The Whistleblower Revealed?

Hmmmmmm

I’m thinking about making Wednesday a day for humor (Hump Day Humor?). Given all that is going on, think we could all use a good laugh midweek.

That said, I’m combining both humor and some interesting food for thought with today’s post. Juliet Akinyi Ochieng, better known to us old farts as Baldilocks, posts an amusing yet interesting idea over at DaTechGuy blog.

Enjoy your Wednesday, find something to smile at if not laugh with (if you want to laugh at, Congress usually provides plenty of targets), and be safe.

Syria and the NBA

I have very mixed feelings on the decision to pull out of Syria. On the one hand, we had accomplished our stated goals and we are not the world police.

Syria was an extension of Iraq, and I remain convinced that the way we left there is why we had to go back, and that the initial withdrawal has set us back decades, if not longer, in the region. However, both Iraq and Afghanistan are endless wars because we did not go in with realistic or well-defined end-states.

Unlike WWII, with the Marshall plan, we did not have a plan in place to get our enemies back on their feet and to spread ‘Democracy! Whisky! Sexy!’ as the phrase went in the early days. Realistically, getting that region to truly embrace such is a multi-generational project and the American public did not and will not embrace such (at least at this time).

The real social structure there is clan/tribal, with an overlay of religion. There was not and is not rule-of-law in the Western tradition. There were and are efforts underway to change that, from inside those countries, but they face an uphill effort that would daunt Sisyphus.

On the radio yesterday, I heard someone talking about the talking heads, and noting that most of those bleating the loudest had the least first-hand knowledge of the situation. That they had gone to school to become talking heads, and had little-to-no experience in the real world — particularly the Middle East and with actual Kurds.

My own interactions with them are limited, but after leaving Iraq I was (and am) quite sympathetic to their desire for their own state. I felt (somewhat) safer around the Kurds I met but harbor no illusion that they are the noble good-guys. Want to know why? Search for videos of women being stoned and you will get an idea. That they are better than those around them in a number of respects (IMO) does not make them saints or good in the Western sense.

If you want a fairly decent strategic overview of what is happening and how it also ties into some high levels of geopolitics, read this and follow the links. There is a lot of good information there, and an even larger amount of food-for-thought. There is some additional economic information about Turkey that is worth finding. Meantime, I will join the person on the radio in saying you should ignore the shrieking harpies that are the majority of the talking heads.

My concern largely centers on how we went about it. Blindsiding people with something like this is almost never a good idea. Especially your allies and most especially your military leadership. The damage done to relationships is on par with what happened with our noble (sarc) withdrawal from Iraq. We have demonstrated, in the terms of the region, that we are not to be trusted as allies. Such things have a tendency to bite you in the ass down the road, and to keep biting for a long, long time.

As for the NBA, they are just the latest and most public group to fellate the Chinese leadership. Hollywood has been doing it for years, as has Silicon Valley. Collectively they cheerfully bend over and don’t even ask for lube — just keep that money coming. Freedom, liberty, justice? No thanks, we don’t care what you do so long as you leave the money on the table when you’re done. They still haven’t figured out that it never will be done, and that more and more will be required. The only bright spot is a duo who have long shown they have both a backbone and some integrity, and it made me laugh even as I admired the skewering. Even when I disagree with them, they make me laugh and think. Touche guys.

The Current Cocktail

No, not that type of cocktail, alas. What I am talking about is the cocktail of supplements I’m taking to try to reverse damage from arthritis.

The good thing is, I am my own human subjects committee. The problem with that is that it cuts out some potentially useful input — which I what I hope to get from you good readers.

So, the goal is to reverse damage not only in my shoulders, but elsewhere in my body. The absolute worst case scenario is that I do damage to my body with the supplements. The study worst case is that the supplements do nothing. Median and mode are that it slows the progress down or that it halts the current deterioration. Best case is that it actually helps restore some/most/all joints.

