The Day the Freedumb Died.

Is it only about a month since the truckers occupation of Ottawa was in full swing? How quickly things change. From the stupid, idiotic, chants of “Freeedom”  in one of the freest country’s on the planet to the the real crushing attempts of Russia to stamp a country out of existence and end the freedoms of its Ukrainian citizens. It kind of throws the whole stupid pretext of the convoy and “freedom” demonstrations into context. To add weight to a correct perspective of the events take a listen to the following song. It takes Don MacLean’s classic song American Pie and adds new lyrics that brings truth to the events.

I hope all those people who supported the convoy now feel stupid and embarrassed. For the rest of us just remember the names of the politicians who tried to score political points by supporting the convoy and at election time vote accordingly.

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Postscript: A Study in  Contrasts – When Russian citizens started protesting the war in Ukraine they were very quickly met with riot police and threats of jail terms of up to fifteen years.Fifteen thousand citizens were arrested.  When police in Ottawa finally started moving in on the convoy protesters they were still wearing “soft” uniforms and applying minimum force. A day or so later they had started to wear “hard” uniforms and face shields. Batons were in evidence but not aggressively used. Full riot gear and aggressive crowd control was not in evidence. Mounted Police were used to skillfully to  separate the protestors from the police line and force them back. To my knowledge in Ottawa there are only two incidents under investigation. There was a single use of tear gas and woman was knocked down, but uninjured,  by a horse. I think there was over 170 arrests most of whom were released. Several of the organizers face charges of “mischief” and were held pending bail proceedings. In the scale of things this was pretty minor stuff. At a number of border blockades the police in “soft” uniforms formed single lines that slowly marched forward forcing the protestors to fall back. The police line would then fall back, re-form and slowly advance again. The procedure was repeated until the protestors were cleared away. In another time and in another country the process would have included police in full riot gear beating their shields with their batons and advancing with intent to beat the protestors into submission. There would have been tear gas in the air, blood on streets and mass arrests. But this is Canada and that is not how things work here. So, supporters of the convoy, do you still think we live in a police state? I think the police should be commended for their discipline and restraint in very difficult circumstances.

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Convoy Commentary from the pages of THE GLOBE AND MAIL (2022/02/23)

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Beverley McLachlin: The Ottawa truck convoy has revealed the ugly side of freedom.  Beverley McLachlin is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and served as Chief Justice from 2000 to 2017.

During the truck convoy protests, we have watched banners demanding “freedom” waving over big rigs parked in front of Parliament. But what does this vaunted “freedom” mean? The answer is, everything and nothing.

Everything: the right not to wear masks in public places; the right not to be vaccinated; the right to hold Ottawa’s downtown residents and businesses hostage; the right to malign public officials and call for the Prime Minister’s death; the right to shout epithets at people of color.

And nothing: Because freedom is an empty word unless you ask further questions: “Freedom from what?” “Freedom to do what?” And beyond that, “Where do my freedoms end and the freedoms of others begin?” Freedom is not absolute. We live in a social matrix, where one person’s exercise of freedom may conflict with another person’s exercise of freedom. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states this plainly. The Charter gives Canadians a bundle of rights and freedoms. But it prefaces them with this caution – these rights and freedoms, precious as they are, are not absolute. Governments, it proclaims, can limit freedoms, provided the limits are “reasonable” and can be “justified in a free and democratic society.”

The bottom line is that you can’t use your freedoms in a way that unreasonably conflicts with or affects the freedoms of other people. The freedoms guaranteed by the Charter stop where they harm others. With freedom comes responsibility. Who sets the limits on our freedoms?

