Friday, May 29, 2020

Hong Kong: Follow the money

So in front of the world, China is breaking the agreement to let Hong Kong have some separation from the mainland.

The big push: They want to stifle dissent/whistleblowers. And of course, they will enable "extradition" of those "wanted" in the mainland for (thought) crimes...

 Because if they don't, the protests will spread (and note that the western press rarely covers mainland Chinese protests, which are alas common but small so far).

but this is about more than stifling freedom.

It must of course, be seen as part of the full court press by China against all of their neighbors: Threatening Taiwan, extending "borders" around their (illegal) man made islands in the West Philippine sea, threatening Malaysia and Viet nam by insisting the entire WPS/South China sea belongs to them, bullying Australia by banning imports from them because they dared to question the origin of the Batflu, and of course, bullying the WHO  to tell the world the bat flu wasn't contagious, and then preventing outside scientists from doing an outside independent investigation of the origin of the batflu. I'm sure I left some stuff out, but you get the picture.

What is not being discussed: How a Chinese takeover will affect the banks and financial markets of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is Chinese, but it has a 100 year history of British rule of law, meaning that the law, not the dictator/boss, makes the decisions.

So a lot of people invest their money in Hong Kong banks (including a lot of Chinese millionaires). China would like to take over the Hong Kong financial market/banks and merge them with Shanghai banks, eventually making Shanghai the money capital of Asia.

the problem? corruption.

 One argument that many of us made against including Chinese companies for investing our federal TSP funds was that you couldn't trust them. 

Everyone here in the Philippines is aware of Chinese corruption and dirty practices in pushing shoddy, substandard, and counterfeit goods. 

True, much of the west's medicine and goods are made in China, but often under the supervision and using the standards of the western or Japanese company who licenses the factory.

But do you trust Chinese brands? Here in the Philippines, poorer folks can't afford to buy the stuff from the US/Japan/Korea, so they buy goods and medicines made in China and take their chances it won't break right away, or in the case of medicine, that it will actually work.

The same rules apply to the banks and the stock market.

the take over plan that has been in place for over a decade is about taking over the independent Hong Kong financial institutions by merging them with Chinese run institutions.


  LINK.
JIM CRAMER newsletter from 2014:

 China Revives Neglected Plan to Link the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Markets
Regulators say mutual stock market access is coming to China and Hong Kong. They said the same thing in 2007.
ERIC JOHNSONAPR 11, 2014 6:00 AM EDT BEIJING (TheStreet) -- If China makes good on its latest market liberalization plan, Hong Kong investors next fall will be trading Shanghai-listed stock and vice versa -- more than seven years after regulators introduced a similar plan and promptly shelved it.
That's right: seven years. 
here is the important part that you will find out if you bother to read the entire article: unlike Hong Kong, there is no following the rules:
Financial regulators at agencies such as CSRC, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the People's Bank of China are famous for moving slowly. Market reforms in areas such as interest rate liberalization and foreign exchange rate controls, for example, started years ago and are still evolving. But the Hong Kong/Shanghai market-access "through train" -- an expression coined in 2007 and still used today -- has been particularly slow in coming.

so yes, the revolution is about freedom, but for the Chinese government it is part of a long term plan to take over Asian financial markets.

Ah, but will investors now remove their money from Hong Kong based banks if the Chinese takeover is not stopped ?

not much about this in the press yet (which is why I had to use an article from 2014).

But Trumpie boy was a businessman who knows all the dirty tricks in the book, but as the saying goes: hire a thief to catch a thief. 

So I suspect he knows about these type of shenanigans and is ten steps ahead of the press coverage, which ignores the fall of the Hong Kong stock market due to investor's fears of a Chinese takeover, and instead blames the domino effect that is causing the fall of the Dow to Trumps' actions "to pressure China". That link was from Forbes, but they aren't alone.

Notice how this CNBC headline  (From Sept2019, discussing the gov't stopping the federal TSP funds from investing in China and then discussing this as if the US gov't was stopping ALL investments there, which is not what was done but never mind)

the headline frames the argument it's all the fault of the US, even though the article points out there are major problems?

Constricting investments into Chinese companies could hit the US as hard as it hits China

and lots of opinions, mostly pro China and many from Chinese university think tanks.... and you won't read about this problem until paragraph 24:

One of the reasons the White House may be considering the investment restriction is reportedly to protect U.S. investors from excessive risk due to lack of regulatory supervision of Chinese companies. “There’s a kernel of legitimacy in this,” said James Early, CEO of investment research firm Stansberry China. He pointed out that many Chinese companies that were able to access U.S. public markets around 2010 received no consequences for fraudulent behavior.
Italics mine.

So will the world notice the Chinese takeover of the financial market in Hong Kong and recognize it as part of a long term plan to replace the US dollar with their own currency?

---------------
StrategyPage has a different take, and that analysis includes a lot of stuff about military...
hmm... will the fleeing rich Hong Kongers migrate to British Colombia, which is already a Chinese enclave?


And for us, way down in the article they mention the influenza that hits pigs, and now another danger: Foot and mouth disease which hits cattle and water buffalo is going around North Korea and into China.

Sigh.

------------------
Update:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Hypertension medicines and covid

in the middle of this discussion, (forward to 14 minutes) the expert mentions H2 receptors that allow Covid to enter a cell.:



The WHO site has this article about this:

Concerns exists that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) increase susceptibility to coronavirus SARS CoV-2 (the viral agent that causes the disease COVID-19) and the likelihood of severe COVID-19 illness.1 These concerns are based on considerations of biological plausibility,2 and the observation that there is an overrepresentation of patients with hypertension and other cardiovascular comorbidities among patients with COVID-19 who have poor outcomes.

hmm... hypertension is very very common in the Black community in the USA, and  because ACE 2 inhibitors don't have a lot of side effects, they are probably the drug of choice.



