Wednesday, February 24, 2021

the pc war against Tolkien (Updated essay)

They are trying to "cancel" Tolkien, reports Vox Day, the rabid puppy in the "Sad Puppies" controversy (where PC stories that were poorly written and full of cliches would win over good writers who wrote imaginative stories. This, like the attacks on the video games, was about politics, as one can see on the Wikipedia page, where non PC obeying writers opposing the PC takeover were called "rabid right wing" types).

The Tolkien story takeover is about the rewrite by Amazon, where many fans worry that the Tolkien universe would be destroyed by the PC who would make it more "inclusive" to modern PC tastes while changing plots to mimic the amoral universe of the Game of Thrones, i.e. destroying Tolkien's moral world view which is so hated in today's world where Christianity and even moral paganism of Rome and Greek philosophy is shunned and ridiculed...

Of course, no one wants to admit the aim is to destroy any vestige of western civilization or traditional morality, so the critics will merely cry "Racism"...pretending the orcs are racist because Jackson's main orc in LOTR was played by a local Maori stuntman and looked dark skinned... but the original orcs were not dark skinned in the book, but never mind. 

And elves were blond (except in the book, this only applied to a subgroup of Noldor, but again never mind). And wait til they find that the Dwarves included Jewish influence (looking for a homeland, written before Israel was a nation, but mainly because the language was inspired by Hebrew grammar etc).

And of course, the Northern kingdom of the witch king was evil, the wainriders resembled the Goth barbarians, Gondor was based on Rome and Egypt, and Umbar's pirates were inspired by the Barbary pirate raids that took slaves from southern Europe.

But none of this matters to a culturally and historically illiterate "woke" community who can't figure out why a story based on Anglo Saxon and Norse mythology should not have their preferred minorities to prove virtue.

But of course, the dirty little secret is that it is not "racism" that they are objecting to: the real opposition is really about the moral universe of Tolkien, where good and evil are real and do not depend on the whims of the elite or the intellectual fads of the day:

Eomer said, 'How is a man to judge what to do in such times?' As he has ever judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.

How deep does the cultural work rot go? Well, as Vox points out:  After Christopher Tolkien's death, the Tolkien society is asking for papers to discuss Tolkien's non PC attitude.

We are now calling for papers for the Tolkien Society Summer Seminar...The theme is Tolkien and Diversity...
While interest in the topic of diversity has steadily grown within Tolkien research, it is now receiving more critical attention than ever before.
Spurred by recent interpretations of Tolkien’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings, it is crucial we discuss the theme of diversity in relation to Tolkien. How do adaptations of Tolkien’s works (from film and art to music) open a discourse on diversity within Tolkien’s works and his place within modern society?

Italics mine. Translation: Amazon plans to make Tolkien "woke" so we need to discuss this. Or translation: How can we destroy Tolkien's nuances to fit into the "woke" culture of the politically correct?

The dirty little secret is that, unlike the "PC" culture, Tolkien's world is actually diverse. Tolkien's world includes the themes of how different races (elves, dwarves, and men, not to mention the sub groups of these races, i.e. Noldar and Silvan Elves, Dwarves from Moria and from the Blue Mountains, and of course, the different cultures of men: Gondor (Rome) vs LakeTown (rural Gemanic villages built on lakes) vs Rohan (Anglo Saxon culture plus horses of the Goths).

All of these different cultures act and think differently from each other, and have different ways of acting. Those of us who have actually lived in different cultures are aware of this, but in today's world, who dares to say such things?

In contrast to Tolkien's world, the "woke" culture that pretends it loves diversity is busy canceling anyone who doesn't go along with their way of thinking.

more HERE.

So the not only will the new series be "woke", but it will echo the amoral universe of the Game of Thrones.

Tolkien's stories are set in a moral universe, not the atheistic nihulism of George Martin.

And THAT is why he has been hated by elite opinion makers for the last 70 years.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Single patient carry

 I learned how to do single carry of a patient on the ground, by sitting him up and then lifting...but this is a different way to do it.

Bland stories that have horrific implications

 The BBC reports they are now doing non brain dead transplants. They pull the plug and wait for the person's heart to stop and then take the heart and other organs out... 

I support organ donation: it is life saving for many people. But to ignore that the need for organs is making elite ethicists to try to broaden the criteria of who is dead so they can get more organs is a dirty little secret.

This will not be the final step in broadening the way they "harvest" organs.

The "brain death" criteria in the UK is already broader than that used in the USA.

And if the "experts" are allowed to get their ideas into law, the criteria will be "cortical death" instead of whole brain death, meaning harvesting organs from those in "coma", or patients who are awake but in "persistant vegetative state" (which is frequently over diagnosed by "experts") will be considered "dead" so you can harvest their organs. So far, this has not been done legally in the USA... 

However, the BBC report about the increased use of "brain alive heart dead" criteria is just another way to muddy the discussion.

This is a very controversial practice, since for lay people, it confuses the difference between full brain death and what a lay person interprets as "Dead". There are already urban legends of people being declared brain dead and while arrangements were being done to remove their organs, the patients woke up... 

There are two reasons that these urban legends/fake news stories could be true: 

One: the diagnosis of brain death was not done properly

Two: The person had received sedation which confuses the diagnosis of brain death and then the sedation wears off.

But there is a need for organs, so what is a doctor to do?

But often you have someone who is profoundly brain damaged but does not meet the criteria for "brain death". So how can you harvest their organs?

