for weapons to "punish" Duterte early in the anti drug push here. And called him names. This was accompanied by hysteria about all those murders (whereas murders in the past were rarely even noticed, even when US citizens like our cousin's death by the ex mayor or the FilAm vet down the street killed by robbers, presumably druggies,).

But hey, Obama did nothing to help PNoy when China destroyed our reefs to build their artificial islands to claim the west Philippine Sea.

But Trumpie boy? A bromance. Place horrified tweets by SJW HERE.

 And yes there is a Trump tower being built in Manila, but it's run by Trump Jr.

But Trump isn't military as much as doing deals, so presumably will understand when Duterte does the same.

Oh FYI: The Russians are coming! the Russians are Coming!

and they are delivering much needed weapons to fight the bad guys too...

as for the war in the South: Marawi is now essentially liberated, the the leaders and money men are dead... what is left now is a couple dozen hold outs and a lot of booby traps and hidden mines.

now the soldiers are being welcomed back, 

most of the US press is not saying: Good job, guys.

Like the liberation of Raqa, victories in the war on terrorism is not usually celbrated because... war is evil, dontchaknow? And for the MSM in the USA, veterans who risked their lives to liberate cities, and dead military heroes are only in the news if they can be used to push the hate Trumpieboy meme.

So the MSM are busy warning: This is not the end to ISIS linked guys.

And so expect to see lots of breathless and admiring stories in the US MSM about how the bad guys are soooo powerful... or stories complaining how those bad soldiers destroyed the city in order to liberate it.

Uh, the problem with Muslim terrorists/slavers has been going on here for over 300 years, long before ISIS.  (as for the Middle East: well those wars go back 3500 years to the Battle of Kadesh).

But the big discussion now is how to rebuild the place. Lots of people there to help, including China, who is trying to make nice so we won't notice them stealing our fishing grounds and the oil beneath them.

(and hopefully we won't see most of the aid diverted into the pockets of politicians, as happens alas too often here).


Friday, October 20, 2017

Standing on the back of a dead hero (part 2)

Credit: Task and Purpose.
This is a follow up about a post from earlier today, where a US Congressperson exploited the death of a hero to make political points.

I am still upset about it, because unlike most of the Hollywood, NYC, or Washington Elites, I have relatives in the military.

I figured that Trumpieboy made an awkward remark that was, alas, misunderstood.

But does anyone in his or her right mind think he said something deliberatly cruel to ridicule the hero or the widow? Of course not. But as a doc, I know that:
a: people sometimes misunderstand what you say

B. in times of stress and grief, often the messenger gets blamed.

But here, I suspect the congressperson, after the call, inflamed the widow's grief to make her think the president was ridiculing her. Huh? What sane person would twist a sympathetic phone call this way? To upset the poor widow more than she already is upset?

Or was it to reframe what was said, so as to have the widow "remember" the phone call in the way that the congressperson suggested, so she could twist the death as political fodder?

(In times of stress, people do not remember things accurately, which is why often docs have papers signed with a witness pressent, or even tape the conversation for high risk patients).

But it gets worse. The Congressperson then went and told her story of cruel Trump to the press, who immediately picked up the story: it was all over the news.

This was worse than using the story to ridicule the President: The story implies he deliberately was cruel.

So General Kelly, who also lost a son, gave a speech about how hard it is to lose a son, and how hard it is for a president to talk to a family when this has happened.

So what does the congressperson do?

Victory Girls says it best:

Today Chief of Staff General John Kelly shamed Rep. Frederica Wilson... for politicizing the death of an American soldier. So how did Rep. Wilson react? Did General Kelly humble her? Did she apologize? No. And not only no, but hell no! In fact, Wilson called herself a ‘rock star.’ And then she laughed about it, so very pleased with herself.... 

it was never about supporting Sgt. La David Johnson’s pregnant widow and their young children. It was all about making political hay.
Let’s be honest here — she doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about this Gold Star family, except when they were politically expedient. As a result she got the attention she craves, and now she thinks she’s a “rock star.”


And a prayer for the families of the soldiers, not just the Green Berets but the soldiers of Niger who died. They too are trying to protect their families and loved ones against the Bokuharum, who are terrorizing both Christian and Muslims in that area of Africa.

Drudge has a link about "investigating" the deaths, but as I noted in a different post a few days ago,  StrategyPage noted last week that this was a training exercize, where the Green Berets were training local soldiers, and they did not pick up that there were bad guys in the area.

as for air support: SP also notes that after the Niger attack, the French, who are in the area doing similar training against terrorists, supplied helicopters and backup quickly.

