Sunday, December 1, 2019

The power of a single voice - war on superbugs

Lytic cycle of T4, a virulent phage. 

The media loves stories of looming crises and dire predictions. The story of antibiotic resistant superbugs has been around for over a decade and it periodically gets retold because there is a lot of truth to it. It’s a story of evolution by inadvertent artificial selection that is happening on a global scale. We are losing the ability to fight common bacterial infections because we have abused and overused common antibiotics. This has created bacteria that are immune to all but a few of our most potent antibiotics, and those too are disappearing fast. Soon people will be dying of infections that were once easily treated by modern medicine. We will soon revert back to a time before antibiotics, at least that is the "superbug" threat and the crisis being circulated by mainstream media.

On of my oldest friends, a high school buddy, a friend for more than 50 years, recently saw a media report on superbugs and the losing battle. He thought that that media report had omitted an important tool in the medical arsenal to fight common infections. So he wrote to the media outlet and pointed to a long known but overlooked and under used tool to fight infection: Phage Therapy. Subsequent stories from other media outlets prompted similar letters/emails, and he started getting thank you acknowledgments for his troubles. Here is what CTV News, a recipient of one of those emails has done with the story recently. It gives hope to those affected by these superbugs, even restoring people who were near death to good health.

The story of bacteriophages and their life cycle, is often told by biology teachers (like I was) to senior biology students as a model for how viruses work in general (see diagram above). It shows how viruses cause disease by destroying cells and also shows that viruses are not cells at all, so are not affected by antibiotics like bacteria. It’s only been in the last twenty years that there are anti-viral drugs that are commonly used today, mostly for immunocompromised patients (as I am now). Antibiotics have been around for almost 100 years, but commonly used for the last 80 years. 

I’d like to think that my old friend’s emails have influenced and corrected the dire warnings posted in the press, radio and TV. It's a lesson for us all: speak up when you can help. Certainly phage therapy appears to be a viable treatment for patients as a last resort as the CTV story (linked above) explains.

Monday, November 25, 2019

A man that says what others are afraid to.....

Douglas Murray
As Christmas approaches writers are out in full force promoting their latest publications for our gift consideration. Thanks to my wife, a voracious reader, for pointing out a column about such a book in the National Post. On top of all she does to support me in my condition, she also knows what I might write about.

In the Post, Barbara Kay writes about her recent interview with Douglas Murray and his latest: The Madness of Crowds: Gender , Race and Identity. This book and his previous book: The Strange Death of Europe, fit very well with my previous two posts on the cultural shift that has taken place. The Europe book opens with the following statements:
“Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.”
I could not agree more with those statements, something I would have written about if I had been writing over the past four years, lots to catchup on. I also agree with much of what Murray says in general, as Kay points out he says what others are afraid to, a man after my own heart.
 See for yourself in this hour long interview with Murray done for the Hoover Institution in the YouTube series called Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson. It’s an excellent series that I have been watching for many years and Robinson is an excellent interviewer. You should subscribe and watch, its well worth your time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A modern day quiet cultural revolution - Part 2

Cancel culture was a top news story over the past week. Former hockey coach and commentator Don Cherry was fired by Rogers/SportsNet. Cherry misspoke and refused to apologize for his comments during Coach’s Corner, comments that were not really out of character for him. Complaints against Cherry were so numerous that they overwhelmed the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council website and phone lines. Rogers/SportsNet, a private company trying to make a profit, acted to protect its brand, and Cherry did the same. I doubt this incident would have raised the same kind of furor had it happened in previous years. Don Cherry has done a great deal for veterans, soldiers, and Canadians in general, and does not deserve the treatment he has received. For me the whole thing is unfortunate, but evidence that a cultural shift has happened. 

The photo (top left) is more evidence of the “feardom” that has replaced freedom of speech even amongst journalists. Rotten Tomatoes rating of Dave Chappelle’s latest NETFLIX Special speaks volumes about what is politically correct these days. Why the wide discrepancy between the critics score and the audience? Well, if you watch the special, Chappelle has a segment early on that pokes fun of the letters “L G B T” and especially the “T’s.” Apparently the critics didn’t see the humour, the audience however, disagrees. Trust me, the comedy is riotously funny, but Chappelle seems to have crossed some invisible line in the eyes of the critics. None of the scores for his other specials have such widespread disagreement between the critics and the audience. Chappelle hasn’t changed over the years, he has always been controversial, but the environment has shifted under him. 

