Monday, September 27, 2021

Another sign that TEOTWAWKI is nigh

....Just when you thought Hello Kitty couldn't be cuter, comes her friend Pusheen:.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Union lament


The story of Norma Rae is about unionizing the mills in the south...

ah the good old days when working class folk were not the enemy.

The irony of this?

The textile industry in New England became unionized, which led to higher wages and working conditions. (I knew one of the union organizers, who had met the Kennedys before they were famous, because they had ties with the unions)

but the long term result was that the textile industry moved to the south, where wages were low and unions were not popular... this Atlantic article from 1954 is about that issue. and it notes how JFK saw the problem .

In his first year as the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, JOHN F. KENNEDY in three incisive speeches hit hard at the unfair competitive practices that have led industry to migrate from New England to the South. He argued that substandard wages and tax subsidies are no foundation on which to build a stable economy, and then presented his program for a fairer competition—a program which he has graphically illustrated in the article which follows.

so the textile industry moved to the south, where people were anti union and were willing to work for lower wages.

and the Atlantic article notes this paradox: short term, loss of good jobs, long term, other businesses took their place in the north, and the increase in prosperity led to more customers to buy stuff...

I saw this in my own family: My uncle ran a small hosiery mill and saw this coming... so instead of holding on, he retooled his hosiery mill to make small parts and became a millionaire: but many others just went bankrupt).

So the unions, who initially helped the worker, actually harmed them in the long run. Because the better wages led to higher costs, and fewer people could afford the product. 

And voila; Globalization expanded. So the larger companies merely moved their factories overseas: which is why, if you look into the label on your clothing, you will find it was made in Pakistan, Guatemala, etc. and a lot of other thing made in China.

Ah, but despite the cries of sweat shop and worker exploitation, the long term result was the elimination of poverty.

And that is the paradox: because it also led to family disruption and cultural changes, both good and bad.

This is not a new problem: if you ever heard the term "Luddite", this refers to the industrial revolution that replace home weavers with huge factories that made textiles (often working long hours in horrific conditions). 

But it also relieved women of the never ending work of spinning thread or weaving cloth and sewing it for the family: which is why the word Spinster refers to the unmarried women who helped out their family at home by spinning and doing other chores.

and although the factories are often "sweat shops", the dirty little secret is that often they are better than the rural poverty which was the alternative for these workers. 

Unionizations was the response to the sweatshops and bad financial compensation for workers... and although often the unions were tainted by socialism/Marxism, even the Popes supported the idea. LINK a philosophy that is still being seen as a part of the church outreach to protect ordinary folk.

(Rerum Novarum) discusses the relationships and mutual duties between labor and capital, as well as government and its citizens. Of primary concern is the need for some amelioration of "the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class."[5] It supports the rights of labor to form unions, rejects both socialism and unrestricted capitalism, while affirming the right to private property.

One of the ironies of the Trump era is that he tried to protect American workers by stopping the importation of cheap labor who, because they were undocumented, were vunerable to exploitation in many different ways.

No one wanted to admit that the drop in unemployment was because the competition was stopped and companies had to pay decent wages, and his "anti China" policies were about stopping the importation of cheap goods (and often shoddy goods) that destroyed American jobs. enables more jobs, etc.

this went against the religion of the globalists, who saw his policies as a threat to their plans.  LINK2.

the jobs sent overseas hurt American workers, but lifted millions aout of poverty. And it also let Americans buy cheap goods that otherwise would be beyond their budget.

So there has been a huge drop in poverty, thanks to the capitalists moving their factories overseas.

and this is especially true for China, but is also true for other Asian countries.

Here is a propaganda film by the Chinese government that pretends it was their plan all along... ignoring other factors of course.

Africa has been lagging, partly due to corruption, but also due to the fact that those doing development work tend to be green in orientation. (for example, encouraging small farmers to grow like their ancestors did).

China is the exploiting African minerals and agriculture, a policy that some call neocolonialism.

But one does hope that the huge increase in Chinese investments in Africa (and in Afghanistan) there will in the long run result in a drop in poverty.

The bad news? The covid epidemic, and especially the overblown shutdowns in an effort to stop it's spread, has resulted in a lot of people out of work, and a huge increase in poverty, especially in third world countries.

And there are rumbles of an economic collapse of the stock market in China that bodes ill for the future.


Bless the child of the workin' man 
She knows too soon who she is 
And bless the hands of a workin' man 
He knows his soul is his 

So it goes like it goes and the river flows 
And time it rolls right on 
And maybe what's good gets a little bit better 
And maybe what's bad gets gone

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Family news: Lots of covid. Sigh.

 we are well. Joy is sleeping in my room because they are removing the termite infested wood and replacing it with a treated termite proof board. Hopefully this will help. Next step: the ceiling below the eaves outside.

There are a lot of rumors of sick people who either have covid, or who think they have covid, or are worried they have covid but are too afraid of catching covid so they won't go to the hospital or be tested.

Some of the elderly are dying of heart attacks and asthma, blaming it on covid. Who knows. We are a small city (that 20 years ago was still a small town) and everyone in the barangay is realated to each other, or knows someone who is related to someone. 

The driver's wife is sick: maybe strep throat which he had two weeks ago. So I gave her an antibiotic and asked if she had covid shot; Yes, But the Chinese shot two weeks ago, and by the way she might be pregnant, so she stopped her weekly Ivermectin prevention tablet.

I said if she gets really sick she might want to go back on the Ivermectin, but not to take any prednisone unless she develops asthma type symptoms. (Ivermectin in pregnancy article here suggests not enough studies, but seems as safe as placebo).

