Friday, August 31, 2018

Mission Impossible – Fallout’s Analogy to REBEL

From: cinemark.com
   Field service, which I did every Wednesday was cancelled.  I went to see Mission Impossible – Fallout for want of a better thing to do.  I had seen the trailers on television which showed car chases.  I now call it the “mother of all chases”.  This might sound like a spoiler, however, it has been showing for weeks.  In fact, at midday, midweek, the theater was almost empty.

   I did not expect the movie opening to remind me of Reb, the real life person on whom the main character of the book REBEL was based.  The movie opened with Tom Cruise waking up to someone ringing his doorbell.  The first thing he did was grab his gun off the pillow next to him.  Reb used to keep his caliber 45 under his pillow or mattress or under his folded jacket where he laid his head when he didn’t have any bedding at all.  In those days, student activists actually experienced sleeping on old newspapers laid on concrete floor of the “safe house” called “HQ”, short for headquarters.  They thought it was fun, like indoor camping.

   Tom Cruise arose to answer his doorbell.  A man was delivering a packet in an envelope.  An exchange of weird dialogues between Tom Cruise and the delivery man ensued.  The audience was supposed to assume the conversation was a sort  of password to identify each other.
  
   Reb, also created a password to be used between him and his comrade/wife.  He instructed her to never repeat the password to anyone else.  Their password was to be kept a secret from all to be effectual.
  
   The declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines dispersed the student activists from Manila.  Many were arrested, or were killed or were never heard from again.  Many went back to college to “peacefully” finish their course.  Reb was one of those who went to the “hills” to continue the struggle in the provinces following Communist China’s strategy.

   “Marx and Lenin never mentioned the encirclement of the cities from the countryside - a strategic principle that had not been formulated anywhere in the world … Comrade Mao Zedong pointed it out as the specific road for the revolution in China's concrete condition”.(spartacus-educational.com)

   The Philippines “concrete conditions” drifted Reb and his wife apart.  Fast forward to 2010, his wife received an email purportedly from Reb.  The email was asking for balikbayan packages” from the US to the Philippines.  She replied to the email asking for the password.  The email sender replied with one word missing.  She declined to further that communication.  She found out five years later Reb had died before the emails happened.  The email was a scam.  Reb's password, even in death, served them well.  Now that Reb is gone, the secrecy of the password has lost its meaning.  Here’s Reb’s password:

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Grand Jury Report in Pennsylvania

  Boston Globe’s Spotlight on Crimes Against Children was posted on this blog on August 7, 2016.  Two years later, almost to the date, the Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania was released.  Here's the original Boston Globe’s Spotlight on Crimes Against Children  with a postscript of new developments:

   In 1981, Donald Roemer pleaded guilty to child molestation in Los Angeles.  In 1985, Gilbert Gauthe, was convicted of similar offences against 11 boys.  Those two were priests, but the abuse was seen as isolated incidents. There was no consistent pattern of a cover up.  The priests were simply moved to a different location without informing the authorities. (www.theguardian.com)

   In 1994, Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was enacted as a part of the Omnibus Crime Bill as guidelines for states to track sex offenders.  Did priests got on this sex offenders registry? (ojp.gov/smart/legislation.htm)

The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie
   In January 2002, Boston Globe came out with the first of the 800 articles on the scandal involving 150 priests, in Boston alone, accused of sexual abuse on more than 500 victims that filed abuse claims.  The church-goers’ donations slumped by 50%.  That means the other 50% either agreed or didn’t care about the sexual abuse of children. 
(www.theguardian.com)

   As a result of the Boston Globe articles, on Monday, 8 July, 2002, six months later, the Catholic Church apologized for sex abuse committed in the Philippines.  

   “According to the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, about 200 of the country's 7,000 priests may have committed “sexual misconduct” - including child abuse, homosexuality and affairs - over the past two decades.” (BBC News)  That means going all the way back to 1982.  How many were the victims of the 200 priests?  Surely there wasn’t just one each, assuming the twenty years is accurate.

   The Vatican heard of the sex abuse allegations concerning about 3,000 priests dating back up to 50 years, according to Monsignor Charles J Scicluna, the Vatican's Promoter of Justice that investigates the complaints. 

   “The founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry, according to his letters, which were obtained by plaintiffs' lawyers… In a 1957 letter to Bishop Matthew Brady of Manchester, N.H., Fitzgerald wrote that abusive priests only pretended to repent and change “to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity”… The New Mexico treatment center closed in the 1990s in the face of lawsuits over priests who molested children while staying or after being treated there.  That means the priests still got access to children during and after the so called treatment.

   After the Boston Globe's investigative journalism that earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the can still has not given out all its worms.

Postscript, August 18, 2018

   I typically don't date my postscripts but this one tells me more are coming.  I am reposting this article in the light of the recent Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania.  Below is the MSNBC news.

   "Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.  “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.  Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’" (Matthew 7:20-22)

See also: 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Blogging for Dialysis Patients

   I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) by my primary doctor.  I was referred to a nephrologist, a word I heard for the first time.  No one in my family ever had the same ailment so I knew nothing about it.  I was given a kidney disease orientation immediately.  They put me in a room by myself to watch a PowerPoint presentation that gave me a list of what I can no longer eat or drink and why.  It showed images of the fistula, graft and catheter for dialysis access.  It showed me my options between hemodialysis in a center, home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.  I picked the hemodialysis in a center because I preferred to have professionals overseeing my treatment and didn’t want to miss out on the frequent tests conducted in the center.
  
   The surgeon first installed a fistula on my left arm.  The long scar tells an ordeal I am quite proud of having gone through.  The fistula didn’t develop as it should.  My arm was tight from decades of dumbbell lifting which I did religiously to stay in shape.  The surgeon next installed a graft.  I started dialysis in a couple of days.

   I assumed that every kidney patient went through the same orientation, were given the same options and experienced the same pains.  That was 2009, now, there is social media.  I realized not every patient got the orientation.  I joined Facebook groups of dialysis patients.  It allows patients from different countries, different hemodialysis centers and different methods of treatment to ask each other about their dialysis experience.  The Facebook groups allow us to encourage our fellow patients in some distant continent.
  
   We don’t always get to comment about all our opinions and personal dialysis practices.  This led me to blogging.  Blogging is easy.  Here are the steps I took.

1. I gave my blog a title and got a domain name from GoDaddy Inc.
2. I started a free blog from www.blogger.com, picked a theme or design, tweaked it a little to conform to my liking. 

   My articles on dialysis has 23,888 Pageviews.  If the blog helped one patient, the work is well worth it.

ARTICLE (Click to view)
PAGEVIEWS
1,479
1,641
1,614
3,663
784
480
1,798
2,448
1,551
3,463
1,060
502
212
1,655
1,538
TOTAL
23,888

   Patients need a hobby to stay positive.  Blogging costs $10 a year for the domain name, maybe even less from another provider.  Website building is free and easy.  There are customizable templates.  Free hosting is included. 

   Writing is not for everyone but you'll never know until you tried.  For the old, poor and sick like me, it's a legacy at the cost of ten dollars.