You remove their machines and let the heart stop beating. Which is what the BBC article suggests they are doing.

Again often lay people get the impression that these people are brain dead (they are not). And again, there is that little problem of sedation, either by pain medicines, medicine given for seizures, etc. that can make a person look dead.

So there is confusion about what is going on.

As more cases of non brain dead people being taken off machines to get their organs, there will be more questioning of if doctors are killing people to get their organs. And this will have the unfortunate side effect of lowering the willingness of people to donate their organs when they die.

Twenty some years ago, when Dr Arthur Caplan, a famous bioethicist, moved to Pennsylvania where they had an option on the driver's license to check if they wanted their organs to be donated in case of death. When the clerk was instructing him how to fill out the forms for a drivers license, she warned him not to check this "or they will let you die".

I suspect the clerk was Afro American, since that community remembers the Tuskegee study and faces racism in hospitals and clinics, and of course, there is that matter of when a Pennsylvania governor needed a heart/liver transplant, he got it quickly... from a black donor who had died of a brain injury.

But most donors are not from the inner city minority community: in Western Pennsylvania, often brain damaged people from car wrecks (which were alas common on the winding dangerous back roads) were transferred to Pittsburgh, which is a big transplant center. The air ambulance guys would cynically call these transfers "body runs".

When I worked there, locals (mainly poor ethnic whites) still trusted the system, but this could change. And confusing brain death with stopping machines to kill the person so the donor's heart will stop so the docs can remove their organs is one way to increase the suspicion of the medical establishment, which is already losing it's trust due to the economic emphasis, with some of my relatives complaining that their doctor seems more interested in filling out the form on his computer than in actually listening to them.


In traditional brain death, if done properly, the entire brain and brain stem is dead, so the body is essentially brainless and will die the moment that you remove the machines. 

But if you stretch the criteria of whole brain death to "upper brain death", or worse, to people who are in a coma and will die when you take them off the machine, then you might be killing people who otherwise might survive... but with the pressure on the medical community to get organs for all those poor dying patients, you can see the problem of maybe being a bit lax in the diagnosis, or even helping the person along.

There was even a case where the patient didn't die fast enough for the doctor so he helped him along (but hey, the guy was mentally disabled to begin with so no the nice doc didn't get prosecuted).

and that is the dirty little secret that no one wants to discuss: If you are mentally handicapped, some people figure you are better off dead, and hey, if your death will help save another's life, why not?

(and this mind set isn't just seen in organ donation: There are too many disturbing stories of the mentally or physically handicapped who were denied full covid treatment because of their handicap, because hey, the hospital needed these resources for people who are not handicapped... except, as this NPR report reveals, there was no shortage of beds and equipment.)

The problem is even more complicated by the idea that all treatment, including food and water, should not be given to a person if they are "terminal" (where people often don't want to eat, just want to be pain free). 

In the UK, patients dying of painful diseases such as cancer were put on a "terminal sedation" aka Liverpool pathway that was originally devised to help control severe pain...except that this practice quickly started to be used for those who were not terminal, or in severe pain, just old and weak.

The UK has socialized medicine of course, so they have a "QALY" quality of life criteria that lets doctors decide if your quality of life is good enough for them to waste taxpayer's money by treating you... the organization that makes these decisions is called the N.I.C.E... an Orwellian name for a cold hearted bureaucracy.

Sarah Palin, whose son is both a minority (part Eskimo) and also has Down's syndrome, correctly labeled those using these criteria as a "death panel" and of course she was ridiculed. 

But the dirty little secret is that using "quality of life" criteria to decide if a person should get treated for an illness is a real danger, not just to the mentally and physically  handicapped, but the elderly, and minorities (including the poor whites and the AmerIndian communities, where I spent most of my time practicing medicine).

Minorities are also less likely to get transplants: We had an active "organ donor" drive at the local Indian festivals to encourage people to sign donor cards, because the need for transplants, especially kidney transplants because of genetic Kidney disease, auto immune renal failure and diabetes meant that kidney disease was a major problem for those of us working in the Indian Health Service.

But again, there is a need to trust the medical system.

and this is where the "slippery slope" to get sloppy in deciding who is not merely dead but really really dead comes in.

Brain death is accepted by most folks, but when the diagnosis is not done accurately, you confuse people.

You read of stories of prolonged life after "brain death"... this is especially true in children, whose brains are more able to regenerate. The Jahi McMath case is especially disturbing, not just because of her prolonged survival, (and possible regrowth of brain tissue that meant she no longer met the brain death criteria)...

but because her "death" was essentially due to a medical error, or rather a problem that happened that sometimes happens despite the best care, but could be considered malpractice in today's court system. A disabled child gets a much larger payment than a dead one, so the hospital involved had a monetary reason to declare her brain dead...

and the problem that Jahi's case revealed: That she actually had some brain recovery by the time she died of other complications.

So when you read the BBC article that they are making plans to use the "non brain dead" criteria for child donors, one does wonder how this can be done without people suspecting their donor child is not really dead, but you need her organs so you are lying.

And if you really want to be paranoid about doctors willing to kill children for organs: Well, here in the third world people actually sell organs to rich people. (Here it is illegal, but hey that never stopped anyone). And because it's common knowledge that people will buy organs, there is a persistent urban legend/ fake news story about gangs kidnapping street kids to remove their organs.


Trust is a delicate thing. The reason for the Hippocratic Oath was so people knew that their physician would not kill no matter what.