Luckily she still has some of that Ivermectin, because right now the pharmacies are out of stock. (You can buy it there with a doctor's prescription).

Sigh. Many here have not had the vaccine: some because they were afraid, or just didn't get around to it, but mainly because they were lower risk and are only now eligible to get a shot. (because the high risk elders and caregivers and diabetics were given it first).

Not everyone who has mild symptoms want to get tested: they don't want to spend the money (or risk going to the hospitals) to get a test, and of course, if it is positive, they and the family are put into quarantine.

right now, we are in the midst of the delta variant epidemic, so even the good western vaccines don't work on everyone, and of course, a lot of the lower risk folks only got the weaker Chinese shot... but given the chronic malnutrition in the poor, their immune system might not be as strong as elderly in the west.

Something to remember the next time you read about statistics on covid.

The lockdown here is medium, but it is still strict in Manila, which means we can't deliver rice there (so no income for us or employees).


And one of our properties in Manila had a shop in the front, but for a year had few customers: they did change to delivery, but with the cops checking the roads (and you have to have a 30 dollar test to get thru the quarantine police blocks) they think they might have to open their Ecommerce shop outside city limits so they don't have to pay that high price every day to do deliveries.

So that income will also be gone in two months when the contract ends. 


There are a lot of stray dogs because people are throwing out their dogs who they can't afford to feed. The city offers free rabies shots for those who were bitten by stray dogs, but the budget is limited so a few have come here to get help in paying for the shot (7 dollars a shot and three shots).

We are making sure out dogs have rabies vaccine so poor Lukas, the young dog, got his rabies booster today. 

We also have a neighbor's dog hanging around who was thrown out of the home because he had severe mange, so we started feeding him. We can't take him to the vet (he'd probably bite us) so I put some Ivermectin in his food, which is a thirdline treatment for some types of mange. 

He mange has improved, either because of this or because he is better nourished from the cook's meals, and he now is let inside during the rain storm.

The vet is telling us our dogs need a shot for worms. I suspect she means heartworm. But with the limited budget we can't afford it, so hopefully they will just have to live with the worms.

Finally, the elections are coming. 

Manny Pacquiao is running for president, and he will probably win because he is popular.

And our mayor, who can't run for mayor, announced he won't run for governor but for congress. The problem? The present congressperson is from the other political clan... The two clan have feuded before, with shootouts mostly against the present popular mayor. Our area has so many political murders that it has been called the wild west of the Philippines.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

China finds enemies everywhere: Australia, Alaska, and... K Pop boys?

 A few days ago, I noted that China has sent it's fleet into the Alaskan waters of the Aleutian islands within the US economic zone as a retaliation to the US insisting that the West Philippine sea lanes should not be blocked by illegal man made Chinese "islands" there.

And I pointed out how this is a new "salami" move (grab a little piece of somewhere and then stop but don't retreat when their aggression is resisted). And I tried to put it into the context of not just geopolitics, but the Chinese illegal overfishing in that area, sending a message if the Governor of Alaska grows some balls and tries to stop them, the Chinese fleet will "defend" their "innocent" poachers.

But as China is trying to bully Biden (and take over the mineral resources of Afghanistan, which are now in the hands of their ally, Pakistan's Taliban) there are a lot of other people China is targeting as the enemy:

StrategyPage has an essay that lists a lot of these issues, including Australian trade war. 

keep that trade war in mind when you read about the Philippines, because they have punished the Philippines in the past by blocking agricultural exports to China. 

The Chinese control the Philippine economy. Most are Filipinos (AKA Chinoy) but some have ties to China, and this is well known that they could become an internal source of destablization. Indeed, there were several pogroms against Chinese ethnics in the last century (e.g. Indonesia and VietNam) which is why the local Chinese community is worried they are being tainted with the idea they might be cooperating with the Chinese triads (mobs) behind the drug infestation here.

Ignore the propaganda about those poor dead drug pushers. Drugs harm families, and druggies kill people.  The human rights types don't mourn our neighbors who got shot by drug addicts in home invasion robberies (3 in the last few years but only one since Duterte took over). And it is now safer to go out without worrying I'll be kidnapped.

But the peace may not last: the Manila Standard editorial notes that the reason the cops are finding huge stores of drugs is that the drug lords are preparing for next year's election, when they assume the new president will please the international "Human rights for thugs" groups. stop the killing of all those innocent death dealing drug pushers, and let them go back to work selling shabu (meth) etc to the masses.

China Triads (cartels) are behind a lot of the drugs destroying this part of the world. (Rappler article), and China is behind the narcotic overdose epidemic in the USA too, but hey don't bother to pressure China to arrest the guy in Wuhan who is behind that epidemic.

now add Afghanistan's heroin to the mix: this goes to Russia, the nearby countries, and Europe... 

 StrategyPage notes Russia and the nearby former USSR republics nearby are worried: not only does heroin destroy people's lives and families, but now with the Taliban in control, there is a worry that the drug smugglers will be joined by Islamic terrorists.

China's aggressive tactics in the West Philippine sea continue: the ultimate goal is to block the shipping routes to Japan Korea and Russia, and also to steal the fish and the petroleum resources there.

The possible problem with China blocking the shipping lanes has gotten some publicity, but you know, a lot of Asian internet traffic goes thru that area too . Wikipedia article and map:


I know about this, because in  2006 an earthquake cut the internet cable and we were offline for weeks, and then very slow. But it also affected India, who found their major link with the US was also affected.