So what are we to make of this cultural shift? Important things have changed. People are afraid to speak to certain issues compared to the recent past. Our thoughts and words are now policed for fear of offending someone or some group. Offensive speech or ideas are now said to “trigger” those who are offended. An ironic choice of terms taken from gun culture. There is a suppression of disagreement, a lack of serious debate on many issues. There is even legislation in Canada (Bill C16) that prescribes which words can be used in general discourse. At the same time there is a genuine hunger for dissent. Witness the sudden rise in popularity of Jordan Peterson because he represented someone that could articulate arguments that are counter cultural. He rose to prominence because he disagreed with the C16 legislation around pronoun usage for people claiming to be transgendered

Serious discussion or disagreement for many issues has now been effectively outlawed, a very bad precedent has been set. 

In addition the cultural shift is anti-national, that is, it diminishes the principles and values that makes Canada and Western societies desirable places compared to many other places. It implies we are no better than they are. It stems from the idea that Western values like rule of law, individual rights, free markets etc. are in no way superior to non-Western or third world nations. Clearly that's not true. Canada and Western societies in general still attract droves of immigrants from non-Western nations, simply because our way of life is superior in many ways and the immigrants know it.

Worse still, the cultural shift embraces "identity politics" as mentioned in my previous post. So your skin colour, gender, ethnic origin, religion etc., automatically puts you into a group with similar "identities," and therefore you are assumed to act with your group and its characteristics. I know that's crazy, but that's what is happening. For example, the idea of "white privilege" is a quality in one's identity if you are white, and is bestowed on anyone that is white and well-off in Western society. I've been told I have white privilege by someone who had no idea who I was, nor what has happened in my life and has not defined adequately just what that means in my case. Its assumed, and its nuts. 

Its high time that we push back against this cultural shift. We need to speak out when we recognize how the negative aspects of the new culture are impacting each of us. My blog and my other social media outlets is how I will push back. How will you help? 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A modern day quiet cultural revolution - Part 1

Every Canadian who knows a bit of history has heard of “The Quiet Revolution.”
I was a teenager during much of that time (the ‘60s) and like most people I was oblivious and unaware that it was happening.

FYI according to Wikipedia: “The Quiet Revolution was a period of intense socio-political and socio-cultural change in the Canadian province of Québec, characterized by the effective secularization of government, the creation of a state-run welfare state, and realignment of politics into federalist and sovereigntist (or separatist) factions and the eventual election of a pro-sovereignty provincial government in the 1976 election.” It was a cultural revolution in Quebec. We continue to be impacted by it. The recent Federal Election displayed for all to see just how different Quebec is from the rest of Canada.  Quebec’s Bill 21 about wearing religious symbols while holding a government job, speaks to how secular and maybe intolerant the Province of Quebec has become. The Bloc Québécois, a Federal separatist party, won almost half the electoral districts in Quebec in the 2019 election. The Quiet Revolution has dramatically altered Quebec and its relationship within Canada.

But today, we are in the midst of a much larger global, leftist, cultural, quiet revolution that is dramatically changing countries across the planet from within, and the way individuals interact with each other and their governments. It’s ongoing, so the results are not yet determined, but many changes are already apparent.

I am certain that I’m not the first to suggest this world-wide, politically left leaning, cultural revolution in the works. I am just as certain that my views of the state of battle, and the winners and losers in this revolution, will differ from the main stream narrative. Let’s see.

Just this past week I came across a new phrase (new to me, anyway) that I think is characteristic of this revolution: “Cancel Culture.” Google it and you will get: “the practice of no longer supporting people, especially celebrities, or products that are regarded as unacceptable or problematic.” I’m sure most people were aware of cancel culture, without ever giving it a specific label. We all saw what happened when the #MeToo/#TimesUp movement began. All sorts of celebrities, mostly men, became socially persona non grata. In many instances this social shunning was well deserved, but it has become more than that, it now involves the policing of thought, the squelching of free speech in support of a new political correctness.

Take the recent case in Toronto Public Library system where a feminist author rented a room in a library to talk about gender identity and its legal implications. This author was called a NAZI by a well known CBC Radio journalist

Just as an aside, for me “gender identity” is not a subjective choice, on this the science is settled for me. It can be objectively determined, based on chromosome examination, never mind the genitalia, what is the gender of a particular human individual. Its almost funny that the same people that are certain the planet is overheating because they say the science says so, deny the science that says there are two and only two genders. But I digress.

The new cultural revolution has made any discussion or debate about gender, verboten, and politically incorrect. To the credit of the chief librarian of the Toronto Public Library, the gender talk was allowed despite the protestations of the transgender gestapo before and during the talk by the feminist author. Even the Mayor of Toronto, always on the hunt for more votes, came out favouring the cancellation of the talk. Before the revolution this would not have been a story, let alone a media headline. But here we are, the power of identity politics, in this case the LGBT etc.. community, such is the misplaced influence they have. 