Since I graduated from medical school 50 years ago, much of that oath has been discarded by those who thought their newfangled ethics were wise than that old Greek guy. But I wonder...

Trust is a delicate thing, and when it's lost, it takes years to rebuild it.

And the BBC's happy story of saving lives by blurring the ethical line of who is dead and who is alive will have more negative influence on medicine in the future.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Balrog named Fred

 Michael Martinez has a long essay on balrogs, and if Aragorn and Boromir could have helped Gandalf fight Fred the Balrog on the bridge in Kazadum.


the essay is a long discussion of what is a Balrog, and how the concept of Balrog changed in the 50 years when Tolkien was writing his tales.

But essentially a Balrog is a fallen angel of the Maiar class who has taken a bodily presence in Middle Earth. And it is doubtful that human heroes, even one with elven/maiar ancestors like Aragorn, could have stood out long against Fred the Balrog of Moria.

Fred? Yes, that's what the fans named him  sort of a jest, in the same way that the Great White Shark in Jaws was named Bruce. (or in the modern world, Hitler was Herr Shickelgruber and Xi is Winnie the Pooh).

Because laughing at the devil really really makes him mad, 

and the warrior of legends of east and west jest as they fight evil, knowing that they will probably be defeated or at best win a battle that will only be a temporary victory in the long defeat of history.

But they chose to fight nevertheless...

Tolkien's theme of the long defeat is a variation of the Northern myths, where even the gods know that at the end of time, the Giants will destroy Asgard and the world, but they will oppose the evil anyway, joined with the warriors of Valhalla. 

But one difference between Tolkien's world view and the world view of the Northern myths: in his worldview there is hope that good will conquer in the end. 

Tolkien had two words for hope: One was the same as our idea (short term hope that things will go well). But the other term he uses is Estel: This is the long view of history, the hope that assures us that in the end God wins: that after the death on Good Friday comes the resurrection. And after Armageddon comes the New Jerusalem at world's end:

He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Thursday, February 18, 2021

did china block Taiwan from buying Pfizer vaccine?

That is what is hinted in this story, (Asia News is run by a Catholic group involved in development).

Over copyright issues, or maybe because Australia is researching anti trust issues against facebook and google.

And Australia was being bullied by china  (apparently the Aussies insulted China, who is now cutting their use of their agricultural products) but Australia has pushed back against them too. (don't want our wine and lobsters? Well, you don't need our iron and low sulfur coal either)

so what is behind the boycott? Australia insulted China by criticizing them over their bad human rights policies against Tibetans, Uighars, and the slow strangling of human rights (and the rule of law) in Hong Kong.

food products are the most vulnerable to these types of shennanigans since they have a limited shelf life. I remember when China decided to punish the Philippines for some reason a couple years ago so they stopped importing bananas from Mindanao... a lot of the bananas went rotten and it hurt a lot of the plantations there.

And clergy of all the religions there will be under the government and watched. 

There will be a national data base containing the names of the official clergy who were trained and recognised by the five State authorised religions. Their loyalty to the Party is assessed periodically by awarding social credit or by sanctions which may cause the loss of the registration in the State data base.

 Will Biden stand up for religious rights? Given the fact he just said the Uighar persecution is merely cultural differences, ("culturally there are differnt norms") one wonders.

But Xi said he was pleased that Biden is treating him with respect.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sigh. Ebola is back

 Via Father Z: Ebola is back... in Guinea and in the Congo. (DRC).

One thing that is new: there is now a vaccine but it's not available in that area.

Zero Population growth In the Affluent



mainly bookmarking for later listening.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Family news: Party time

 A big Valentine's day party for the staff.

Because we were in shut down due to covid restrictions, we had skipped the usual Christmas/NewYears/Three Kings fiesta parties this year, but now we can party since the restrictions are limited (keep the distance, wear a mask but you can go inside, or party outside with a mask).

So we had a party.

We eat locally, and so for the party we had local food delicacies: Casava sweets, Pinoy Sphaghetti (sweet tomato sauce and hot dog slices, with Eden processed cheese instead of parmasean), roasted ducks (again from the farm: Ducks are raised there and eat the grubs etc. in the rice fields), and veggie dishes. 

nIstead of the beloved "lechon" (Barbecue suckling pig) we had marinated barbecued sheep. I was going to take a picture, but it was too gruesome. But it tasted good. Kuya has helped a local farmer to raise sheep and we get ten percent of the sheep for our own use.

The reason we didn't have suckling pig is because there is a big problem locally with pork: The "African swine Flu" has been decimating the local pork industry. This pig influenza has been in Asia for a bit and really killed a lot of pigs in China. And we had a ban on Chinese pork products, but that didn't stop the illegal smugglers and the pork products from China with a label saying they came from a non infected country, so now we are losing our pork too...including neighbors who only have a couple pigs on their farms, raised for extra income or for their own use.

We ate in the meeting room, which we were preparing in the morning, so the local church that meets there instead met in the garden under the gazebo. And of course, for the party, we ate inside, and all the kids were running around having fun. But we kept our distance. And of course, as is usual in parties (or wakes for that matter), the men sneak outside and drink beer and eat snacks.

And of course we had a kareoke machine. Our maid did a lot of singing. No, she's not a good singer, but is very enthusiastic.

Kuya's pastor came, and so we started with a prayer. We are multi religion here: Kuya is Baptist, his wife is Pentecostal, and I am a normal Catholic, as is most of the staff. That means we party and thank God in our hearts. (hey, even Jesus liked a good party, and the party at Cana is traditionally seen as a foretaste of heaven's joys).