In the first instance, it is our governments – our duly elected representatives in Parliament, and the executive branch that has the responsibility to maintain “peace, order and good government,” to quote the Constitution, for the good of all. Our governments must draw the difficult lines that mark the limits of freedom in a particular situation. When you must wear a mask. Whether you can cross a border without a vaccine certificate. How many people can attend a party and who gets to go to school. But governments are not free agents. They are accountable. Accountable to the people, who can vote them out at the next election if they get the line-drawing wrong, and accountable through the courts. Citizens have the right to challenge the limits governments set on our freedoms in court. In the midst of a crisis like the pandemic, the immediate challenges may be difficult. But in due course what governments have done can be examined by the courts to see if the limits governments imposed on people’s rights and freedoms were reasonable and justified. The mechanisms of accountability may not be immediate, and that may frustrate people fed up with what they view as an illegitimate here and now impingement on their freedom. But the mechanisms of accountability work in the long run. They are rooted in our Constitution and our common commitment to the rule of law. They provide an orderly and effective process to restore the balance if governments go too far. The alternative is anarchy.

Throughout the never-ending pandemic, we have watched our governments, provincial and federal, struggle to draw the lines on freedom in the right place – to echo the words of the Charter, to set limits that are “reasonable” and can be “justified in a free and democratic society.” Inevitably, some people will disagree with where a particular government has drawn a particular limit, how long that limit should be maintained and how it should be enforced. If we care about our democracy and common future together, we will submit to those limits in the short run and use elections and courts to hold governments responsible in the longer run. The danger is that people who disagree with particular limits on the exercise of rights that governments have drawn may become impatient and decide to take matters into their own hands, threatening the welfare of people around them and, more broadly, the constitutional framework that allows us to continue to live together.

The heady notion of freedom, defined as the unconstrained right to do what you want free of government limits, serves as a cloak for actions that harm women, men and children who are simply going about their business and trying to do the right thing. Freedom without limits slides imperceptibly into freedom to say and do what you want about people who don’t look like you or talk like you. Sadly, the Ottawa truckers’ convoy has revealed this ugly side of freedom. Scholar Elisabeth Anker in her book Ugly Freedoms examines the historic use of freedom in America to justify discrimination, domination and avoidance of the law and regulation essential to a peaceful and prosperous society. The same, we now know, can happen in Canada.

As we move forward from the pandemic into the future, we need to understand the true nature of freedom under our Constitution.

Freedom is not absolute but subject to reasonable limits.

Freedom, misconstrued as license to do and say whatever one wants, is dangerous.

True freedom – freedom subject to reasonable limits that allow us to live together – is essential to a peaceful and prosperous future for us all. Let’s not allow the freedoms we cherish to become ugly freedoms.

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Andrew Coyne: Our shared reality – and the knowledge that undergirds it – is being assaulted

The blockades that paralyzed Ottawa and various border points have been removed, at least for now. But the blockades are merely the symptom. The disease is disinformation. We are discovering for ourselves what until now we had observed at secondhand: large numbers of our fellow citizens can be made to believe almost anything. This is a challenge to our democracy orders of magnitude greater than the disruptive possibilities of a few strategically placed trucks. It is a challenge, in part, because we are so reluctant to consider it. If so many people are so upset about something, we think, surely there must be some basis to it. There are two sides to every question, we are taught, and by and large this is a good rule to follow. Too many people nowadays are too ready to declare too many debates “closed.” But we should not fall prey to the opposite mistake, of assuming any belief is worth discussing, simply because lots of people believe it. There are not two sides to whether the world is flat, or whether Donald Trump won the 2020 election. And yet millions of people believe both.

It was possible for a reasonable person to worry, circa December, 2020, whether the vaccines developed in such relative haste against the coronavirus might pose some risk to human health. Fourteen months and 10 billion safely delivered doses later, it is not. Valid health exceptions are well known and accommodated; unanticipated adverse events are vanishingly rare. And yet thousands of people were persuaded that vaccines, and vaccine mandates, pose such a monstrous threat to their health or freedom as to justify occupying the national capital and menacing its citizens, in defiance of the law, for weeks on end. Hundreds were willing to risk arrest rather than obey a police order to disperse. This is not normal.