 2010, an earthquake south of Taiwan again caused trouble, but not as serious.

So if China invades Taiwan, it could shut down the internet and harm not only East Asia but India.

So what does all of this have to do with the K Pop Boys?

I had read that China has "Canceled" several bit stars, but now has started pushing masculinity. 

You can read the whole story on Global Voices: The construction of Chinese masculinity: Sissies will ruin the nation.

Again, the StrategyPage essay points out the enemy:

The CCP believes it should decide what foreign customs and inventions are acceptable for its glorious New China and which are poisonous. This now includes K-Pop and its use of boy bands, full of cute young men that dance and sing in a way that creates fans world-wide. ,,,. The CCP is believed to be using all these headline worthy assaults on foreign culture to distract Chinese from growing economic problems.

Village People, eat your heart out...


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Yes, your immune system remembers

 In a previous post I mentioned that post infection of most antigens/viruses/bacteria/etc. that even if you don't have a lot of antibodies  in your blood, your immune cells keep a memory of that infection and quickly rev up and produce antibodies.

I cited  two articles saying that, one an NIH and another from Japan, but today on reading Legal Insurrection blog, he has a link to a Nature article from May 2021 that says the same thing:

Had COVID? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime 
People who recover from mild COVID-19 have bone-marrow cells that can churn out antibodies for decades, although viral variants could dampen some of the protection they offer...
The study provides evidence that immunity triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection will be extraordinarily long-lasting. Adding to the good news, “the implications are that vaccines will have the same durable effect”, says Menno van Zelm, an immunologist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia..

and LI blog notes: 


based on previous experience with the global coronavirus pandemic of 1889 and paired with the fact that SARC-CoV was engineered to adhere readily to human respiratory systems, the rules of epidemiology currently followed by the Biden administration may not be applicable.

Some of the more serious scientists are questioning COVID-theology and reassessing whether “herd immunity” is a reasonable goal.

this is especially true given that China, who bragged their shutdown and other covid policies were successful, now is in the midst of a new outbreak.

In other words, there is a reason behind the hysteria against masks and giving vaccines to those who might be immune or be able to survive a case because they are healthy: because like the yearly influenza jab that we used to give mainly to the elderly and high risk groups, ordinary folks just don't need it because their risk from having the disease is low, and because the covid virus, like the Influenza virus, quickly mutates, so that your shot might not work in everyone. That is why you need a yearly flu vaccine, where the docs try to guess what the next strain will be and make the vaccine to stop that new strain.

Having the US President, who is already in trouble politically because of his clueless withdrawal from Afghanistan, push harsh penalties if you don't take the vaccine or follow isolation rules, is not the way to go: because despite all the censorship in the media. the dissenting voices are still out there and are being believed: because they are now catching the experts in lies (such as denying that the US NIH funded the Wuhan lab, and that those funds enabled them to do gain of function studies that were too dangerous to do in the US, and were banned thanks to liberal activists, but the NIH found a way to slip them money with a loophole) 

Indeed, given that the world elites are openly saying that the epidemic proves we need a "reset" of the economy, one does wonder if the hysteria is being hyped so they can do a quick takeover of the world.

Yes, the epidemic is bad: so at first, the hysteria was justified, but now with many in the world either having immunity from the vaccine or from mild cases, the virus is becoming endemic (i.e. around all the time and hitting some people, but at a low rate because most people are immune or have partial immunity meaning they only get mildly sick,  although the high risk are still in danger) rather than epidemic (huge number of cases in populations who have no immunity, which leads to deaths as the medical system is overwhelmed).

And the huge cost of economic shutdown has terrible implications  for poorer countries, who follow the US lead: Manila continues to be in shut down, meaning hunger and poverty will kill many. Duterte is popular (despite the propaganda you read, his war on drugs kept ordinary people safe and they still support him because of this) but with an election coming up, I won't say the same in the future.

By the way: Here is the Wikipedia article on the 1889 epidemic that we assumed was a type of influenza, and indeed some studies confirmed that. But now there is a question if it was a covid virus.

the reason I bring this up: the same folks pushing hysteria to implement strict rules that are limiting civil rights and controlling behavior are also pushing the global warming hysteria again.

Global warming wasn't big in 1889, nor in past epidemics: what made epidemics rare in the modern world was clean water and having enough food to eat. 
Sheesh: a lab virus that escaped was the cause of the Covid epidemic, not global warming.  But never let an epidemic go to waste.

As a doc, I am aghast at the overreach of authorities here: partly because it is making people distrust not only vaccines but doctors and the public health authorities.

But might I quietly point out that, thanks to vaccines and quarantine, the WHO and other public health authorities stopped epidemics of Yellow fever in Angola (which spread to China before it was controlled) and how new vaccines are now keeping a huge Ebola epidemic under control in Central Africa.

similarly, the big killer is not something exotic, but diarrhea, which can be stopped by clean water supplies (and for cholera and rotovirus, by vaccines).

Bet you never heard of these epidemics, because they can't be weaponized for political purposes in the west.

FDA panel says boosters needed only for high risk people.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Ding Ding Ding


Chinese aggressive moves against everyone nearby now includes Alaska

 Guess who is innocently stalking Alaska?


The usual comments note that although this is the EEZone, it allows freedom of navigation. '

Yes, but often the Chinese make such moves as tests and then increase their aggression... they push, then say hey let's not be aggressive and make peace (but we'll keep what we grabbed). They have done this against the Philippines and Vietnam and India.
And it's not just about land: it's about resources. 

