Monday, 28 February 2022

The Threat of Nuclear Holocaust

Wake up and Smell the Radioactivity

The problem with the above sub-title is that if H-bombs start dropping, tens of millions of people won’t BE waking up. The rest won’t smell coffee or what is killing them but they will suffer horrific burns and God knows what else inside their own bodies.

Less and less of us were alive when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated in Japan. Most of us have seen the astonishing film footage of the victims and the total destruction. It can never be allowed to happen again – or can it?

Large Atomic (fission) bombs can be the equivalent of 500 kilotons (thousand tons) of TNT. This is difficult to imagine in itself. A large Hydrogen bomb (fission AND fusion) can go as high as 50 MEGAtons of TNT (that’s million tons!). In numbers that is 500,000 compared to 50,000,000. A single ton of TNT exploding is scary enough for me. Just think 100 times worse than those World War II films.

The problems created by all of this for Putin AND the rest of the world have increased over time. The previous paragraph depicts scale of power. Back then only America had developed and dropped The Bomb. A program spurred by Stalin gave Russia theirs a few years later. Now several countries have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

This is why the prospect of mutual destruction – make that annihilation – worked for so many years to deter their use. The much of world would become uninhabitable. Pictures of bombing campaigns in Germany and England would pale by comparison.

After the world’s first glimpse of this only a madman would contemplate their use again. THAT has become the question of the hour.

Is Putin super angry or mad? Does it matter?


Saturday, 26 February 2022

United States Invades other States at Will

American Hypocrisy 

Most of the world has rightly condemned #Putin's Russia for invading Ukraine.  Innocent people are dying horrible deaths and seeing their worldly belongings destroyed. Infrastructure will be crippled for years.

Why? It would seem that Putin has several idols whom he is trying to emulate. Rumors flourish about their identity. A personal guess is Xi Jinping of China. If you ever saw the special on the Chinese leader's life history and rise to power you will know why.

As I recall in brief he was working the fields as a young man and later tried to join the party he used to dislike but was rejected. After future tries he was finally accepted. He then spent years towing the party line and rising through the ranks while managing to stay alive which is a feat unto itself. After he landed the top job he visited the USA where he was charming and well liked - even expressing admiration for America.

Over the years managed to maintain his leadership role while gradually introducing change to the party's Socialist ideals - without being overthrown. The country prospered immensely. Finally he consolidated his own hold by getting their Congress to allow his reign indefinitely. Good luck to anyone who voted against him!

China has been attacked and beaten down for centuries. It is now a great superpower and many people are happy with what their leader accomplished. They have a deep-rooted pride and feeling that their country has been underrated and unappreciated for all time. China should be at the top of all nations.

Russia has a similarly proud history. Many of its former leaders were renowned for their greatness. The Russian people are still very proud and want to be seen at least on an equal footing in the world with America. The memory of Khrushchev backing down to Kennedy is still a sore point.

This is also Putin's dream. He wants to be seen as the world's most powerful man and wants the same status for Russia. Perhaps above all he wants to destroy democracies or see them fail. If he can help to make that happen all the better. Ukraine has a huge number of natural resources that Putin wants for himself, or at least to control them.

The claim is two fold. Ukraine wants his help - to fight against internal rebels and to maintain the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk. Secondly Ukraine will eventually join NATO and be a real threat to Russia. In the West we are calling this propaganda and an excuse to invade.

What is the real difference between this and America's many invasions like Iraq; Afghanistan; Viet Nam? Take the last one - Viet Nam. Two Presidents reaped total havoc there for years. Untold thousands of innocents were massacred. Who will ever forget that poor nude girl with napalm burning on her bare skin? America wanted to stop the spread of Communism - Russia wants to stop the spread of Democracy. 

Apparently when America invades it is somehow justified. When Russia does it, not so. America once dropped the "bomb" to end a war. Let's hope it does not come to that again because this time she could be on the receiving end.


Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Is Putin Copying Hitler?

Ukraine a Prelude to World War III?

Fortunately neither I nor most of you lived through World Wars I or II - the lead up; the horror itself; and the aftermath. I hope we never see the likes of them again. My hope is becoming more faint.

History is not my strong point but I seem to recall that:

A very clever, selfish, and ruthless Hitler worked his way into a leadership position in Germany between the two Great Wars. He pandered to and fired up the spirit and fervor of the German population. Ditto Putin and the Russian people.