Opposition to vaccine mandates was not by any means the only idea behind the occupation, or the strangest. Protest leaders appear to sincerely believe, inter alia, that vaccines contain RFID chips, that the governor-general can rule by decree, and that Canada has a First Amendment. This is a movement in opposition not merely to vaccines, but to science, authority, expertise of all kinds: in a word, knowledge. What is at work here is not a series of individual deficiencies, but a collective failure of socialization. These are people who appear to have detached themselves not only from the behavioral norms of civil society, but from the whole transmission chain by which knowledge is spread among the population.

Knowledge, that is, is a social process. We form our beliefs about the world, not in isolation, but with the help of those around us. We learn from people with more knowledge, experience and judgment than we have, and through them absorb the accumulated wisdom of society. We have to. We cannot individually relitigate every elementary fact of human knowledge every day. But what happens when that breaks down? What happens when knowledge is transmitted, not vertically, as it were, but horizontally? Then you have what we have witnessed over the past few years. It has been described as a class war, but it is a class war of a particular kind, in which the dividing line is not money or birth but knowledge.

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Thanks to Douglas Francis Mitchell for bringing these two Globe and Mail articles to my attention. Thanks Doug.

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YouTube Music (#42) – Manha de Carnival

In my opinion Manha de Carnival is one of the great melodies of the 20th century. It is a Brazilian Bossa Nova classic and a staple in the jazz repertoire. It is an original composition by Luiz Bonfa and is the theme song from the 1959 Academy Award film Black Orpheus. Luiz was born on October 17, 1922, in Rio de Janeiro and began studying  guitar with the Uruguayan classical guitarist Isaías Sávio at the age of 11. Luiz  is best known for his involvement with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and the development of Bossa Nova in the late 1950s. …. wikipedia

Stephanie Jones is a young classical guitarist originally from Perth Western Australia. “From a very young age her childhood resonated with the sound of music.She played many instruments, beginning first with the piano, and progressing to the violin, viola, saxophone and flute. However, it was the guitar with its captivating range of sounds and great versatility that especially appealed to her, and it quickly became her first love. She is a world-renowned soloist and chamber musician who specializes in classical guitar performance. Stephanie received her undergraduate degree with First Class Honours at the Australian National University under the guidance of Tim Kain and Minh le Hoang, as well as a Masters degree at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar with Prof. Thomas Müller-Pering. She is currently based in Germany and now studying Konzertexamen.

Stephanie continues to perform extensively around the globe in multiple tours and festivals, and has also released three solo albums; “Open Sky” (2020), “Colours of Spain” (2015), and “Bach, the Fly, and the Microphone” (2009). She is also a member of the acclaimed Weimar Guitar Quartet, releasing their debut album in 2019.

She has also won numerous awards in prestigious competitions, including first prize at the Hannabach Guitar competition, Uppsala International Guitar Festival Competition, and Fine Music Network Young “Virtuoso of the Year” Competition.”  …. Stephanie Jones website.

Over the past 50 years a number of versions of Manha de Carnival have made their way into the Classical Guitar repertoire. This is an outstanding arrangement by Stephanie Jones.

She plays a number of traditional Classical Guitars including a 2012 spruce top guitar by Perth luthier Paul Sheridan, a 2020 crossover guitar by Daniel Zucali, and a double top spruce guitar by Altamira. On this recording she is using a TransAcoustic & Silent Guitar manufactured by Yamaha. Essentially it is an electric travel guitar but as this video demonstrates it has a “true” acoustic Classical sound.

  • Nylon Strings, Natural Finish. Body and neck material is mahogany
  • The SLG is the perfect instrument for practice, travel or stage use – any time an acoustic guitar just won’t do.
  • Near-silent performance makes discrete practice simple
  • Yamaha’s exclusive SRT-Powered pickup system gives incredibly natural acoustic tone through headphones or line-out
  • Studio-quality on-board effects enhance playing to perfection and line-in functionality makes jamming easy

In performance Stephanie also uses a GuitarLift. This is an innovative device that enable the guitarist to hold the instrument in the most desirable stable configuration.