Destroying Hong Kong's freedom and pushing around their neighbors




and Taiwan could be next:




and CNN Philippines is shilling for China here: This video LINK claims Covid came from India, not China.


why are China's minions pushing this meme?

Because 
1: they have increased aggressive movers against the Philippines (and VietNam and Malaysia) in the West Philippine Sea.

And because 
2India, whose borders are also being attacked by the Chinese military, could help the Philippines with military aid.



Remembering those who protected us

and honoring those who didn't make it home alive to greet their loved ones.




  -----
the story behind that movie can be read here.

Families do remember, you know.

Lolo's cousin fought against the Japanese here, was captured and killed by them: his family has a small shrine in their house with his photo and the condolence letter from President Truman.

And one of Lolo's medical school classmates set up a shrine to her brother, who was also killed in the war.

Why shrines? Because the bodies were never found...

His brother also fought, in charge of the local anti Japanese guerilla group who hid on a nearby extinct volcano that we can see from our window.



that's a photo of him when he served as chief of police here, before he died of a heart attack. Toward the end of the war, my husband, then a young teenager, joined them, but he said he didn't see combat. 

----------------
My grandson is  in the USNavy, as was his father; my cousin was in WWII and his ship was hit by a kamikazi; another cousin by marriage died from a similar attack.
Other cousins served in VietNam or in the peacetime military.

Myself? nope. Only the lowly National Guard, and the USPHS commissioned corps before that. 



so anyway, families remember

and one wonders how the NYTimes can print editorials ridiculing the military: Don't any of their families have people who served or died in these wars? from Instapundit:
SHAMEFUL: On Eve of Memorial Day, NYT Accuses U.S. Military of Celebrating ‘White Supremacy.’-----------------
----------------- 

update and don't forget those who protect and serve those in the USA


Monday, May 25, 2020

Space, Inc.

NASA okays astonauts to travel to space station via SpaceX. Scheduled on May 27.

using a private US company instead of paying the Russians to fly them there.




and yes, the is the same guy putting up hundreds of satellites so you can surf the new from anywere.



hmm... .the paranoids are worrying about 5g, but few seem to have gotten the vapours about these satellites maybe  beaming google to their backyard.




Sunday, May 24, 2020

Chinese aggression continues

''''''''''''''''''

and they are using the virus to destroy Hong Kong's independence.



and a lot of nearby countries are told: do not criticize us or else.

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

update: This podcast is about the good side of the epidemic.




-----------------
update: CHina is also pushing back the border they share with India, threatening war if India tries to stop them:



it seems to be: who do you believe, the 'official reports" or your lying eyes?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Factoid of the day

We're watching a K drama the King eternal monarch, (also on netflix) about an alternative universe where the Koreans fought off the Qing and became a super power. 

It has a very confusing plot with the king and his murderous uncle going back and forth between parallel universes, and there is a magic flute and a special sword in the plot just to confuse matters more.

The King is searching for the ladycop who saved his life, and of course falls in love with her...

Hallmark channel, stuff but a lot better;





but when the policeman from South Korea visits the king's alternative universe, she discovers why the king is very rich: because he owns all the rare earth metals in the nothern part of the kingdom.

 Uh what? 

April 2019 article in National interest.org:

Billions in the Ground: The Race to Harvest North Korea's Rare Earth Reserves
Recent studies suggest that North Korea could have the world’s largest deposit of rare earth elements.

well, that explains why China doesn't want Kim to be nice, and why Trumpieboy pointed out to Kim that letting the west develop their resources might lead to everyone there being rich...

Yet in all the discussions about this last year, I hadn't heard any of this mentioned. Maybe I missed it, or maybe none of the MSM noticed it. 

Family news: don't go inside of church

we are still on partial lockdown: one case in the next neighborhood and a teacher from Manila visited family in the next barangay and then in the our farm area so we are again on strict but partial lockdown.

The traffic is worse and some "non essential" businesses are open with limits on how many can be inside. And we are still on the two day shopping permissions, i.e. can only shop two days a week.

Sigh.

I am staying indoors most of the time until the monsoon starts, due to the heat I only go out in late afternoon to walk the dogs or in the early morning to walk around the garden.

churches are not open yet, and unless you have very good ventillation, e.g. open windows and doors so all of nature's creatures can enter in while the infected air can flow out, (or your air conditioning system treats the air with UV Light to clean the air) you are at risk.

the use of UV light is old, as I discussed in a post about two months ago: we used it over the doors in nurseries and we still have it in our hospitals here in the Philippines because TB...

 and I'm amazed that there have been only a few articles about this, but of course, maybe they are on technical sties: LINK



yes, even the hepafilter air purifier that I gave Joy to use has optional UV, although maybe not strong enough for viruses.

ah, but does it work for Covid?   probably. LINK

but it has side effects: If you get too much contact you get sunburn, and in time could get cataracts. (well, duh, isn't that less of a problem than dying? but never mind).

Sort of like the antivax hysteria that quoted "one third of people getting a new vaccine" got "severe" reactions: i.e a sore red arm where they got the shot.

Heck, we see this all the time with tetanus shots, and as for getting sick: Typhoid vaccine usually puts me to be for a day or two, but hey, ,better be sick than get typhoid. (no, I don't get sick from flu shots.)

Would I take a vaccine? If I'm still around when they give it out, probably. In the meanwhile, I'm avoiding the mall, grocery stores, and churches.

I still walk the dogs, and although George the killer Labrador has passed on to the cat killing fields in the sky, I walk with Barry, and he is big enough to get people to stay five feet away from me.

Barry is named after President O'bama, of course. A very nice dog, alas, who is not a very good watch dog because he's too friendly.