 Luckily, the pastor only talked for a few minutes (I've attended some parties where the pastor kept his unwilling audience in situ to preach for half an hour... figuring he might reach some of those heathen Catholics with his rhetoric).

The dogs of course had to be kept in my part of the compound: They kept trying to sneak out and get the bones in the garbage, and bark at the intruders. Luckily, unlike our late watchdog George the Cat Killing Labrador, the present tribe of dogs don't tend to bite visitors, but they still try to kill cats. Right now, we have a feral cat hiding behind the refrigerator after being mauled by the dogs a few nights ago. He is one who comes to eat the dogfood that I put outside in the large garden we use for business meetings and is guarded by Apa, the secretary's dog. I actually hate that cat, because when I put the food down he always comes near and hisses and scratches at me when I get too close to him. Well, I guess he decided he would try eating the dog food inside our house a couple nights ago: The dogs woke me as if there was an intruder, so I left them out of my room and then when I realized it was a cat, not an intruder, I had to rescue him from them.... We thought he would die but he is now eating, including fish mixed with penicillin, and I suspect he will come out and flee in a day or two.

we also have five puppies who have reached the wandering stage and have started to eat. The good news is that usually once they eat, they go to new homes. The bad news: until then, you have to watch where you step: you might step in puppy poo, puppy pee, or even trip over a puppy trying to eat your toes. The floors are tile so easy to clean: We had to get rid of the rugs in the living room and the wicker furniture there is full of gnawed holes from earlier puppies, and one of these days we will have to fix or replace them.

 A few days ago, I bought a flower arrangement and decorated Lolo's grave. His birthday and death anniversary is next month, so we will have to go and clean up the gravesite then.

The weather is overcast a bit, but soon it will become the hot and dry season that is miserable for everyone (Tag-Init). Then I'll probably stay indoors and run the aircon to stay cool. I don't need the aircon now, but often run it on dehumidify to keep the mold down, but now that Joy gave me an air cleaner, I don't have to run it all the time as a hepa filter to clean the air, so that helps the electric bill.

so life in retirement is not very interesting: Until I get the covid vaccine, I am unwilling to go to church or shop indoor. And the government is still making plans. The expected Pfizer vaccine that was arranged by the US to come in January never was sent because the government here just happened not to do the paper work. so now we are trying to get the vaccine from everyone. And yesterday we hear China will rescue us with their (crappy 50 percent efficiency) vaccine next month. Right. You should read the comments to that news story: No one here trusts China, and in the case of the vaccine, they are right. And of course, no one thinks that China might be behind some of this delay (bribery? Moi?) so they can pretend they are rescuing us and get brownie points.

But you know, several months ago, China illegally vaccinated their workers here (a lot work in the casinos, doing jobs that had been promised to locals, but never mind... and just ignore that some of them are suspected military, as are some of those here on retirement visas who are under age 40). 

But you know, I wonder: there are a lot of Yanks here, both retirees who often have Pinoy spouses, and a lot of Balikbayan (Who emigrated to the US and came back to retire). So why hasn't the American embassy arranged for us to get the vaccine? Probably because it would hurt the feelings of the local officials (and of course Yanks don't bribe, alas). On the other hand, I'm not sure if I will be given the vaccine when it comes. I am high risk elderly and permanent resident, but not a citizen, so I don't know how the priorities are going to be done. Presumably Dr. Angi will let me know when I can get vaccinated. Kuya will refuse the shot because he believes in all the conspiracy theories as a back to nature green believer, but Joy, who does a lot of deliveries and liasons in higher risk areas, will probably be higher on the list to get it.

And this week: Lent starts.

I haven't been into church for a year, and still cannot go inside the church (elders have to go to mass by standing in the parking lot). So I don't know if I will get ashes this year. 


update: After hissing at the cook who was giving him fish for breakfast, the cat ate the breakfast and when we came back he disappeared. No dead cat found, so presumably he ran back to his home in the storage room off the garage.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

comments about the news

I heard some bimbo got fired by Disney for her tweet pointing out that the Jews were demonized so badly that the locals sometime attacked them spontaneously and then helped identify them when they got rounded up. She pointed this out as a warning to the "cancel culture", and immediately the RedGuard twittersphere got her fired.

Supposedly this was bad because it equated the present day "cancel culture" to the Nazis.

It's okay to call Trumpieboy and his 74 million voters Nazis, and blame them for the violence of one riot that some suspect was encourage as a false flag operation but hey, point out that Twittermobs reminiscent of the Red Guards attacking mostly peaceful voters (not to mention the riots of BLM and Antifa that are still going on today) might not be a good thing for peace and unity.

Mobs outside your home theatening your family, and threatening people with violence if they don't obey the self appointed oligarchy are not a good thing. 

Because hey, we love peace and unity: See we even put signs out saying so.


That someone lost her job for pointing out a slippery slope argument against hate speech is ironic.

Some people of course ignore any "slippery slope" argument, even as society goes over a cliff with immoral behavior that some Jeremiahs warned against 40 years ago, but were ridiculed by the elect who denied any validity to their slippery slope argument.