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Here is another Bossa Nove tune from Stephanie…

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ES:MO

DUE TO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS THIS CONCERT WAS CANCELLED BUT MICHAEL AND ELIZABETH HAVE RESCHEDULED THE EVENT FOR SPRING 2022

Slowly but surely live music is returning to the post-pandemic world. Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti are returning to the area to perform concerts in support of their new release Weight of Hope. Elizabeth and Michael tour out of Toronto and Montreal (I think) and  have visited the Kootenays many time of the years. They are both Juno Nominees and, as always their performances will produce music above and beyond the normal.

The concert will be limited to 30 seats @ $ 20.00each. To reserve your seat please send interac etransfer to John Siega jtsiega@telus.net. All attendees must provide proof of double vaccination and follow Covid 19 guidelines as per venue requirements. The concert will be at Cranbrook Art Gallery at the 1401 Gallery site on 5th street North . Any questions please contact Louie Cupello (250) 417-9690.

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Karma’s a bitch!!

ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND

Otherwise known as KARMA – The spiritual principle of cause and effect wherein intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect): Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths. This concept has also been adopted in Western popular culture, in which the events which happen after a person’s actions may be considered natural consequences…… wikipedia

Mak Parhar was an outspoken COVID denier and conspiracy theorist from Vancouver, British Columbia. He passed away on Thursday, November 4, 2021. He had shown COVID-19 symptoms for the past couple of days prior to his death, but it is not clear whether he had tested positive for the virus.

He first came to public attention when he was operating a yoga studio in North Delta in contravention of Public Health orders. It was shut down after he claimed that the COVID-19 virus  could not survive heat. Considering his public denial of the existence of the Covid virus it was an odd position for him to take.  In July 2021 he  was accused of repeatedly breaking COVID-19 quarantine rules and appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. He was charged with three counts of breaking the Quarantine Act. At the time of his death his trial was still ongoing. Parhar allegedly refused to self-isolate after returning from a Flat Earth conference in the United States in November 2020. At the time, he spent four days in jail. In March 2020 after he encouraged people to attend the studio and falsely claimed the heat would kill the coronavirus the City of Delta revoked his business license. That did not deter Mr Parhar from continuing to deny the existence of the Covid virus.

Last month while in his car, Parhar posted a video describing that he was suffering from a number of symptoms. They included a “rheumy sore throat” and hot and cold feelings. In the midst of that diatribe, he was also coughing and spitting phlegm out his driver’s side window. But Parhar adamantly denied that he had “COVID”. That’s because according to him, “COVID doesn’t exist”. In a subsequent video, Parhar revealed that he took Invermectim, a quack remedy for Covid,  which is used to treat parasite infections. Once again, considering his Covid denial, it was an odd position take

In his final video posted on his Facebook page, Parhar expressed hope that he could cross the border in the future to attend a convention of Flat Earth believers in the United States. One can make the most outrageous claims but, in Mak Parhar case,  there are consequences. If the cause of his death is attributed to Covid then he will join  a growing list of deniers and anti-vaxers who have also died from the virus.

On a different scale President Donald Trump’s performance in fighting the coronavirus pandemic was the worst in the industrialized world. His bad handling of the pandemic probably contributed to election defeat in 2020 (karma). Other leaders were very bad  but nobody else in rich countries matched Trump’s combination of maliciousness and addle-brained incompetence. But at least one other president did worse: Tanzania’s John Magufuli, who refused to admit COVID-19 was a problem, suppressed discussion of the pandemic, and ultimately died of the disease himself, along with many of his top political allies.  It’s a stark lesson in the deadly cost of denying the pandemic and a perfect example of bad Karma coming back to bite the perpetrator.

You can deny the reality of the covid virus and you can refuse to be vaccinated but there are consequences. Without being vaccinated it is a certainty that you will catch the virus, possibly end up in an intensive care ward and you may die. Do you really want to take that risk?