However, his smaller brother, Bruce (named after Bruce Willis), and their mama, a street dog that I rescued awhile back who we named Gigi, are aggressive however, and so I guess I am well protected.

while you were hybernating

China has been bullying Australia and Malaysia, threatening Taiwan, extending their land grab in the West Philippine sea to 2o miles off their artificial islands, and taking over Hong Kong. I'm too lazy to post all the links, but here is the discussion of HongKong:

 



all this while bragging about how they send oodles of money and supplies (often flawed and unusable) to poor countries, and doing a cyber war against US and European biolabs seeking to make a vaccine so that they can steal the information and beat them to the vaccine so they can be the savior.

and if you suggest the virus came from their biolab, or they botched their basic public health response (while having their patsies at the WHO lie about human to human transmission), you are a liar.


And don't dare call it the China virus or Wuhan flu, or you are racist.

So I guess I'll copy David Warren and call it the Batflu.

as for Wuhan: Did you know that most of the illicit Fentanyl that killed 45000 Americans last year comes from there?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

how but no why

the Pope, in the midst of an epidemic that has many of us in lockdown, and is threatening the ability of the poor and middle class here in the Philippines and other third world countries, is busy pushing environmental issues because.... well, who cares?

There are many pros and cons about caring for the environment, and even a lot of stuff in the bible about the beauty of nature, but the Pope seems to be spouting empty words at best, or propaganda that promotes a secular agenda at worst.

Myself, I am annoyed at the church: Actually, I support limiting services, since as my last post noted, services inside poorly ventilated churches are a great way to spread respiratory disease. But you know, if you held mass outdoors (where there was room to distance) and gave communion in the hand I just don't see an infection risk. Spray the hands of the server with alcohol, or use "handiwipes" frequently while doing so? Why not: The old fashioned mass service has the priest washing his hands several times  (see wikipedia Levabo)

My ancestors snuck out to hear mass at "mass rocks", and I've attended mass in African villages under a tree, so what's the problem? Don't the priests believe the reality of the mass and the Eucharist?

as a catholic, if you believe there is a God,  you meet him in mass and communion in a personal way and get strength from this to lead you life,  so shouldn't priests who believe this find a way to help their people even in the time of plagues?

For my protestant relatives, they stream the service because it's about singing and hearing the word: like the "modern" mass in many (but not all) post Vatican II churches, it's a bit too close to entertainment for my cynical mindset. Happy happy happy, and superficial...

True, it's not quite as bad here in the rural Philippines as it was in the USA because suffering is too close to us here, and the Pasyon (which by the way was banned this year) and Black Nazarene are symbols that help us to remember Christ suffered too.

You see, Mass is more than hymn singing: for Catholics, the Eucharist is a powerful reality of meeting God. Yes, reality, not a symbol as too many Post Vatican II catholics and most protestants seem to think it is.

Christians care for the sick, of course, and caring for the sick is caring for God himself: but what is missing is that the sick need the hope that suffering has an ultimate meaning and death is not the end, and we caregivers desperately need the presence of God to strengthen us in our work.

One of my medical school teachers told us that few physicians are active in their churches, most believe in God, because we see so much suffering. We see many who should live who die, but we also see the small miracles of those we thought would die who live. And if we didn't believe there was a higher reason behind all of this, we would not be able to function as good physicians.

this is true:

ah, but where are the voices today that are willing to tell us of this hope?

as one of my African patients said: Yes, doctor I know how I got the disease, but you doctors are unable to tell us why we got sick. 

uh, yes. That is the job of the priests.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, an African bishop who works at the Vatican, quietly has written an essay about this lack.


The Church has committed herself to the struggles for a better world. She has been right to support ecology, peace, dialogue, solidarity, and the equitable distribution of wealth. All these struggles are just. But they could make us forget the words of Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world.” ...\
Covid-19 laid bare an insidious disease that was eating away at the Church: she thought that she was “of this world.” She wanted to feel legitimate in her own eyes and according to her own criteria. But a radically new reality has appeared. Triumphant modernity has collapsed in the face of death. This virus revealed that, despite its assurances and security, this earthly world was still paralyzed by the fear of death.
The world can solve health crises. It will certainly solve the economic crisis. But it will never solve the enigma of death. Faith alone has the answer....
In the face of death, there is no human response that can hold. Only the hope of eternal life can surpass the scandal of death. But who is the man who will dare to preach hope? It takes the revealed word of God to dare to believe in a life without end. It takes a word of faith to dare to hope for oneself and one's family. The Catholic Church is therefore called back to its primary responsibility. ...
But if that is so, the Church must change. She must stop being afraid of causing shock and of going against the tide. She must give up thinking of herself as a worldly institution. She must return to her only “raison d'ĂȘtre”: faith. The Church is there to announce that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection. This is at the heart of her message: “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith … and we are the most wretched of all men” (1 Corinthians 15:14-19).
....Our societies will come out of this crisis weakened. They will need psychologists to overcome the trauma of not being able to accompany the elderly and the dying to their tombs, but even more, they will need priests to teach them to pray and to hope. ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Family news: GIGO

we survived the heavy rains from the tropical storm/typhoon, which hit the Visayas but kept off the coast enough not to hit us badly except for rain and floods and the downing of some trees.

We are on partial opening now: We can shop for "non essentials" but only on our designated days. So the dept store next door is open, sort of, with distancing. 

I still can't get my checks processed but any day now the courier service to send the check to the Manila branch for processing will be open, and once that is done I only have to wait 21 work days for the checks to clear.

Oh well. 

No, I am not going to change my pension to the Philippine bank: I don't quite trust them.

How is the Philippine doing? I'm not sure: We still have cases, including a few neighborhoods in Manila on complete lockdown.

and if you think that any of reports of how many cases there are in the Philippines is accuarate, you are being naive.