It should be noted that for years, their illegal fishing has been destroying the local ecosystem without any pushback. So now they are sending in the fleet as a way to point out that they will protect their "innocent" fishermen if the US gov't tries to stop them (we see this in the West Philippine sea all the time).

The problem of course is that this type of behavior by China often predates other forms of aggression... including moves in the northeast Pacific against Japanese owned islands. that are not so much about taking them from Japan but about warning Japan not to stop them if they invade Taiwan and other small islands off the coast of China that were once part of the Japanese empire.

 of course it's just a matter of time until China claims all the islands off their coast (i.e. the First Island Chain) which has implications on stopping shipping to Japan and Korea. And I suspect that their long term plan includes grabbing  Eastern Siberia, where they have a large civilian population working there. (denied here  by a pro Chinese author).

So why worry if Siberia has a lot of Chinese working there? Ah, but how many of these civilian workers are part of the Chinese military? (I read  that many of the 100 thousand of the Chinese working in the casinos in Manila are military members, and there have been quite a few very young Chinese moving here under our "Retiree" visa.... hmm...)

more about the military implications of what is going on: the concept of the First Island chain: LINK

and this article on the First Island chain notes that many consider the Aleutian Islands the northern link to the chain. (and Luzon as the southern most link).


well, anyway, in WWII, the Japanese invaded Attu and took civilian POWs: many of them were AmerIndians, and many of them died during their sojorn in Japan. Because of this, the US gov't removed many other Aleutian natives from their villages, with the usual horrific problems. Many of them never returned. I worked with a nurse whose Aunt was one of these.

Another factoid: Dashell Hammet wrote the book about this little known battle.
update: Attu Boy, written by one of the AmerIndians taken as a POW to Japan, is on line HERE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The virus is here... the virus is here

Manila is continuing the strict quarantine for another two weeks.


MANILA, Philippines (Updated)— Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level 4 starting Sept. 16 until Sept. 30, which is the start of the pilot run of granular lockdowns, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday...
Persons aged below 18 and above 65 and those with health risks, including pregnant women, must stay at home unless they need to access essential goods and services or have to go to work.

there is talk of letting the vaccinated to be free of the restrictions but since the rules are changing every day, I'm not sure where it stands.

facebook is being used to alert folks on the latest news here.

we are still in a modified shutdown.

Supplies are okay so far, but this part is making it hard for us to deliver rice to the supermarkets in Manila. 

Intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons who are not required to stay at their homes may be allowed subject to guidelines of their destination local government unit.

In the meanwhile, it is the season to harvest rice, and we have been hit with heavy rains (but not wind thank God). 

we hope to harvest without any problem, but in other areas, the rice harvest was harmed by the first typhoon that went thru south of Manila.

Every day the maid or her mom report another death in our area (their family includes clerks and tricycle drivers so they know all the gossip in our barangay).

And Joy, who has a huge family and many friends who know she is a caregiver and I am a physician, are calling her for advice. Most of them are middle class so most of them can afford to see a doctor, and just want a second opinion on their lab/Xray or prescribed medicine.

Today was had a new one: Someone was prescribed Remdesvir, which cost 1500 plus pesos (over 30 dollars) and may or may not work. The price is a big problem, so I haven't seen it prescribed before.

Azithromycin is 350 pesos (7 dollars), and the Prednisone and various symptomatic medicines are quite cheap.

Now Duterte said we are allowed to let patients and doctors decide if they want to use Ivermectin... the DOH opposes it, but Duterte is a populist and has his connections to the middle and working class and knows they will take it anyway, so better to let them buy it at a pharmacy than risk a counterfeit or wrong dose by buying it elsewhere.

we had only rare cases of Covid until the last month, but now we are hearing of one case after another.

One pregnant nurse, a friend of Joy', who didn't get the vaccine because of the rumor it caused miscarriage. died. And now we hear another businessman died.

The maid said a woman died of a heart attack one day after the shot. So wait for rumors to start against the vaccine.

Most people are not vaccinated here: They gave it to the high risk elders and caregivers and now are on lower risk people. And several vaccines are used in the area: We elders got the Astrazeneca, whose main risk is blood clots in young women but low in the elderly .

They also offered the one shot J&J to medium risk folk, but ran out of that vaccine quickly. The lower risk are getting the Sinovax, e.g. our drivers got a dose because they deliver to Manila and are at risk.

The other vaccines are being used in Manila etc. What ever they can get. But the total vaccine rate is low, and we have a lot of elders in the Philippines. and many will die at home with family and not be counted as being from covid.

and how do you know if they died of covid? For example, the woman I mentioned above who just got the vaccine shot and died in the hospital of a heart attack the next day: Was it the shot? but she also tested positive for covid. And was an older lady with severe high blood pressure. 

a lot of folks can't afford their medicine for diabetes or high blood pressure, so deaths from heart attacks and strokes are common. But this won't help the rumors and anti vax fears by those who read the Chinese anti vax propaganda on the social networks.


And the maid reports cases in the rural town near our farms. I am unsure if this will affect our ability to harvest the rice. But unemployment is high here, so there will be workers to help.

There is contact tracing if you go to a bank or mall or restaurant. And if there is a case, they shut the business down and isolate the staff for ten days. This happened twice to Dr. Angie's medical office, and once to our bank, meaning I couldn't deposit checks from my pension for two weeks..

