March 20, 2007

Mar. 20, 2007: Bud Talkinghorn

Surveillance and Superbugs

Surveillance--courtesy of Britain's Big Brother

We saw this coming years ago, as a few thousand public area cameras were mounted in high crime areas of the British urban areas. Well, those "few" have swelled to a few hundred thousand cameras, and they are not just in in the slums of London or Manchester. They have been embraced by shire towns across Britain. In their highest density positions, you can be photographed hundreds of times in a given day. Not content with that Orwellian snooping, they have introduced loud speakers to the cameras, so they can command you (at ear-splittting decibel levels) to stop some behaviour--like stealing or vandalizing ... or surrepitiously picking your nose or scratching some more private bodily part. The almost laughable nanny state has morphed into something far more sinister. One of the great scenes in Orwell's "1984" was when Winston Smith was watching the state-mandated morning exercise on TV. Suddenly a harsh female voice screams from the TV, "Winston Smith, number 2995, you are not properly doing your exercises." As Smith's approved vice is smoking Victory cigarettes, he has to wheeze his way through the routine. Can Britain be far behind this once-fictious control mechanism?

Therefore, we should vigourously oppose our police introducing this method. It always starts off as a law and order issue, but can easily devolves into constant surveillance of your every day public outings. Next thing you know it is, "Citizen, you are walking your cat around the block without the designated pooper-scooper at hand. Go back to your house now."

© Bud Talkinghorn--It's a slippery slope indeed.

Wait until what you do in your free time is monitored for its impact upon the company's image. But hasn't that already happened to a teacher in BC who wrote a letter to a newspaper, in his private capacity, concerning homosexuality and affirmation of it? Dr. Kempling? Check.


No antibiotic bullets left to meet the new plagues

The National Post (Monday, Mar. 18, 2007) ran a truely frightening story entitled "Superbugs: just out there on the street". What we saw with SARS is happening again. The hospital "superbugs", such as C Difficile, drug-resistent staph, and E. coli and a very pesky pneumonia are moving on to your local mall. The implications of these deadly diseases becoming epidemic is almost beyond imagination. Soaring death rates, economic depression and self-imposed isolation of the populous are but a few of the dire consequences.

The overuse of antibiotics, insufficient drug research and the natural evolution of bacteria and viruses has caught us flatfooted. According to Dr. Robert Hancock, director of microbial diseases research for UBC, we are not prepared for these diseases. Antibiotic funding and research has not been given the priority it deserves. He quotes some interesting statistics. "One in twenty E-coli cases in intensive care is now virtually untreatable and AIDS funding has outstripped that of antibiotics by 7 to 1, AIDS in North America kills about 10,000 people a year, while antibiotic-resistent diseases kills 90,000." Most of those occur in hospital patients, so what will be the death toll when it lurks on public surfaces? Going shopping without a hazmat suit on will be considered fullfilling some death wish. Black Monday will be the new blue Monday at the work site.

It is time the federal and provincial governments start to address this looming crisis. Much more money and effort has to be put into finding stronger antibiotic drugs. The hospitals, in the meantime, must all start enforcing strict hygenic control. That can start with their staffs, who have been shown to be inexcusably lax about basic hygiene such as bathroom handwashing. Doctors have to refuse antibiotics for viral diseases. Immigration must begin to refuse entry to immigrants or refugees, who carry multi-resistent forms of TB, which Dr. Hancock states, "is the most deadly organism on the planet." We used to screen immigrants and refugees for TB, but that sensible health precation probably was overruled after social activists complained it was "too insensitive". I knew years ago that many diseases had shown resistence to Vancomycin, the top line antibiotic, but the extent of the problem was a mystery until now. I thank The National Post for this timely warning. Wash those hands, folks.

© Bud Talkinghorn

The article: Superbugs 'just out there on the streets'
Experts concerned
, Sharon Kirkey, CanWest, March 19, 2007

[....] Community-acquired methicillin-resistant s.aureus (CA-MRSA) is emerging in daycares, schools and cruise ships. Nearly 500 cases have spread across Alberta and outbreaks have occurred in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

[....] And the superbug "hit list" keeps growing: E. coli, a major cause of wound, urinary and gastrointestinal tract infections are rapidly turning resistant to a growing number of drugs. One in 20 E. coli infections in intensive care units are currently virtually untreatable.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an organism that causes life-threatening pneumonia and post-surgery infections, is also becoming multi-drug resistant.

There are multi-resistant strains of tuberculosis, "the most deadly organism on the planet," said Dr. Robert Hancock, director of microbial diseases research at the University of British Columbia and a Canada Research Chair. [....]

Which is more important? To fund AIDS medication for people who apparently, are not changing their behaviour, whether in the West or in Africa, or to fund research to protect Canadians against stuperbugs? What would a prudent family member fund if it were his family vs the rest of the needy ones who won't learn in the face of all kinds of evidence that they should? Should we be funding AIDS victims amongst the community within which it is rising? You all by now must know which voting block that is. You could ask Stephen Lewis, Bill Clinton, or any number of AIDS activists who gathered for the Toronto guilt fest to criticize the rest of Canadians who aren't giving enough for the AIDS activists' pleasure, in Aug. - Sept. 2006. Of course, that might be pointless, for the activists insist AIDS is everyone's disease, not a particular group's. Well, by now, homosexuals, heterosexuals, druggies and those who read and learn, know how AIDS is spread. They have either changed their behaviour or ... well, why should the rest care? Fund the research that is going to help the great majority of Canadians.

Health care dollars - AIDS or Superbugs?

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