So no, it has nothing in common with Benghazi, which is another "talking point" that some are trying to raise.

Dirty little secret: Special Forces soldiers are all over the world training locals to fight in the war on terror: not just American but Australian (in Indonesia) and French (in North Africa). And these soldiers get little publicity, of course.

For example, right now the US is helping with the siege in the Southern Philippines. Not as combat soldiers, but in gathering intelligence, and in training (our soldiers know "jungle warfare" but not urban warfare, so training was needed to lower the casualty rate and protect civilians).

Similar things have happened here, when the military  trains against the Abus in the South, or even against the NPA: Usually you train where it is supposed to be safe, but it's a big area, and the bad guys often have spies that tell them where the soldiers are going, so you get attacked anyway. And sometimes the soldiers get killed.

That is sad, but that is war.

And like medicine, the dirty little secret is that you don't win all the time: Patients who should live sometimes die on you. And I still have terrible memories about these fights against Death, that I lost.

So excuse me if I remain angry at a narcissistic politician who dances on the graves of those defending the country.

if she wants to ridicule people, why not start to ridicule the Bokus who have killed thousands of civilians. And maybe ridicule their supporters who send them "aid money" or their supporters in the west who see them as the good guys because they hate America and will pretend they only want peace, so they will feed the press with negative news of "mission creep" or "the Muslims don't want us there" or similar propaganda.

update:  It says a lot that, at the end of the long sorrowful speech by the General, that he gave another example of an out of place speech at a different memorial service by the congresslady involved, and used the proverb empty barrels (make the most noise) implying she didn't care about the dead FBI agents they were honoring but her speech was about her own wonderfulness.

So not only did the MSM ignore the powerful speech by General Kelly, taking one description out of context to distort the meaning of his speech, but they now are echoing the speech as racist.

Sigh. This is fake news: Not making up news, but by cherry picking and distorting and mischaracterizing what is said.

And it will be picked up by the 3 minute hate types on Facebook and Twitter, as if it was true.

And to paraphrase Instapundit: THIS IS HOW YOU GET TRUMP.

Happy Diwali festival

Al J story on this festival, celebrated in India.

Also known as Deepavali in India, the five-day festival is celebrated to commemorate the return of Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom after 14 years of exile....
While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region, the festival is celebrated to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.


Dilbert explains how to make a "rocket man" haloween costume.


Chinese aggression and hatefilled Congressladies hogging headlines.

StrategyPage article on how China is bullying the Philippines, and Duterte, noting the failure of the US (under Obama) to confront them, has left the Philippines vulnerable, since there is no way we can win a shooting war with them.

so now, with bribes and threats, the Philippines will "Share" resources with China.

The aggression of China, and also the war in the South getting worse, are both result of Obama refusing to send aid to the Philippines if they didn't pass gay friendly laws (that aren't needed), legalize abortion (which is seen as evil by all religions here) and later, to punish Duterte for his drug war (but actually because he won and they wanted the "american girl" to win).

So SP has a lot of detail about the war against the Islamicist terrorists moving to Mindanao because it was seen by them as safer than in other countries, and guess what happened? A lot of "foreigners" were behind the present battle.

and they dare say that religion is indeed part of the problem.
The Marawi City battle killed a lot of the most dedicated Islamic terrorists but it also demonstrated how Islam keeps generating more “more Islamic than thou” religious fanatics generation after generation.
More Islamic majority nations are trying to deal with this militant intolerance problem (that no other major religion has) if only because this attitude has crippled areas where Moslems predominate.
Islamic conservatives have successfully suppressed scientific and political progress for over a thousand years and that has become much more obvious during the last few centuries as the West moved ahead in multiple areas.

some people insist Islam needs a "reformation", but this goes back to Thomas Aquinas and the reframing of Aristotle's thought to make logic/science and religion compatible, and that God was rational,

Pope Benedict used Manuel II's argument in order to draw a distinction between a Christian view, as expressed by Manuel II, that "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature", and an allegedly Islamic view, as explained by Khoury, that God transcends concepts such as rationality, and his will, as Ibn Hazm stated, is not constrained by any principle, including rationality. 

and we all know how the MSM spun that statement...

Most Filipinos respect our troops (even though they might disrespect some of the corrupt generals and most of the politicians who are corrupt too).

Our soldiers joined even though they knew they might die, because to defend the innocent is their job.

General Kelley's speech says it better than I can.

Kelly was criticizing a politician who took the President's comments out of context to gain publicity and praise from the SJW and MSM.