Based on my genetics, my conditions — which includes several issues not listed in this discussion — and an eye towards participation in regenerative medical or advanced materials studies, I’ve chosen the following cocktail:

Joint compound, consisting of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and hyaluronic acid

Ceylon cinnamon

Turmeric curcumin with ginger and bioprene black pepper

Multi collagen protein

I’m taking these along with Meloxicam and Hydroxocobalamin (prescribed by my doctor). I’m considering a couple of other additions to the cocktail, but want to see how this does over the next month. My goal is to run the experiment for six months, and decide how and if to continue based not only how I feel, but by what shows up in the blood work, X-rays, and other hard data. Meantime, I’m asking for a blood test in a few weeks to be sure I’m not spiking or crashing any major levels, and to set a baseline for future reference.

In the days ahead, I will take each component and talk a bit more about why I picked them. Most were chosen for more than one reason. Glad I’m not traveling right now, as given the amount of spice-based supplements if I were captured by cannibals they would likely consider me pre-seasoned meat…

A Sad Day

©C. Blake Powers, All Rights Reserved

As soon as I heard the news that a B-17 had crashed, I suspected I knew which one. Sadly, I was correct. Even more sad was the news that there were fatalities.

I ask you to pray for those that were lost, and for their families and all those they leave behind. I ask you to keep those injured in your prayers, thoughts, or whatever it is that you do.

No Surprise

I’m just surprised that anyone in DC is surprised. The other day, I pointed out evidence that Congresscritter Schitt had seen the so-called whistleblower complaint ahead of time. Yesterday, evidence came out that he had indeed done so, nor did he deny it. My questions as to how much one or more members of the committee were involved in drafting a very unusual (as in unusually well done) complaint using the just implemented hearsay complaint form. It is clear there was a LOT of help with it, which raises quite a few questions.

One Fun and One Interesting Link

It’s hump day, so decided a little humor is needed.

I’m not saying some hypothetical discussions took place about 35 years ago along this same track. I am simply going to say, ‘It is satire, isn’t it?” Really would be a good way to mess up potential or actual enemies, now wouldn’t it.

Back in high school physics, we had some interesting discussions and debates about FTL. If you read both the theory and the special theory, FTL can’t be done in space normal, hence hyperspace or similar terms. There is no reason such isn’t possible outside space normal. A possible way to get out of space normal may be possible, and it is now getting some attention.

Enjoy your Wednesday, be safe. More soon.

My Take On Supplements

Let me start by stating the position that while there are clearly some supplements that have a positive benefit, I am on the whole a skeptic about supplements. There are a number of reasons behind this stand.

First, one must keep in mind the history of supplements, which includes the whole “snake oil” legacy. Snake oil refers to a range of products, mostly liquid “elixirs,” that were sold touting their ability to cure anything that ailed you. If you look back at them, the bell curve is a bit skewed. Yes, there were a few of them that may well have done some good, but, there were a lot of them that could, would, and did do harm. The middle section of no harm/no fowl appears to be a bit on the small side.

The modern supplement phenomenon derives, IMO, from two different areas. The first is the “natural” movement which pushes natural remedies as an alternative to modern medicine. The second is modern medicine, which has acknowledged that any number of botanicals do indeed contain useful compounds and began to actively explore to find more. Both have their points, and it is somewhat funny to have watched these two different systems be almost forced to work together.

On the natural side, there has always been a bit of a tendency to push the “cure what ails you” side of things. This herb, or this supplement, would do the job. The problem is, not every supplement works on every individual. Your genetics and your gut biome play a part in if it works for you. What few studies have been done appear to suggest that some supplements may only work on less than a third of the population. In fact, some appear to work on less than ten percent.

Like many people, I take a multi-vitamin. In all probability, about 99 percent of it passes right through me.

Another reason for me to be a skeptic is that since the supplement industry is unregulated (for which I’m actually glad and support it staying unregulated), you do sometimes get some scams. I remember a couple of decades ago reading and hearing about a supplement that bragged of having a thousand times the daily recommended amount of calcium. True claim, it did. However, the calcium was in a form that could not be processed and used by the body. When it comes to supplements, including the new hot thing, caveat emptor.

You also have to be careful about amounts and interactions. Supplements can interact with each other, and they can and do interact with your prescription medication. There are a number of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that you can get too much of — with potentially deadly results. Natural does not automatically equate to safe.

For this reason, I’m keeping my doctor up to date on what I’m taking and the amounts of critical compounds in each. I’m also asking for some additional blood work to be done to be sure I’m not doing something like spiking my calcium or other levels, or otherwise causing a problem as I attempt to “cure” the target issue.

Since my health is ultimately up to me, I’ve not only been researching the supplements I’ve chosen but even the brands and the forms of the supplements. I’ve also been choosing on the basis of trying to be sure they will work together, not against each other.

Will any one supplement work to make a positive difference? Will the particular regime I’m planning work to make a positive difference? Am I just generating very expensive urine and pissing away money? Ask me in about three to six months. That’s how long it’s going to take to have a realistic idea based of blood work, X-rays, etc.

Meantime, I plan to share a bit more on what I’m trying and why I have chosen those particular supplements. If anyone out there has a suggestion, feel free to chime in.

Curiouser, Curiouser, And A Very Bad Idea

Back before Trump was even sworn in, Congresscritter Chuckles Schumer made a comment about the intelligence services having multiple ways to get back at Trump for saying bad things about them. Warning or threat, take your pick. Curious.

Jump forward to December of 2018 and Nancy Pelosi quietly changing the rules of the House to exclude Republicans (and others) from participating in the impeachment process. She stood tradition and accepted practices of 200 plus years on their ear. Curiouser.

In August of this year, the intelligence community suddenly revised the form used to document “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” aka the whistleblower form. Minor change? Not hardly. The form was redone to allow submission of hearsay concerns — i.e. the complainant did not have to have first hand knowledge of the alleged problem. Curiouser indeed.

Also in August of this year, it appears that Congresscritter Schitt was given the whistleblower complaint. Or, might he have had it earlier? There is strong evidence that this was not a typical complaint and that whoever filed it had a lot of help. Was that help from a member or members of the committee and/or lawyers associated with them? And yet curiouser again.

Conspiracy or not, what has happened has set a very dangerous precedent. I agree with Mr. Wright on his thoughts, and will add my own.

First, no President from any party can now trust the intelligence community on any level. There were already issues of leaks of Presidential communications, hence the move to a government secure server (as opposed to an unsecure server in a bathroom). The will have to assume from the start an adversarial relationship and consider that any one person in the community can and will act against them.

Second, they will no longer have faith in the intel or the intel analysis provided. As the intelligence community has moved into policy over the last few years, anyone with a brain will have to presume that the intel and analysis is corrupt on some level.

It’s actually not the first time for that, as Reagan came into office having doubts about the analysis (if not the intel) of the Soviet Union from various parts of the intelligence community. In my own biased opinion, he was quite right to do so. His solution was an extensive “kitchen cabinet” that provided input on everything from the Soviet Union to science. Trust but verify was not just for the Soviets.

Finally, no matter what else comes out of this, it will be seen by the public as one more institution that is corrupt. The loss of faith in institutions harms society and the Republic. Given current rhetoric and violence, the loss of faith in the rule of law may well be a crippling blow — particularly when it comes on top of the loss of faith in the FBI and the DOJ.

All we can do now is hang on. If it turns out that this was indeed orchestrated, the results will be to no one’s liking. Even if not as orchestrated as it appears at first glance, the damage to the credibility of the government and the electoral process will still be profound.

There is no way for Pelosi et al to back down now. Well, they could, but they will not. They are throwing the dice on a longshot, and no matter what, it is the Citizens of the United States and the Republic itself that will pay the price.