All told, nearly a million prisoners (in the USA) are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

What’s Old, Doc?

There is an interesting article in a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal; it is titled, “Natural-Born Killer Joins Germ Fight”. The upshot: antibiotics basically set aside the treatment of bacterial infections with bacteriophages long ago, and now many physicians are eager to have the viruses back. And why? Because bacteria have grown increasingly able to shrug off antibiotics, and deaths from infection are up sharply. Yes, phages are viruses, so it’s important to note immediately that they do not harm humans. Instead they go after bacteria, infecting them and causing them to burst.

That’s good, but the fact is, these bacteria-killing viruses come from sewers, polluted rivers in some of the earth’s worst real estate, and other horrid places. So of course testing of the phages has to be painstaking. That means the development of cures for currently deadly bacterial diseases will be slow.

It did not have to be so. This newsletter’s editor remembers reading about phages in a magazine at least sixty years ago, and he wonders why the treatment was not being studied and tested back then. “How long ago was that?” you ask — well, if memory serves, that article was in a publication like True or Argosy (men’s magazines, they were called back then), and the approximate date was 1955. Yes, that was before Playboy. Sixty or more years ago authors like Daniel Mannix told the world about freaks like Aleister Crowley…and about bacteriophages.

Think of it: phages were known and used by physicians over a half century ago, at the very least. Why was this treatment modality ignored in the USA? Well, the study and use of the healing viruses was never halted in Russia and a few other countries. If you are proud of the accomplishments of Western medicine, ponder that fact. (Recall the example of Marshall and Warren, as well. The medical establishment in the English-speaking world is not always rational or scientific.)

You might be able to learn more about macrophages from the WSJ, if they have made their article available to non-subscribers. Try this address. Otherwise use a good search engine.

But…if you are suffering from a chronic bacterial infection, don’t imagine that you can get treatment with bacteriophages. It will take many years before they will be available to you — unless, of course, you go to Russia.

Overall, it’s a disgusting tale, isn’t it?

A Suggestion

Commentary is an online and print publication that deserves your support because you deserve its excellence. Here is proof, provided in the dual hope that (1) NTG will not be sued for violating copyright laws, and (2) that you will immediately understand why you need to subscribe to Commentary:

Hillary Clinton is on the verge of losing the first two states to a septuagenarian Jewish socialist back-bencher who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, with consequences for the future that aren’t yet clear. …most of those wonderful Republican candidates have been washed away by the Donald Trump flood. He is everything they’re not — he’s unprepared, has no knowledge, has no electoral polish, has no experience in constructing a base of support, and has no evident “strategy”. He is what he was when he came into this race: An anti-politician. An anti-candidate.

Those quotes deliberately omit all the best stuff. Do follow up (here).

Trump In A Nutshell

Why is Trump doing so well? Noah Rothman, writing in Commentary (no link — subscribe for access), notes that “Barack Obama’s supporters hate — I mean, positively despise — the notion that the last seven years of anemic economic growth, disasters on the world stage, and the pervasive sense of American decline has anything to do with the rise of Trump.” (Emphasis added.) He’s right. GOP voters want a strong leader who will eliminate the USA’s weaknesses. Trump gets high marks immediately because (1) he addresses hated political correctness; (2) he has “testicular fortitude” and (3) a feral commitment to fight for his tribe. Those assets are not on the GOP’s agenda.

You have probably seen this: a little girl cries tears of joy on learning that she is going to a Trump rally, and will see her hero. It’s revealing…and provocative. Yes, people love Trump because he is a breath of fresh air that only a non-political figure can provide. His cute little admirer sees in him a person she never sees when she looks at politicians. She has a point: for many years, US citizens have had to “like” people whom they knew instinctively to be liars, rascals, and power-hungry, egotistical authoritarians. Trump has the advantages of being brand new to the dirty business of politics, afraid of no one, clean as regards fund-raising, and angry as all true reformers must be. This girl senses all that directly, and she admires him. He’s steadfast, won’t tolerate fools, and has the rectitude of an avenging angel. His audacity is impressive. Here he comes….

Correct English Is Rational English

Here is a sentence taken from an internet post that is erroneously considered well written, though it was created by someone who mistakenly assumed that if means whether: “…some…lawmakers are beginning to wonder if the benefits of criminal justice reform will outweigh its political costs”. Does this sentence mean that lawmakers will wonder something unspecified, in the event that criminal justice reform proves impractically costly? Clearly not. Yet the sentence as it stands is irrational, for it does not inform the reader what it is that will have political costs. Yes, it’s almost impossible for some folks to grasp that meaning, but that is due to the fact that those readers supply a plausible intent to the sentence in question. That fantasy is not, however, expressed in the original sentence, and its ascription is literally incorrect.