For most of the world, the "statistical analysis" of numbers is GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out.

My cynicism about the reporting by the MSM is that, except for Dilbert/Scott/

Adams, no one wants to admit that no one knows anything: Lots of analysis of data, but the rule is "garbage in/garbage out".

lots of plans based on assumptions that might not be true, because "garbage in/garbage out".

Testing is good, but a lot of the tests are inaccurate... so again GIGO.

So the US has more cases because they are testing more, but China's obviously fake data is quoted by the MSM as if it were true. Really? Doesn't anyone notice that China blocked outsiders from going to Wuhan to help figure what is going on, or that several million left that city to go to their home villages for Chinese new year: so how many cases in those rural villages who had parties with their extended families? Who knows. But the Chinese statistics are frequently quoted... GIGO

the fact that NoKorea shut down a border city and that there are reports of cases in China's North East suggest something is going on there. Hmm..

sDoes this mean there is also an outbreak in eastern Russia, which has a lot of Chinese "immigrants" living there? Who knows.

so the virus is all over, but the US MSM seems to think it's more important to spin it against Trumpieboy than actually report.

Here in the third world, not only will most cases never be reported, but a lot of kids will die because they are not getting their routine shots for Measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, etc.

And with the shut down, I am seeing a lot more abandoned dogs, so I worry about rabies cases in the near future.

But the economic slowdown will kill a lot more from malnutrition in the next year than will die of the virus. Especially vulnerable: Families who rely on wages from their relatives who work overseas and re now laid off...But except for migrant rights organizations, few are reporting this.


the high rate in the USA is because... New York City.

One big mistake made by NYcity etc: Not stopping infectious cases that are better but still infectious being sent back to their nursing homes.

why? because regulations mandated that if they came from a nursing home, that nursing home would be required to accept them back.

So the still infectious patients were sent back to infect others in their nursing home, because regulations said they were not sick enough to stay in a hospital.

Now, of course, the solution would be to open up the little used outside beds (Samaratan's purse or the hospital ships etc) for them. But apparently that wasn't in the regulations so no one looked into this alternative solution.

WTF? 

Is this malice, ignorance, or what?

no, this is how bureaucracies work: regulations rule. Inflexible rules are what is followed, never mind reality.

I've had experience with this type of insanity, since I have worked for the feds.


For example, back in the late 1990s when Minneapolis had cases of vancomycin resistant staph, i.e. an infection, usually of skin and wounds but also that can cause pneumonia and sepsis, that couldn't be treated, nevertheless our nursing home was being pressured to accept one of these still infectious patients.

Now, our nursing home was not just elders but included a lot of diabetics being treated for wounds and ulcers: 

On the reservation, most elders had someone to care for them either in the house or nearby, so our tribal health workers only went three times a week to supervise wound care. But some lived in very isolated areas, and in Minnesota, it would go 40 below and snow would block the roads; as a result, some of our frail elders and diabetics with partially healed leg ulcers spent the winter in the nursing homes: (the alternative for this slow intensive wound care was, alas, amputation).

Ah, but although using masks/gloves etc. was being done, the dirty little secret is that perfect isolation was impossible. Yet the bureaucrats were pressuring us to accept a patient whose infected wound might coast the lives and limbs of those already in our nursing home because... because why? Human rights I believe. Or because regulations said we had to. Reality be damned.

so some blame Trump for these nursing home deaths, but actually the governor, Cuomo, would be the one who bears the blame, since he "made" the decision. 

But of course, the real decision was made by state health authorities: They remain nameless bureaucrats, safe and sound.

they will of course claim they knew nothing...  And will hide behind the "regulations" that mandated this, even though the regulations were out of touch. And since it is almost impossible to fire a government employee, they will keep their jobs.

But not all state health commissioners can pretend they didn't know that it was a danger.

In Pennsylvania, the head of their health commission actually took his/her mother out of her nursing home and put her in a hotel room for safety.

But the mother didn't require care; and that, alas is the problems. As the "experts" note, removing elders from nursing homes too often mean they won't get good care, and that if they return to their families, they are at higher risk at catching the virus from family members who go outside for shopping or for work

The nursing home scandal is huge: but even then, the delay in getting testing made it worse.

Again, this is blamed on Trumpieboy but actually it was strict government regulations that delayed approving tests from private companies or outside countries, since they might not be accurate. So regulations meant to make sure the tests were accurate ended up meaning no tests at all. (and accuracy remains a problem in some tests).

(and the bad news: The tests might not be completely accurate: Again GIGO).



Finally, much of what you read is political finger pointing: it assumes magical thinking,  as if what we now know was known in January, it assumes opinions on what to do are uniform, when often there are many different opinions on what to do, and it ignores the disease was more infectious than influenza, since it also hit medical personnel.

And then the idea that isolated rural communities are the same as NYC with it's crowded slums and subway, might not be correct. That is why the rural communities in many still closed states are literally revolting/ignoring the guidelines: they feel they are at low risk.

Finally: there is a lot of hysteria about contact tracing due to privacy concerns.

those last two statements (rural low risk, contact tracing) are related.

Uh, we've been doing contact tracing for years for TB when I worked for the IHS, and state health departments would always trace contacts for STDs, at least before HIV became a civil right.

when it comes to the wuflu, contact tracing is vital to stop the spread in rural areas with high risk populations: e.g. migrants, immigrants, people in extended families and Native Americans, all of whom tend to live together in the same house and who care for their elders at home as part of this extended family.

(One of my friends in Albuquerque has been tracing contacts among immigrant families, and is due to change her job to a local reservation to do the same.)

How the disease spreads in small connected communities in rural areas is described in this excellent article about the spread of the virus on the Navajo reservation.

One would think that the Navajo, who live in isolated homes, not in villages like the nearby Pueblo tribes, would be safe, but that's not true.