As I said Karma’s a bitch.

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YouTube Picks (#40) – Master Musician: Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes (born 4 July 1962) is an Irish Fiddler from County Clare. Hayes was born into a musical family in Maghera, a village in the parish of Killanena in East Co. Clare. His father, P.J. Hayes, was a noted fiddle player and his grandmother played the concertina.   His father and his uncle Paddy Canny, also an influential fiddler, were among the founders of the Tulla Ceili Band in 1946. P.J. Hayes led the band from 1952 until shortly before his death in 2001. Martin Hayes started playing the fiddle at the age of seven, taught by his father. At 13 he won his first of six All-Ireland Fiddle Competitions. He is one of only three fiddlers ever to be named  All-Ireland Fiddle Champion in the senior division in two consecutive years (1981 and 1982).[2] He joined the Tulla Céilí Band as a teenager and played in the band for seven years. Hayes moved to Chicago in 1985 and became active in the Irish traditional music scene there. He was a regular performer at weekly   jam session organized by Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll, who later described him as belonging to “that very narrow set of performers from any musical genre – not just Irish – whose every note is perfect”.  In 1993 Hayes moved to Seattle , where he lived until 2005. In 1996 Hayes formed an acoustic duo with Dennis Cahill, developing an “unrushed, lyrical, highly expressive interpretation” of traditional Irish music. Hayes and Cahill have released three recordings on the Green Linnet label: The Lonesome Touch (1997), Live in Seattle (1999), and Welcome Here Again (2008)…. Wikipedia

The Lonesome Touch (1997, Green Linnet #1127) This is the recording that first caught my attention with it’s exquisite sound and the magical interplay of Martin’s fiddle and Dennis Cahill’s  guitar accompaniment. This is one of the great musical duos of recent years and here is a clip of the duo in full flight on National Public Radio.

Martin and Denis play music that is solidly in the Irish tradition but it doesn’t stop there. They are continually exploring the boundary’s of their traditions. Here are a couple of examples of recent explorations. The first is an experimental quartet with bass clarinet player  Doug Wieselman and  viola player Liz Knowles.

“Taking leaps into the unknown and relishing their unpredictability: Martin Hayes’s appetite for collaboration with musicians from across the spectrum of the tradition and beyond is insatiable. His latest project is a head-turner. Prick up your ears and you’ll hear bass clarinet sidling up alongside fiddles (and Dennis Cahill’s guitar) so that tunes intimately known become something new. Opener The Boy in the Gap is a masterclass in interpretation that invigorates a familiar reel. American jazz clarinettist Doug Wieselman and American classical violinist and viola player Liz Knowles are Hayes and Cahill’s dance partners, and the four engage in some fine musical moves. Present here in abundance, as it is in The Gloaming and in the duo’s repertoire, is that stealthy building of a tune: unearthing its melodic essence and letting it blossom slowly, with intent. Circling the tunes are the combined forces of Hayes’s deceptively simple fiddle lines and Wieselman’s intuitive embroidering, the bass clarinet amplifying the internal logic of the tune as if they’ve been lifelong bedfellows. Knowles’s mix of playfulness and counterpoint is a delight throughout. It’s yet another thought-provoking escapade to relish from Hayes”

The second clip was recorded on a trip to India with Sarod player Mathew Noone.

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Vaccines – The Verdict is in.