The problem here is that the words if and whether cannot each substitute for the other because they have distinct meanings. If means “in the event that”, while whether introduces two distinct possibilities, and asks the reader to distinguish between them, perhaps choosing one. “If he goes to the game, you can count on him to be bored as soon as he arrives” is not at all the same as the nonsense sentence, “Whether he goes to the game, you can count on him to be bored….”. Compare to “Whether he goes to the game will depend on how he feels when you invite him”. There is no way to substitute if for whether there, unless one changes the structure of the sentence. One must say something like, “If he goes to the game, it will be because he felt flattered when you invited him”.

Most dictionaries do not give any definition of if; instead they try to clarify its meaning by describing its function in a phrase or sentence. The Shorter Oxford (which is a magnificent reference in two large volumes, by the way) does a good job of portraying if as rather like an arithmetic operator such as +. Unfortunately that lack of a comprehensive discussion makes it easier to abuse the word. (Burchfield is of some help: in the third edition of Fowler’s (you do have a copy, don’t you?), the discussion of if is informed, though incomplete.) Moreover, “whether” fills an entirely distinct need, as is made clear by the German language, which distinguishes sharply between wenn,wann, and ob. English lacks that precision; hence the confusion.

Well, sloppy usage is common in English; that language’s imprecision is less a hallmark of dialectical oddities and everyday simplification than it is of very ordinary error. Mistakes are a result of inadequate education and a lazy disdain for guidelines. Everyone errs (including this observer), but that does not excuse the practice or justify its instances as “common usage, and therefore acceptable”. When language is expressed as the printed word, lexical literality is appropriate only in, for example, sworn testimony that must report the actual content of communications.

Yes, that means dove specifies a type of bird (and has nothing at all to do with the regular verb to dive), and critique refers to an opinion; neither is a form of a verb. Contact should also be mentioned, but for now, let it go; the point here was originally to propose the correct use of if, not to list common errors in English. (You might want such a list; here is one that was suggested by this newsletter some time ago.)

Hillary

The “town hall” of the USA’s Democrat Party is viewed by the folks who run ReasonTV. Are those viewers cynics? Yes. Are their reactions to the festivities wrong? No.

The best moment of the evening came when Hillary said, “Nothing that I did was wrong.” Not everyone agrees with her, but she has powerful allies; here is evidence suggesting that Foggy Bottom’s foot-dragging benefits the (presumed) next president: “Pundits might wonder why the administration seems willing to risk being perceived as, or accused of, giving a big middle finger to the early-voting folks in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, as well as American Samoa and the 11 other Super Tuesday states by requesting so much additional time.”

Then there is a recent report of the slow, defiant way the Department of State is releasing the e-mails that Hillary claims were correctly shepherded. That is followed by some observations on who is looking into the mess…don’t skip them…and then there are notes on fivefascinating files found on Madame Secretary’s private server.

Well, what’s next? Indictment.

Hillary was so grossly incompetent that she grievously jeopardized highly classified state secrets. At some point, it must be admitted by one and all that an alarmingly dangerous situation existed — and that Hillary must answer for its existence.

Just how bad was it? It has two dimensions: first, the harm to which Hillary’s stupidity and carelessness exposed the USA, and second, the haughty disdain with which she autocratically dismisses her guilt. The first dimension relates to possible computer cracking by Russia, China, Iran, and other unfriendly regimes, as well as by various non-governmental Islamist enemies of the West. The second dimension has to do with the privileged attitude of US officials who insist that their serious shortcomings must not be charged against them. Which is more harmful to the nation? Why should either be ignored?

Hillary’s stubborn sense of entitlement indicates her attempt to assume a station well above mere human status. She cannot make any significant error; she is perfect. Consider, therefore, the fell implications of her followers’ delusions, as well as the durability of Hillary’s monumental hubris….

In sum: Hillary disqualified herself as a decent presidential possibility long ago. If the electorate acts rationally — remember, feminism is playing a huge role here — she might be set aside. That could only advance the candidacy of the unreconstructed socialist Sanders. Either way, the nation loses.

Links Courtesy Of The Tramp Abroad

How to tell whether someone is a Trump supporter.

When the political correctness of the administration kills those who are representing the Administration. This is a MUST READ article for the readers of this newsletter.

Why was Mahatma Gandhi really killed? Here’s the story behind the assassination.

The attack in Benghazi was unique…… or maybe not. See this, and then this.

What use is a fatwa if no one obeys it? Check…mate!

(In German) Come to Germany…throw away your passport and feel free to commit petty theft and property damage without suffering anyconsequences.

In GPS navigation technology, a 13 microsecond error can result in a ~4 km (~2.5 mi) error, assuming 1 nanosecond is equal to 1 ft (30 cm). This could be a problem, not only when relying on GPS for automobile navigation, but especially when modern ordnance depends on it….

Here is a lively discussion on whether the US should cut back on oil imports.

Ordinary Links

A reader suggests you have a look at this commentary. It deals with the military dictatorship that is today’s Thailand. This newsletter is no longer e-mailed to anyone in that nation.