It seems that a man who had no symptoms carried the infection from a nearby big city attended a church service... and this spread the virus to those who went to the service, and took it home. Often housing includes extended family members, so they got sick.

It's not just poverty, but comorbidity (a high rate of obesity and diabetes). It would be miles to the local medical center, often a clinic or hospital of the IHS. Now, I have worked for the IHS: the places are often understaffed and the personnel are overworked, and due to the limited budget often expensive stuff is not available.

But the dirty little secret behind the spread is because the families take care of their own, so the virus spreads through the family.

I suspect a similar reason is behind the high rate among the working class. minority and immigrants communities in NYCity. 

The US is notorious for putting grannie in nursing homes because both spouses have to work to keep the family going, yet even in the USA, there are 40 million part time or full time caregivers who rarely get noticed, and these caregivers allow most of the elderly to live at home.

And in many families, often someone stay home to do the care, sometimes working part time or even quitting their job to do so.

This is the same way we care for our elders here in the Philippines, and in most of the world.

by the way: our partial shutdown continues because of a diagnosed case in the next neighborhood, and our churches remain closed for services.

Sigh.


--------------
update





Monday, May 18, 2020

LadyDoc to the rescue

we are busy watching K dramas, including an older one: Jewel in the palace, about a cooking lady in the court of the king of Korea who later becomes a nurse/physician and eventually the court physician to the king: Dae Jang geum, or in English, the Jewel in the palace

A lot of infighting drama among the female staff in the palace kitchen, a later plan to study medicine after she is removed from that position, a bit of a romance, and lots of melodrama along the way. Over 40 episodes, which we are watching on K Drama streaming sites but you can also see parts of it on youtube or from Amazon.

toward the end, our intrepid heroine treats civilians in a local epidemic, with the help of a guard who is a special friend who went to see why she hadn't returned from the village in quarantine.




and you thought that the wuhanflu was bad.

much of the plot is that she is confronted with a problem, so she asks around and hits the books for information and then solves the problem. The main character is sweet and polite but manages to get things done despite opposition based on envy, other's ambition, and of course, sexism against female doctors.

hmm... sounds familiar.

and yes, there is romance, but it is essentially G rated.

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

in contrast, the latest KDrama, loosely based on a BBC miniseries, is about a modern lady physician whose philandering husband steals her money for his unsuccessful business and then marries his pregnant girlfriend who just happens to have a rich father to support him.
it is streaming under several names: The world of the married is one.

not a lot of medicine in this one, but the way she fights back against her ex husband will cheer the hearts of every lady who has ever been betrayed by a narcissistic lover/boyfriend/husband... you can just hear her anger/plans for revenge when she walks down the street in her high heels.



so not much medicine in this one. and unlike many k dramas, it has r rated scenes in it, but the steamiest scenes are not graphic: She just exudes passion, and most of the men recognize this.

and of course, wimpy women don't make it through the tough course of medical school.

But the husband is a toxic narcissist: to me, it's not just about his having a bimbo, but that he did a lot of other things like emptying her bank accounts, mortgaging her house, and hiring a hit man to beat her up and almost kill her, not to mention his manipulation of his son to punish his wife by persuading the kid to move in with him.

so alas the ending where she again succumbs to his manipulations (gaslighting her by acting poor me and making her responsible for all of his evil actions) is disgusting.

sigh. Earlier in the film, a girl who she helped escape from an abusive boyfriend warned her that she, the doctor, was like herself and vulnerable to the sweet talking guy who could manipulate her by making her she had to protect him. Truer words were never said.

maybe she needs to watch Dr Ramidi.



oh well. but then as a doc, I am well aware of how abused wives/girlfriends etc. return over and over again to these types.... but in a physician who should know better?


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

the third lady doc is closer to home: Claire Frazier of Outlander. Able to hold her own in medicine and in Jamies' arms (many r rated scenes here)

Lots of medicine here, both surgery and herbal remedies.

here is Claire confronting a typhoid epidemic on a British ship after she was essentially taken there by force to treat the sailors,



so here you have three modern portraits of women in medicine.

how accurate ate the portraits?

well, they are a lot better than the two dimensional politically correct female "superheroes" that Hollywood is pumping out.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Messy storm is over

The typhoon had decreased into a mere tropical storm last night: Lots of heavy rain, the roof leaking in the bathroom and dining room (not as bad as if it would be in the USA since we have cement tile floors, which are easy to clean up.)

No rain this morning but lots of broken branches and leaves to clean up. The cook said a lot of trees are down in some areas, mainly palm and banana trees,

It's not that hot but I kept the Aircon on all night to keep down the humidity because the humidity makes my asthma worse.

two black outs during the night; the first one I put out candles, but the second one was at 4 am so I didn't bother: It didn't last long and came after the storm had essentially passed, so I figured it was the city repairing the downed line, and even if it lasted, hey, dawn would come soon.

The shops are partly allowed to open today, but I doubt I will go out yet.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Opening up a bit, just in time for the typhoon

We were in lockdown for a month, then in a very strict lockdown for 2 weeks, but today we are scheduled to open up a bit.

The neighborhoods, especially in Manila, which have cases will remain on strict lockdown I understand.

this is good for the local folks, many of whom work in shops or run small shop/kiosks or tricycles or do other blue collar work in areas that have been shut down. Hmmm... maybe I can even get my hair cut soon.

the other good news: The bank said they can start processing checks from the USA, so that I can deposit money from my US bank which gets my pension. Hopefully the check will clear before I run out of savings here.

We have a good mayor: two days ago the maid was missing... apparently she was making sure her family (son, cousins, counsins/ kids and grandkids) got the rice and cash help that they were giving out in the poorer neighborhoods.



We now have a rapid testing station in town.