Years ago, I learned how this "slippery slope" argument (name calling, marginalization, ostracism, etc) worked:

 When I worked at an ICF/MR (And the word mental retardation was still considered normal) I attended a conference on how society marginalizes certain people by name calling and ridicule, and then manipulates the media to show they are evil or useless eaters, then good people ignore how the marginalized die from policies (i.e. neglect, oversedation in nursing homes, non treatment orders), and then how it can even lead to direct killing (Nazi T4 project, or how Europe and Canada are now killing non suffering non terminal patients including without their assent).

the conference was to alert us to the (then) disturbing arguments in Medical ethics that were hinting that the mentally disabled should not be given full care because it was too expensive.

That argument was about the mentally disabled, but alas it also could apply to the disabled, minorities, the elderly and the poor of any colour.

How bad has this it become since those days? Well, Biden's health guru is an ethicist who thinks life over 75 is is not worth living, so advises people if they get sick, to just let nature take it's course. 

Is there a connection between this type of thinking and the news story that there were thousands of preventable nursing home deaths from Covid, many of which were due to letting still infectious people to be readmitted to the nursing homes? Who knows. 

But when Biden appoints the Pennsylvania doctor who also ordered the infectious back into their nursing homes when she moved her mom into a hotel to be safe, you can see that there is a bit of cognitive dissonance out there...follow the rules (but protect your family because you know the rules are nonsense).

And less reported are the stories how disabled people were denied full care in hospitals

Some of these stories were known but poorly covered at a time when perhaps an expose could have saved lives. Why? Place conspiracy theory here.

There is a place for public shaming, but getting people fired and destroying lives for trivial remarks seems a bit absurd.

However the good side of the ability to accuse people is the exposure of sexual predators.

One reason is that in the 1970s and 1980s, was because, thanks to Kinsey etc, many argued that sexual exploitation of children was harmless, or even good. Those of us who said "no it is wrong" were accused of being rigid bigots.

How widespread were these ideas? I was taught them during our psychiatry rotation back in the last 1960s, but by 1980 when I was in private practice, I remember when California decided to treat their "non violent" pedophiles as outpatients, and Newsweek had an article where an expert insisted we should not report fathers/stepfathers if they committed incest because it would break up the families.

Thirty years later, the victims are now grown and getting their revenge: partly thanks to Ronan Farrow, whose stepfather sexually exploited his underage sister and defended it by saying they were not related legally and she consented.

so now, "unexpectedly" there is a story that an anti Trump political group just discovered one of their leaders used to hit on young men, including underaged boys, and gee, no one knew. 

Yup. And no one knew about McCarrick (or Wuerl or Mahoney or...etc), or all those priests hitting on boys either, and Epstein didn't kill himself (and none of those VIP's who have somehow never been exposed had been taking the plane called the "Lolita express" realized he used underage girls that he had "recruited", and no one to this day knows what was hidden on Weiner's computer along with Hillary's top secret emails.

yup. Q was right (however, the anons i.e. the anonymous followers of Q, are crazy... but that's another story).

Human trafficking is alas a problem here in the Philippines, where women who sign up as caregivers or maids or entertainers find they are being expected to supply sex to customers or their employer's family. 

And this doesn't count the sexual exploitation of street kids which is world wide. One reason that many African nations don't want to legalize homosexuality is that they are afraid it will attract gay tourism, something we see here for both gay and heterosexual liasons, not to mention pedophilia that exploits both girls and boys (the Philippines is the world center for cybersex). 

when we adopted older children from overseas, we were told that if the child had been on the street and was over 3 years old, that the child had probably been sexually exploited (and warned that often such exploitation will "explode" into behavior problems when they become teenagers. I suspect my oldest adopted son was abused, which might have accounted for his rage as a teenager. )

One of the hidden secrets of the open border is that it encourages women to try to migrate, and the gangs who do this often rape them or worse. Sigh.
so what is being done about it? 

TeaAtTrianon links to an Epoch Time article about Trumpieboy's aggressive fight against human trafficking.

For some reason, that story didn't get much coverage of course.

additional note:

 Canadian journalist/essay writer David Warren is recovering from surgery, Keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

happy post of the day

Multi Ethnic Africa

 African has a multi cultural history.

in Zimbabwe, our rural area was fairly monolithic and spoke a dialect of Shona, a Bantu languate, but in that country there were two major tribes, since the Ndebele fled Shaka's reign of terror to settle in the area in "recent" times. Both have Bantu roots, as does a third, smaller tribe, claims Jewish ancestry, and DNA studies show they might be right. A small San community still lives there too.

but there are others living there, and they too are not monolithic.

The whites living there are not monolithic: divided between the Boer farmers from South Africa who wanted land, and the more recent British immigrants. And then there is the Indian Community, who ran much of the local shops in lower class areas, were also present. And yes, there were people of mixed race.

But in recent years, the Chinese have moved in too.

so yes: Africa is multi ethnic (different tribes) and even before modern colonialism was part of a trade network thanks to the Arabs.

But the most interesting little known fact of Africa is about Madagascar: It was originally settled by people from Indonesia.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Culture war essay: Being too nice

 Professor Blosser posted an essay by an Australian who works for their is by Edwin Dyga, published in the New Oxford Review on why the courts have slid into pushing the "progressive" side of the culture war.

read the whole thing, or download it to read slowly and carefully when you have uninterrupted time to do so.

Now that Biden is president, the oligarchy doesn't even try to hide their agenda to tell ordinary folks how to live.

