Saturday, August 1, 2020

In Honor of Ol' Remus

The blogger who called himself "Ol' Remus" at The Woodpile Report has passed away.  My deep condolences to his family, friends, and readers.

I did not know the man, and never interacted with him. But I miss his blog. One of the things that set him apart was his penchant for opening each post with a work of art.  When I came across this painting today, serendipitously, it reminded me of him.  The grandfather is busy knitting warm clothing, maybe socks, while holding the infant safe and warm in his arms: preparing for the future with hope and industry.   The work is titled "Grandfather & grandson", painted by Nikolaos Gyzis, 1842 – 1901

The full painting:

A quote from his sidebar is Remus's Antidote to Disinformation:

"Remus's antidote: tell the truth as plainly as you can. Humor helps."

As to prepping, he encouraged self-reliance, stocking up, and long before COVID-19 and the latest Insurection-disguised-as-protest, advised:

"Stay away from crowds."


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Lightning Fall: a Definitive Novel about an EMP attack on America

EMP attack. We hear the words and kind of fuzzily think "oh the power will be out, better stock up on candles." At least, that was how I looked at it. Faraday cages. Tinfoil hats for our mobile phones. But it's not a laughing matter.

5 years ago, Bill Quick put out a warning in the form of his well-researched, scientifically accurate novel "Lightning Fall". (It's also an exciting adventure story, but we'll get to that part later.)

This past November, the US Military issued a report on the danger of EMP that in many ways paralleled the likely events Quick had identified in 2014: "Military warns EMP attack could wipe out America, 'democracy, world order' "

This week, our President Trump took action to protect us against EMP attack.

In his second National Emergency Executive Order, President Trump again puts our safety first, and established the first ever "comprehensive policy to improve resilience to EMPs".

Congress was first warned about the danger of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack in 2008. Two presidents and five Congresses failed to act to shore up our local defenses against it. But finally, we have a President who does not play "kick the can".

We know we dodged a bullet when we elected Trump instead of Clinton 2.0. A read of Lightning Fall shows us we also dodged an atomic bomb - and how important is our President's action to protect us against just such a disaster.

As for me, if I had not read Quick's book, I might have glossed over this presidential EO without thinking. However, coincidentally, I finally read the book last month. As they used to say "my consciousness has been raised". I understand the danger now. I won't laugh at tin foil any more.

A good storyteller, and a perceptive cultural analyst, Bill Quick's novel can almost be used to blueprint our own preparations for the total disruption of communication and services. Lightning Fall takes snapshots of the consequences from every angle and puts them up for us to see how our particular location would look. Through his characters, who seem like people I already know, we get ideas to adapt to our own circumstances to insure our own survival, the survival of our families and our neighborhoods.

I don't know about you, but I will remember "how" info better when I have a context for it... a scenario creates a full picture of not only how, but of what and why, of when and who.  This is what I found in Lightning Fall.

Lightning Fall is a fast paced, exciting thriller with unpredictable turns that kept me turning pages until late at night, and a solid story peopled with characters who matter.  Quick's characters are ordinary people in different locations around the country, from Mississippi to San Francisco to the heartland to what seemed in 2013 the inevitable Hillary Clinton Whitehouse ("Millicent Carter"). Each faces different problems caused by the EMP attacks and has to handle those problems in different ways, whether prepared or not.

What a battle they face. There's a criminal element in every town, from cities to the smallest hamlet, and those are the first bad guys to take advantage when the lights go out. Threats can also come from unexpected sources: a bank manager who refuses to allow a mother to empty her safe deposit box in order to pay the mortgage, a neighbor alerting a gang member to supplies in the apartment below. But faithful allies are also not as far away as first believed, and the weak uncover strengths they had not needed before, in the nick of time.

A deeper crisis threatens the very foundation of our republic when the national government - unaffected by the EMP - sets a course to abandon the needy and take overtly political action that means the deaths of millions, in order to assure partisan victory in an upcoming election. The individuals in our story are facing not only immediate threats, but the prospect of being left to their own devices indefinitely.

Quick has given his individual characters some advantage: they've been "prepping", each in their own way, so they aren't completely in the lurch immediately. Instead, each faces dangers and threats they had failed to foresee, and has to rely on their wits, and the hand of Providence, to win out over those who would separate their soul from their body without a second thought.

Bill Quick is an astute observer of the culture and politics of our time, and Lightning Fall showcases those observations well. Ever imagine that Mexico's capital might be working behind the scenes to undermine local governments in California? Or that someone else might be pulling the eternally corrupt strings that animate Mexico's political class? Lightning Fall maps the course some of that leverage might take.

His grasp of what a Hillary Clinton presidency would have been like is chillingly authentic... and I suspect if Mrs Clinton or Bill ever read Quick's portrayal of their marriage, they might look around and wonder if he had been listening in, so credibly does he suggest how the fictional "Carters" relate to each other in the intimacy of their private marital relationship, right down to moments that are almost endearing (or would be if the consequences of their ambitions weren't so fatal to the rest of us).

Our heroes, most of them, survive in this story, and are looking forward with strength and hope at the end of the book, thanks to their remarkable American values: personal will and individual resources knitted together with neighbors in a fierce joint determination to procure survival not only for themselves and loved ones, but also for their place and their local civilization: to defend their homes and the ground on which they stand against whatever force evil might throw at them, and to be found standing when morning comes.

Get ready. Stock up on canned chili and fresh water. Buy and read "Lightning Fall: A Novel of Disaster" by Bill Quick.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Things I learned This Week About Ebola, and the Use of Untrialed Experimental Vaccines


People who contract Ebola in some areas of Congo, have one thing "in common": local hospitals, which may not be correctly following recommended hygiene protocols. NPR reports:
" They had all recently visited a health clinic for treatment for some other disease such as a respiratory infection or malaria. They would say, 'I went to the hospital. They treated me. I got clear [of that illness]. And then a few days after, I start having fevers.' " Fevers that were the first of signs of Ebola. The surge of confirmed cases in Katwa and Butembo – 307 and rising — is now the largest flare-up during the course of this outbreak, which has infected nearly 900 people since August. And WHO officials estimate that in about one-fifth of these recent cases, the person contracted Ebola at health care facilities.
One of the saddest stories I've read about this: a woman who never even knew she had had Ebola, had a relapse more than a year later and transmitted it to several family members. Although this was known in 2015, it was not publicized until this year. WJLA published the AP report:
 "A Liberian woman who probably caught Ebola in 2014 may have infected three relatives a year after she first fell sick, doctors reported... The unusual cluster of cases in Liberia was identified after the woman's 15-year-old son was diagnosed with Ebola in November 2015. Scientists then tested the rest of his family: the woman, her husband and their three younger sons. The 15-year-old died a few days later. The father and an 8-year-old boy were positive for Ebola, but both recovered. The couple's 5-year-old son wasn't infected.
"Doctors found Ebola antibodies in the mother, her breast milk and her 2-month-old baby, suggesting a previous infection and the possibility she passed on protection to her infant son through breastfeeding.
"Researchers reported genetic similarities between the viruses taken from the father, the two boys and the strain circulating during the 2014-15 outbreak across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which ultimately killed more than 11,000 people in the biggest Ebola epidemic in history.
"Scientists discovered the woman had cared for her brother in July 2014, who died after suffering Ebola-like symptoms but before being tested for the disease. The woman later experienced a similar illness, but never sought care
Perhaps knowing this danger, one of the CDC's Ebola experts took special effort to make sure no one else was infected when an American Ebola survivor was giving birth, as reported by STAT News in an article about a retiring virologist:
" If [Dr Pierre] Rollin was good with viruses, he was equally as good with people. Damon, his former CDC boss, recalled that when one of the nurses from Dallas who had been infected with Ebola in 2014 gave birth well after she had recovered from the virus, there were still niggling concerns about whether she could infect others. So Rollin flew out to be on site, just in case."
Ebola survivors, it turns out, can transmit the disease to others for up to two years - and can be sexually transmitted by females as well as malesDebora MacKenzie at The New Scientist reported:
" The Ebola virus can persist in a man’s semen for much longer than we thought. A man in Guinea who survived Ebola in 2014 is now known to have carried it for at least 531 days. Earlier this year, he transmitted the virus sexually, causing it to spread to at least 10 people, and killing 8 of them. .... "In January, 470 days after he initially fell ill, this man had sex with the woman who became the first known case in this year’s outbreak. She then spread the virus to nine more people, one of whom carried it to Liberia."
 The CDC has recommended that male survivors of Ebola use condoms "indefinitely", but this suggests that both sexes risk infecting their partners.

Survivors who had latent, non-fatal, or mild infections and recovered but remained infectious, resulting in transmission of the disease, are now being recognized as the source of new outbreaks. CIDRAP , The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. reports that a new outbreak in the town of Beni, Congo, is likely due to survivor transmission:
"The group conducted the study in June and July of 2017, enrolling 237 participants ... They found that illnesses were more widespread than the 11 cases originally reported from the area, which includes a 2-year-old boy thought have been the first case and to have been exposed to the virus by a bat.
"Researchers identified two more probable deaths and eight previously unrecognized IgG-positive survivors, including one person who had mild illness and another who was asymptomatic, for a case fatality of 55.6% for adults, much lower than originally reported 100%."
Victims of Ebola who die, are not to be embalmed, according to CDC guidelines, and if buried, must have a "closed casket" service - the body will not be available for viewing. The CDC recommends cremation for those who die of Ebola, but says if they are to be buried, funeral home personnel must not even open the body bag that the remains arrive in, and must transfer it to a casket which is then hermetically sealed.  More information is available at "The CDC’s “Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U. S. Hospitals and Mortuaries

It is not yet known whether other mammals such as dogs and cats can contract or carry Ebola. Everyday Health reports:
"“At this time, there is no evidence that dogs or cats can carry Ebola nor are they at risk for contracting Ebola in the United States,” says Angela Vassallo, PMH, MS, director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. ....The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also stated that there were no cases of dogs or cats getting sick from Ebola, nor of these pets spreading Ebola to others.
 ...."Julio Lopez, DVM, of Studio City Animal Hospital in Los Angeles, says that what little we know about Ebola and dogs comes from a single study. Published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2005, after an Ebola outbreak in Gabon, the study included data on blood tests of 439 dogs, some from Ebola-affected villages. “Dogs consuming infected meat developed antibodies against the Ebola virus, but did not show signs of sickness,” says Dr. Lopez. “None of the dogs in this study died from this disease.” Researchers found no cases of dogs passing on Ebola, neither to animals nor people.
..."While there are no known cases of an infected pet transmitting Ebola to a person, pets can infect people with other more common zoonotic diseases. “Leptospirosis, hookworms and roundworms, and toxoplasmosis are a few common examples,” says Lopez.  ... "We can also transmit diseases to our pets. In 2009, a cat and some ferrets contracted H1N1, commonly called the swine flu, from their owners,” Lopez says." 
Additional info about animals and Ebola in this Time article (from 2014 so perhaps out of date). 

Finally, as we all know, researchers are working ceaselessly to develop a vaccine for Ebola. With the latest outbreak, companies are setting up clinical trials of new medicines in-country, often at great risk from violence in the area.  But of interest was this article about giving the vaccine to young children without benefit of any clinical trial to determine its safety for that age group.
As reported by StatNews, in an article that could have been headlined 'Doctors Without Borders Supports Giving Untrialed Experimental Vaccines To Pregnant Women and Babies En Masse'
"Women who are pregnant and lactating, as well as children under the age of 1, will be offered access to an experimental Ebola vaccine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, officials said Wednesday, marking the reversal of a controversial policy that had drawn fire from public health experts. .... 
"Proponents of the earlier policy argued that the vaccine, which goes by the provisional name V920, might harm the fetus or trigger a miscarriage. They noted that there were no data to show the vaccine was safe to use in this very vulnerable population.
"But critics countered that unless the vaccine is used in pregnant women there would never be data to determine whether it was safe. And they noted that while there may be some risk involved in vaccinating pregnant and lactating women, the risk to them from Ebola is greater. ....
"The decision to exclude lactating women stemmed from concerns the vaccine viruses might be transmitted via breast milk. Children under the age of 1 were excluded from vaccination because the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in this group hasn’t been tested. (An earlier decision to lower the threshold for those eligible for vaccination from 6 years old to 12 months old was made without the benefit of a clinical trial.)
"...As of Tuesday nearly 82,000 people in North Kivu and Ituri — the provinces where the outbreak is occurring — have been vaccinated. The vaccine, which has yet to be licensed, is being developed by Merck.
"Carleigh Krubiner, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, welcomed the news. Krubiner said the policy reversal will not only offer pregnant women the protection of the vaccine, but also provide a critical chance to see how the vaccine works in these women. That knowledge will be of benefit in future outbreaks, she said. ...
"The decision was also applauded by Doctors Without Borders, which had opposed the exclusion of pregnant women. Dr. Séverine Caluwaerts, a Belgian gynecologist who volunteers with MSF —the acronym is based on the organization’s name in French — said in reality some pregnant women have already received the vaccine, because they were vaccinated before they knew they were pregnant. MSF has heard reports of at least 20 such cases in this outbreak, Caluwaerts said."
"Reluctance to offer the vaccine to pregnant and lactating women is based on the fact it is a live-virus vaccine. The virus it contains is not Ebola; it is a livestock virus called vesicular stomatitis virus that can infect, but does not sicken people. A key protein from the Ebola virus has been fused to the VSV virus, which then prompts the immune system to develop a protective response to Ebola. Traditionally there has been concern about using live-virus vaccines in pregnant women.
"It was not immediately clear whether all children — even newborns — could be vaccinated. Nor is it clear how the WHO feels about this part of the decision.... The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for an interview." 
The article continues with information about other vaccines that do not use live viruses and are being recommended for trials.

Are the families - husbands and fathers as well as women and mothers - being made fully aware of the risks of these untrialed, experimental vaccines?  What kind of responsibility will these organizations bear who made the "outcry" demanding use of the experimental vaccines on vulnerable people?

The global health organizations are using the third world as their unregulated playground, taking advantage of people with no experience to use as human guinea pigs for testing their science-fair projects. Who is going to hold them to account when they make a fatal error?  Or half a million fatal errors?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Feminism is Doomed

The lynch mob against Nick Sandemann and the Covington High students was fostered and led, in great part, by toxic feminism. Just like every other thing the Left does, they accuse their prey of whatever they themselves are, or are doing, or are planning. We all know people who do that. The thief who puts herself in charge of the office entertainment fund, the philanderer who persistently accuses their spouse of having affairs. Feminism has gone so far into insanity that their unhinged shrieks make sane people reconsider the original, ancient definition of "hysteria".

 And Feminism is not long for this world, one way or the other.

Bill Quick, as he often does, gets to the true heart of the matter in "The Balance of Force Is…Unfavorable":

".... Feminism is an artifact of male chivalry, itself an artifact of western European civilization, just as the myth of Ghandi’s non-violence as being irresistible, flounders and falls in the face of the observation that Ghandi’s rebellion, had he tried to carry it out against Stalin, would have lasted precisely as long as it took Stalin to find and murder him – ie., about an hour. In other words, non-violence and feminism are both successful only so far, and for as long, as their opponents permit them to be. 

"All we need to do to estimate the real-world strength of feminism (of the feminazi variety) is to examine non-western, non-chivalrous cultures – say, the entire Islamic world. Try to imagine the cartoon I put at the head of this piece occurring in, oh, Saudi Arabia. It can’t happen, because of the dirty little secret that underlies all such physical feminism – it’s a lie. Beneath the thin veneer of a few hundred years of deliberate custom likes the ancient world of pure force, the force for which men are much better suited by their own genetic heritage than are women."

As Glenn Reynolds (who is quoted in the article) likes to say: "Go read the whole thing".

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Verse of the Day: The "Swamp" Opposed Building During King Cyrus's Time, Too.

Even the original Cyrus had schemers that delayed the building of The Temple:

" Then the [adversaries to rebuilding] discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build, and they bribed officials to frustrate their plan throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia. ... they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem."     Ezra 4: 4-6
If you feel led to fast and pray for The Wall that our president is working to build, Intercessors For America is recommending a 3-week fast, in keeping with that of Daniel, during King Cyrus's time:

  "Before the 2016 election, there were many prophetic words that the 45th president of the United States would be a type of Cyrus, as described in Isaiah 45:1, 4: This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: “ . . . I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.”
We find more about Cyrus in Daniel 10, as Daniel describes a revelation given to him in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia (verse 1). Today, we are in the third year of President Trump’s presidency. Verse 2 tells us that Daniel fasted and mourned for three weeks. This is often called the Daniel Fast—during the First Friday Prayer Conference Call on January 4, 2018 I called IFA intercessors to a 21-day (three week) fast for our nation."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

QOTD: The Wall

Quote of the Day:

"Anybody who votes against the Wall should have to live in a doorless house and welcome anybody and everybody who wanders in and claims squatter rights."

                                         ~ W. Lewis Amselem, "The Diplomad", at his blog.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Doctor Zero's "A prayer from the living world"

I first read this on Hot Air's "Green Room" shortly after Doctor Zero first posted it. Since then, it remains one of the best arguments against suicide that I've ever read.

Doctor Zero's own blog doesn't exist any more, and the domain has been usurped by some commercial spammer.  The post in the Green Room doesn't exist any more and the link goes to something different. Finally, the archived Hot Air URL itself ends with the word "Trashed", which concerns me that the full text will someday disappear:

So I am pasting the whole text here, to archive it as permanently as I can on a freebie blog.  God bless Doctor Zero for writing it, and God bless and protect everyone whom it has helped over the past 8 years, and who it will help in the future.


A prayer from the living world

 "The body of actor Andrew Koenig was found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park yesterday. His father, Walter Koenig, said that his son “took his own life, and was in a lot of pain.” Like most of my generation, I grew up with Walter Koenig as Chekhov on Star Trek, and he played a superb villain much later, on Babylon 5. Until his press conference yesterday, I didn’t realize he was a man of such incredible strength and dignity. He asked for his family to be left in peace to mourn their loss. I hope he won’t mind if I take this sad occasion to address others who might be following the road that ended in Stanley Park for Andrew. No matter how far you have gone down that road, there is always a path that leads away. I could offer no greater tribute to Andrew and his family than trying to help you take it, or at least see it.

"You won’t find the beginning of that path in your house, or your room, or any other private place where you torment yourself, and wonder why a world you’re hiding from can no longer see you. You’ll have to step outside, and take a walk through your town. You’ll pass hospitals where the gift of life is unwrapped and presented to the universe. In another wing, life is held as precious treasure by families gathered around quiet beds, surrounded by tireless machines and their tired, but determined, keepers. Perhaps you’ll find a hospice, where the dying embrace their last opportunity to share their lives with all who receive the blessing of a seat beside them. You’ll pass churches and temples, filled with the sworn enemies of despair.

"You may find yourself wishing you could give the unwanted years of your future to the clients of those hospitals and hospices. I did, years ago, when I stood where you are standing now. I was on my knees at the time, offering that trade with all my heart. It doesn’t work that way. Those who tend the hospices can tell you why, and the people in the churches and temples can explain why it shouldn’t.

"Stroll past your local police station, where the noble calling to risk your life in the service of others is answered… and the worship of death as a solution to problems meets its humiliating end. Maybe you’ll spot a recruiting station, where men and women who love their friends and families accept a duty that could take them away forever… because they know others love their families too, and there is no safe way to build and protect the future for them.

"If your walk takes you past sunset, watch the cars rolling into the driveways of apartments and houses. If you walk from night into morning, watch the people reluctantly leaving their homes, to provide for their families. Those people are not wasting their lives, but fulfilling them. They return home to enjoy their reward, and renew their inspiration. Every day, they write new pages in the human story. None of us will see the end of that tale… but I know you share my appetite to read another chapter, and then one more after that. You may have convinced yourself to ignore it, but it’s still there.

"Step into a convenience store for a cup of coffee or chocolate, and take a look at the newspapers. They are filled with pleas for help that you could answer. From the inner cities of America, to the broken streets of Haiti, and around the world, there are places where the clocks are filled with nothing but desperate hours. Another pair of hands, or another few dollars of support, are always needed. The years ahead, which you regard as a painful burden, can be given to them. It will take effort, and courage… but along the way, I can promise that your life would stop feeling like a burden.

"You may view suicide as your last chance to shake the pillars of a world that has turned its back on you. The world doesn’t need any more shaking. If you’ve been telling yourself that no one will miss you when you’re gone, you are wrong. Your suicide would tear a hole through the future, and nothing could ever fill the space where you used to be. You might think you’re alone, but you don’t have to walk more than a couple of miles from your house to see a building full of people who would be delighted to meet you. There are places like Suicide Hotlines, staffed by men and women who have spent their entire lives preparing to hear the sound of your voice, and greet every day hoping to learn your name.

"You may be afraid to face the years ahead. You’re not the only one, and if you extinguish the light of your faith and wisdom, you consign others to darkness. You might see death by your own hand as the end of unbearable pain… but I ask you to think about Walter Koenig, facing a wall of cameras with quiet grace in the hours after finding his son’s body, and understand that it’s only the beginning of agony.

"You might have decided your fellow men are rotten to the core, and you’re weary of their company. Listen to the music of Mozart, or look upon the work of Michelangelo, and consider the argument of those who profoundly disagree. Maybe part of your problem is that you’ve been listening to the wrong music, or looking at the wrong pictures. Dark waters are easy to drown in. The judgment of the human race will not lack witnesses for the defense, and they will make their case to you, if you give them a chance.

"Now, take the last few steps back to your home, and set aside one sorrow or terror with every footfall, until your mind is clear. If you’re thinking of incinerating the remaining years of your life, surely you can spare a few minutes for quiet reflection, and hear this prayer from the living world:
Please don’t leave us. We need you.
It is a quiet prayer, spoken in a soft voice, but it’s never too late to listen."



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