No, I won't get a test unless I come down with symptoms.

this is all good news.

The bad news? We have a typhoon/tropical storm heading here today and tomorrow Right now it's signal 2, which isn't too bad, but it means lots of rain and maybe flooding for the folks who live near the river.


but the storm is headed up the western coast of the Philippines: if it stays there we'll be okay but if it heads closer to land we could have a signal 3, which is a mess, or even signal 4 (it's not up to signal 5 right now).

The bad news? the roof to our house has been leaking, so if it gets bad we could have dripping all over (right now it's just in my bathroom).
But so far we still have electricity,, water, and internet, all of which will go off if the winds get bad. Hopefully the fact that they have replaced a lot of the dangly wires that always got broken from rice trucks snagging them, so hopefully they won't fall down if a neraaby palm or banana trees falls down. we now have heavier cables/wires, concrete poles, higher wires, and tranaformers  will mean fallen electric wires will be less likely.



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

family news

Kuya is busy with preparing the rice land to plant the next crop.

There have been daily thunderstorms in the late afternoon, so maybe the monsoon is here.... The good news is also that the temperature is only in the high 80s now, due to the clouds.

the bad news: We are in the part of Luzon who will continue our lockdown through May 31. It doesn't bother me too much since I tend to stay indoors most of the time, but it will be hard on local folks who won't be able to shop or work.


Not one penny for China: who told the TSP to invest in China?

Instapundit links to an article saying that Trumpieboy orders the Thrift savings plan to stop investing in China. LINK to Fox business.

Trump orders federal retirement money invested in Chinese equities to be pulled The assets at hand number around $4.5 billion in Chinese stocks

the background of this story:

Federal employees are able to save money for retirement with the government matching their savings.. They have five funds available to chose for these funds: One of which invests in other countries. Up to last year, this meant westernized countries.

But last year an outside company consultant pushed them to include riskier but potentially higher yield countries, and this included some funding to Chinese companies.

Those of us with TSP accounts were not informed of the change of policy at the time.

 But when it was done, some Senators and some veterans groups protested about funding China, but were ignored.

So Trump is correcting this.

Now what we need to know: Who was the outside consultant who recommended this, what were his ties with China, and who gave him the power over this quasi governmental retirement fund.

I don't know much about finance, but when the TSP board announced the plan, I did  a blogpost on it:

I posted some links there to various articles on the controversy, and about the outside "consultant" behind the decision, and about those in Congress who opposed the decision and why. I did this in case my half a dozen blog readers included a reporter who might want to dig into the matter.

Here is a small snippet from that post, where I commented on an article at the TSP website about the plan back then:


Senators on both sides of the aisle are trying to stop the board from taking retirement funds from US gov't and military employees and investing it in china.
At a FRTIB meeting Monday, Aon presented an updated study of the TSP's I Fund benchmark and recommended the board move forward with the change.
In 2017, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board voted unanimously to change the index upon which the I Fund is based, from the MSCI Europe, Australasia and Far East Index to the MSCI All Country World Ex-US Investable Market Index, beginning sometime next year.
The move marks a shift from a predominantly Euro-centric index, along with Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, to investments in 48 markets around the world, most notably including Canada and China.;;;
Please note that only 8 percent is supposed to be for Chinese companies.
The change was due to a consulting firm named AonHewitt. At a meeting of the TSP board last month, consultants from Aon Hewitt, who originally recommended moving to the broader index in 2017, reaffirmed their recommendation.
Now if only some intrepid reporter would check if China has connections with that outside investment company (i.e. AonHewitt): which not only advised the TSP but handles a lot of retirement plans in the USA.

To paraphrase Dr. McCoy: I am a physician, not an investment banker. but even I was wondering about the way the TSP board slipped this over their investors back then, without informing us and without answering my protesting email about it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Millstones, anyone?




Mr. Branch's radio program discusses self esteem, moral revival, and problems of racism that the black man confronts in the USA. 

Here he discusses pedophilia by leaders in the Baptist church and notes that Baptists, like Catholics, revere their church leaders and sort of see them as perfect, which has made opportunities for sexual predation.

Sigh. I've seen these problems: Eager younger teenagers who want to be adults and yet who seek attention from a trusted adult. And the adult often justifies their actions as okay because he perceives this attention getting behavior as a sexual invitation (or worse: an adult who grooms them to allow being sexually exploited).

as the only "lady doc" in the town, I saw a lot of these cases, all young girls: About half were exaggerations, normal playing around, "boys being boys", where an older teenaged boy exploited the girl about his own age who had just discovered her sexuality  and was willing to go along with his request (or who wanted a cute baby to play with). 
But a few cases were very bad: Rape, serial intercourse, including incest with mom's boyfriend or even (in 2 cases) the actual biological father...luckily those two cases resulted in the guy going to jail, by plea bargain to a lower crime since the trauma of a young teenage girl testifying in court was often worse than the crime itself.

Sigh

I have written about priest sexual abuse in Altoona on my non PC screed blog, and here is a summary of various articles on the subject LINK

Professor Podles has written books about the subject and has some pretty disgusting stuff on line LINK. 

Ironically, one reason that these people get away with their actions is because the victim is told they were asking for it, so were the guilty party; in contrast, the perpetrator sees himself as a good people, and the sins as either "justified" (by "consent') or as a lapse that needs to be forgiven "70 times 7 times", as they often imply Jesus was saying, meaning if you punished them, you were the "bad guy".

one example of this can be found in today's GetReligionblog where they discuss an article about sexual abuse in the Amish community, made worse because of that community's emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, which of course puts pressure on the victim to forgive, not report, such abuse 

(hmm... sounds like a case I heard about in Altoona, where the family was pressured to withdraw the claim against that nice visitor priest who just had a "lapse" of judgement. The family did drop the case, and so a year later the bishop wrote in the local Catholic paper claiming, hey, I was not aware of any accusations of abuse on my watch. (italics mine).

and I won't even go into the Pope's dismissal of such sins by saying "who am I to judge", which has been taken out of context by the MSM to justify politically correct sexual sin by anyone (they usually leave out the next part of his statement which was about repenting), It also also ignores that the comment was not about gays as a class, but about a specific priest, Father Ricca, who used a lot of church money to fund his activities.