Imagine if our feminist author tried to speak at a university today. I guarantee it would not happen. The thought police would have cancelled it, and very few people would say boo. It’s now accepted that universities are no longer places where diverse opinions and ideas can be expressed. Free speech is no more, we now expect filtered speech, speech that complies with revolutionary politically correct thought. The academy has been deadened. When I was a student, universities were the places where free thought was nurtured, and expected. Today, if its not politically correct, its cancelled. Such is the new culture. More next time.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Are there 11,000 scientists warning of 'untold suffering' caused by climate change or is it a scam? It's a scam!

11,000 scientists warn of 'untold suffering' caused by climate change

I am shocked but honestly not surprised that one of the top news stories of the past week was just fake news.

You would think that the worldwide Climate Change Alarmist community would do a better job of vetting and delivering their message. Not in this case. The mainstream media of course have totally accepted the alarmist bullshit.  The identical story was broadcast and published around the world, apparently no one or vetted or checked the list of scientists. It was just accepted as the gospel truth in a paper that was not peer-reviewd: 11,000 scientists are warning of dire consequences unless major changes are made in people's lifestyle, diet, energy use etc. As the image says, scientists have a moral obligation to warn people. How could so many scientists be wrong? That's why the "11,000" was emphasized. It sounded plausible, until some people dared look at the signatories to the document. Unfortunately access to the list has now been blocked because they are vetting them. Bit late because, among the "scientists" when access was allowed was a Professor Mickey Mouse, and Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster  at Hogwarts and well... others of that calibre of scientist. Here is a news report from Australia on this topic:

....and another video from Canada. By the way, in this one someone I know is mentioned. He is not a scientist, he was a candidate for the Ontario Libertarian Party in Hamilton ON. He was a cab driver and he publishes emails (which I get) regularly with his opinion. If you don't watch the whole video below just check out the part after the 19 minute mark and you will meet my friend Hans.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Why I've been absent from this blog.

94% of a full slate for the Ontario Libertarian Party in June 2018
It’s very hard for me to believe, but March 22, 2019, marked the 10th Anniversary of this blog. Just as difficult is the realization that the last time I posted to this blog was Dec. 30, 2015, almost 4 years ago. Lots of things have happened in the past 10 years, and big changes have occurred in the last four.

In November 2011, I became Leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party. After that it became difficult to cater to the blog because I was heavily involved with social media, policy work and candidate recruitment, etc. for the Party. But after two “successful” provincial elections in 2014 and 2018, it was time for a change. I resigned the Leadership in July 2018, mostly for health reasons.

The Party successes involved candidate recruitment and voter turnout. In 2018 we had technically recruited 117 out of 124 possible candidates. I say technically, because we had to remove one candidate just before polling day, so 116 was the final tally, almost our goal of a full slate. That was the best we had ever done. Of course the more candidates, the more votes, and our vote total was almost 43,000, also our best ever. I suspect these numbers are going to be difficult to match in the 2022 election.

My health began to deteriorate in the spring of 2018. After going through a winter for summer tire swap, I experienced shoulder pain, then back/rib cage pain that did not get better with time. Early in July of 2018, I woke up one morning with unexplained permanent central vision loss in my left eye. By August I was experiencing problems in my right eye. Doctors called it bilateral CRVO of unknown cause. I had no idea that the rib cage pain was related to my vision loss and the CRVO. But it was. By September of 2018, the back pain was unbearable and became chest pain, so my family doctor suggested I admit myself to a hospital emergency. Initial tests suggested a heart attack, but further examination showed no apparent coronary blockages, but my heart was not right and so I was kept in cardiac ICU. Eventually I was diagnosed with Takutsubo cardiomyopathy and Multiple Myeloma in my spine and chest. The good news was my heart righted itself by early December 2018, and now its normal, though I’m still taking heart medications because they are “good for me.” 
In hospital September 2018

The bad news was Myeloma is an incurable cancer of bone marrow cells, and it also increases the viscosity of blood which is what caused the vision loss and CRVO. I did a course of radiation in my spine and chest, before I left hospital in late September 2018, followed by 10 brutal months of chemotherapy which ended in July 2019, the side effects of which I’m still recovering from. The Myeloma is in remission for now, but I’m assured it will return in months or years and then another course of chemo will be tried, and so on.

On a much more positive note over the past 10 years, I became a Grandfather twice, way more fun than anything I’ve ever done.
So here I am, back at you, with commentary and opinions on issues local, regional and planetary.

I’d also like to remove the “Bright” designation in the header, changing it to “Right.” The Bright’s are secular humanists, advocating social justice and climate justice (whatever that means). Atheism is all I have in common with the Brights now, so I’ve decided that I am not really one of them as they are currently defined. I also prefer the insinuation of being “right,” who wouldn’t? And I like the political direction implied. Problem is, if I change the URL to “right,” then I’ve erased hundreds of posts over the years. So I will keep the URL, but modify the page header. I’ll try and post once a week for as long as I can. Thanks for coming onboard you won’t regret it.