China is under strict quarantine but has an outbreak anyway.

which means that all the propaganda that the virus could be eliminated by quarantine/ masks and vaccines just won't work.

the newer varients are more infectious, and may spread a long way in the air like the original SARS. Ah, but what if the person has the illness and doesn't test positive, which is what happened there?

the push to vaccinate ignores two things: That the vaccine immunity wanes with time, and that those who have had the illness, even mild case, have some immunity.

Those who have had covid continue with immunity for at least six months, according to an article published by Yokohama City University.

then there is the question if, instead of testing if they have the virus, if people should be tested instead for immunity

So just test for immunity, except unless you have a medical degree, PBS say don't do it.because it's too hard to understand what it means.

so to vax over and over again, or just live with it?

dirty little secret: if you have had the vaccine or a mild case of Covid, even if you test negative, your immune system keeps a memory of how to make the antibodies and will start making them later if you are in contact with the disease (so you have partial immunity).

It's complicated.

Discussion here:

and the big worry here in the Philippines is not the virus per se, but that poor people who can't work and can't afford food or medicine might just up and start a revolution if they get hungry enough.

I worry here because I see malnutrition, and I know a lot of people can't afford their basic BP/Diabetes medicine. 

And kids with blondish hair of protein malnutrition among the beggars.

And lots of dog bites because they can't feed the dogs and threw them out on the street.


update: If you thought the Delta variant was bad, well just wait.

Japan reports that the Mu variant is worse.

The new Mu variant of the novel coronavirus is more than seven times more resistant to antibodies created by vaccinations than the original strain of the virus, a study by a Japanese research team has found.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

We remember


Inside the church, somebody was reading a eulogy. It tells you a lot about New York City that somebody named Mike Weinberg gets his send-off at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church and nobody even notices, much less explains it. “He’s a firefighter,” somebody from the neighborhood says, if you inquire. Which meant he was part of a religion to begin with – firefighting – which is itself an affiliate of the Catholic Church. “His father’s a German Jew,” somebody said, “but his mother’s name is Mary.” In the kitchen and in religion, the woman is always trump...
Mike was signing in at the Forest Park golf course in Queens on Tuesday morning, September 11th. He looked at the television in the office and saw the World Trade Center in flames. His sister Margaret worked there, on the fortieth floor of one of the towers. In one move, Mike was out of the golf course and into his car and on his way into the city, which is what people who live in Queens call Manhattan. Like nearly all the other firefighters, Mike lived in a two-story neighborhood. At the scene, high above him, seventy, eighty, ninety, a hundred stories up, orange tongues licked the air that now showed between the famous silvery aluminum panels of the buildings. Then a rumble shook the sky and the street.

and one reason the "explosion"theory" i.e. that someone snuck in and wired scores of explosives at the level where an airplane just happened to hit, is absurd is because the chief of security was Rick Rescola. who organized evacuation drills, meaning that many knew how to get out when the planes hit:

A picture, taken after the attack started, shows Mr Rescorla, megaphone in hand, guiding staff down stairs to safety. Workers recalled him singing patriotic songs, including a Cornish adaptation of Men of Harlech as he led them down. So well-drilled were the staff that just three, including Mr Rescorla, died in the attack. But he was still in the tower when it collapsed. His remains have never been found. ‘I’m very proud of Rick. That was just the way he was, prepared for any eventuality and looking after other people,’ Mr Daniels said. ‘He would always be the last person out and make sure everyone else got out safely.’


Like most Americans, I knew someone who was there, except in my case, it was a classmate in the Pentagon who helped to triage the wounded in the parking lot.  LINK

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Family news

 the typhoon has seem to have passed us by, with only very heavy rain but not a lot of wind.

Joy is sleeping and working in my room now: her closet wood was infested with termites and we finally got around to having the men remove the infected wood, i.e. tear out the closet and the wall of the closet, spray with insecticide, remove the termite nest, etc. They are now rebuilding the closet. It could take a few more days.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

While you were distracted, things are going on

I am posting links to stories that will require slow thoughtful reading later.

 StrategyPage has a long complicated article on Afghanistan: including Pakistan being the puppet master, the drug money funding the Taliban, and China planning to be the new puppetmaster. 

complicated analysis instead of propaganda that is in the headlines.

Global voices has a long article on China destroying big business in the name of socialism/solidarity.

Recently, the Chinese propaganda machine provided another theory for Xi Jinping's comprehensive clampdown — a revolution to move away from a ‘capitalist-centred’ system to return to a ‘people-centered’ socialist system. 

The article, entitled ‘Everyone can sense that a profound transformation is underway’ (每一個人都能感受到,一場深刻變革正在進行),  is written by Li Guangmen, a nationalist writer. The article begins with an overview of the recent crackdown on celebrities in China. The propaganda authorities have criticized celebrities for being morally corrupt and slammed their fans for being irrational. The article also says the series of crackdowns on private corporations such as the suspension of Ant Group’s IPO, the 18.2 billion yuan fine levied on Alibaba and the investigation of Didi Global, as a sign of a profound transformation toward ‘common prosperity and will alter China’s political-economic system’ (English translation via China Digital Times):

hmm... a lot of this sounds like the Great Reset, which global leaders are openly pushing but if you whisper it, you will be censored.

Archbishop Vigano's interview is on LifeNews,

why post the opinion of an aging religious leader? Because he was high in the Vatican diplomatic service and was a whistleblower on high profile pedophile McCarrick (who pooh poohed the idea that pro abortion politicians should not receive the sacraments, had his friends appointed bishops, and was behind the Chinese Vatican deal that let the gov't there take over the church).

