Displaying posts published in

January 2018


Breakthrough in pancreatic cancer research. Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that 7% of pancreatic cancer sufferers survive more than five years due to high levels of the gene miR-34a and low levels of the gene PLK1. They then devised a nanoparticle to deliver miR-34a and a PLK1 silencer direct to the tumor.

Vitamins and folic acid reduce autism risk. A study of 26,702 Israeli expectant mothers and 45,300 children by a team led by Haifa University researchers, has revealed that mothers who take folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy are 73% less likely to have an autistic child.

Surgeons separate baby’s fused jaws. Doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center successfully operated on a two-month-old baby born with a very rare defect in which his jaws were fused shut. Worldwide, there have been only about 50 cases. The team comprised orthodontists, anesthetists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

More smart socks. I reported previously (Feb 2016) on the Israeli SenseGo socks that spot incorrect posture or ill-fitting shoes. Now an Israeli startup has developed Elastimed – smart socks that improve circulation in the legs for treating venous and lymphatic diseases. Electric pulses compress and massage calf muscles to increase blood flow. http://nocamels.com/2017/12/elastimed-smart-socks-market-2019/

Israeli biotechs merge. I reported previously (28th May) on Israeli biotech BiomX which develops treatments using human bacteria (microbiome). BiomX has now acquired Israel’s RondinX, which has built a cutting-edge technology platform set to unlock the potential of microbiome therapeutics.

200,000 Indian diabetics to get Israeli glucose meters. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s GlucoMe blood glucose monitors for diabetics. Now, Apollo Sugar – the Indian national chain of 55 diabetes clinics – is to supply kits containing a GlucoMe monitor to each of its 200,000 diabetic patients.

A cancer patient’s “virtual” legs. When a cancer patient is unable to walk, even simple tasks such as making coffee, selecting a magazine or doing the laundry becomes impossible. Volunteers from Israeli charity Ezer Mizion become a patient’s “virtual” legs. They also cheer up the patient, which helps them battle the disease.

Only Rambam can save her leg. (TY Stuart) Six-year-old Kyra Warrell from Brighton in the UK has proximal focal femoral deficiency in her leg, which UK doctors want to amputate. But her parents are raising £58,000 to go to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center where visiting US surgeon Dr Dror Paley says he can cure her condition.

Welcome to the New Year, Same as the Old by Mark Steyn

Happy New Year to you. On the Eighth Day of Christmas the multiculti fetishists gave to us:

An eight o’clock curfew:

VAST areas of East, North and South London have been declared “no-go zones” by terrified delivery drivers because of the acid attack epidemic, The Sun can reveal.

Moped riders say they won’t go to the violent hotspots after 8pm because they fear being attacked with acid or knives.

They have been forced to cut down their hours – taking a massive pay cut – thanks to the dangers.

The House of Commons heard last week that London has more acid attacks per head of population than any other world city.

Seven sexual assailants:

At least seven people were arrested for sexual assault in the German capital, police said, as cited by Die Welt newspaper…

In most cases, women were “groped between their legs or their buttocks,” Thomas Neuendorf from the Berlin police press office told Ruptly. “The suspects were predominantly young men from Syria or Afghanistan,” he said.

Six stabbers arrested:

Six people have been arrested following four fatal unrelated stabbings that took place on New Year’s Eve and in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Five homes raided:

Police have raided five homes as part of an anti-terror operation to foil a suspected Christmas terror plot.

Loud bangs were heard as an army bomb squad was deployed following a raid in Chesterfield and there were also operations by counter-terror officers in three parts of Sheffield.

Four women gang-raped:

Another woman has been attacked and gang raped by several men in the Swedish city of Malmö… Police have searched an area in Högaholm with a special dog for semen. The victim was taken to hospital but had no severe injuries.

Darkest Hour by Mark Steyn

Even in the darkest hour, an impeccably dressed set: Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) prepares to kiss the hand of George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) upon his appointment as Prime Minister.