 The words “who am I to judge” were stated in Pope Francis’ response to a question about Ricca, who had been credibly accused of homosexual acts when he represented the Holy See in Uruguay from 1999 to 2001. Francis had nevertheless recently appointed Ricca to an important position in the Vatican.

(the job was at the Vatican Bank... cue Cardinal Pell conspiracy theories).

Of course, Ricca was only was accused at ordinary homosexual behavior, not pedophilia or even of hitting on young teenage boys of legal age, so it's okay.

 But the tendency of some sexual predators, both homosexual and heterosexual, to prey on pubescent, naive children is not just seen the clergy: it includes teachers and others who work with children. (and I won't even go into the even worse horror of sexual predation on very young children, which alas occurs but often has little evidence so it's hard to prove).

And lots of un proven rumors about the elites and the Hollywood types doing such things, because they can do it and get away with it.

this is an especially horrid reality among street children in the third world, including here in the Philippines.

and yes, there are cliques who know this is going on and network with each other with information on where they can do this and get away with their "predilections" aka crimes.

 I am thinking of rumors about a certain SciFi writer "retired" to a tropical island but remained respected even though his behavior was an open secret. But heck, the casting couch of Hollywood was also an open secret that rarely got prosecuted either.

Sigh: the Philippines is famous for sex tourism: never mind that not only young people (of legal age) of both sexes are lured into prostitution because of extreme poverty and the wish to support their families at a time when jobs are scarce, but  alas there is also an open sewer that allows the exploitation of street kids by these predators: And now, in the age of the internet, this includes cybersex of course.

 

Sigh.


Most of what I was discussing was male predators, but alas it also happens by female caregivers, which is harder to prove due to the lack of DNA evidence of sexual activity (one of my collegues had a child molested by a female baby sitter, but without evidence the lady could not be prosecuted, even though previous families had also reported her to the police).

TeaAtTrianon has a link to the book The Last Closet, about a female sexual predator who is a famous writer. 

The blogwriter, who writes historical novels, links the history of elites exploiting ordinary folk to a type of amoral paganism or gnosticism, where the elite saw themselves above the laws of ordinary folk so they were allowed to do such things. In contrast, Christianity tended to be the religion of the weak and the exploited, so it was harder for sociopaths to justify their actions: but of course, some did anyway..

nor is it just "religion" that can be twisted to justify such behavior: nowadays are more likely to justify their action by spouting Freud or Kinsey.

When I was in medical school in the late 1960s, we were told by our psychiatry instructors that allowing "loving" adults initiate sex with children would result in their being more mentally healthy, without "hang ups" or guilt. 

and who remembers when California decided not to jail "non violent" sexual predators in the 1980s, or when Newsweek had an article, echoing what was written in medical journals, that we docs should not report incest because it would break up the family if the father was arrested.

sigh.

there is nothing new under the sun you know: Even Gilgamesh was accused of using his kingship to exploit women in his kingdom.

Jesus was well aware of the practices of the local Roman elites and local non Jews influenced by Greek ideas who thought nothing was wrong to exploit their slaves or their "consenting" employees. (Hey: Sounds like some here in the Philippines who I will not name)...

Professor Podles points out that this has become worse in recent times as a result of the "feminization" of western Christianity. 

In many of today's Christian churches, the meek and gentle Jesus is preached: Jesus as a compassionate western type mother who would never discipline her naughty child, and where theologians insist that hey, no one goes to hell  because God is to nice to do such a thing.

Presumably they never heard of the the Asian Tiger mother, or that a family is important, and family members need both to love and to be responsibility for each other, something often ignored in the "me ism" of the west.

True, Jesus is easy on ordinary folk who try to do the right thing, and repent when they fail, but he's pretty strict with those elites who ignore or exploit the poor, and he is down right murderous toward those who harm children: he actually said that they deserved to be thrown into the sea weighted with a millstone.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Happy Mother's day

..........


and this one is about being in lockdown:

...............

Friday, May 08, 2020

cashless in quarantine? Not yet, but it's in the plans

We are still in quarantine lockdown, and can only legally go out two days a week to shop.

So yesterday, I went to the bank to remove cash for next week's expenses, and picked up dog food and medicine on the way back. Then I gave money to the maid to pick up groceries. (most of our food is fresh and bought by our cook from the vendors at the palenke. She goes every day. Don't ask me how she is allowed to do this in "strict quarantine" but she has connections with half the town so I doubt anyone would stop her).

It is "tag init": The hot season just before the monsoon hits, so it's been in the 90's F for the last week. Luckily, no brownouts so I can run the Air conditioner all day and night.

Why no brownouts? I suspect this is because most offices and larger stores have air conditioners, and are closed so the electricity use is down.

We had two short blackouts during the night yesterday, lasting about 15 minutes. The city has been doing basic repairs during the shutdown (they even fixed a leaking waterpipe up the street), I suspect they are replacing the jumble of wires with a larger cable and transformer.

The brownout lasted long enough for me to decide to light candles because the dogs get upset in the dark. Not too dark however since there is moonlight. The only time we see the full starlit sky here is when we have brownouts at night and no moon. Even at the farm, we have lights for security reasons.

The lockdown is scheduled to continue through May 15; if they don't start to reopen, I suspect there will be problems, since a lot of lower middle class folks are out of money and want to go back to work.