They are called crater chains, and the standard explanation for them is incredible. The best information on how they were formed is obtained from laboratory experimentation.

Mark Levin’s idea is beginning to bear fruit. Good. Have a look!

“Wingnuts” examine Trump’s feud with Fox. (Trump is not a “wingnut”.)

This is right on the money. Yes, there is a case to be made for stubborn, unchanging opinion. In fact this newsletter still likes Bobby Jindal.

Of course Hillary supporters will ignore historical documents like those described here, and here.

ISIS is winning because it plans and fights well in support of its sacred cause. Do you believe those people are just a goofy schismatic sect that does not intend to lead Sunni Islam in a decades-long conquest of the world? Consider the not-too-distant future: suppose ISIS conquers most of Iraq and begins exterminating Shia Muslims there…yes, those fanatics are fully capable of doing exactly that…and then, when Iran has its atom bomb…. In fact Obama’s blind foreign policy has resulted in terrifyingly plausible visions of wars both “holy” and nuclear. Remember: Iran does not subscribe to the concept of MAD.

Conspiracist paranoia in the USA is alive and well. Is it justified? Over to you….

“According to Sunni dogma, Abdullah Ibn Saba is held responsible ‘identified as a Jew (and black)’ for promoting the Shiite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s ‘political innocence,’ culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shiite sectarian strife.” (Source.) What? Yes, this is complex and puzzling. Indeed much of the history of Islam is very alien to Westerners, who can hardly be expected to keep up with the twists and turns. Yet one does have to have some understanding of one’s blood enemy….

Here’s one way of illustrating the beginning of the end of Western Civilization’s current role in Europe. Thanks go to reader JW for passing the photo on.

It does not get any simpler or more obvious than this: the constitution was mocked, and there should be severe consequences for thuggish Assistant Professor Click. She and those who agree with her are staunch enemies of academic freedom and of the US constitution.

Read this brief report, and then consider its full implications. Note that the possible “incapacitation” of the US federal security apparatus would not result in a total shutdown. An overloaded bureaucracy does not simply stop working; instead its productivity declines. Syrian refugees would have to wait, in other words. Consider which option is preferable: slowing the process down, or putting the public at greater risk. The Democrats rate the efficiency of the bureaucrats above the security of the populace. That is a hallmark of an unethical value system.

Astronomy: “missing electrons” are under study. Yes, they are important. Next, consider the fact that not all craters on astronomical bodies are circular. How could hexagonal and polygonal structures have been formed by impacts?

Don’t miss Noah Rothman’s disturbingly important observations in the 25 January issue of Commentary. The article is on line, too.

Honest weather/climate data are available here. It’s not a cult site.

If you are curious about Anonymous, see this overview of its principles and concerns, and then learn how Anonymous operates.

This is a very clever bureaucratic tactic: when the US government (actually, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, “NICS”) determines that a citizen can be denied government permission to purchase a firearm, the applicant can (well, has a right to) appeal that decision. So the feds reassigned all the employees who used to process appeals without replacing them; accordingly the appeals process cannot continue. Game, set, and match.

For US residents: go to www.youtube.com and in the Search area, enter “flexyourrights.org”. A list of videos with excellent legal advice on how to deal with peace officers will appear. You need this information.

A man was walking down a street in the USA, legally carrying a firearm. The cops stopped him, disarmed him (the weapon was empty), and demanded that he identify himself (the absurd explanation for that: “…to make sure you’re all set….”). The citizen spouted a torrent of references to court decisions. That convinced the cops to give the man his firearm back and allow him — still unidentified — to continue on his way. Watch the encounter and listen to the conversation here. Fortunately, clear explanations of the cases this citizen sited arehere. The point: the federal constitution and the courts agree you have legal protection from police misbehavior, so do not be afraid politely to decline the demands of intimidating or lying officers. In many instances the police will recognize the case names, which should inform them that when they tell (or ask) you to give up your rights, you will refuse — and call them on it.

If you are intensely interested in US foreign policy in the Middle East, go to YouTube and, in the Search feature, enter “Center For Strategic And International Studies”. You will be presented with a number of informative videos. Yes, a lot of civil servants are thinking seriously about the mess, and they want you to understand the problems it poses.

The US federal supreme court does not always decide correctly, and when it errs, it often harms the nation grievously. Examples include Scott; The Slaughterhouse Cases; “The Switch In Time That Saved Nine“; Filburn; Korematsu; and Kelo. Then there is Roe vs. Wade, which is discussed in this commentary. That’s too many big ugly mistakes. (For more on jurisprudential error, see Number 181 of this newsletter.)

Monsanto is the firm everyone loves to hate. For example….

This ecological disaster is absurd. Why don’t the Powers That Be simply set fire to the escaping gas? (Just kidding….)

For folks who still need something to worry about: this documentary on the Yellowstone caldera is cringe-inducing.