He reminded them of their former glory and inspired extreme nationalism predicting such glory again in the future. The people were suffering economically. They still felt resentment from their defeat in World War I. They believed in and backed this leader. Those who opposed him suffered. Ditto Putin and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He sought allies such as Italy. He sweet talked, lied to, and called the bluff of would be enemies. He then started his attacks, one at a time. Russia has a strong ally – China. Putin says anything Britain/America want to hear. He is attacking Ukraine.

Other countries huffed and puffed but did not want to pay the price of arming themselves up front so as to be able to ultimately defeat Hitler if it became necessary. Ditto America and its allies today. America even said it would not do battle with Putin over the Ukraine. Sound familiar? Germany signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Russia and then attacked Poland. Ultimately Hitler betrayed Russia and invaded her also.

It took years of talks between Britain and America and an attack by a rogue nation - Japan - before America realized she had to help defeat Hitler before she herself was attacked, after most of Europe was defeated. Japan once again was driven by national pride and felt it was her time to rise to her rightful place over other nations. Will a rogue nation - Korea? China? - attack America today for the same reasons? In the end Russia gained more territory through the spoils of World War II. Will that happen again with Putin?

Of course there are some huge differences between then and now. More countries have an immense military. Some of the biggest differences ironically resulted from World War II. Rocket power resulted in missiles, and satellites provide guidance and surveillance. Lasers are used to precisely guide bombs and those missiles. Nuclear powered vessels can stay at sea and under the sea longer.

The biggest of all has to be the former atomic and now nuclear bomb. The major players all have them. Their destructive power eclipses that of other weapons. The entire world could be destroyed or made uninhabitable for years.

In the time of Kennedy, fear of mutual destruction was a dual deterrent when only the USA and Russia were the main players. The league has expanded since. I doubt that America has the military power or the will to defeat Russia conventionally anymore. Her track record since World War II - Viet Nam in particular - has not been impressive. Is Putin still counting on America’s unwillingness to press the button?

How ironic since America is the only power to have dropped the bomb offensively, wreaking immense horror on Japan. Today’s H-bombs could destroy a country and every building and form of life in it.

We can only hope - some of you should pray - that hitting Putin and his cronies in the pocketbook will work. Doing so will hit our pocketbooks as well.

Are we willing to pay?


Friday, 18 February 2022

Violent behavior on Aircraft

The New Five Mile High Club. Lock 'em Up!

Once again another wild (probably drunk) passenger had to be bodily subdued on an airplane. These assholes threaten hundreds of lives.

Such people should be arrested upon arrival. If it is in a foreign land they should be immediately returned to their homeland and arrested again. Forget the luggage. Maybe it arrives some day, maybe not. They also pay for the return trip.

This is totally unacceptable behavior.

Punishment at home should be severe. Since they disrupted the peaceful travel of others, they should lose their right to drive for a long period. If they don't drive they pay a big financial burden.

I feel for the airline staff but not the airline. My guess is that many of these passengers have been into the booze. Airlines could reduce a lot of this by simply not selling booze on board and forbidding the consumption of any personal alcohol.

It would be a shame since most people including me enjoy relaxing with a drink on a long flight but this is too dangerous to allow it to continue. Another approach is rationing drinks to one or two per passenger. How this is enforced is their problem. Solve it.

Finally the no fly status of such a person should be automatic, international, and it should be long in duration.

Welcome to the new Five Mile "High" club!


Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Is Trump's Butt the GOP Blarney Stone?

OMG. What a Thought!

There are places in the world where you can leave your personal mark as a tourist. Several in the U.S.A. are listed here:

12 Places Where Tourists Can Leave Their Mark: | Travel Channel

Many more famous ones exist like the Blarney Stone in Ireland. There you have to lie on your back and lower your head underneath a high parapet of ancient Blarney Castle to plant a kiss on the famous part of the castle's construction. It is meant to bring good fortune. Take lots of Lysol!

In China there is a section of the Great Wall where authorities gave up outlawing the defacing of the famous wall and designated a section where it is permitted.

In Stanley Park, Vancouver, there exists the huge stump of a fallen Western Red Cedar which is big enough to walk into and said to be 1000 years old. Thousands have written and carved inside it including yours truly in 1966. Upon my return some ten years ago, I was unable to find my initials!

In Sudbury, Ma., the Longfellow Wayside Inn has existed since 1716 claiming to be the oldest operating inn in the USA. We stayed there once in an antique but comfortable room accessible only by a tiny winding staircase. Adjacent to the Inn is a tiny red schoolhouse claiming to be the one mentioned in "Mary had a Little Lamb." It was a great place to visit. Our room had a tradition of trying to find a small keepsake left by the previous guest and then leaving one yourself. I composed a poem. (The Secret Drawer Society.)