First of all, a definition: “A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity for a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future. Vaccines can be prophylactic (to prevent or ameliorate the effects of a future infection by a natural or “wild” pathogen), or therapeutic (to fight a disease that has already occurred, such as cancer)”….. Wikipedia

And a little history: “The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from Variolae vaccinae (smallpox of the cow), the term devised by Edward Jenner (who both developed the concept of vaccines and created the first vaccine) to denote cowpox. He used the phrase in 1798 for the long title of his Inquiry into the Variolae vaccinae Known as the Cow Pox, in which he described the protective effect of cowpox against Smallpox. In 1881, to honor Jenner, Louis Pasteur proposed that the terms should be extended to cover the new protective inoculations then being developed.”  …Wikipedia

How they work: There is overwhelming scientific consensus that vaccines are a very safe and effective way to fight and eradicate infectious diseases. The immune system recognizes vaccine agents as foreign, destroys them, and “remembers” them. When the virulent version of an agent is encountered, the body recognizes the protein coat on the virus, and thus is prepared to respond, by first neutralizing the target agent before it can enter cells, and secondly by recognizing and destroying infected cells before that agent can multiply to vast numbers.”……..  Wikipedia

A List of Vaccines:

  • Adenovirus
  • Anthrax
  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus Influenza
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Seasonal Influenza
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumococcal
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Rotovirus
  • Rubella
  • Shingles
  • Smallpox
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Varicella
  • Yellow Fever

Centers for Disase Control and Prevention, recommends routine vaccination of children against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Chickenpox, Rotovirus, Influenza, Meningococcal Disease and Pneumonia. When it comes to death and disease the military knows the score. On the battlefield the military suffer more casualties from disease than from bullets, bombs and enemy activities. Vaccines are an essential tool in maintaining healthy, fit fighting units.

Wars, Disease and Natural Disasters

That’s the way it was –…….. medical skills were in great demand as a succession of diseases – influenza, mumps, whooping cough, scarlet fever, measles, smallpox and cholera ravaged the Canadian North-West between 1830 and 1850. Influenza epidemics occurred six times in that twenty year period. The largest toil was on women, because they were the main care givers, and on the children and elderly because they were the most venerable. In 1842 to 1843, a whooping cough epidemic was immediately followed by Scarlet Fever…… The outbreak was  followed by another fever in 1844, and many more died from the unnamed scourge. Mortality rates from Measles epidemic of 1846-1847 was very high and complications from the disease added to the heavy loss of life. In 1846, in the Red River Valley, three epidemics hit in quick succession – influenza, measles and cholera.” ………. from Jean Teillet’s The North-West is Our Mother (A History of the Metis Natkion ).    As I said that’s the way it was. Of course improvements to basic hygiene and sanitation has had an impact but the advances in vaccines and vaccination also had a large positive effect on the health in the Canadian North-West and across the world. By the time my generation came to the fore in the mid to late twentieth century most of the “water-borne ” and childhood diseases in the modern world had been largely defeated. Within my life time the following major medical successes were achieved.

  • Smallpox – The world wide eradication of Smallpox, largely by vaccination in the late 20th century, is one of the major triumphs of modern medicine. The disease has a mortality rate of around 30% in adults and higher in babies. Often those who survived had extensive scaring of their skin, and some were left blind, The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the WHO certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. Smallpox outbreaks have occurred though out recorded history and is one of the diseases responsible for the decimation of native populations in the new world. The disease is responsible for 300  million deaths in the 20th century and as late as 1967 fifteen million cases were occurring each year. Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011. Rinderpest is a devastating viral infection that infects livestock.
  • Polio – Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease caused by the polio virus. Epidemics of the disease have occurred though out modern history and a its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio would paralyze or kill over half a million people worldwide every year. The development of two polio vaccines has eliminated wild poliomyelitis in all but two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan). This is another stunning success for vaccines. In my youth parents lived in fear of the polio virus infecting their children.
  • Rubella also known as German measles or three-day measles, is an infection caused by the rubella virus. This disease, while very contagious,  is often mild with half of people not realizing that they are infected. It is a common infection in many parts of the world . Rubella. In the early days of medicine it was not considered a particularly toxic infection. However, in 1940, following a widespread epidemic of rubella in Australia the ophthalmologist Norman McAllister Gregg found 78 cases of congenital cataracts in infants and 68 of them were born to mothers who had caught rubella in early pregnancy. He described a variety of problems now known as Cogenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) and noticed that the earlier the mother was infected, the worse the damage was. CRS is the main reason a vaccine for rubella was developed. There was a pandemic of rubella between 1962 and 1965, starting in Europe and spreading to the United States. In the years 1964–65, the United States had an estimated 12.5 million rubella cases. This led to 11,000 miscarriages or therapeutic abortions and 20,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome. Of these, 2,100 died as neonates, 12,000 were deaf, 3,580 were blind, and 1,800 were intellectually disabled. In New York alone, CRS affected 1% of all births.The virus was isolated in tissue culture in 1962 by two separate groups led by physicians Paul Douglas Parkman and Thomas  Huckle Weller. In 1969, a live attenuated virus vaccine was licensed.In the early 1970s, a triple vaccine containing attenuated measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) viruses was introduced. By 2006, confirmed cases in the Americas had dropped below 3000 a year. Rates of disease have decreased in many areas as a result of vaccination.There are ongoing efforts to eliminate the disease globally. In April 2015 the WHO declared the Americas free of rubella transmission. However, a 2007 outbreak in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile pushed the cases to 13,000 that year. However, due to misinformation and aggressive anti-vaccination campaigns in recent years immunization rates have dropped and there have been some serious outbreaks in the USA. If the immunization rates can be increased there is still a possibility that the virus can be eradicated.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). Most of us can add two and two and come up with four. Very few of us can come up with reasons why in certain situations 2+2 = 4. In disease situations epidemiologists are the folks that come up with the exact reasons why 2+2=4. Back in the day epidemiologists noted that certain population groups had low incidences of cervical cancer. On closer investigation they determined that the low incidence was associated with low levels of sexual activity, specifically that turned out to be with women in religious orders.  From that premise it was logical to come to the conclusion that a sexually transmitted infectious agent could be responsible for  cervical cancer. Eventually numerous strains of human papillomavirus were identified as the causative agent of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States and eventually a vaccine was developed to combat the virus and the associated diseases. Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccines. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer  are associated with HPV infection, with two types, HPV16 and HPV18, present in 70% of cases.  It is estimated that the vaccines may prevent 70% of cervical cancer, 80% of anal cancer, 60% of  vaginal cancer, 40% of vulvar cancer   and possibly some mouth cancer, they additionally prevent some genital warts, with the quadrivalent and nonavalent vaccines that protect against HPV types HPV-6 and HPV-11 providing greater protection. The vaccine was first developed by the University of Queensland in Australia. The first HPV vaccine became available in 2006. As of 2017, 71 countries include it in their routine vaccinations, at least for girls. It is on the WHO list of essential medicines.  A number of countries have implemented nation wide vaccination programs and the African country Rwanda has an ambitious target of eliminating cervical cancer nation wide with an aggressive immunization program.

The eradication of disease and the development of vaccines continues. The current big challenge is the development and distribution of a vaccine for the Covid -19 virus. The challenge “hit the pavement” in early January and because of the spectacular applications of molecular biology to the development of  Messenger RNA vaccines the possibility of a world wide roll out of a massive immunization program is about to be realized.

However, despite all the past successes and the current positive indicators the battle is far from over. The conspiracy theorists and sceptics are in full throttle with some of the most ridiculous assertions being bandied about. “Vaccines don’t work”, “Vaccines kill more people than they save”, “Covid pandemic is a fraud , it doesn’t exist”, “it’s a plot to undermine personal freedoms and control the population”, “It’s big pharmacy companies out to generate massive profits” and so on…………

When the denials come to the surface remember the conspiracy play book and act and think accordingly.