Churchill is an abidingly popular role with big-time actors once the receding hairline and expanding girth of middle-age set in. Sometimes the player is too evidently suited to the part – one thinks of Robert Hardy on telly in the Eighties – and the jowly gravitas gets clanked around as if Winnie wandered Chartwell and Westminster in never-was-so-much-owed mode 24/7. On the literal face of it, the man who brought both Sid Vicious and Commissioner Gordon to the silver screen is one of the least obvious cinematic Winstons ever, and he wears his lavish prosthetics with a very light touch. Gary Oldman’s is stylistically both a nimbler and more shambolic Churchill – boozy and blustery and blubbery, immensely secure and oddly disconnected. It is a dazzling performance of the indispensable man of the century, intelligent and insightful, yet one that caused me, by the end, a grave unease.

Churchill tends to the Churchillian, which is to say the epic. Darkest Hour, by contrast, is very finely focused. Joe Wright, director, and Edward McCarten, writer, confine their two dark hours of screen time to a couple of critical weeks in May 1940, when Hitler’s invasion of Norway precipitated Neville Chamberlain’s retreat from Downing Street. Aside from some rather elaborately choreographed overhead shots and a lush grandiose score, Darkest Hour is filmed claustrophobically – in poky sitting rooms, Downing Street basements, attics, Westminster ante-rooms, and chilly lavatories; the lighting is crepuscular. The fate of the world is being determined, but we never glimpse the far horizons, only the dingy backrooms.

What happened that month was a showdown between the two principal contenders for the Prime Ministership, Mr Churchill and Lord Halifax. Stephen Dillane is excellent as Halifax, the vulpine cadaver looking down (in every sense) from the Commons gallery at Churchill’s turns at the dispatch box. Unfortunately, aside from skillful deployments of his inscrutable yet condescending eyebrows, he gets somewhat short shrift on screen, so as a Churchill vs Halifax cage match it never quite comes off – presumably because the third Viscount Halifax is entirely unknown in Hollywood, and thus a tricky pitch. (“Third Viscount Halifax? Hey, let’s see what the first two gross before we commit to that…”)

This is a pity, because the two men were on opposite ends of the seesaw, and, capacious as Churchill’s bottom is, most of the other players – the King, Chamberlain, the parliamentary party, defeatist generals, Dominion prime ministers around the globe – were inclined to park their own butts down Halifax’s end. On May 10th, the day Winston became PM, the Germans invaded Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Ten days later, Hitler’s army reached the Channel, and was within reach of throttling the 300,000-strong British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, and seizing the entire French fleet. In that dreadful month of May, Churchill wanted to fight on; Halifax preferred to use Mussolini’s “good offices” to sue for a “peace” that would leave Britain and its empire more or less “intact” – save for East Africa, Suez, Malta, Gibraltar and sundry other places that would have to be addressed, per the Italian ambassador in London, “as part of a general European settlement”.

Political Islam and Sharia Should Be Outlawed in Europe by Mirek Topolánek

Mirek Topolánek is the former prime minister of the Czech Republic and a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, to be held January 12-13, 2018. His speech was translated by Josef Zbořil, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

“Let us look… at the parallel legal system that is gradually creeping into the EU….The emergence of these enclaves, reinforced by elite policies of multiculturalism, group identity politics, and the deconstruction of Western heritage, has contributed to the fracturing of Western European nations and has weakened the overall sense of mutual responsibility for one’s fellow citizens.” — Andrew Michta, The American Interest, June 6, 2017

The roots of the radical Muslim behavior that is now sweeping Europe can be traced to elements of Islamic law and doctrine created in the 7th century that are being maintained today. These include polygamy for men; allowing men to buy and sell women as sex slaves or concubines; divorce rights [for men that] discriminate against women; insistence on a dress code for women that includes hiding their faces; and discriminatory inheritance laws.

These are the types of laws that Muslim communities in Europe are pushing for and adhering to, and they are based on inequality of gender, religion, ethnicity and social status. In sharia law, there is no freedom of religion, speech, thought, artistic expression or the press…There is no united protection for all people. Justice is different for Muslims and non-Muslims, for men and women… There is no democracy… Jews and Christians are dhimmi, third-class citizens…

The following are excerpts of a speech delivered by Mirek Topolánek, former prime minister of the Czech Republic and former president of the European Council, at the Legal Salon in Prague on November 2, 2017.

Equality, in the legal sense, is based on the principle of freedom and the right of every person to dignity and equal treatment before the law [such that] the law… does not [make a distinction]… between people [based on] their economic or social status, age, ethnicity, [etc.]