The spin was Trump said the soldier did it for money and if he was killed, he knew what he was getting into (the congresslady's spin was Trump said he deserved it).

But Trump was actually saying he was proud and brave, and knew he was going into danger when he enlisted, so is a hero.

an editorial in the Phil Star said the same about our soldiers, and notes the SJW/Elite here who shrug off their bravery.

The story of PFC Dhan Ryan Bayot is just one example of the kind of courage and heroism displayed by our soldiers as they fight to defend our beloved country from murdering, vicious barbarians who think nothing about burning churches and schools and killing innocent civilians to establish a reign of terror....
any of us often forget the kind of sacrifices they make and take their service for granted – and sometimes, I find myself getting angry at those who mock and ridicule our armed forces and look down on our soldiers. They get very little pay, and the hazard and combat pay they receive for risking life and limb is laughable. ...

because even here in the Philippines, too many of our SJW come from elite families who politicize everything and ignore or ridicule our soldiers here, who are usually from working class or families who own small farms or businesses,  implying they only enlisted for the money (when they could make more in Saudi of course).

If I am sensitive to this, it is because my husband and his brother fought in WWII against the Japanese invasion, my son in law and grandson are in the USNavy...

 I was in the National Guard for awhile (but never called up). (My only "War" experience was worrying I would be killed,as many of my friends were, during a nasty war when I worked as a doc in Africa.)

we missionaries also knew what we were getting into when we signed up, and saying that doesn't lessen the bravery of those killed for volunteering to go into danger.

Hillary's facebook problem: Trolls vs ads

A bunch of boring articles are shouting "RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA" and the latest was that Russia bought anti Hillary ads on Facebook... but only a few.

What is being ignored: The usual suspects (SJW) who take the meme and daily post five minute hates on Facebook were usually pro Hillary. So the few ads would be outshouted by the meme warriors. And a lot of the "progressive" hatred there (before the hate Trumpie boy meme took over) were openly anti Christian.

And no one is bothering to see if the result of the meme warriors and five minute hates have negatively affected facebook in older folks.

I go on facebook to see what my grandkids are doing.

I know that I avoid facebook due to the anti Christian hatred there, and because to find out what my grand kids are doing I have to wade through recommendations to friend people I don't know, ads for all sorts of stuff I am not interested in, and nonsense.


Freakonomics discusses Gluten and celiac disease.

podcast link

old NYTimes article HERE.

both overdiagnosed (thanks to a sensitive lab test, mild cases are now being diagnosed) and under diagnosed (a lot of mild cases of irritable bowel disease probably never got diagnosed in the past).

the gene varies in different populations

CD has a worldwide distribution, being described in different ethnic groups from North and South America, Europe, south and west Asia, Australia and New Zealand[,]. The disease is rare among Africans and not expected among populations with no HLA DQ2, like Chinese and Japanese, except in individuals presenting HLA DQ8[].

west Asia and south Asians do have the problem.

but the low incidence in China might be from under diagnosis, or dietary, but the disease can be found in those with irritable bowel syndrome.

This article suggests it is "rampant"  and blames the westernization of the diet, (i.e. less breast feeding, earlier weaning, and the increased use of bread instead of rice in the diet) and notes that it is more common in areas with Caucasian genes (western China... they are presumably discussing the Uighur, who are Turkish in origin).

what you have to realize is that in places with primitive water supplies, diarrhea in children is common, and is indeed one of the major causes of death in young children. So a child with failure to thrive and diarrhea would just die, and everyone, including doctors, would assume it was from the many diarrhea causing diseases in the environment.

But now, with clean water, such cases are rare, so a child with constant diarrhea and failure to thrived would be seen by doctors and checked for food intolerance, including lactose deficiency and celiac disease.

a full review of the history of the disease can be read here.

this map from Dr Shar Institute shows incidence, but note all the blank areas.

 a new epidemiology of celiac disease, characterized by growth in the traditional fields and spread into new regions of the world

just like previous studies showed the disease was rare in Asia, but is now being diagnosed, one wonders about the low rate in Africans. Again, unsafe water supplies lead to lots of diarrhea deaths, and diarrhea from protein deficiency due to earlier weaning and/or using a baby bottle but not being able to afford powdered milk.

So who has money for an expensive lab test when children are more likely to die from norovirus, measles or malaria?

but as Africa follows Asia out of rural poverty to urban living, one suspects it will be found to be much more common, and it will be diagnosed more often.

and replacing traditional diets of sorghum, maize and rice in some areas with wheat based food might make cases more common.