In brief, the six principal plays in the conspiracy arsenal playbook are:

  1. Doubt the Science eg the doubts about climate change.
  2. Question Scientists’ Motives and Integrity eg They are only in it for the money and the prestige
  3. Magnify Disagreements among Scientists and Cite Gadflies as Authorities. eg look how long it took to defeat the tobacco companies in their denial of the link between smoking and cancer.
  4. Exaggerate Potential Harm eg vaccines kill more people than they save or vaccines cause autism. Both claims are blatantly false.
  5. Appeal to Personal Freedom, The wearing of a cloth mask infringes on my personal freedom to infect my neighbor.
  6. Reject Whatever Would Repudiate A Key Philosophy eg If I believe in the literal interpretation of the bible then evolution is not possible. On that note I would like to add there is confusion between theory and facts. The Theory of Natural Selection is a theory and has not been proven and one can be free to acknowledge or reject the premise of the theory. On the other hand evolution is a fact based on massive amounts of hard scientific data and must be held to be true.

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SO IN SUMMARY – THE VERDICT IS IN. HISTORICALLY VACCINES HAVE PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE AND SAFE AND WE WOULD BE FOOLS TO REJECT THEM.

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Fisher Peak Winter Ale Concert Series – 2020

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FIRST CONCERT OF THE FIFTH SEASON – January 22, 2020

OPENING ACT – TALL TIMBERS featuring Drew Prinn on vocals; Ken Vargas on guitars and vocals; Landon Vargas on guitars, Ukulele, congas and vocals.

         

MAIN ACT – KOOTENAY LATELY featuring Pam Ruby on vocals; Theresa Reichert on upright bass; Bryan Reichert on guitar and Chad Andriowski on drums and backing tracks.

        

    

Thanks must go to the organizing committee of Fisher Peak Performing Arts Society, Key City staff and volunteers and all the sponsors of this series.

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SECOND CONCERT OF THE FIFTH SEASON – Wednesday February 19, 2020

OPENING ACT –  Douglas Francis Mitchell: Vocal, Banjo, Guitar and Songwriter extraordinaire

Over the years Canada has been blessed with many, many singer/song writers who often defy pop culture expectations to produce songs and stories that entertain and truly document the extraordinary richness of the Canadian cultural mosaic. To the list of Gordon Lightfoot, Valdy, Murray McLauglan, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers and others we can now add the name Douglas Francis Mitchell. Just the name of his songs tells a story. Heiden Guitar  pays homage to a recently acquired instrument from the master Creston Luthier Michael Heiden; Rocky Mountain View is a happy reflection of local geography; Open Happiness  and ode to demon drink (Coca Cola); Laughter of the Heart, Three Chords and the Truth, Change of Pace  and the comic masterpieces Plumber Troubles, Prairie Oysters and Sibling Rivalry. With his songs and stories  this open act was a tough act to follow.

 

MAIN ACT – CARMANAH – all the way from Vancouver Island with a musical mix that I can only describe as Van-Isle Reggae (what ever that means). The band featured Laura Mitic on guitar, vocal and fiddle; Lo Waight – back up vocals and percussion; Mike Baker – Keyboard and vocals; Pat Ferguson – guitar and vocals; Jamil Demers – bass and Graham Keehn. They presented a program of mostly original material.

   

  

   

   

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Kootenay Fall Fair – Dogs and Street Musicians

Fort Steele Fall Fair  is held in the shadow of Fisher Peak and the Southern Rocky Mountains. It is an annual event usually held on the second Sunday in September. The mornings are usually cool, sometimes a touch of frost, but there is always more than good chance of bright sunny day. This particular Sunday it was a little overcast but other wise still a beautiful day. It was, as usual, a good day to amble around the park, take in the sights and sounds and enjoy some of the best Cinnamon Buns on the planet. Also there was the sonic background of a variety of street musicians playing laid back “folky” country music. An added attraction this year was the dog show. Patrons of the Fair took the opportunity to show off their pets. From the tiniest of tiny dogs to dogs big enough to support a saddle. They were all there, running, jumping and just being dogs. For a pensioner the fee was $5 for a day of home spun entertainment  and it was money well spent. Here a just few shots of a laid back late summer day at Fort Steel.

                 

Steve Knowles – Musician

 

Steve Knowles – Musician

Rollie – Musician

       

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