What is my point? Just like that Blarney Stone above there are two chambers in the U.S. government full of spineless Republicans who have all stooped to kiss the butt of The Donald, also hoping for good fortune. What a repugnant thought - can't be much unclaimed space left. Some even travelled to his under-appraised castle to do so.

These "leaders" are supposed to have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and protect the government and the people form insurrection. Instead they helped to cause one. None of them deserve to keep their positions. If you really want to save your democracy, vote every one of them out of office and never vote the liar of liars back in.


Friday, 11 February 2022

January 6, Canadian Style Eh!

Enough Already! Time to Get the Truck off the Roads!

Imagine! Canada is on the American networks 24//7 - for the wrong reasons. At least we are on the front page. CNN has featured our trucker blockade/protest for the last few days. I don't watch that other tabloid network.

It even targeted our capital city - Ottawa - as did the American "protest" which targeted  Washington on January 6 last year. Notice the difference. No guns. So far no destruction. No gallows. No death calls. No officers killed. This is after all a Canadian protest - sorry!

There are similarities. This is basically people just itching to protest something - anything about our government(s) and "the system". The truckers protest was just the catalyst. It reminds me of my university days - a bunch of first year students rushed off in a bus to Ottawa to protest - I don't even remember what. I stayed back and studied (true). It was just a chance to make it into the media - TV or newspaper - there was no internet or cell phones.

Our provincial Premier - Doug Ford - is now making a lot of threats and noise. Remember there is an election coming up. I hope he follows through because now it is indeed disrupting the lives of many families and businesses on both sides of the border. He has declared a state of emergency and put in place fines of $100,000 and possible incarceration for up to one year. To any American readers you have to remember after seeing the Mayor of Windsor on TV that in Canada the Mayor does not run the local police department as they often do in America.

I had some sympathy originally for the truckers although NOT those who refused vaccination. They have been non-violent and were even shoveling the walks in downtown Ottawa.

Now guys it is time to pack up and go home. You chose the vocation - nobody forced you and international trips will always bring problems of some sort. Like it or not, you ARE a higher risk to your fellow citizens when you travel and return.

As for those who are protesting everything from animal rights to gasoline tax, take a hike. Yell all you want during the day and carry signs. THAT is peaceful protesting. When you disrupt the daily life of others anywhere in the world, it is not. Too many people have died fighting over the decades to give you this country. How many of them are protesting?

Take note of the Putin / Ukraine situation that is about to explode. Is that what you prefer? Also remember that if you are trying to copy the worst red necks in the States, their leader would probably have sent in the Troops across our border to solve our problem for us. Again - would you be OK with that?

Enjoy what you have or soon you won't have it.


Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Et Tu Supreme Court?

America's Last Straw.

In the last five years or more the cracks in the world's Liberty Bell - America - have been getting noticeably larger.

1. Firstly few could believe that America actually voted in large numbers for Trump in 2016. Despite what he and his followers who wear Trump blinders think, it was a horrible four years for America and the world.

2. When Trump knew he was going to lose and started setting the stage for the Republicans to falsify the election and then spread the Big Lie about The Donald's loss, we knew they were speeding towards a very big cliff.

3. The large majority of Republicans in both houses sold their souls, integrity, and respect down the drain to support the Big Lie. They cared more about their jobs and pensions than the good of the country.

4. On January 6, 2021 a violent insurrection took place. Everyone else saw it. Trump and his cronies claim they did not. Wild citizens almost hung the Vice President. Now the bell would no longer even ring.

5. States throughout the land began to change their laws to weaken the non-white vote or at least make it much more difficult for visible minorities to cast their ballads. They also made it far easier at the state level to simply ignore and overturn a result they did not like if the first tactic failed.

6. Now the coup de gras. The Supreme Court - that final rampart for the people's democracy - is leaning towards supporting the tactics in number 4. They are after all stacked in favour of Republicans.

These high judges are supposed to be beyond personal bias. Apparently they are not.

If Trump wins in 2024, the Bald Eagle might as well be replaced by a big yellow banana. In this case the banana represents the single new foundation of the country - lies.


Monday, 7 February 2022

Ignoring COVID Too Soon

Are We Shooting Ourselves in the Foot With a COVID Gun?

We are all sick of it. Those with more rational temperaments still see the virus as the threat it has always been. Others have become complacent and are taking the "It is what it is" approach. The latter is what is frightening.

We are probably dodging bullets at the moment because of all that has been learned about the virus and the rapid development of vaccines and recently pills to protect most of us. Protocols also help. The deniers can say the world wide numbers are all fake but let them say it to those who really did lose loved ones.

I still think that if we begin to totally ignore the problem as though life were back to normal, we will pay a heavy price. I have received three shots and will get more as available. Thinking that we are all safe is like burying your head in the sand. Not talking about it will not make it go away.

Perhaps what we should be doing is treating pandemics like other natural disasters: hurricanes; tornadoes; floods; tsunamis; fire; drought; asteroids; meteorites. You can't stop them but you can certainly prepare for the worst.

A few thoughts:

1. Build and outfit large VIRAL hospitals. These would only treat patients with epidemiological types of diseases. They would have the most up to date air treatment and critical care units available designed with this in mind. If there were no general surgeries performed most equipment would be for breathing - respirators and intubation. Staff trained to use these should not have to be full MDs or Surgeons. These two limitations should reduce costs over conventional hospitals. PPE would be in large supply and waste disposal highly efficient. Staffing might be a problem initially but pay would be commensurate. These might be empty a lot but so are city halls, public swimming pools, and stadiums to give some analogies.

2. More and more international research is needed into viral diseases and cures including rapid testing. We need tests so quick and accurate that all travelers would have to be tested and pass as part of any boarding procedure for planes, boats, buses and trains. This has to happen before any luggage is surrendered so that denial is possible - no exceptions.

3. International Health Passports are required just like current passports but they must be electronic so validation can be rapid. No passport - no travel. This has to become common practice to eliminate any "I didn't know" excuses. Travel agencies also have to educate and enforce this - no proof, no tickets.

4. Refusing to be vaccinated should be just like refusing to get a drivers license, car ownership, car insurance, or wearing a seatbelt. You may not drive and are punished severely if you do.

5. I understand that mandating someone to have a substance injected into their body will always be an issue. What society can do is make those who refuse pay consequences if they just don't give a damn about the rest of us. If you are a really bad driver with too many serious offences you will have your right to drive removed. Insurance will become prohibitive. If you refuse to properly dispose of your waste and garbage and both you and your property become a threat to those around you society can take action and remove you and that property. The same thing goes for a vicious dog or other dangerous pet. Even America's precious guns can be taken away from individuals who have abused them.

There was a time when face masks and helmets were not mandatory or even conceived for certain sports. Now they are and it is accepted. I believe I am correct in saying that in most public places you can't walk around in the nude. Thank goodness.

I was going to close by saying that masks are no different than sneezing or coughing into a tissue or sleeve, or covering your mouth.  The practice is encouraged but there are still ignorant people who don't comply. 

Some day a VIRUS might kill all of us before its vaccine is developed. If the dinosaurs return in a more intelligent form they will wonder why mankind suddenly disappeared. Maybe Planet of the Apes the sequel will be a reality only the apes will be  wearing masks!


Wednesday, 2 February 2022

COVID and Plastic Waste

Where Is All That Plastic Going?

Recently a relative was sent to hospital for non-COVID related issues but while there, he was tested for COVID and the test was positive. This is very common.

What I found more interesting were his observations on just what is happening inside our hospitals today. I am fortunate not to have stayed overnight in hospital for my own care since I had my tonsils out as a child. However while visiting and supporting others I have stayed overnight. Besides how difficult that was for me (nowhere to recline; too many noises; no food etc.) I was able to observe all the activity.

At the best of times before COVID, staff were overworked. It made me realize that I could never be a nurse. I also appreciated our free medical program in Ontario, Canada. Even in normal (without COVID) times there is a tremendous amount of waste produced in hospitals. Much of it is filthy and/or contaminated. Safe disposal is a problem.

Now the problem must have increased exponentially. Every time a nurse had to attend to this person, even to change an IV or remove a bed pan, they had to totally "suit up" with new PPE (personal protective equipment). This can include gloves, masks, goggles, gown, face shields for starters. Most of this is plastic or rubber.
We already have an immense problem disposing of plastic. Much of it still goes into the ocean.

So where is all of this additional material going? Considering all hospitals across the modern world the problem is immense. This is just the disposal problem. Imagine the cost!

If anyone out there knows the answer please reply. Hopefully land fill or the ocean is not the answer.