Rice is, of course, gluten free, and might be one reason that so few cases of celiac disease were seen in rice eating areas, but what about maize, which is a staple in many areas, i.e. East Africa, Latin America?

Ironically, that is unclear: most lay sites say avoid it, but it seems to be less problematic.

This article says maybe

Hypothetically, maize prolamins could be harmful for a very limited subgroup of CD patients, especially those that are non-responsive, and if it is confirmed, they should follow, in addition to a gluten-free, a maize-free diet.

Comment of the day

The 60's and 70's generation got sex, drugs and Rock &Roll. My generation got broken homes, 12 step meetings and political lectures masquerading as music. 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Russia! Russia! RUSSIA!

the NYTimes reports: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation amid Russian Uranium Deal.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

That story is from April 2015, on Page A1, so there is no reason that folks don't know about it.

but the NYT printed a correction:

Correction: April 30, 2015 An article on Friday about contributions to the Clinton Foundation from people associated with a Canadian uranium-mining company described incorrectly the foundation’s agreement with the Obama administration regarding foreign-government donations while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Under the agreement, the foundation would not accept new donations from foreign governments, though it could seek State Department waivers in specific cases. The foundation was not barred from accepting all foreign-government donations.
so did they get a waiver, or who gave it to them?

but the deal has gotten some press lately as Russian money going to American politicians is being investigated by Congress..

and nobody accepted bribes, you know: the article notes:

Amid this influx of Uranium One-connected money, Mr. Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for a majority stake in Uranium One. The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its investor conferences.

yes. Everybody does it, so there.

the story again hit the "fake news" sites because it is still being investigated by someone in Congress, according to The Hill.

Headsup Gateway Pundit, a "fake news" site that nevertheless knows how to google stuff.

Fake news and other spin

I am ignoring most of the US press because the stories are anti Trump all the time, and they seem more like propaganda outlets than news outlets.

For example, then there is an absurd story that the security guard from the LV massacre has popped up and given an interview on... Ellen (!?).

Now Ellen is a nice lady, but not a newsperson or anyone with expertise in hotel security, so one suspects she asked softball questions.

Lots of conspiracy theories that this is why he was "allowed" to go there: because if hard questions were asked, the hotel might be found to be lax in security (duh).

Alternative conspiracy theory: She paid more than other news sources.  Well, that would make sense, but I suspect other more reliable news outlets like the National Inquirer (/s) would pay more than Ellen.


The good news: The Fall of ISIS.

Blame Trump and Russia... which is why the MSM is sort of ignoring the story.

Most of the airstrikes in Syria are by the American led coalition. This is followed by Russian and Assad aircraft (who work closely together) and finally the Israelis and Turks. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is rapidly losing it personnel and territory because of constant attacks by just about everyone (Turks, Kurds, Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies as well as the Americans and sundry other minor players). 

The bad news: The powers left standing will now fight each other

As ISIL is being put down everyone is thinking about the next phase of the civil war. The winners want to get rewarded for their service. The Syrian Kurds want autonomy in the northeast (mainly Hasakah province) and protection from Turkish efforts to keep the Syrian Kurds away from the Turkish border. That’s going to be a problem. There are more problems in the north, such as the FSA (Free Syrian Army). This group was a major player early on because it was largely secular and popular with Western nations. But most Syrian rebels preferred more radical groups like al Qaeda and eventually ISIL. FSA continued to exist and eventually found a patron in Turkey, which apparently plans to turn over control of the Syrian side of the border to FSA, if the Assads and Syrian Kurds can be taken care of.

Read the whole thing at StrategyPage.


we still see soldiers in trucks here once in awhile, and every bank and large business has security guards with rifles guarding them.

and since the city jail is down the street, we see the open air minivans carrying prisoners now and then. (similar to the open air vans that local barangays use to help the poor shop at the palenke etc.)

But now we are starting to see cops on motorcycles. The Inquirer has the story.

hoping to stop the tandem murders of people someone doesn't like.. Yes, some of these are by off duty cops pulling a "dirty Harry" hit against known criminals... but a lot are paid hits, not just by politicians against their rivals, but by ordinary folk who don't trust the courts to get justice. And a lot are criminal gangs who do drive by shootings, often in retaliation against snitches or rival gangs...

All the SJW in Manila are ridiculing this, but since a lot of them tend to live in gated communities, and get their talking points from the left, keep that in mind when you read the comments.

The numerous murders by druggies robbing homes, or by our politicians, etc in our neighborhood before Duterte took over didn't bother them: but this is why the poor voted for Duterte instead of "the American girl", who was the chosen candidate...

The Green Berets killed in Niger were fighting the Boko Harum, but the press headlines are the Trumpieboy are that he insulted someone when he called the families.

Because everything must be politicized, you know, to foment Trump hatred.

But why were they there in the first place? Because President Obama sent them there in 2014...

Backstory from before their deaths from Reuters in 2015 HERE.

A Reuters reporter was the first to visit the detachment, which is among about 1,000 U.S. Special Operations Forces deployed across Africa. In Chad, Nigeria, Niger and elsewhere, they are executing Obama’s relatively low-risk strategy of countering Islamic extremists by finding local partners willing to fight rather than deploying combat troops by the thousands. The new approach, which Obama announced in May 2014, is far from being a silver bullet for the United States in its global battle against Islamic militancy. 

italics mine.

the backstory is not just the Boko Harum but the ongoing war in the Sahel, which gets little or no press coverage, partly because most of the special forces types there are French.

StrategyPage discussed this little covered war HERE. and has this note about the ambush:

October 4, 2017: In the northeast, just across the border in Niger four American Special Forces soldiers were killed when the training exercise (a large patrol) they were supervising was ambushed. Four of the Niger troops were killed as well and even more American and Niger troops were wounded...
The attackers were believed to be Islamic terrorists from Mali. In less than an hour French helicopters were in the area to evacuate the wounded and in the next 24 hours French troops and more aircraft from Mali moved to the Niger border to search for the attackers.
Italics mine, because another story had a father of another of the troops wondering why they had no air cover.

The press picked this up and started saying this was "Trump's Benghazi", i.e. implying that he refused to send help for those who were ambushed. Uh, in Benghazi the help was told to stand down for political reasons. Here, the French air support arrived within an hour.

And SP has the backstory:

 The area where the attack took place had never experienced an Islamic terrorist activity before but the border is long and the Islamic terrorists have been known to move around the area without attracting attention because the locals tend to avoid groups of men with guns.
Apparently Islamic terror groups had established a new smuggling route that ran through this areas. The U.S. has 800 troops in Niger, mainly to train Niger troops but some also maintain a number of Reaper UAVs used for surveillance. The smuggling operations often appear (especially from the air) like commercial or aid group traffic.
read the whole thing.

AlJ notes that the SJW are not protesting the many killed in a truck bomb in Somalia. Why Not? Racism?

Well, no: because they were killed by Islamic terrorists, and the left loves Islamic terrorists, and most SJW are leftists.

This is the same reason the SJW ignore the deaths in Yemen: They can't blame the US or the west for what is essentially a fight between the Saudis and the Iranians.

But the failure to notice the many killed or fleeing the war in the Congo is indeed racist. UKGuardian story from January 2017.

Congo’s Catholic church said in a recent report that more than 3,300 people had been killed in Kasai since October. The church blamed government forces, their proxies and the insurgents. More than a million people may have been displaced and were threatened with malnutrition and disease – historically the two biggest killers of civilians during conflicts in the country – it added.
more recent report about nearby Burundi at Crux. (which reports Catholic news).

Later stories are about the murder of wildlife activists, because of course SJW care more about wildlife than black children.


more bad rumors for US Catholics at Father Z.

if you don't understand my anger, try reading this, 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The shocking things they wouldn't print

the uberliberal Jesuit magazine has censored an interview with a gay activist with a black husband.

Who wudda thot?

well, it's Milo of course.

 Although you grew up Catholic, you now say and do many shocking things in your public career which seem to be at odds with your childhood faith. In what sense do you still consider yourself a Catholic? 

 Plenty of saints were shocking, to say nothing of our Lord, who got in a spot of trouble for His shocking claims, as you might recall.
I am certainly no saint, but I don’t think “shocking” is a helpful way of approaching the question of Catholics in public life.
It doesn’t settle much to say that the current Pope is shocking to many Catholics, including me.
Or to note that I’m shocked by supposedly Catholic politicians who make laws in flat contradiction to the natural law, which you need no faith to grasp.
In my case, do you mean it’s shocking that a Catholic like me is loudly worried about Islam, which has waged war on Holy Mother Church for more than a millennium?
Or that I say Planned Parenthood’s abortion crusade amounts to black genocide?
Or that I’ve supported Pope Paul VI’s criticism of artificial contraception so strongly that Hillary Clinton attacked me for it in her presidential campaign?
Frankly, what’s really shocking is that a poor sinner like me has spoken out more on contraception than 99% of our bishops, who seem too preoccupied with diversity and climate change to talk about God.


and there is more.

Headsup TeaAtTrianon