And the rice has to be planted in the near future: That means getting seedlings, preparing the fields, getting fertilizer etc. All hard to do with the lockdown.

Kuya had two young men to help fix the farm machinery yesterday. And since he has to do deliveries and everyone is getting shaggy, he asked a neighbor to come over and cut all their hair. Alas, the guy is not skilled enough to do women's hair, so I might just allow my hair to grow long and put it in a bun, as I have in the past.

I'm sort of ignoring the news, especially the US news, which is full of "sound and fury signifying nothing"...

I am happy that General Flynn's case was dropped: A political railroading case in revenge for opposing President Obama's attempt to make nice with Iran... something I supported, by the way, but alas Obama was naive: he got stiffed by the mullahs in the deal, and so Trumpieboy, who is used to dirty tricks played in business deals, reversed the agreement.

 Lots of stuff about General Flynn on the conspiracy sites about the corruption behind his political prosecution.

These overreach prosecutions happen all the time by both parties, yet the really corrupt just find a way to get around the law (and yes, I mean you Uncle Joe). 
But the Qbies are happy.

Q is a conspiracy movement, and I usually follow these movements to dig out the ten percent of their reports that are true but ignored by the MSM.


 My take on Q is that much of what the press calls Q are the crazies who hang on and push crazy conspiracies,, but if you follow the "real" Q, it is about keeping the good old boys calm by assuring them that the system works so keep cool and be patient.

Maybe they need a Q here in the Philippines: The latest kerfuffle is that ABS CBN lost their license to broadcast. That means to get local news in English we have to go to CNN Philippines, which is very biased.

 No, I don't know what's going on: Duterte is pushing back, of course, and the international money (?CIA money probably in there too because Duterte is too nicey nice with China) The outsiders are funding the opposition sites, with the cooperation of the rich students who feel guilty about being rich and become SJW to assuage their guilt. But things are more complicated than good vs evil because a lot of the pushback on Duterte is because he is going against the corrupt.

sigh.

but if the economy collapses, there is a tradition of rebellion, and the NPA, which is small but has friends in the real reformer types, could expand and cause trouble.

Sigh

In the meanwhile, if you are paranoid, here's another nice article to ponder:

From the Inquirer:


Visa Philippines study shows Filipinos are ready to go cashless
A recent study by Visa Philippines called “Consumer Payment Attitudes,” have shown Filipinos to be generally interested in cashless transactions. A cashless transaction refers to an electronic transfer of money enabled by store and online payment systems. Examples are debit and credit cards, e-wallets, mobile wallets, and online transfers.
While the most common manner of payment is still with cash, the study finds that most consumers, who already use traditional credit cards, are likely to try other contact-less payment methods.

(italics mine)

hmmm... wonder who did their polling, and who was included in the survey?

There is a lot of credit card etc. use because of all the overseas workers sending money home, etc. And in the mall, some people use credit cards at the grocery store. But what about poor people?

or is this a conspiracy by the "NWO" to take over and control everyone, and hey, isn't it convenient that the wuhan flu came around and will help them do it? (/sarcasm).


The convenience of going cashless has become especially relevant during these times, when an enhanced community quarantine is in place and people need to stay in and work from home. With the global pandemic affecting the supply chain and halting the operations of physical stores and businesses, many are learning to rely on e-commerce to purchase necessities and pay off bills in the safety of their own homes. 
India was doing a "cashless society" experiment awhile back and really stiffed the poor and working class folk during the turnover. I haven't read about how that is going lately. And E banking is a big thing in Africa. And of course, Jack Ma's AliBaba (think Amazon/ebay on steroids) had revolutionized China's ability to buy stuff outside of cities.

so part of this is good: But there is a difference between encouraging the use of modern technology, and with implementing a "cashless society", where you are at the mercy of the banks (or cyber criminals).



of course, one doubts the cybercriminals will bother with a few hundred dollars from ordinary folk here, but stealing your information from stores is an ongoing problem in the USA, so one suspects a similar problem could happen here.

But the big problem is how to "verify" that it's you when you use the credit card.

Again from the Inquirer article:

There are several measures that can be observed to ensure safety in one’s online transactions, such as setting up biometric authentication methods on phones and banking apps, like fingerprints or facial recognition...
hmm... sounds like the "mark of the beast" to me (biblical reference that in the time of the anti christ you won't be able to buy or sell without having a "mark" on your hand or forehead. Conspiracy theories are not new you know).

one wonders if the small but growing middle class Protestant/Pentecostal churches here will oppose the move (one doubts the Catholic bishops would worry about it: the good ones are worried about the poor starving and the PC suckituptothePope types are worried about the environment)

so what could go wrong?

Uh Oh:

Business Insider article

China is building a vast civilian surveillance network — here are 10 ways it could be feeding its creepy 'social credit system
  

read the whole thing.


as for the virus: more here on Stratagypage about The Philippines and the virus,
May 7, 2020: The Philippines has suffered six covid19 (coronavirus) deaths per million population so far and has 91 known cases of the virus per million people. In early April the government ordered a nationwide lockdown to halt the spread and make it easier to treat those who have it. So far so good. Neighbors Malaysia have 199 cases and three deaths per million, Singapore has 3,452 confirmed cases per million and three deaths per million while Indonesia has 45 cases per million and three deaths per million. The Philippines has the advantage of having no land borders with any other nation. Moreover, the Philippines consists of 7,600 islands, which further limits the spread of the virus.
 SP has a big discussion of how China is continuing their grab of fishing areas and sea lanes (and potential petroleum resources) off the coast in the west Philippine sea while the world is busy fighting an epidemic that they caused by their corruption and are pretending they didn't do it.

and JohnBachelor has Michael Yon discussing how China is going after the Hong Kong protesters: