Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983


Packing for DragonCon. That turns out to be more work than it used to be. Ah, well. I do hope the weather hasn’t affected the Dallas airport.


Longest war

Lately I keep hearing the talking heads on the news refer to the current conflict as “America’s longest war”. In modern times it can be (weakly) argued that since the Korean War that started in 1950 was paused by an armistice rather than ending with a peace treaty it has been 67 years and counting. A better claim can be made for the even longer Indian Wars. the VA recognizes the Indian Wars as running from 1817 to 1898 a total of 81 years. More proof that history is not something the media worries abound.


I expect that’s correct. And even includes the year Congress appropriated no money for the Army, leaving the officers with the problem of how to feed the men…


Floods and FEMA

Dear Jerry –

You recently wrote, 

The way FEMA worked, at least when I was familiar with it, made Clinton’s action as good as any, because the local FEMA officials’ competence was irrelevant. Washington controlled FEMA, and needed no advice from locals; neither local FEMA nor National Guard. Locals couldn’t possibly as competent as the DC Professionals, and don’t you forget it. Of course when Clinton became President he had some reasons to suspect that…

and certainly the approach reached its disastrous apotheosis in Katrina. (Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that FEMA had been folded into DHS, and DHS was largely focused on terrorism at the expense of disaster relief, which led to wholesale retirement of upper level FEMA managers with disaster relief backgrounds who might have done the necessary and made Brown look good. And it’s always a good idea to consider that all the pre-Katrina estimates said that at least half of New Orleans was too poor to evacuate – and then folks blew a gasket when half of New Orleans DIDN’T evacuate. Plus, the press frenzy started about 48 hours after the barriers failed and completely ignored the fact that the nominal FEMA response time had always been stated as 72 hours.)

But there is hope. The FEMA director for the last 8 years has been Craig Fugate, who seems to be about as far from Michael Brown as possible, and who preaches “whole-community response” and makes statements such as,

We had almost by default defined the public as a liability. We looked at them as,We must take care of them, because they’re victims. But in a catastrophic disaster, why are we discounting them as a resource? Are you telling me there’s not nurses, doctors, construction people, all kinds of walks of life that have skills that are needed?


“Quit referring to people as victims and call them survivors.” I said, my first goal is to change the vocabulary of emergency management. As long as you use vocabulary like “victims,” you’re going to treat the public like a liability and you have to take care of them. That works in most small- to medium-size disasters, ’cause we can bring in more help than there are people—but the bigger the disaster the less effective it is. When you step back and look at most disasters, you talk about first responders—lights and sirens—that’s bullshit. The first responders are the neighbors. Bystanders. People that are willing to act.

I recommend this interview

Of course, Pournelle’s Iron Law applies, and there’s no telling how much progress he’s made in a mere 8 years, but it’s certainly hopeful.

Also hopeful is the lack of FEMA response with respect to the civilian efforts such as the Cajun Navy, which have apparently moved several thousand people out of flooded homes and are continuing the god work. Contrast this with the the attempts by FEMA post-Katrina to actively prevent private boat-owners from doing the same function because it wasn’t coordinated. And somehow I doubt volunteer firefighters from other states will be required to undergo a week of training before they are allowed to start work.

It’s still early days, of course, and there are some big political differences from Katrina, such as competence from both the local and state governments (Chocolate Ray Nagin was never properly held accountable for his utter incompetence, and the Louisiana governor’s refusal to ask for help has gone remarkably unnoticed – and both stand in stark contrast to the current politicos). I thought the advice by the Rockport mayor to those who wouldn’t evacuate (“We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number,”) showed a certain welcome bloody-mindedness. But we shall see what we shall see.


Jim Martin


Civil Defense

The “Cajun Navy” is proving your position on “Civil Defense” to be correct.



Civil Defense

With regard to Civil Defense teams, which I remember being aware of in my youth. If you aren’t already you might want to become familiar with CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams []) – I don’t know about your area but I became aware of their existence shortly before I moved from Stockton (Central Valley) a couple of years ago. With recongnition of the earthquake dangers of the subjunction zone here in Oregon there has been an increasing emphasis on these local teams (Salem OR has numerous teams within each of several regions in the immediate locale, although they are not as yet completely built out). Last spring there was a weekly series of page long preparation guides in the Statesman Journal, and there was a significant presence of CERT representatives at our recent National Night Out neighborhood gatherings. There is quite a lot of media promotion on emergency preparedness and at least low level prepping here. OEM offered the free ham radio class I took a few months ago. CERT is coordinated with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, headquartered at the National Guard base here in Salem. CERT courses are being taught at our local junior college and in other venues.




There are several reasons why we should maintain a presence in Afghanistan.

We’ve been there 16 years. The Afghan government will most likely never stand alone.

If we leave, the Russians, Iran, or more likely China will have to move in to support

their government.

This is undesirable. One main reason is Rare Earth Elements mining. China currently controls

97% of the market. The Rare Earths are Lanthanides like Neodymium, Scandium, Cerium,

Lanthanum, Yttrium and 12 others. The Rare Earth elements are used in everything hi tech

from cell phones, batteries, magnets, to hi tech aluminum and steel alloys.

The problem with the Rare Earths is they all are generally contained in the same ore.

They are very difficult and expensive to separate in the refining process because they

are closely grouped on the periodic table. China has put the single major US company out

of business by undercutting the market.

Mining and refining Rare Earths is not a very Eco-friendly operation. The mine tailings are

generally mildly radioactive due to Thorium and Uranium. All the acids and chemicals that

are used in refining are strictly regulated by the EPA upping costs.

In remote, sparsely populated Afghanistan, these issues are non-issues. Mining and refining

can occur with little, if any, global impact. China’s monopoly on the market will be mitigated.

David Rockefeller spent a lifetime building a Central Asian presence along with people like

Zbignew Brzezinski and that effort and accomplishment should not be wasted or thrown away.

Through the Council on Foreign Relations and other local boards and commissions, an overall

Central Asian policy of cooperation has been developed.

The Central Asian policy is best put forth and described in Zbignew Brzezinski’s essay;

“A Geostrategy for Eurasia”published through the Council on Foreign relations (CFR);

and his book “The Grand Chessboard”


When one reflects on the decades of dedicated work by David Rockefeller and people like

Zbignew Brzezinski for developement, stability and partnership in Eurasia, it becomes

apparent it’s in everyone’s best interest.

If we are not in Afghanistan, somebody else will be there.

That’s what the interventionists fear. They may be right; but stationing 20,000 troops for decades in Afghanistan is a serious matter, and might even require building a different sort of Army; Legions that expect to serve out their time in foreign lands. Would they be rewarded with citizenship? Pensions – land – for his veterans was one of Caesar’s major concerns.


if they say you are wrong, say it again louder

Dr. Pournelle,

They’re back:

I notice, again, that the authors do not estimate cost, or who they expect to pay, or the actual cost of development in barrel of oil equivalent units, or the cost of maintenance, or the limitations of wind and solar power generation.  And, as in their study two years ago, still don’t state the cost of the energy storage that their proposal requires.  They don’t account for projected growth of demand.

This time, they pointedly also don’t mention the cost in comparison to the gdp of the countries involved.  Obviously, the U.S. will be expected to foot the bill, and China and India will be expected to continue to absorb the pollution generated by mining, smelting, concrete production, and chemical processing.

It will obviously be all free, since we will all be paying two or three hundred percent more  (corrected for collectivized petroleum industries) for the five to ten-fold increase in fossil fuel usage that will be required to build these technologies.  And of course, it will all have to be replaced again by 2075.

I feel better already.


Glad that problem is settled.


Thinking for oneself

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

In the midst of woe, gloom and uncertainty, I see this little note in freshman orientation at Princeton U which brightened my day, and I hope yours as well.

In a nutshell, the profs warn the students to beware of campus orthodoxies and the ‘tyranny of public opinion’, to think for themselves and to give even ‘unspeakable’ ideas a second look.

Good for them. C.S. Lewis asked “What do they teach them in those schools?” It’s nice to see that some of the old light survives, even in the midst of the Crazy Years.


Brian P.

That’s what my generation was brought up to expect of any college. Some were better at it than others. Not necessarily the big research Universities. When I worked as a consultant on the California University Master Plan, the State Universities were different campuses of one University, and had small undergraduate student bodies; the California State Colleges were supposed to be the primary undergraduate institutions, and were not to have graduate students or issue graduate degrees. On this basis the costs were sold to the taxpayers. Of course so soon as the law was passed the California State Colleges insisted on becoming California State Universities and be able to give graduate degrees, and started humping for grants and wanting graduate students to teach the freshmen, ad so forth, etc., etc.


And here you thought there was no slavery anymore anywhere.

Actually there still is slavery. If you go to a backwards nation on the West coast of Africa near the equator you can find massive slavery operations which the government refuses to do anything about. It’s a Mohammedan nation. It is run according to Sharia law. And Sharia law, the law supposedly handed down to Mohammed by his sham Moon god Allah. The Guardian, of all things, published an article about slavery in Mauritania. It’s there. It’s active. It’s the way of life there. And regardless of pressure placed on them, it remains a standard practice in the nation.

Here are Jihad Watch’s excerpts and comments:

Defying international pressure, Islamic Republic of Mauritania refuses to free slaves

And in case you miss the click through to the source here it is:

US warned Mauritania’s ‘total failure’ on slavery should rule out trade benefits

The US is making this an issue under the Trump administration. If Trump plans to have the US military somehow get involved, that would be a bad bad thing. But, making a public issue of this is a nice way to show the savagery of Sharia Law.

We need to do MUCH more of that. Mohammedanism is a threat. And it should get criticized for the uncivilized, indeed savage, behavior called for from its adherents.


I wonder if the law against filibustering still applies? (Private expeditions of US volunteers intent on liberating the oppressed in other nations was once known as filibustering, and at one time outlawed after vigorous debates.)


Re: Your Aug 29th post and refrigeration

There’s another issue about the change in refrigerants. I don’t know how much coverage the Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent discovery of hundreds of deathtrap tower blocks in “social housing” in the UK have had, but one thing that has had almost no coverage (probably because the environmentalists don’t want it to get any) is that the actual direct cause of the Grenfell fire (the spark to touch it off, if you will) was almost certainly an exploding refrigerator.
Huh? you say? Well, it so happens that approved refrigerants are tightly controlled and much more expensive than the old ones. Because of this, makers of budget fridges have started filling them with such things as propane and butane. Which works fine, until the fridge gets a bit old, doesn’t get maintained (as most don’t) and the refrigerant starts leaking.
Picture it. A small, unnoticeable leak in the cooling circuit, inside the fridge. It gets left overnight; gas builds up inside the refrigerator. Go into the fridge in the morning to get the milk for your cereal, the little light inside goes on, the switch that does that arcs over – and BOOM! (And the blast fractures the cooling circuit altogether, and half a litre of liquid propane flashes almost instantly to gas…)




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.





Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


It’s terribly hot outside, and I am busily preparing for my trip to Atlanta and DragonCon, where I am presenting an award as well as participating on panels and the usual stuff. Travel is a major expedition for me now, and takes a lot of preparation; and alas, all my experience during the Cold War and even in BYTE days is basically irrelevant. Back in the days when you wore a necktie to air travel I flew around enough to get lifetime memberships in most airline lounge clubs, which simplifies things a lot, but what I learned then about airline travel doesn’t apply now. Maybe to First Class, but not to anyone else. Fortunately I can arrange for a wheel chair and get help boarding, but the old days seem to be gone. The cabin crew – can’t call them stewardesses anymore – try, but they’re overworked and understaffed, and more and more passengers no longer wear neckties and are polite and understanding. I miss the old days before deregulation of prices, when airlines had to compete on service, not on being cheap. And yes, I thoroughly realize that I’ve just said I’d rather have higher prices filter airline travel, and that’s assertion of privilege and all that. It won’t stop me from missing the old days when flying was a pleasant experience.

Anyway, I’ve got appointments this afternoon and not a lot of time.


If there’s a lesson from the current weather – you really can’t blame it on climate – it’s one we used to know. When I was a kid during the depression, people who built houses in areas a few feet above flood level – in flood plains like Houston and Baton Rouge and much of the Mississippi Valley – built them on stilts. In Tornado Alley they built storm cellars. In flood plains in Tornado Alley they built on stilts and hoped to find shelter every 25 or thirty years. The primary rule was, if you build mansions in flood plains, prepare to self insure, and if you’re not that rich, think of living somewhere else.

After all. Talk of 30 year floods, or 50 year floods, or even 100 year floods is a prediction; and while the likelihood of two 50 year floods in a decade is low, it ain’t zero. My house is 70 feet above the concreted river down by Ventura Blvd, and I didn’t worry even when the only storm drains were streets, which we’re about six feet above anyway; our streets being 70 feet above Ventura Blvd. And yes, I did all those calculations before we bought this place. After all, I grew up in Memphis, known at Bluff City, and then in Capleville known at Nonconnah Bottom, and I was born in Louisiana. I know about houses on stilts, and one of my earliest memories is of railway flatcars filled with injured and refugees from the Tupelo, Mississippi Tornado.

Which is not to say I have no sympathy for the victims of the storm. I do think it madness to continue the fiction that replacing the old local Civil Defense organizations, many of them managed by volunteer retired military officers and veterans, with FEMA which Governors like Clinton used as places for political agents to get a salary while they worked for his election, was a good idea.

The way FEMA worked, at least when I was familiar with it, made Clinton’s action as good as any, because the local FEMA officials’ competence was irrelevant. Washington controlled FEMA, and needed no advice from locals; neither local FEMA nor National Guard. Locals couldn’t possibly as competent as the DC Professionals, and don’t you forget it. Of course when Clinton became President he had some reasons to suspect that…

A long time ago, Civil Defense organized local communities down to Boy Scout level, and it worked pretty well. After Katrina drove some victims to seek refuge in Houston, then came Humphrey (which may be a bit ironic), we learn that a 30 or 40 year flood can be followed by something worse in fewer than 20 years; of course we have always known that, but perhaps this time we can pay attention?




The date of this picture is 1935.






Another Visit to the law of unintended results.



During our current SoCal heat wave I began to wonder how much additional CO2 has belched into the atmosphere since R22, commonly referred to as Freon, due to the fact that none of the replacements are as efficient.

I did a little reading and learned that not only do the replacement coolants require more energy for the same amount of cooling, but ChloroFluoroCarbons are much more potent greenhouse gasses that CO2. (Not hard to believe since CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas.) All of the retrofitting of R22 systems with “acceptable” refrigerants has undoubtedly released a lot of refrigerant into the atmosphere.

BTW, how is the naturally occurring and fluctuating Ozone hole doing these days.

Bob Holmes

But the models say…


Antifa Mobs Violently Attack Peaceful Protesters At Berkeley, Police Stand Down

Is anyone surprised?


NEWin humans in caves – heath advantages

Third and last installment of Amanda Laoupi’s article on the environmental bio-advantages of Neanderthals.

Anne-Marie de Grazia



I have found this interesting. We are after all the children of Cain and Abel.


Thousand-Year-Old Viking Fortress Reveals a Technologically-Advanced Society.



Roland Dobbins



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




The Longest War

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey


Acting against his instincts and preferences, President Trump announced a new strategy for what is said to be the longest war in American history: the Afghan Campaign. We will no longer insist on “victory”; we will, perhaps, accept a political settlement that may include elements of the Taliban. Given the domestic situation this was inevitable. The alternative would be to abandon Afghanistan and come home, leaving the situation to ebb and flow without our presence.

Whether abandoning Afghanistan to the Pakistani, Indian, Russian, Moslem Republics formerly part of the USSR, al Qaeda, the Caliphate, Sunni Muslim powers, Shiite Powers including Iran, random war lords who want regional control, Kabul which wants its writ to run all over Afghanistan, and probably other factions I have left out is a good idea I can not say for sure. They can fight it out without our formal presence, and if we have favorites I’m sure we have Special Forces that can intervene when our interests are at stake. This would be my preference, and formerly was the preference of President Trump; indeed, it is the outcome he expected and until recently accepted. Afghanistan is a sink hole, with few resources we want, and an infinite capacity for absorbing American blood and treasure. My immediate reaction was to wonder which faction, neo-conservative, military industrial complex, Deep State, alligators in the swamp, or some other managed to get the President’s ear.

On the other hand, there are precedents. The Afghan War is not the longest war in American history. The longest was the Seventy Years War, also known as the Cold War, which formally began just after World War II but actually started with the Russian Revolution and World War One. Indeed, the Afghan War isn’t even the second longest in American history.

The Korean War began June 26, 1950, and has not formally ended. It is no longer a shooting war, but does anyone suppose that South Korea would have developed into the nation it has become if the United States had not intervened; and having intervened fought North Korea and China to a standstill, then negotiated a stalemate armistice enforced by substantial numbers of US troops in South Korea? We stopped most of our nation building efforts in Korea, and the US garrison in Korea no longer feels that it could become a shooting war in hours; indeed, many think of serving in Korea as easy duty, a tour of overseas duty without much danger and all the comforts of civilization to boot. It wasn’t always that way, of course. We were nearly thrown into the sea at Pusan. But MacArthur invaded at Inchon, and from holding the perimeter by our fingernails we went to hot pursuit all the way to the Yalu chasing the best view a soldier can have, the enemy’s back.

And from there it turned sour again with the Chinese intervention. It ended in a standoff that endures to this day. But while China’s ally turned into a hermit kingdom invisible from space at night, South Korea developed into one of the Asian tigers – as, incidentally, did Taiwan; while Japan, once our hated enemy, developed into a noticeable economic base, and despite a great slowdown you can see each island of Japan from space at night; while North Korea remains as dark as inner Siberia or the Congo.

Had we just cut and run after the Chinese intervention in 1950, would the situation be more stable now? No one can know for certain, and the skillful manipulation of all the participants in the Cold Wear will be studied for a very long time, the actual outcome was at one time proclaimed by some foolish but influential intellectuals as “The End of History.” It is a better outcome today than many of us feared while the Seventy Years War wound down.

Whether this echoes the President’s chain of thought I cannot know; but surely he is aware of it. Broadcasting the end of US involvement would have a lasting and profound effect on Pakistan, India, Burma, Iran, and other places; it would rejuvenate al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban, confirming their belief that they needed only to survive to win. It would give our enemies a sanctuary and advertise that others could do so.

We are committed to an overseas presence for decades with this strategy; but the result in Korea suggests that need not be the worst possible outcome.

There are implications. We will need Legions. But it can be done, and may be the safest alternative in a situation that has no attractive alternatives.


I have a dinner engagement with an executive producer of the Big Bang Theory; purely a social engagement with a friend and neighbor, but I have just enough time to get this up.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Edited HIV cures Cancer; Beware of cytokine release; Madness? Whither tolerance and rational debate?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein


White House Web page: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

President’s weekly address, June 6, 2009: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

Remarks at the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009: “I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

President Barrack Hussein Obama


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana


The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


If Republicans want to force through massive tax cuts, we will fight them tooth and nail.

Senator Elizabeth Warren


Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham


If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983


Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


I have never said that human society ought to be aristocratic, but a great deal more than that. What I have said, and still believe with ever-increasing conviction, is that human society is always, whether it will or no, aristocratic by its very essence, to the extreme that it is a society in the measure that it is aristocratic, and ceases to be such when it ceases to be aristocratic. Of course I am speaking now of society and not of the State.

Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses


“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.


This was, for me, about the most intersecting medical interview I have read in years. It is behind the WSJ pay wall, so I include only what I hope is a fair excerpt; I recommend the entire interview, published as an op-ed article, if you have access to it.

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure

The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA.


Allysia Finley


When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering the T-cells of three patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer that affects white blood cells.

The patients had failed to respond to many different traditional therapies. Yet two of the three patients experienced miraculous recoveries after Dr. June and his team gave them infusions of their own doctored white blood cells. Seven years later they remain cancer-free. The third patient died after showing improvements, though might have been saved had the treatment begun earlier.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011, opened the field of cancer immunotherapy. “It was a tipping point,” recalls the 64-year-old Dr. June. “There was an amazing outpouring because we showed for the first time that it could work.” [snip]


[snip] About 15 years ago he first considered using HIV to kill cancer cells. At the time, he says, “the rest of the community that did cancer immunotherapy had all been using viruses out of mice, called gammaretroviruses. And it turns out the HIV works better with human T-cells than the mouse virus does.”

Dr. June pauses for a quick tutorial on the human immune system: “There are two major cell types in our acquired immune systems that distinguish us from flies, and those are B-cells and T-cells.” T-cells are a sort of offensive weapon, destroying viruses and bacteria. B-cells are more like a shield. They produce antibodies that detect and swat down foreign invaders based on unique molecular characteristics. A CAR T-cell is a “chimera”—Greek for a fusion of two animals. It combines the “killing machinery” of T-cells with the precise antibody targeting of B-cells.

A CAR T-cell is designed to bind to a particular site on the cancer cell. That means, unlike with chemotherapy and radiation, other cells in the body aren’t damaged when patients receive CAR T-cell infusions. The result is fewer unpleasant long-term side effects.

When a CAR T-cell binds to the target, the immune system responds the same way it does to a virus: T-cells kill the cancerous cells and then proliferate. Once all the cancer is destroyed, CAR T-cells remain on what Dr. June calls “memory level”: “They are on surveillance, we now know, for at least seven years.”

There is, however, a hitch or two. After being cured, patients must receive blood infusions every few months to prevent their immune systems from killing off their B-cells. And about a third of patients undergoing treatment with CAR T-cells experience a violent immune-system reaction known as cytokine-release syndrome. When cancer cells die, they release inflammatory proteins called cytokines that can cause high fevers and leave patients comatose.

Cytokine-release syndrome almost ended the therapy in its infancy. In 2012, Dr. June’s first pediatric patient, 6-year-old Emma Whitehead, developed a 106-degree fever and experienced multiple organ failure. “We thought she was going to die,” he recalls.

A blood analysis showed high levels of the cytokine interleukin-6, or IL-6. “I happened to know because of my daughter’s arthritis that there was a drug that could target IL-6—that had never been used in oncology,” Dr. June recalls. Fortunately, the children’s hospital where Emma was being treated had the medication, Tocilizumab, on hand. “We wouldn’t have had it at the adult hospital because it wasn’t approved at that point for adult conditions.”

Within hours of receiving the drug, Emma awoke from her coma. “It was literally one of those Lazarus conditions,” Dr. June says. Eight days after receiving the CAR T-Cell injection, she went into remission. Two weeks later, she was cancer-free. She’s now 12 and thriving.

Tocilizumab “saved the field” as well as the girl, Dr. June says. “If the first patient dies on a protocol and nobody’s been cured, you’re over.” Regulators, he adds, always “err on the side of caution.” That irks him, since most of his patients would die without the experimental treatments: “Our FDA regulations are made so that you can never have more than about 30% of people get sick with serious side effects. I think we don’t have enough leeway for side effects when you have a potentially curative therapy.” [snip] [Italics mine. JEP]

Ms. Finley is an editorial writer at the Journal.

You will note I have italicized one sentence. I will have something to say about this later.


Most of the information in the interview was in previous publications which I must have read but did not see the significance of at the time. Such as

In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia


PHILIPSBURG, Pa. — Emma Whitehead has been bounding around the house lately, practicing somersaults and rugby-style tumbles that make her parents wince.

It is hard to believe, but last spring Emma, then 6, was near death from leukemia. She had relapsed twice after chemotherapy, and doctors had run out of options.

Desperate to save her, her parents sought an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one that had never before been tried in a child, or in anyone with the type of leukemia Emma had. The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.

The treatment very nearly killed her. But she emerged from it cancer-free, and about seven months later is still in complete remission. She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom new techniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer.

Emma had been ill with acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2010, when she was 5, said her parents, Kari and Tom. She is their only child.

She is among just a dozen patients with advanced leukemia to have received the experimental treatment, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Similar approaches are also being tried at other centers, including the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“Our goal is to have a cure, but we can’t say that word,” said Dr. Carl June, who leads the research team at the University of Pennsylvania. He hopes the new treatment will eventually replace bone-marrow transplantation, an even more arduous, risky and expensive procedure that is now the last hope when other treatments fail in leukemia and related diseases.

Three adults with chronic leukemia treated at the University of Pennsylvania have also had complete remissions, with no signs of disease; two of them have been well for more than two years, said Dr. David Porter. Four adults improved but did not have full remissions, and one was treated too recently to evaluate. A child improved and then relapsed. In two adults, the treatment did not work at all. The Pennsylvania researchers were presenting their results on Sunday and Monday in Atlanta at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Despite the mixed results, cancer experts not involved with the research say it has tremendous promise, because even in this early phase of testing it has worked in seemingly hopeless cases. “I think this is a major breakthrough,” said Dr. Ivan Borrello, a cancer expert and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. John Wagner, the director of pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at the University of Minnesota, called the Pennsylvania results “phenomenal” and said they were “what we’ve all been working and hoping for but not seeing to this extent.” [snip]

[snip] A sign that the treatment is working is that the patient becomes terribly ill, with raging fevers and chills — a reaction that oncologists call “shake and bake,” Dr. June said. Its medical name is cytokine-release syndrome, or cytokine storm, referring to the natural chemicals that pour out of cells in the immune system as they are being activated, causing fevers and other symptoms. The storm can also flood the lungs and cause perilous drops in blood pressure — effects that nearly killed Emma. [snip]


Editing virus DNA has become easier [ see ] so you can expect a lot more of these results in previously hopeless cases. This is exciting news.

It also leads me to speculate. One reason many parents have objected to immunizations of their children – particularly immunizations to measles and other traditional universal childhood diseases — vary, but a common – not universal – theme has been that they make the kids sick. Correlation with autism was never high and now is no longer thought significant, but cytokine storm is quite real, if rare in healthy kids. Still. Immunizations are often given in multiple batches to save money. If a child has early cases of several of the childhood diseases at the time of immunization – rare, but in mass immunization drives there are likely to be a few – could the immunizations, attacking several diseases at once, bring about a cytokine storm in a few children? I have never thought that multiple immunizations were a good idea; immunization by definition causes stress to the immune system, and the response to that stress is that you become immune to the disease if you survive the stress. In the early days of smallpox inoculations, this stress could be fatal, but smallpox was even more dangerous, and in the days before Pasteur and the germ theory of disease immunization remained dangerous even after Jenner developed vaccination – use of cowpox rather than smallpox virus.


This is the first I knew of cytokine-release syndrome, and I have never heard it discussed by immunization promoters.


PBS, NPR Bury Their Own Poll Results on BLM, Antifa, and Confederate Statues

Taxpayer-funded PBS and NPR are now in the polling business with Marist College, and like the other networks, their polls are often used to support putting heat on Republicans. On Wednesday, they announced they had found a majority of Americans were disappointed with the president’s responsive to the violence in Charlottesville.

PBS then ignored their own finding that 62 percent favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while only 27 percent want them removed. NPR reported it once, and then insisted that had nothing to do with Charlottesville.

Buried in the weeds: They also asked if Americans approve or disapprove of Black Lives Matter: 50 percent disapproved, and only 33 percent approved. They even asked about approval of Antifa, but few had heard of them yet: Five percent approved, 24 percent disapproved, 18 percent said they had no opinion either way, and 53 percent were unsure. But if the results don’t fit….you must omit?



Charlottesville Riddle

Riddle me this:

What do the Stars and Bars have in common with the Swastika?
Slavery, homicide, and losing to the Stars and Stripes.


So does the Union Jack, and all other British flags.


Ricardo’s Vice and the Virtues of Industrial Diversity. 



Roland Dobbins


Ricardo’s Vice and the Virtues of Industrial Diversity

By Steve Keen

That specialization is the primary source of economic gain has been accepted by economists ever since the famous example of the pin factory with which Adam Smith opened The Wealth of Nations:

One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; . . . ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. . . . But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day.1

David Ricardo extended Smith’s vision of specialization within a given industry to specialization between industries and nations, and made the argument that two countries can benefit from free trade even if one country is absolutely less competitive in both industries than the other. In his hypothetical example, Portugal could produce both cloth and wine with less labor than England. If England specialized at the industry it was comparatively better at (cloth, obviously) and Portugal specialized in wine, then the total output of both industries would rise.2

This concept of the advantages of specialization became the core insight of economics, and it continues to be ingrained in and promoted by economists today. Lionel Robbins’s proposition that “Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”3 is the dominant definition of economics. It implicitly emphasizes the importance of specialization, so that those “scarce means which have alternative uses” can be efficiently allocated to achieve the maximum level of output.

This belief in the advantages of specialization lies behind the incredulity with which economists have reacted to the rise of populist politicians like Donald Trump in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom’s vote for Brexit. They have, at their most self-righteous, blamed the rise of anti-globalization sentiment on the public’s irrational failure to appreciate the net benefits of trade. Or, more commonly, they have conceded that perhaps the electorate has reacted negatively because the gains from trade have not been shared fairly.

There is, however, another explanation for why anti–free trade sentiment has risen: the gains from specialization at the national level were not there to share in the first place, for sound empirical reasons that were ignored in Ricardo’s example. That ignorance has been ingrained in economics since then, as Robbins’s definition—dominant and superficially persuasive, but fundamentally limited—gave economists a starting point from which they could not properly perceive either the advantages or the costs of globalization.

Deus Sine Machina

Robbins’s definition codifies arguably the most egregious oversight in economic theory. It omits a realistic treatment of resources that do not “have alternative uses,” by which the great wealth of modern society has been created: machines. Today, with 3-D printers, increasingly adaptable robotics, and the beginnings of AI, we can contemplate the eventual creation of a single machine that could be deployed across a range of industries. Yet for the foreseeable future, most machines are tailored for specific tasks in specific industries and are useless in any others, as was also the case in the distant past when the theory of comparative advantage was invented. Smith acknowledged the need for specialized machinery in pin production (and attributed the development of that specialized machinery to the division of labor itself, though it can just as easily be argued that the specialization of machinery is what gave rise to the specialization of labor): [snip]

The argument is not new, but those not familiar with it should read it. Ricardo also assumed a certain equality of government benefits in each country: obviously a nation that forces companies to give many free benefits to its workers will force producers to raise prices, making foreign competitors more competitive. Any modern analysis must deal with that.

You will note that universal general purpose robots change everything.


The battle lines

Apparently, in the eyes of the left, noting the moral equivalence between the white supremacists / neo-nazis / klansman and the pipe-and-baseball bat toting thugs of “Antifa” gets the person noting said moral equivalence classified as a white supremacist in the eyes of the press.

One is forced to believe that the MSM approves of the pipe-and-baseball bat toting leftists.

If anyone sees this ending well, and continues to see it ending well after cleaning their rose-colored glasses, please loan them to me.


One thing I find curious about the violence in Charlottesville — much was made about how some of the white nationalists/neo-nazis came in military gear and openly sporting weapons… and yet, I don’t recall hearing of any victims of the violence who had been shot.


Boston Free Speech Rally Disbanded After Thousands of Leftists Counter-Protest

A free speech rally taking place in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday was disbanded after thousands of left-wing activists held an enormous counter-protest.

No more than 300 free-speech activists took part in the event, while approximately 30,000 counter-protesters took to the streets in a protest organized by groups such as Black Lives Matter and Boston’s ANSWER Coalition.

The rally was organized by a group known as the Boston Free Speech Coalition and invited “libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech.”

It was also addressed by Republican Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai and Libertarian congressional candidate Samson Racioppi, as counter-protesters sang songs comparing the participants to Nazis and white supremacists.

Hundreds in Boston counter-protest gathered chanting “No hate no fear, #Nazi’s are not welcome here”

— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) August 19, 2017

The Boston counter-protest is now perhaps the largest anti-racist protest this year. Thousands arrive still — many more expected.

— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 19, 2017

Images from Fox News showed one woman attacked and dragged after waving an American flag.

History is More Important Than Hysteria

Newt Gingrich


Americans have once again been subjected to a dishonest, one-sided elite media frenzy.

In what is becoming an all too common occurrence, the media covers an event, distorts it, and then builds on its own distortion, condemning anyone who refuses to blindly accept their falsehoods.

All of this is done in a tone of hysteria, designed to both distract us from the serious problems the Left can’t solve and to isolate conservatives on emotionally hateful grounds.

Let me be clear: The conflict in Charlottesville last Saturday was terrible. An American was killed in an act of domestic terrorism by a hateful fanatic. Every American should condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK, and racism in all its hateful forms.

However, for leftwing fanatics and the elite media, bringing the country together and refusing to tolerate any group or individual that promotes racism and violence is not enough.

Instead, they believe that we should support eliminating large parts of American history.

If a person defends a historic monument or statue, the Left and the elite media immediately claim it is a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, and any other harsh emotional condemnation they can throw.

Never mind the words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Republican who was the first African American woman to serve as Secretary of State and who witnessed the atrocities of racism first-hand when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, killing one of her close friends and three other young girls.

When asked earlier this year about removing Confederate memorials, Rice said, “When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.”

However, engaging in rational debates about this issue is impossible in this media frenzy because only the Left’s views are tolerated. [snip]


The current mess and our joint disgust


You’ve been sounding the education alarm for 20 years, maybe more. When you have a generation or two of citizens that know no history and have no common sense, this is what we get. Tearing down statues and trying to erase history, SJW’s., public officials wasting time condemning events rather than actually preventing the events and / or catching the bad guys on both sides and so on.

Even Newt spent half of his Facebook video yesterday condemning the events in Charlotte and Spain even though we should just be able to assume any decent citizen of this country does not support what happened. 

Phil Tharp

Thursday in an interview with Britain’s LADbible, former Vice President Al Gore was asked what “one piece of advice” he would offer to President Donald Trump.

Gore had a one-word reply, which was “resign.”

He did not elaborate on why he thought President Trump should step down.


Six Police Officers Shot: One Dead, Five Wounded

Six police officers were shot in three different cities across the U.S. Friday night. In one of the incidents, the officers did not have an opportunity to shoot back.

The attacks on police occurred in Kissimmee, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; and Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

According to NBC News, Kissimmee police officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter “were checking suspects in an area of the city for drug activity when they were shot.” The attack on Howard and Baxter was launched in such a way that neither officer had an opportunity to return fire.

Officer Baxter was killed in the attack, and officer Howard is “in serious condition.”

Obviously trivial compared to the real news that dominates our TV screens.


Why take up the cause of losers?


Why do various skinheads and ‘white supremacists’ take up the cause of loser? The Rebel South – lost their war with the Union. Nazis – the National Socialists – lost their war against the US (the US supported the Brits and the Soviets in that war; the US won it).

Losers, both. Why take up their insignias? The same individuals do not take up the symbols of the International Socialists – the Communists – who actually won the Russian Empire and went on to be on the winning side in WW2 only to lose the Seventy Years War to the US.

It’s true that Hitler and The South together did not kill as many people as Stalin did, much less killing as many people as Mao did. But really, that kind of comparison just says that while they were bad, they are not the Champion Killers of the 20th Century. So why do they carry those symbols? I confess I don’t know.



I cannot speak for those choosing National Socialism, for I have never been tempted by it. There was a time when joining the International Communist Movement could be argued to be marching with the flywheel of history, but that has not been true since the fall of the USSR; but like Whittaker Chambers most of those leaving the Communist Party in the 50’s and 60’s thought they were leaving the winning side for the loser. And still they left.

As to the attractions of the Confederacy, remember that a good part of the volunteer US Armed Forces come from the South; indeed, during my military time in the Korean business I met many Southernors but few Southern conscripts; and many Northerners, but most of them were conscripts. You could tell by their serial numbers: conscript serial numbers started with US, while volunteers started with RA.

Those not growing up in the old South will probably not understand that the same feelings that built loyalty to the United States and caused them to volunteer for the US Army and Navy were the same as those that inspired some veneration to the lost cause of the Confederacy; and no, that was not nostalgia for slavery. I never met anyone who had owned a slave, nor was I aware of knowing anyone whose father had owned a slave, and few of their grandfathers could have; people didn’t often live to be that old. The War was ended by 1865; to have owned a slave you would have had to be teenaged during the Civil War, and alive 65 to 70 years later, and I didn’t know anyone that old.

There were Bonapartists in France a long time after Waterloo; enough to make Napoleon III Emperor of the French.

Abraham Lincoln offered the post of Commanding General of the United States to Robert E. Lee. Virginia asked him to command Virginia’s forces. We know which he chose, and when he surrendered he chose to work to restore national unity in the Union. That inspired a lot of Southern children as they grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. You will not have had that experience.


From the Washington Post this evening.  This is the ship that delivered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Researchers find wreckage of lost WWII warship USS Indianapolis

“The ship was found almost 31/2 miles below the surface of the Philippine Sea, said a tweet from Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, who led a team of civilian researchers that made the discovery.”

“Historians and architects from the Naval History and Heritage Command in the District had joined forces with Allen last year to revisit the tragedy.”


USS Indianapolis wreckage found


The least known but best novelization…


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Spacewalking Cosmonauts Initiate 3D-Printed Small Sat Test | Space content from Aviation Week

I love the idea of 3D printed satellite components, but what made me burst out laughing was the method of launching a fleet of satellites: flung by hand off the trailing edge of the ISS, as an add-on task to a spacewalk. The new Russian suits sound good. Maybe this was the start of a new space (suit) race?

Gary P.

As far as I know, Nanoracks, the company my son is VP of, developed that technique, as well as several other now even more effective, for launching small satellites.


Is a Tolerant Culture Being Replaced by an Intolerant One?

by Saher Fares
August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am


· One need not go back centuries to the Muslim conquest of the Christian late classical world — the medieval Barbary corsair raids, the Ottoman yoke in Central and Eastern Europe or the slave markets of Kaffa in Tatar Muslim Crimea — to understand that this violence clearly predates the European colonial era, the creation of the modern state of Israel, or the issue of climate change.

· Countries such as China, Nigeria or Kenya that are not Western, not “imperialist”, not whatever the excuses that Islamists make, are still spectacularly attacked by similar stabbings. Month on month, there seems almost nowhere that Islamic terror did not strike.

· Volumes of revered Islamic texts establish in great detail the grounds of violence and oppression of non-believers and those deemed heretical. These supposed grounds — made alive daily in madrassas and mosques across the world before being acted upon by religiously-trained terrorists — are childishly dismissed by Western liberals as immaterial.

· The first step towards a solution is to question the received knowledge tirelessly dished out by media pundits in the West. What is lacking is simply seeing a huge body of evidence of theological justification for Islamist terror.

How thin can excuses wear every time an atrocity is committed in the name of Islam?

When 13 people were killed and scores more injured this week in a vehicle-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain, and stabbing men shouting “This is for Allah!” on London Bridge and in Borough Market in June, what the victims least cared about was the Western elite pontificating that the latest atrocity “had nothing to do with Islam”. [snip]

One might remember that Spain was ruled by Muslims for centuries, and were only slowly driven back to Africa; while the battle of Vienna in 1528 decided that the Ottoman Empire would not complete the crescent, but the Balkans remained under Muslim rule.

The answer to the question asked appears to be yes. The strong rule as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.