The Pope is planning to use "synodality" as a way to let the modernists take over the church, by changing dogmas and by allowing activists to take over her institutions (schools, hospitals, newspapers that might print non PC opinions, etc.).

Pure psychobabblr

Synodality proposes meetings at the grass roots level where ordinary folks are supposed to make the agenda, but it is actually fake: the agenda is set by the higher ups, the local activists take over the meetings, ordinary folks don't bother to go because they won't get a say, and even if they protest, their opinions will be ignored. 

Well, my point is that the takeover of the church by the modernist types will facilitate the changes planned for us hoi polloi in the next few years: 

The Great Reset.

and unlike Lifesite etc who have been sanctioned/banned from Youtube for conspiracy theories. you tube has a slew of videos on the Great Reset... by the WEF.

A lot of folks suspect the virus is being used to manipulate people to accept the changes long proposed by globalists.


which is the real reason the crazies dislike masks and vaccines: it is sort of mass hysteria or a fad that is catching on by those who see it as a fight for freedom.

and given the intensive lockdown in Australia, they just might be right.

Crazy, no? But using a mask has symbolism implying stopping people from speaking the truth.

Something that is already happening according to reports from the west (not to mention China, of course).

First they destroy the economy with lockdowns, then they say hey we need a reset because the economy is lousy.

But now that the Delta varient is here, it seems neither masks nor vaccines will work completely. And I suspect that the lockdowns will be seen by the future historians as delaying the epidemic (áka flattening the curve) but in the long term futile.

As for the vaccines, I have written about that form of hysteria many times: Chinese bots and disinformation and a suspicion of cover up of side effects. And questions about the experimental mRNA vaccine not being answered, so all the various non mRNA vaccines are lumped together with that newfangled technique.

and I won't even go into the Ivermectin hysteria in the press. The Rolling Stone article was trumpeted all over before someone bothered to ask the local hospital if it was true (It wasn't). 

Censorship continues to be a problem: by censoring the crazies, you censor the real story. The Crazies take a tiny part of the whole and exaggerate it, but when you censor them, you also censor the ability to discuss problems.

Jordan Peterson discusses censorship.


so far Dilbert hasn't been censored, and today he notes: Dr. Rand Paul was right.

Another day, another typhoon

 We woke up because it is raining heavily.

A storm (not quite a typhoon) is coming later today. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Delta varient hits home

 the number of cases are going up (but what about the death rate) thanks to the delta varient.

but then there is this:

Endgame and exit strategy Professor Monica Gandhi, University of California I truly, truly think we are in the endgame The cases will start plummeting in mid- to late September they mutate quickly, at a cost to themselves we’re sort of at the peak of the pandemic because the delta variant is causing immunity like crazy Delta comes in like a hurricane, but it leaves a lot of immunity in its wake we’re going to get it Unless you just sit in your room, you’re going to get it in your nose but at least in this country, it will be manageable

In the meanwhile, here in the Philippines the virus has spread to our area: people getting sick, and a few dying. Manila is still in lockdown. Three out of four infections are from the delta varient.

Manila is improving: They just went into a less strict lockdown. But the provinces near Manila are now being affected, and we started vaccines later than the Capital region.

There are cases in SantaCruz, the town near our farm. We are hoping the farmers don't get sick right now because it is harvest time. 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Economics or superheroes?

 my grandson was into Japanese superheroes, and here we have an entire TV station that shows these cartoons.

Alas, they are long and hard for me to get into them, and a lot of them are like the recent hit movie, Demon Slayer, where the plot is killing monsters.

Ah, but what do you think of a manga called How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom?

The plot? a small country needs to pay it's debt to a smaller country, but is given the option to use their magic power to summon a hero to destroy their common enemy. Since they don't have the money, they do the ritual... but they do it incorrectly and summon a student accountant by mistake.

who instead of deciding which magic sword will help him in the battle has a meeting

he then spends a lot of time looking at the books (finding a lot of corruption), 

Next step?

selling unneeded treasures owned by the king. Putting policies intact that will mean enough food will be planted to feed the people. Making the forests productive by thinning the trees and selling lumber. Asking a local gourmet to popularize new foods for people to eat. 

Oh yes, and of course this is a manga, so romance and fighting of course.

With my limited attention span, I probably won't get around to watching the entire manga (on line here to read).

But I find it interesting that it mixes magic with the very real problems of the world... 

the real skills needed in a country are not superhero skills but those of economics. 

Which is why Goldman Sachs has the ten thousand women initiative to teach and help local entrepeneurs like Joy, who I mentioned in a previous blogpost. 

Because give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish (and get him a loan to buy his own boat) and he feeds his family for decades.

Which is why I, a person who has worked as a missionary and in poor areas in what would be called charity work, am so angry when the Pope goes around saying live simply and help the poor.  

Saying things like that imply he only wants to preach to the upper middle class in rich countries.

Here, maybe better advice would be to invest your money in an industry that gives jobs to the unemployed instead of building chapels to celebrate the environment.

Maybe, even, you should teach the ten commandments to all those corrupt Catholic politicians. 

Here in the Philippines, corruption and nepotism are limiting the economic growth... so one tenth of the population work overseas, either as temporary OFW or as immigrants.

In other words, the Philippine economy is held up by wages sent back to families by their OFW, but a smarter country would keep them and find a way for them to use their skills to make the country rich.

Well, the Philippines has improved a lot in recent years thanks to Duterte whacking a lot of drug dealers. When he took over, there was danger of the Philippines becoming a narco state, something often ignored by the "human rights" NGOs.

We are like an old Jeepney: falling apart, slow but we get there.

Finally, I'd like to add that the press seems full of breathless (and admiring stories) about the Taliban's successes.

But I wonder: how will they run the place?

I saw Mozambique fall into mass starvation when the communists threw out all those with an education as colonialist exploiters. But then the place collapsed. 

I saw Zimbabwe go downhill and Mugabe persecuting not just the white farmers but the educated class who were terrorized by his green bomber gangs, so many fled to England or South Africa to be safe and to support their families, while Mugabe and his minions lived high off the hog during a major famine.

I left Liberia shortly before the coup that overthrew President Tolbert took place, and Sargent Doe took over. 

Someone from the American embassy tried to advise Sargent Doe about the problems of running the country, and explained what would happen if these things weren't taken care of: "Country Go Kaput"

So unless another country wants to go in and take the place over and run things, Afghanistan could very well go "kaput", meaning hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into Pakistan, Iran and other nearby countries, along with their criminal elements and heroin trade connections.

So who is running things in Afghanistan?

Russia?  (in the north)

The Turks? (running the airport)

The Chinese? (planning to take over their mineral resources, but since they probably won't hire locals to run the mines, this will mainly help the corrupt politicians).

Remember, there have been a drought in that area, and a lot of hunger in the remote villages this year could mean mass starvation and more refugees.

so the Taliban government can take all their weapons and shout in front of the cameras, but will they use their trucks and jeeps to take food to their villages? 

and in the capital: Who will keep the water running, clean up the garbage, keep the electricity on, keep the gas stations supplied, and of course stop the looters and criminals who will quickly start attacking normal people?

Will they end up selling the weapons for money? If so, that money, just like aid money, will probably go into the pockets of the corrupt leaders, not pay the salaries of experts to actually run these vital industries.

Then there is covid. Who will take care of the sick?

Who will get in supplies, especially when covid or more common disease like Dengue, dysentary, measles etc hit?

As I had mentioned in a previous post, two of the Filipinos who came back from Afghanistan were with Doctors without Borders, meaning they are leaving too... And of course the usual suspects (Christian churches who help out in disasters) will be forbidden.

So yes, I think Biden made a mistake in not withdrawing properly (strategic withdrawal is a skill that many civilians don't know about).

But the dirty little secret is that Americans have done a bit of building up the infrastructure, including educating people to run things, but without a culture that allows the growth of civil society, things will go to hell.

and outsiders, even those with the best intention, can't do that.



StrategyPage has an article on when extremists took over part of Iraq and tried to make it into a 7th century utopia.

Getting electricity, water and sanitation networks operating was a priority but crippled by lack of supplies (especially fuel) and spare parts as well as people qualified to repair, maintain or operate these utilities.

using foreigners was not done because it was't Islamic, so they tried to get modern Moslem workers from other countries. 

Few qualified foreign Moslems arrived and the result was intermittent water supplies, unreliable sanitation systems and lots of people using portable generators for power or just living in the dark like their 7th century ancestors....

and who took care of the sick?

the collapse of the medical care system has left most people with few useful options if they got sick or injured. ISIL considers such misfortunes “the will of God '' and complainers are regarded as heretics.

all of this while the leaders stole everything in site and laundered it with the help of Turkish and other international banks, of course.

Look for a similar thing to happen in Afghanistan. 

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Family news

 They are finally fixing the ceiling in our dining room and in my bedroom/bathroom,, which were damaged when last year's typhoon blew off part of our skylight in the roof last year. What made it worse was that the plywood was eaten by termites, so we had to remove the plywood and replace it with something that was plasticized enough to be termite proof.

The house is stone, and the main supports are termite resistant hard wood, so should be okay.

But they are fixing my room, which means I am in exile and the odor makes my asthma worse. Sigh.

Kuya is paying his handiman to do this, but the work was slow so I hired a guy to help him. 

More money from my limited pension funds. Sigh.

But at least we won't have cats falling through the holes in the ceiling, something that has happened several times in the past. I should note we have a couple cats, but a few visiting cats have set up shop in our crawlspace above the ceiling, and in the garage/bodega. 

They are feral so the dogs will chase them and once in awhile we find a dead cat or half grown kitten in our kitchen with a happy dog smiling and saying: See what a good dog I am, I killed the evil intruder.

Oh yes: The dogs also are barking at the workmen, but usually settle down after we hush them. Luckily none of them bite visitors, as did our lovely killer Labrador George, who passed away from sarcoma a couple years ago.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Musical interlude of the week


Psst: Don't say it out loud but the Green Knight is lousy

I love history and movies based on history, so looked forward to watching the new highly praised film The Green Knight.

It was wonderful, the critics raved. 

But within the first five minutes, I started shouting at the screen about the cultural mistakes, not a good sign.

Supposedly the costumes were based on medieval manuscripts, so the costume director saw kings with halos and thought the halo was part of the crown. So we see Arthur with a crown that included a golden circle pasted to the back of the crown making it appear that he has a halo, which if real would result in chronic neck pain from the weight of the gold. 

Uh, the halo is a symbol to imply sainthood, so saints(But NOT Kings per se) had halos as a way to symbolize their holiness: and this symbolism is found in many cultures

And seated next to Arthur, the Lovely Guinevier who in legend inspires all the men around her.

 Did I say lovely? She is played by an ugly actress: now, an old or plain actress could exude charm (one if reminded of Katheryn Hepburn in A Lion in Winter), but no charm here either, so the ugliness was deliberate.

And then there is Gwaine, who in Arthurian legend was the greatest knight (until the French poets added Lancelot a French Knight to make it PC for their audience).

Ah but here they casted an actor from India as Gwaine, presumably to inject racism into the movie to make it PC.d

so I wonder: How many of ths enthusiastic reviews were because the writers hesitated to criticize the film's faults for fear of being called a racist by the twitter crowd?

History fact:  racism back then was about the guy from a different ethnicity or maybe just from the next valley, but never mind.

There was a black knight in the Arhurian sagas: so why not insert a side plot about Sir Morien or St. Maurice

Lots of Nubians and Moors in the Roman military who stayed behind in England, but never mind. The problem is not the slightly tan complexion of the actor who plays Gwaine, but that he has nothing to work with: he portrays the character as a wimp and not very sympathetic. 

The quest of the poem was rewritten to make it a "coming of age" story. Fair enough. Have the geek grow some and become a man.

But if you want to portray a "coming of age" story, you don't pick a 30 year old actor who looks.... 30 years old.

Well, anyway, here the movie proposes that Gwaine is a young man and his uncle wants him to "man up" by sending him on a quest, so asks his mum to send the Green Knight to start the quest. So enters the Green Knight, who seems to be inspired by Groot

compare and contrast.

The reviews tell us Gwaine is a womanizer.

So I was prepared for some scenes of him rolling in the hay with lovely wenches, (not in the original poem, but hey, this is a modern movie). But I was annoyed that there was not a lot of eroticism. Even when the noble (fully dressed) lady tries to seduce him he only manages to "cum" without a sigh or a moan. 

But outside of the lack of sympathetic characters played by miscasted actors/actresses, you have a plodding plot.

And I mean plodding. Long scenes of Gwaine plodding thru the fields, plodding up and down colourless hills, or plodding in a grey pathless forest where all the trees are the same size and without undergrowth. 

This might be acceptable if the scenery was nice, but it wasn't: It was dark, and ugly. To put it bluntly: The cinematography was terrible. Forests that are pale, fields that are bland, skies that are greyish without clouds, and people wearing teal green, a color that was not used until aniline dyes were invented.

 As for the background music, it was forgettable. And I mean this literally. 

and the plot doesn't help.

Early in the film, he is captured by some peasants. Give me a break. He was armed and dangerous, and they captured him? and they tied him up: But let him keep his longsword (which is how he escaped). Sheesh.

And then comes the part about St. Winifred, which is not explained (I had to look it up) and seems to have nothing to do with the plot. Ditto for the fox who becomes his guide and has no personality at all (if they plagerized Groot, one could have hoped they would plagerize Rocket Racoon, but no such luck).

And them they meet spirit giants who have nothing to do with the plot. (and unlike the Giant of Cerne Abbas are naked but G rated).

At which point came the least erotic sex scene in the history of movie, which I alluded to earlier.

At this I turned off the movie: sorry.

The film is over two hours long. If you had taken out the long plodding parts, improved the cinematography, and made Gwaine more sympathetic, (and added some naked wenches) you might just have a decent movie.

I give it two out of five stars. 

If you watch it, bring popcorn. And a Pizza. And some beer. You'll need something to do while watching this overlong film.

update: my son in law corrected me for writing a movie review without watching the entire film. So we watched it all.

I left off after the scene of the least erotic sexual encounter in the history of movies,.

So Gwaine goes on in a canoe and finally meets the green knight.

The cinematography is a combination of gold yellow and teal. This is a variation of Gwainé's costume, which is teal with a yellow cape which they call golden, but actually the Celts used saffron yellow for their tunics and did use gold thread wrapped around the linen thread to make gold garments, although the weight of this would make it a bit hard to wear as an everyday item.

so the sun makes everything golden except the dark teal trees and of course the dull colors of Gwaine and the knight. This colour combination sounds lovely, but it is actually a bit ugly.

and because Gwaine flinches, the knight calls him a coward, and at the third try, Gwaine runs away, becomes king, gets an ugly bride, has two kids (one by wifey one by girlfriend) and then goes to war and his people try to stone him in anger (as if they would: Try that in medieval times and you''d get wacked, literally).

Ah;, but this is a dream of what would happen if he ran away. 

So Gwaine finally mans up, agrees to be beheaded, a voila, the knight congratulates him and doesn't do it. End of story.

so did he ever become king? Did he marry his slave girlfriend (her short hair implies she is a slave, but the critics didn't notice this). Did King Arthur get a laminectormy to correct his neck pain? 

Inquiring minds want to know, but we aren't told. Because hey, this ia an art film: boring and confusing is the rule so that the critics can say it is wonderful.

Now, confusing films with lots of symbolism can be good.  We just watched Mulholland Drive, which is visually beautiful but confusing in plot, until the ending when you realize it is a psychotic retelling of the actual story about Hollywood destroying the hopes and dreams of beautiful young women. 

But the interesting characters keep you intrigued.

In Green Knight, the characters are not interesting. And whereas the fake dialogue of Mulholland drive is a caricature of the 1950s, the dialogues of Green Knight (which are few and far between) are just cliches. And don't get me into comparing the erotic scenes of the two movies. This is a PG rated blog. But let's just say the scene of the protagonist being screened for a film by kissing the lead actor in Mulholland Drive has more eroticism than the entire Green Knight movie.

So if you want to look smart, yup, go watch a boring two hour movie so you can feel superior to the hoi polloi who prefer Guardians of the Galaxy.

As for me, I'll stick to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
and here is a BBC discussion of the original story in case you are wondering what really happened: