Saturday, December 7, 2019
So CNN and MSNBC reported, first: "Mass Shooting In Pensacola!" with the usual boilerplate about how horrible civilian gun ownership is, and how terribly we need Common-Sense Gun Control. Then the later data came in from the police -- that the shooter was a Navy man -- and the tune changed to how terribly we need Mental Health Screening and Care. Finally, today, CNN dared to admit that the shooter was an Arab -- one of those exchange students our military trains on the weapons our government sells to their governments. How it works: soldiers/sailors from allied countries -- such as Saudi Arabia -- come to our military training bases and learn how to use the weapons that our govt. sells to theirs. These military exchange students are supposed to be thoroughly "vetted". Right.
I recall hearing, twenty years ago, about how one of those training bases made the mistake of putting an Israeli student-soldier up in a fighter-jet on the same base, at the same time, as a Saudi Arab -- with live ammunition. Once they got in the air, the Saudi pilot just couldn't resist attacking the Israeli. Despite all his "vetting" and persistent orders from the ground, given a chance, the Arab just couldn't resist the chance to kill a Jew. The Israeli pilot tried to avoid the fight, but the Saudi refused to obey orders to break off and kept attacking. The Israeli shot down the Arab and then bailed out of his shot-up plane. Needless to add, the US military afterward adopted strict security measures against putting Israeli and Arab exchange students anywhere near each other.
The military has had no problems with Israeli exchange-students since. There have, however, been quite a few problems with Arabs -- and other Muslims. It seems that however well they're "vetted", give them legal access to weapons and sooner or later they'll howl "Allahu akbar!" and start shooting up the nearest non-Muslims. This little problem has reliably been whitewashed by the media, which do their damnedest to conceal the shooter's religion and ethnicity while pushing the usual boilerplate about the evils of guns and civilian ownership thereof. What's unusual about this case is that CNN admitted the shooter's ethnicity and religion only two days after the original incident. This implies that the word has seeped out, through the lesser media, about the problem with giving military weapons and training to "allies" from Muslim-majority countries.
Nonetheless, when criticism of our present relationship with Muslim-majority countries comes up, the media -- and the usual assorted politicians and "humanitarian" organizations -- reliably denounce it as "Islamophobia". Right.
The term "Islamophobia" was first invented by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ancestor of all modern Jihadist groups, and was pushed by all of them at any tolerant/gullible ear they could catch. The term "phobia" is commonly used in psychology to describe "an irrational and persistent fear". This is useful in denouncing any criticism of Islam or its practitioners as irrational, therefore bigoted and probably some degree of insane.
But is that fear really irrational? Consider reports from no less than the United Nations.
Given that a study by the UN found that 65-80% of all Muslims in the world are fundamentalists, which means they believe that every word in the Koran is totally, eternally, and literally true--
Given that the Koran does not just describe war-atrocities of the distant past but commands its readers, several times over, to go and do likewise today--
Given that fundamentalist Muslims have committed some 36,000 deadly attacks on non-Muslims, worldwide, since 9/11/2001--
Given that Muslim immigrants to non-Muslim countries have caused those countries' violent-crime rates to skyrocket--
Given that the majority of "hate crimes"worldwide are committed against Jews, and by Muslims or their sympathizers--
Given that Arab/Muslim-majority countries have broken almost every peace agreement made with Israel--
Given that the three major Arab powers -- Iran, Turkey and Arabia -- contend bitterly with each other over which of them will conquer the world for Allah--
--there is nothing "irrational" about a fear of Islam and Muslims in general. There is nothing wrong with "Islamophobia". It's not a "prejudice", because that word -- which comes from Latin and means to "pre-judge" -- means to make a conclusion, usually negative, before getting sufficient facts. We have seen the facts, many times over, and the only rational conclusion is that Islam is not a safe religion to have around, and its practitioners are not safe people to have near you.
Despite the best desperate propagandizing by politicians and their cronies in the media, the real story is beginning to get around. This is why CNN was willing to mention the Pensacola shooter's real nature and motivation.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Growing up in a medical family, I got to see the medical community -- and yes, it is a community -- from the ground up, and I can tell you that like any other community it has its biases and bigotries.
By now, everybody knows about the racist bigotries of doctors and scientists a century ago, but not so well known is the community's belief in eugenics and its own role therein. I've seen and heard of too many cases where obstetricians made a point of pressuring non-White female patients into getting unnecessary tubal ligations and Caesarian deliveries, precisely because C-section operations always put inelastic scars on the uterus, which limits the woman's future fertility. This is not just a case of simple greed, urging more surgeries to get more money, because I've also seen cases where doctors pressured White patients not to get recommended surgeries which also would have sterilized them. Related to this is the willingness of a large number of doctors to perform "gender re-assignment" surgery; it's Politically Correct, it rakes in money, and it also guarantees that the patient will never thereafter have children. The unspoken idea behind this particular cultural drift is that people unhappy with their sex, who don't have visible physical signs of genetic anomalies tending toward "hermaphroditism", are mental weaklings who shouldn't pass on their failings to the next generation. And of course people with resistant mental failings are encouraged not to breed also.
Sonewhat different, and more financially motivated, are the fashions in drugs. It's no secret that the medical community is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies, which push their newest and priciest products to everyone with a legal license to prescribe drugs. This can lead to the downright creation of "epidemics" -- either of diseases which really aren't, or of the overuse of no-longer-profitable (often because the patents have run out) drugs.
As a modern example of the first, consider "depression". Back when depression was called "the blues", most people accepted the idea that it was caused by real-life environmental conditions -- usually economic hard times or loss of a lover. The medical community was aware that there are some people, then called "melancholiacs", who had natural-born gloomy personalities and who would be depressed no matter what happened in their environments. As the science of psychology advanced, the medical community discovered that "extreme melancholia" was indeed a neurological condition that could be treated with various chemicals -- ranging from cocaine to lithium salts. The pharmaceutical companies were quick to pick up on this, and to push the idea that virtually all cases of The Blues were caused by an ailment now called "depression" which should be treated by a whole range of shiny new drugs -- now a trillion-dollar industry. In fact, as any honest researcher will tell you, a very low percentage of "depression" cases are caused by physical ailments: neurological or serious (as in stage two diabetes serious) glandular problems, or by constant and inescapable pain. The vast majority of cases are caused by real-life situational problems or by hopeless rage: anger that cannot strike its target, and so turns back on its source. That last cause is easily treated without prescriptions for expensive drugs; identify the source of the rage, admit to and accept the feeling of rage, then find an acceptable way to physically express it -- which is simple enough, but not as easy as it sounds.
The trouble with drug fashions is not just that they push shiny-new overpriced drugs, which often are found later to have nasty side-effects, but that they also ruin the reputations, or even the usefulness, of tried and reliable existing drugs. We've all heard the story of how over-use of the earlier (out of patent) antibiotics were "overused", and therefore bred up resistant strains of bacteria; what's not so commonly known is that those antibiotics were not just over-applied (like, fed to livestock) but under-dosed. To thoroughly kill a bacterial infection requires giving enough of the antibiotic for a long enough time -- usually ten days to two weeks -- to overcome all the defensive strategies the bacteria can come up with. Taking too low a dose, or for not enough time, allows the bacteria that survive that long (and therefore have at least one defense that works) to keep on surviving and possibly spread to other hosts, taking that defense with them.
I myself saw a doctor, and his allies, deliberately under-prescribe tetracycline (one of those reliable old out-of-patent antibiotics); he prescribed me the minimum dosage for only one week's time, when it's usually prescribed for at least ten days and at a stronger dosage. When I called him out on that, he grew offended and self-righteous and superior and offered to show me "official papers" recommending that dosage of tetracycline. He backed off quickly when I said that yes, I would indeed like to see those papers, and could I also xerox them, please. Anyway, I kept that prescription and took it to a local pharmacist, and asked if this looked all right to her. She pretended ignorance, but filled the prescription as written. I went to another doctor with the same complaint, and got a similar prescription -- which I filled; two minimal prescriptions for two weeks were enough to make a complete dosage. I also phoned everyone I could think of, from the local board of health to the office of the CDC in Washington, asking if this was common practice, and if so, why. None of them gave me an answer, but soon after that tetracycline was quietly taken off the market -- for a good three years, while new (under patent) brands of antibiotics became fashionable.
And then there's the "current opioid crisis", which has become another talking-point for a horde of political candidates. For thousands of years Asian people have known that the sap of the seed-case of the Asian poppy -- known as opium -- can relieve even severe pain, and also cause colorful dreams. If a person takes too much (eating or smoking), it can kill, and taking it too often can cause physical addiction. That's all it does. Opium addiction was a borderline medical problem throughout the world for ages. In the 19th century medical researchers found a way to refine opium into Morphine, a very effective pain-killer that was used all through World War Two. Like opium, if a patent took too much it could kill, and if taken too often it could physically addict. The war ended with a lot of wounded soldiers addicted to Morphine, and the medical community decided that this was now a serious problem. Their solution was to restrict Morphine to hospital use and develop a substitute: a shiny-new painkiller called Heroin. Again, too much could kill, and taken too often it could addict, and a noticeable percent of the population got addicted. Again, the solution the medical community came up with was to ban and replace. The replacement was the "codone" family: Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. These too were effective painkillers, but again, too much could kill and taken too often they could addict -- and more: taken at the normal dosage they can damage the kidneys and liver. Some improvement. Again, the legal/medical solution was to ban and try to replace, which only added yet another couple of dangerous drugs to the list of illegal and therefore illegally-supplied painkiller market. All things considered, the medical community should have stuck with classic old Morphine.
What the medical community doesn't talk about in public is the fact that physical addiction -- habituation to a foreign substance -- isn't the problem, nor even the pains of withdrawal. The real problem with addiction is actually mental; it's obsession -- with the particular feel of the ingested drug, in this case painkillers. Now bear in mind that there's a difference between pleasure and relief -- though they can seem very similar under some circumstances. Simple opium is reputed to give both relief from pain and the pleasure of sweet elaborate dreams. Morphine and Heroin, according to the reports of real junkies, give both relief from pain and -- if injected -- the pleasure of an initial "buzz", which fades quickly. The codones give nothing bur relief from pain. So, the main appeal of the opioids is relief from pain. This would explain why "pain addicts" -- people who become addicted because of pain from injuries -- are those who can "kick the habit" most easily; when the source of the pain stops, the obsession fades. Now, what sort of personality would become obsessed with relief from pain? The only logical answer is somebody whose life contains so much pain that what they want most is for the pain of living to stop. Historically, there have been whole societies who fell prey to opium addiction, which tells you something about those societies.
The medical community has carefully avoided dealing with these facts. Why? Because, if they were taken seriously, then the solution to the "opiod crisis" would have to include squarely facing the psychological and social problems that are its root causes -- and who wants to deal with that?
Still, the community may have to bite that bullet, if only because the politicians are now putting pressure on doctors in general to make them stop prescribing all "opioids", but particularly the codones. This is where pursuit of convenient medical fashions has led them.
Meanwhile, the community must deal with another fact: that there really are a lot of people who suffer from real physical pain, and denying them the painkillers they really need will only drive them off the the black market, where they'll become unnecessarily part of the "opioid crisis". It might actually be better to relax the old fashionable ban on straight Morphine and simple opium. Now, who's going to bell that cat and be first to tackle the bias/fashion in public? Good luck, whoever.
Friday, November 15, 2019
After watching the second day of the impeachment hearings, and then the CNN/MSNBC reports on them, I'm convinced that the "mainstream media" thinks we're all idiots.
The hearings themselves were plodding and picky, and full of congresscritters asking blatantly leading questions. Today it was ex-ambassador Yovanovitch obediently being led into giving the right answers. For instance, when asked about how she lost her job, she mentioned that she got a phonecall from her immediate boss saying that there was a question about her "security"; she asked if this was her physical security, and was told no -- she was just being ordered home, and thought this was "irregular". Assorted Democrats then asked her if she thought this was "intimidation", to which she obediently replied yes. About then Trump sent out a tweet that grumbled about Yovanovitch, the congresscritters picked up on it, and asked if she thought his complaints were "intimidation" -- to which she promptly agreed. The newsies reported, on the news directly afterward, that Trump was "intimidating witnesses". Uhuh.
I recall that when Trump fired Comey, a couple years back, MSNBC showed an interview with Trump in which the reporter asked: "Didn't you think about how it would look?" -- referring to the then active Mueller investigation. Trump replied: "Sure I thought about it" -- meaning how it would look -- and then went on to say that the investigation was all BS anyway, so "I went ahead and fired him." Immediately after that, the camera cut to Rachel Maddow saying: "There you have it, people. Trump just admitted that he fired Comey to stop the investigation." In other words, she told us that what we had just seen and heard for ourselves wasn't what really happened.
I have to wonder just how stupid the media think we are, that they can tell us something different from what we've seen and heard and expect that we'll believe it.
This also makes me doubt everything they say about incidents we haven't directly seen and heard. Back when I was working for a union newspaper in Chicago, I learned how to analyze photographs -- and eventually videos -- and since then I've seen case after case of the media showing pictures and telling stories about them, "interpretations", that don't match the visible facts. The media have been getting away with this for decades without being caught, or at least without a major scandal about it, so I suppose they think they can expand the tactic and nobody will notice.
Well, some people have noticed. No less than Alan Dershowitz, the ultimate liberal lawyer, went up on the Internet and denounced the impeachment proceedings on legal and constitutional grounds: including the congresscritters' cherry-picking of witnesses, behind-closed-doors hearings, extensive use of hearsay ("he-said-that-she-said-that-Trump-siad"), and -- yes -- leading -- of witnesses. He had to publish his complaint on the Internet because the mainstream media wouldn't hear him. This is incredible, considering how they used to hang on his every word back when he was attacking racially-biased laws. In short, when he took up this subject they quietly censored him.
Less famous citizens have noticed too, which is probably why the more obviously left-biased media have been losing their audiences. It takes a bit of searching to discover this, but both CNN and the venerable New York Times are worried about how much they've lost viewers. To be fair, Fox News has lost viewers too, but not on the same scale. It seems that the citizens are voting with their attention as well as their dollars, forsaking the mainstream media for the vast and varied sources of the Internet. This can be both liberating and dangerous, since a plethora of information sources are hard to track down and verify. Still, it can't be worse than a near-monopoly on news reporting that treats its viewers as idiots.
And in my opinion, Trump should fire the inept Giuliani and hire Alan Dershowitz as his lawyer.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
This will be a short one, since Rasty and I are busy celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary, which involves a lot of champagne and cheesecake, among other things. Eight years, and we haven't killed each other yet. Amazing!
Anyway, I have a new book out on Amazon.com: "Nobody's Victims", a collection of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror stories wrapped generally around the theme of women who refuse to be victims, no matter how weird the circumstances. It's had mixed reviews so far, with wildly varying criticisms and favorites. Apparently the book has stories guaranteed to both delight and annoy everybody, at which I'm quite tickled. It's proof that I've got a wide creative range! Heheheheh. Enjoy! I welcome more comments.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
I've been noticing for the past few weeks that I'm unreasonably tired a lot of the time, and so is Rasty, and so are my local friends and neighbors. What really got me to thinking is that I got a call from Chris, my old buddy in Wisconsin, wherein he admitted that he's unreasonably tired a lot of the time, too. After that I did a bit of web-searching and noticed online ads for various cures for "lack of energy", "constant fatigue", and so on. Apparently this is not a local problem.
Now "chronic fatigue syndrome" turns out to be a bacterial infection, caused by a relative of Lyme disease, and it doesn't affect that much of the population. Neither does mononucleosis, which has similar symptoms. So why are so many people, from all over the country, so unreasonably tired all the time? The usual suspects -- air pollution, water pollution, not enough natural foods, under-mineralized crops, sedentary lifestyles, and somehow Climate Change -- don't have enough verifiable evidence. They also don't explain why the fits of tiredness seem to go in cycles: a couple weeks on, then a couple weeks off -- as if one were catching a cold, fighting it off, then catching another. But what kind of cold would have no other symptoms?
At that point I remembered an old conspiracy theory invented by my old college buddy, Mary. We'd been sitting around at a party glooming about the latest headlines, when somebody -- I think it was Nick the medical student -- brought up the spectre of germ warfare and how ill-prepared the US (or any other country, for that matter) was to deal with it, and how many millions would die before a plague was contained and cured.
That's when Mary came up with her idea. The best form of germ warfare, she claimed was not a plague that would kill millions, but simply some virus that mutated readily so that human immune systems couldn't keep up with it, was hard to identify in the blood-system, and did nothing but weaken its victims: weaken them enough to reduce their usual energy, keep the immune system busy fighting it, and generally keep people tired -- therefore below maximum efficiency -- for as long as possible. This would cut industrial production, military effectiveness, innovation, and efficiency in general, without drawing enough attention to itself to create any serious medical research, or even recognition. The rest of us agreed that yes, that would be the ideal germ-warfare weapon, and we went back to glooming over politics.
Now this was decades ago, and nobody was present at the party except our usual gang of radicals -- and maybe an FBI spy or two -- so there wasn't much chance that the theory would get back to anybody who could put it into practice. But looking back I realize that it wasn't too long after that when Chronic Fatigue Syndrome began showing up on the back pages of the news. CFS eventually became noticed enough that the medical researchers really did study it, find the cause, and get to work on a cure.
Here comes the paranoia; was CFS a dress rehearsal? Did somebody take Mary's theory and run with it? Did somebody take, say, the mononucleosis virus and play with it, make it airborne and mild but persistent? I can think of a few possible villains who would like nothing better than to loose a sub-plague like this on the US. The gods know, there are plenty of Gene Modification labs in the world that could produce it.
So, does anybody know what research is being done on broad-spectrum anti-viral medicines, and where we can find them? Maybe I should be telling this story to the Life Extension Foundation.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
A few years ago Niall Shapero asked me to write a song-to-order, an anthem for a Furry rebellion, that included the words “crimson skies” at the end of the last verse. No problem: I was already working on a song – guaranteed to put a twist in the knickers of the Parlor Pink crowd – called “God Bless Hate”, and I could easily slip the code-words into the last verse, which I did. When I asked him about the peculiar phrase, he explained that he was writing a Sci-Fi novel about, yes, a Furry rebellion. Of course I wanted to read it right away, so he sent me then-current first draft. I really liked what I saw, including the libertarian politics of course, so I sent him the song (hard-copy and, IIRC, I sang it to him over the phone), and urged him to hurry up and finish the novel.
Well, he didn’t exactly hurry up, he picked up a co-author/conspirator on the way, and the novel has expanded into a trilogy called “The Chinese Curse”, but the first book – “Red Skies” – is finally in print, from Jarlidium Press, and should soon be up on Amazon soon, if it isn’t there already. No, my song isn’t in this book, but I expect it’ll show up further in the trilogy when the revolution starts. “Red Skies” is about the set-up situation that makes the rebellion necessary.
As it stands, the book is a tight and complex police-procedural thriller, whose hero is a classic honest cop in a crooked police department. The police department is in a future
the cop is a Siamese-cat Furry, the other cops are mostly human bigots, and the
background is a recent war fought with Furry cannon-fodder in which the Furry
veterans are seriously mistreated (sound familiar?). Detective Carl Siam is tapped by a federal
secret task force to go undercover in the LA Furry ghetto, to find and
infiltrate a rumored Furry revolutionary/domestic-terrorist group (familiar
again?), only to find that the rebels are friends and neighbors in his own back
yard, and their goals and tactics are very different from what he’s been
told. Naturally, his own loyalties come
under a lot of strain (ditto). Within
the familiar tropes, though, there are a lot
of original situations and plot-twists.
Furry Sci-Fi very often consists of allegories on present-day human racism and political corruption, and political attitudes in modern Sci-Fi vary between classic Progressivism and Libertarianism, often taken to theoretical extremes. “Red Skies” clocks in solidly on the Libertarian side, but the politics are far from preachy; they’re smoothly shown, not told, leaving the reader to connect the allegorical dots him/herself. In that sense, “Red Skies” compares favorably with Heinlein’s classic “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”. We’ll have to wait for the rest of the trilogy to see how well the Furry rebellion is depicted as a possible handbook for the future, but I expect it will be very convincing.
I’m particularly impressed with the ring of authenticity in the detailss of police procedures and politics, and don’t doubt that the next two books will be just as keenly researched and plotted. The true test of Science Fiction is how realistic it appears, and on that score “Red Skies” succeeds masterfully.
Well done, Niall. I can’t wait to see the rest of the story.
Sunday, October 20, 2019
This past week I've seen a few news stories about teachers, editors, and even low-level politicians losing their jobs because somebody, somewhere, caught them using "the N-word" sometime-- and promptly were harassed and denounced as "racists", which is the Kiss of Death these days. So the tale I'm about to tell, might be enough to get me cyber-mobbed -- again -- except that I have no boss to be pressured into firing me. There's also the fact that I'm not what you'd call entirely White, which collapses one of the main features of the Politically Incorrect stereotype. Tsk. This is a true story, and in my book truth outweighs anybody's offendedness.
My husband Rasty is a sometimes-annoyingly hereditary Democrat, but he came by it honestly. His father, Dale Ralston, was chief administrator for the WPA in Depression-era Yuma County, Arizona. At that time the chief industry of the county was, of all things, farming -- thanks to the rivers, the Gila and the Colorado, that ran through it. Its population was about 18,000 total, not counting migrant workers who came up from Mexico during the harvest season. It was a poor county, in a poor state, during the Great Depression, and it sorely needed the services of the Works Progress Administration.
Dale Ralston became well known as a fair and very efficient local WPA administrator. The "clients" had previously had to ride to the work-sites on a truck, which never had enough room, but he managed to obtain a bus and sent it to the local office, where the clients showed up early in the morning, to take them to their workplace -- which then happened to be a government construction-site.
The first day that he had the bus brought into the office parking-lot and steered the clients toward it, a problem showed up. About half of the White clients were clustered by the bus but not getting on it, only blocking the doorway, and glowering. Everyone else -- White, Black, Indian and Mexican -- was milling about at a distance, looking bewildered. Ralston marched up to the glowering crowd and asked them why they weren't getting on the bus.
One of the men stepped forward and claimed that he and his buddies didn't intend to get on a bus with "niggers", or to work with them. It wasn't "seemly".
Dale Ralston pulled himself up to his full 5'8" height, glowered right back, and gave the grumblers a speech that everybody remembered.
"Don't you think that a nigger's got to eat, and work for his money, the same as you?" he snapped. "Don't you think a nigger's got to feed his family, the same as you? Don't you think a nigger has a hard time finding work these days, the same as you? And if you're so much better than the niggers, then what are you doing down here on the dole, the same as them?"
There was a long moment when nobody spoke or moved, so he went on.
"So I'm going to open that door, and you can get on the bus and go to work -- the same as the niggers -- or you can stay here being all righteous, and go get work somewhere else. Your choice."
As he stepped toward the bus door the grumbling crowd moved aside for him, but one of them insisted: "All right, we'll get on, but the niggers have gotta ride in the back of the bus."
Ralston laughed as he pushed the bus door open, and he shouted to the rest of the crowd: "All you niggers, get over here -- get on the bus first, and go to the back."
The rest of the crowd hurried to comply, the Blacks first, then the Mexicans and Indians, then the other Whites who hadn't complained. And all of them were chuckling, because they'd figured out that whoever was sitting in the back of the bus would get off the bus last -- and would therefore stay in the shade longest, while everyone in front would get off first, and spend an extra few minutes outdoors -- doing physical labor, in the Arizona sunlight. The "nigger-haters" paid a noticeable price for their pride.
When Dale Ralston got home that night he told the whole story to his wife, who was a local school principal, and they both had a good laugh about it. She urged him to write down the story in his journal, where he kept his daily record of his job, and he agreed.
In time that journal was handed down to Rasty's daughter, and Rasty's been urging her to make a clear typed copy of it and get it published. I hope he can talk her into it; that record would make interesting reading all these years later.