The principle of equality is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, a declaration that is part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic…

The philosophical roots of the idea of human rights based on equality can be found not only, but especially, in European culture — from the Code of Hammurabi, through the Cyrus Cylinder, the Magna Carta Libertatum, the US Declaration of Independence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The current concept and understanding of human rights as inalienable, definite and universal is a matter of the past four centuries, [culminating in] the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which includes equality as one of the basic human rights sets…

Sharia for New Year’s by Bruce Bawer

These extraordinary legal actions are almost exclusively reserved for the punishment of those who have criticized Islam.

On the contrary, it seems clear that the real reason for these prosecutions is that people in positions of authority fear violence by Muslims if their critics go unsilenced.

The same reporters and commentators who insist that it is absurd to worry about sharia coming to the West are, in fact, ideologically arm-in-arm with those in authority who are aggressively introducing sharia-style laws in the West, prosecuting speech that violates those laws, and issuing dark warnings — in tones unbefitting public officials in a free country — that you had better learn to be sharia-compliant or you will be sorry. The real lesson of all this is that we had better learn to be aggressive in our resistance to this proliferation of sharia-influenced prohibitions or we will, indeed, end up being very, very sorry.

Last September, a man named Mark Feigin posted five comments on the Facebook page of an Islamic center. They were not Islam-friendly. “THE MORE MUSLIMS WE ALLOW INTO AMERICA,” he wrote, “THE MORE TERROR WE WILL SEE.” He called Islam “dangerous” and said it has “no place in western civilization.” A couple of his comments included vulgar or profane language. On December 20, the State of California sued Feigin, charging him with violation of a penal code that reads, in part:

“Every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device… to another person is… guilty of a misdemeanor.”

According to the state Attorney General’s office, Feigin was guilty of a crime because he had engaged in “repeated harassment” of people whose religion he sought to “mock and disparage.”

Eugene Volokh, the UCLA law professor whose “Volokh Conspiracy” blog is a popular site of legal debate and discussion, wrote about Feigin’s case on December 29, noting that by the Attorney General’s logic, the state would be able to sue citizens who had written equally critical comments on, for example, an NRA or pro-Trump website. “This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment,” Volokh said.

No, it certainly is not. But it is thoroughly consistent with Islamic law, sharia. The simple fact is that nowadays it would be exceedingly unlikely to see an individual in the Western world being prosecuted by a government for mocking and disparaging a gun-rights organization or a Christian politician. No, these extraordinary legal actions are almost exclusively reserved for the punishment of those who have criticized Islam.

Consider the case of Danish author Lars Hedegaard, convicted of hate speech in 2011 for mentioning in a private conversation in his own home that many Muslim women and girls are raped by members of their own families. (His conviction was later reversed by the Danish Supreme Court.) Or Dutch politician Geert Wilders, tried three times in the Netherlands — the third time successfully — for “hate speech” directed at Muslims. Or the late Italian author Oriana Fallaci, tried in both France and Italy for, respectively, “inciting religious hatred” and “defaming Islam.” Or Finnish politician Terhi Kiemunki, found guilty of “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith” because she had “claimed that all of the terrorists in Europe are Muslims.”

Restoring the Rule of Law to the Protection of Classified Information In the Clinton-email case, her intent, regardless of her motive, was clearly criminal. By Andrew C. McCarthy

The Justice Department is reviving investigations involving Hillary Clinton’s emails and the degree to which the State Department during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary was put in the service of the Clinton Foundation. Good. Indeed, it is long overdue. It underscores a point we’ve tried to make repeatedly here: You don’t need a special counsel for this kind of thing; such investigations are what we have a Justice Department full of career prosecutors for. The perverse institution of the independent prosecutor should be shunned whenever possible — and its jurisdiction tightly confined in the rare necessary case.

All that said, investigations involving the mishandling of classified information by officials with privileged access to it will go nowhere unless the Justice Department restores the rule of law: investigators and prosecutors applying congressional statutes, not rewriting them as dictated by their political masters.

As we have recounted (see, e.g., here), in April 2016, when the Clinton-emails investigation was in full swing but before it was anywhere close to completion, President Obama gave a nationally televised interview in which he made clear that he did not want criminal charges brought against his former secretary of state — and the already certain Democratic candidate to succeed him. Obama made two duplicitous points: Mrs. Clinton 1) had exhibited “carelessness,” but nothing worse, by using a private, non-secure email system to conduct State Department business, and 2) had not intended to endanger American national security when she stored and transmitted classified information on this system.

The FBI has taken the heat because it ultimately applied these disingenuous guidelines publicly and without apology. But it was the political leadership of the executive branch that called the tune — which seems like news only because the media’s revulsion over presidential attempts to influence criminal investigations would await Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Obama’s first point led to one of the great head-fakes in modern law-enforcement history — one that reverberates to this day. Using his bully pulpit, the president framed the Clinton case as one of negligence. The portrayal stuck: Incessantly, the Justice Department, the media, and eventually James Comey, then-director of the FBI, addressed the case in terms of Mrs. Clinton’s purported carelessness — a hardworking public official’s regrettable but forgivable inattention to detail.

Peter Smith A Glass Half-Full of Delusion

As a pessimist, I’m part of that small but vitally important segment of humanity congenitally disposed to anticipate the worst. Yes, we live in an age of ‘progress’, but how much comfort can be drawn from our age of marvels when youths of African appearance are kicking in your granny’s door?

Our parents’ generation, inferior to that of our grandparents, brought forth ourselves who are more worthless still and are destined to have children yet more corrupt
— Horace, 65 – 8 BC

Clearly Horace was pessimistic about progress. So was Malcolm Muggeridge, who Paul Phillips in Contesting the Moral High Ground quotes from an address to a Catholic assembly. Muggeridge, he wrote, went on, rightly or wrongly, to assume that “no notion of such a ridiculous thing as progress has ever been put in your heads. If it has, dismiss it at once. There are various things that human beings can do; but there is one thing they can’t do, and that is progress.”

Let me put Tom Switzer in this exalted company. Writing in the SMH (“Gloom, doom and optimism,” 26 December) he expressed an exuberance of positivity. Prominent in his mixed bag of auspicious happenings were declining world poverty, the collapse of the Soviet Union, medical advances, and increased life expectancy. Surprisingly, for a conservative, he trotted out the canard that even when ISIS was in its pomp “you were more likely to drown in the bath than die in terrorist violence.” At least he avoided scary falling fridges. But that is by the way.

Let us go back to 1928, with economic collapse imminent and Hitler, Tojo and human misery on a vast scale only a decade or so away. Economies were booming, Alexander Fleming had just discovered antibiotics, the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, you were more likely to drown in your bath than be killed by an anarchist bomb. My point: potted accounts of progress are seriously deficient in informing us about the state of play and, more particularly, about the near and not-so-near future.

You can look at today and find promise. Equally (more than equally), you can find omens of gloom and doom without looking too hard. Think of the threats.

North Korea, and probably soon enough Iran, with nuclear arsenals. The inundation of Europe with Muslim refugees and the rise of Islam more generally in and outside the West. Chinese expansionism. Russian imperialism. According to the UN (July 2015) the world’s population will have grown by 2.4 billion as of 2050, of which half will come out of Africa. And ‘come out’ a lot of them will, seeking refuge in the West. Anyone who finds any of this promising is definitionally a cock-eyed optimist.

And if this isn’t enough, we have Christianity, the foundation of our civilisation, falling away. We have self-loathing leftists running schools, universities and most of the media. Our politicians, apart from Trump and a few others, have a fetish for putting their citizens second to whatever is the international cause du jour (e.g., global warming or accommodating the never-ending hordes of refugees). Children are being presented with untoward sexual material as part of their “education”. The list goes on. Optimism doesn’t cut it for me; though I see it around me unaccountably. Why? Well, perhaps, because it is part of human nature.

There is evidently a predisposition to optimism among the human race. This might be an evolutionary personality trait which allows us to deal better with life’s difficulties. Psychologists Charles Carver and Michael Scheier, who have written widely on the subject, suggest in the Handbook of Positive Psychology (Oxford, 2002) that “optimists are less distressed when times are tough, cope in ways that foster better outcomes, and are better at taking steps to ensure that their futures continue to be bright.” However, beware: “Too much optimism might lead people to ignore a threat until it is too late … optimists may fail to protect themselves against threats…” This is backed by author Kai Erikson in Everything in its Path, which tells the human story of a West Virginia town devastated by a flash flood and its aftermath:

“One of the bargains men make with one another in order to maintain their sanity is to share an illusion that they are safe, even when the physical evidence in the world around them does not seem to warrant that conclusion.”

Another act of repression in Cuba, and still nothing from Obama By Silvio Canto, Jr.

We were told three years ago that showering Cuba with U.S. tourists and business investments would eventually work in the interest of Cubans.

Well, it’s not working yet! It’s the same old Cuba, according to The Washington Post:

IN HAVANA on Dec. 20, a group of artists and activists were preparing to perform a piece titled “Psychosis.”

The plot revolves around a person enclosed in a very small space, showing signs of madness, who wants to leave.

The play was inspired by events in 2010 at a psychiatric hospital in Havana, where 26 patients died of hunger and cold.

The story is obviously a metaphor about the regime of Fidel and Raúl Castro, who have ruled the island for nearly six decades, intolerant of dissent and free speech.

In the performance, there were to be allusions to Raúl Castro and terms such as “dictatorship.”

Predictably, before the performance, the authorities swooped in and made arrests.

The director was detained temporarily, as well as the chief actor.

Also arrested was activist Lia Villares. When released Dec. 22, she said she had scratched a message on the prison cell walls: “Art Yes, Censorship No. I am free.” She was fined for defacing the walls.

The authorities warned her sharply against any activity on behalf of Cuba Decide.

The Left Wants to Talk about Mental Health. Let’s Start with Theirs Are we really supposed to take these people seriously? Megan Fox

The new mantra against Donald Trump is that “he’s mentally unstable!” “Unfit!” “Like a child” and “losing his mind.” That’s rich coming from the community that brought us giant vagina costumes as a form of protest.These are the people who are so sane they want us to believe they can declare other people insane without medical degrees or any kind of expertise. Not only do they think dressing up as genitalia is a delightful and totally normal thing to do on a Saturday, they also think beating up statues is a worthwhile endeavor.

But if you were concerned about their mental capacity after that, wait until you see this! There’s an entire movement dedicated to shunning feminine hygiene and bio-hazard protocols. This is the “party of science,” remember.
Ian Miles Cheong ✔ @stillgray
Once a 4chan prank, Freebleeding is now a real part of the feminist movement.
Are we really supposed to take these people’s concerns about sanity seriously? When they aren’t bleeding on commuter trains, they’re committing crimes against themselves and blaming you for a hate crime to score political points. That’s not psychotic at all. These are the people passing judgment on the president. CONTINUE AT SITE

Haberman: Wolff Creates A Narrative That Is Notionally True, “The Details Are Often Wrong” Posted By Ian Schwartz (???????)

Maggie Haberman, New York Times columnist and White House reporter, appeared on CNN’s New Day Friday to talk about author Michael Wolff, his non-journalistic methods, and how he misreported events and quotes in his new book Fire and Fury.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN: All right, so President Trump is slamming this new behind- the-scenes book as phony and full of lies. And the accuracy of some of the author, Michael Wolff’s, reporting is in question. So let’s talk about that.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for “The New York Times,” Maggie Haberman. Maggie has interviewed the president numerous times and her reporting is mentioned in the book.

Maggie, we also want to mention, you contributed to a new report about the Trump administration and the Russia inquiry, but we will get to all of that obstruction of justice talk at the top of the hour if you’ll stick around. If we don’t scare you away.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I’ll wait. I’ll just do this one.

CUOMO: One drama at a time, if you please.

CAMEROTA: One drama, yes.


CAMEROTA: Don’t rush us.

HABERMAN: OK. It’s very early. We’ve got time.

CAMEROTA: Listen, you are a reporter with great sources in the White House and great access. So when you read Michael Wolff’s book, do you believe it?

HABERMAN: I believe parts of it. And then there are other parts that are factually wrong. I mean the thing about Michael Wolff and his style, which apparently nobody in the White House appears to have done a cursory Google search on him and sort of what his M.O. is, but he believes in larger truths and narratives. So he creates a narrative that is notionally true, that’s conceptually true. The details are often wrong. And I can — I can see several places in the book that are wrong.