And their enemy is clear: Not only the 74 million "deplorables" who are now being called terrorists, but a lot of us who are "blue dog" Democrats and still believe in traditional values, and object to their destruction by those who think they are wise enough to change them.

instead of a revolution, we have a slow revolutionary takeover of cultural beliefs by the radicals, something that started in the 1960s and was imposed on America by the courts, not by democratic means.

The activists infiltrate and take over the institutions, and as this is slowly done, the lone conservative voices are aggressively targeted until they yield and change their mind; others will find a way to go along with it (often justifying this as they are trying to limit harm), or for the stubborn, they are ostracized so badly they quit or are fired under some pretext.

Early indications that defending western traditions was verboten could be seen in the destruction of the careers of Brian Eich or Anthony Esolen.

Now such attacks, ostracism and losing one's livelihood are commonplace, and nearly every day one reads of another who are being criticized in a way that is reminiscent of China's Red Guard revolution, often for trivial remarks but especially if one dares to follow the morality and ideas of our ancestors and our cultures.

Yes, I saw this in medical school 50 years ago, when the class, which was anti abortion and defended the Hippocratic oath, quickly morphed into pro abortion opinions because the law was changed and our professors promoted the idea...(until my fellow students actually were forced to assist in abortions and got sick at what they saw, but hey, they were assured that feeling of disgust and guilt was not their conscience bothering them, but merely an emotional reaction that they should ignore).

so what happened to those who said "no"? Well, they "failed" me in my OB class in medical school. (I threatened to sue them under the Civil Rights law of 1964, so they backed down). However, my friend was not a citizen and in her residency, was threatened by the hospital with being fired from her residency, (and losing both her job that supported her family and her visa status). So she complied. 

However, the Muslim OB residents at her hospital also refused to do abortions, and when the administration threatened to fire them, all of the Muslim physicians working as residents got together and said: If you fire them, we will all quit. Since the hospital couldn't afford to lose this source of cheap labor, the administration backed down.

yet where were the "official" Catholic and Christian groups in our medical school, and why didn't the student organizations try to protect our consciences? And where were the "christian" doctors when they changed the Hippocratic oath to let us do abortions? 

In medical school, the law changed so we had to go along with it. To object was to make waves, and in a company or fellowship, harmony is important. You get the reputation of a trouble maker. And how dare you object to aborting that 12 year old abused girl who would have a malformed child (the strawman argument behind changing the law). You lacked compassion, and if you lacked compassion, you should not be a doctor.

So people kept quiet, for they were too nice to point out the lack of logic or the lack of morality in that argument (not to mention the G word, that maybe God might have plans for that baby) So no one protested of course. Except for Dr Koop, who at the time was a teacher and Pediatric surgeon, no one among the faculty dared raise a question against doing abortions or even forcing students and residents to cooperate with this evil.

But the story shows what the essay is saying: A lot of the reason that the aggressive left wins in the courts is that once the law is changed (even by judicial fiat), then people are too polite to object and say no: it's just a lot easier to think that you are wrong and others are right, so just go along with the crowd.

The cultural takeover is now almost complete: it ostracizes those who dare say no, often forcing them out of their job, and but most of those who object will simply decide to be nice and say nothing. Eventually those who object will "change their mind" because cognitive dissonance is too much for them to live with.

the internet helped allowed opposing opinion to get heard, meaning and between the internet and talk radio, people found they were not alone in their opinions.

 But now we see censorship by the social media platforms, making it harder to find thoughtful opinions that help them express what they think. And alas, the "alternative" forums get clogged up with the real crazies (one wonders how many of them are actually trolls or bots to make you think your opinion is similarly psychotic). How soon until these platforms are censored and those who read them get investigate as the enemy of the state?

but hey, even these platforms will be censored in the near future. 

and remember the meme: On the internet, no one knows you are a dog?

well, now everything your write is on a database somewhere, as is your face (even when you didn't do a crime).

internet forums have people reporting being interviewed by the FBI because someone (a neighbor? A bank with access to their credit card charges?) reported they might have attended the (mostly peaceful) Washington protest.


40 years ago, we were warned  by an activist that if we protested a dangerous nuclear power plant, that the FBI would be taking photos of our faces and we would be put on their data base. 

Well, cellphones and facebook make those actions look primitive, and yes, people have lost their jobs: not in the government but those who work in the private sector and were identified by their local activists. Because facial recognition software is available to anyone nowadays.


So not just the FBI but private corporations and social media are out to monitor you for bad thoughts.

this is what one sees in China...

Thomas More call your office: They are doing it again.

just for nice: Cat Edition

from SavageChickens:

and here is an older one from that site:

and don't forget the late Grumpy cat, who says what we really feel:

Cider with Rosie

 Brian Sibley has been posting a series about authors he has met.

Today he writes he met Laurie Lee, the author of Cider with Rosie, a growing up/coming of age story.

the story is interesting, but what makes it a classic is the beauty of his writing.

Audiobook on youtube:

alas, that is an abridged version, albeit in one piece.

You can find the unabridged version posted as single chapters. Start here.


or watch the 1971 film:

and a BBC discussion of the book:

Cat Post of the day

 When Grownups don't know how to Zoom:


his kid had the kitten filter turned on, and the grownup forgot to turn it off.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Movie Review: The Dig

 The excavation of Sutton Hoo is not as famous as King Tut's tomb, but it sort of rewrote the story of Anglo Saxon England.

and the recent film The Dig (on Netflix) is about why and how the mound ( on private land) was excavated..

The Sutton Hoo mound was thought to be a burial mound, and the woman who owned the land hired a local self trained archeologist to excavate it. Both of them thought that it would yield only bones (because usually thieves would find any gold etc.),

What they did not expect underneath the mound was a buried ship containing the dead king's remains and some of his treasures: Including Golden objects and the famous "Sutton Hoo" Helmet:

The Dig is a very low key film, that is more about character than action.

And it is put into the context of why the (dying) land owner wanted to excavate the mound: Because war was coming, and England was preparing for being bombed and probably being invaded, and if that happened, their history would be lost or deliberately destroyed.

The people act like ordinary people, and the film is about them.

The incidents include things like the fact that the woman whose decided to excavate the mound was dying of rheumatic heart disease, her son who is trying to cope with the idea of death,  the failed rescue of a student pilot who crashed nearby, the "untrained" excavator whose work was never given credit because of class bigotry, and a (fictional) "romance" angle of the lady archeologist, that unlike most modern films, was handled in a low key manner.

So should you watch it? Only if you want a nice, low key film that simply tells a story instead of the usual "blood guts and sex" films that seem to be the norm nowadays.

and it is a film that might be worth watching twice, to pick up the nuances.

I give it a four out of five stars.

Smithsonian story of Sutton Hoo, and discusses the film.

Factoid: My Filipino stepson asked what "Sutton Hoo" meant, and the Smithsonian article explains:

The name is derived from Old English: “Sut” combined with “tun” means “settlement,” and “hoh” translates to “shaped like a heel spur.

History of England podcast discusses here.

The most fictional part of the story in the film is the "romance" of the lady archeologist, which never happened; this is ironic, since the film is based on a novel about the excavation: written by her nephew many years later. (discussed in this video).

 This doesn't bother me, because as I commented in an earlier blog post: Often the fiction gets the really important things correct without getting lost in an ocean of trivial "Facts" that are often based on (faulty) memories or on what people managed to write down at the time (which had it's own unconscious bias).

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Folktales for Black History month

John McWhorter had an essay last summer on Zora Neal Hurston and her place in Black history on City Journal.

 Most people have heard of Zora Neal Hurston because of the movie made from her novel Their Eyes were Watching God.

but I was more familiar with her as an anthropologist who related the stories of her town and the folk tales of Southern Blacks, collected during the depression.


Known mostly as a novelist, Hurston also had a career as an anthropologist. She studied under the well-known Franz Boas,...
Under Boas’ guidance, Hurston was part of a school of anthropological thought that was “concerned with debunking scientific racism that many anthropologists had been involved in constructing in late-19th century and in the early years of the 20th century,” explains Deborah Thomas, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and one of the keynote speakers at a 2016 conference on Hurston’s work.
“What made anthropology attractive to her was that it was a science through which she could investigate the norms of her own community and put them in relation to broader norms.”


Italics mine.

one of my objections to the "racial theory" etc. nonsense is that it is marxism: i.e. it posits a "them vs us" mindset that separates people.

But as one who has lived and worked with people in several cultures (mostly non European, but also ethnic American), anthropology lets one see the differences in the context of what people have in common with each other: i.e. family life, community, personal relationships.

Folk tales help to explain how people see the world so help one understand this in a non threatening way.

One barrier to cross cultural understanding is that people in different cultures actually see the world differently and think differently, but by putting these things into stories it helps others to understand these differences not as alien but as similar, sort of like the tale of the blind men and the elephant).

an example of her collection of folk tales can be read on line here:

some of her books can be found on Project Gutenburg.

Librivox has a list of older stories and essays (out of copyright) about the black experience LINK including one by Ms Hurston: Lawing and jawing.

Internet archives has a lot of her books for borrowing, and it also has an audio collection from when she collected stories and interviews while working under the WPA during the depression.

including this interview with the last slave deported to America.


This story was finally published in recent years, because stories of the Black experience were not popular at the time it was recorded, let alone stories of slavery, but  to make things "worse" she was criticized because she wrote in dialect rather than proper English... 

Poetry matters

Garrison Keillor's Writer's almanac podcast used to be on PBS but then it disappeared. But I recently found he has it here on Spreaker, and also on his YouTube channel.

a nice place to start your day.

Right now I am listening to his book where he recites poems (on Scribd). The main problem? His voice is so soothing that it puts me to sleep.

And here is one of his lectures at the Library of Congress.


 and some of the Prairie Home companion shows are also found on Youtube. Yes, I enjoy them, but I'm not a big fan. You see, I come from working class city ethnic background and so I don't identify with that bland Northern European "Minnesota nice" culture or even have any experience working in that culture. And although I lived in Minnesota,  I lived on "the Res",  and it was a completely different culture, and the populations didn't mix much

Conspiracy theories: the election and the Vaccine

 what do you believe? The talking heads or the reality?

The Epoch Times has links to the Falung Gong, a Buddhist sect that is persecuted by China.

quick, listen before Youtube censors it.

of course, According to Time Magazine, there was indeed a cabal of good guys who manipulated the anti Trump coup, to stop him from "destroying democracy" (aka asking someone to examine the questionable votes and the possibility of rigged voting machines, something that the MSM had worried about before the election but forbad questioning after the election.)

or as AceOfSpades quipped:

OUT: The election wasn’t rigged.

IN: The election was rigged, but in a good, smart, upper-middle-class Wine Aunt way.

Any questions?

(Instapundit has several links on this)

Update...or maybe worse...


And the manipulation and censorship of stories (hunterBiden Call your office) by the mainsyream media has resulted in half the americans distrusting the press....

nor is this manipulation only against Trumpieboy for political purposes: 

 Chinese bots are pushing the "bad response" to the virus vaccine stort, which of course lets them divert anger against China to anger against the government.

The anti Trumpieboy propaganda overlaps with a lot of anti vax propaganda. Why? Because his "operation warp speed" will save lives, (so can't let him get credit for it). 

The anti vax stuff is big on the social media and some of these stories are being fueled by bots etc. out of China too. and of course out ofRussia.

PBS Frontline (Feb 2021)discusses China's anti vax propaganda.

the trouble is that this dual conspiracy theory of bad government response (blame Trump) and bad vaccine(blame Trump) propaganda was all over the social media sites and many cable 'news" shows... 

presumably this was to benefit the Democrats before the election (even Kamela Harris said she wouldn't trust the "trump vaccine"). But now it is hurting Biden. 

But for us in other countries, it is worse than that... anti vax propaganda is now all over the internet/social media in Asia, and if people don't get the vaccine, a lot of people will die.

The anti vax was traditionally a left wing upper class conspiracy theory, but alas the right wing who believe it now too.

But this is not new (Russia did this against Measles and Polio vaccine 30 years ago, because the westerners were helping to save kid's lives, and that couldn't be tolerated).

But never mind: It is "in" to say you don't trust vaccines: and not just among the anti vax upper class "green" whites in the US, but now among the "conservative" types for some reason.

alas, their delusions are spouted with little push back because the social media is a bubble so those pushing it only get positive feedback.

this old news report shows how manipulation is being done.


As I noted above: if you make people upset at the vaccine, you won't get mad at China for releasing it to the world.

But not all the vaccine news is bad: Lots of vaccines being approved, so it's only a matter of time until the epidemic becomes a minor problem.

But there is good news out there: Combining vaccines that use different methods of inducing immunity might work better than a single approach. (Nature magazine article).

Some researchers also think that combining two vaccines could strengthen immune responses by harnessing the best features of each. That would be particularly desirable now that vaccine developers are combating coronavirus variants that seem to be partially resistant to certain immune responses, says Barouch.

more here. 

and more good news: a big surprise: The Sputnik vaccine might actually work.
and not just work, but work very well.

....and the Oxford and Johnson and Johnson vaccine seem to work well too.

Good news for us, since Duterte is friendly with Russia. And although the Pfizer vaccine is the best one, it requires deep deep freezing so is not practical for poorer countries.

we are still waiting for the logistics to get out the vaccines here. Lots of articles but no hard data that I trust so no links today.

the bad news? The virus is mutating (something all viruses do)... the British variant is stopped by most vaccines, but the new variant covid out of South Africa might not be completely stopped by the vaccines (developing). Why South Africa? I suspect it is because South Africa has a high rate of HIV, so it means it can mutate better in people with bad immune systems. 

Africans have a low Covid mortality and many people discuss theories on why this is. A young population?  (maybe a genetic reason or maybe because they have strong T cells from other infectious disease) 

but on the other hand, in the west, African Americans have a high rate of Diabetes and obesity which are risk factors,

Similarly, in Africa, there is a lot of HIV which increases your risk.

so the epidemic in South Africa has been quite bad and now there is a new mutation there.

But one does wonder about the cities in the US: most deaths are in nursing homes, but what about the HIV infected population there? LINK

but of course whispering anything about HIV will get you censored. (HIV destroys T cells). 

afterthought: I know: I shouldn't combine two stories that seem to have little to do with one another. 

But both stories have the background of ordinary folks distrusting the official press, and distrusting "experts".

Once you lose trust, it takes quite a long time to build trust in these institutions again.


Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Covid Conspiracy theories: We haz them

Lots of conspiracy theories that the Covid was released (probably accidentally) from the Wuhan lab that was doing research in how to weaponize the SARS types viruses. (i.e. have scientists change the virus so it will kill people, not just animals). 

The Asia Time, a Hong Kong paper that used to be a good source before China took it over, has a discussion of what was going on. 

Weaponizing germs to kill people is, of course a war crime, but hey, they are just doing it so they can see how the virus works so they can quickly make a vaccine to stop the spread if such a mutation occurs in nature (e.g. Bird flu), or released by someone really really nasty, is their reply.

But why did US government linked researchers seek to do that? Because several lab errors that could have released dangerous pathogens occurred in US Labs, so those in charge said the experiment was too risky to do and stopped them.

Can't have that: Science is too important to leave to elected officials. So they found a loophole: 

Ah, but this ban did not cover other countries, of course. 

So now the real question: Why was that research outsourced to China? and even paid for by US taxpayers, with little publicity by US whistleblowers (outside of conspiracy sites such as Fox Business channel, the Daily Mail, Coast to Coast am or Alex Jones and their ilk I mean).

And there were hints of links to US and Canadian researchers in various articles, including a hint that the esteemed Dr. Fauci approved oodles of money (3.7 million dollars) to Wuhan to do that research.

 So tin hat time, right?

whoops: Nature magazine just asked the same question.

and notes that the funding was screened, but that no one sort of noticed what was being done, or by whom.

why such secrecy? Because it might make other countries think the US is doing research in bioweapons to kill them.

Ya think?

So it's better to have China do research into making bioweapons?

and given the bad safety record of Chinese biolabs, who in the world would think that the research would be safer if done in China than in the USA??

Captain Trips call your office. There is work for you to do.

Heads up from instapundit