And Then What?
You must ask yourself, “What is Putin thinking?” And by extension, “What are the Russian people thinking?” His idea of winning is the total destruction of Ukraine. He wipes out cities flat down to the ground, infrastructure, countryside, and farmland, blows up dams and floods thousands of acres, and pays little heed to nuclear power plant risks that could damage the earth. If he should win eventually, “God Forbid,” what has he won? A decimated bombed-out country with no businesses, power grid, roads, or farmland, along with a large part of the population who is either dead or has left the country.
A trillion dollars of damage has been done. But Russia is also damaged. Its economy is half of what it was. Its military has been humiliated and severely degraded. It has lost thousands of tanks, and other vehicles, hundreds of airplanes, and helicopters. Its assets in the rest of the world have been impounded. A thousand American and European companies have left Russia. Their oil is being sold off at half the price they would normally have gotten. Is this smart? Archimandrite Kirill, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, has called Putin “A Miracle of God.” God, indeed, works in mysterious ways!
The human cost has been incredible on both sides. Hundreds of thousands of young men have lost their lives, their limbs, and their eyes. These people have been removed from the workforce to never return, not to mention they are lost forever to their wives and their children. Russia is a country that is already dying because the population cannot replace itself. The birth rate is already below what it takes to sustain the population and is likely below their ability to recover very quickly. They are shrinking. A million Russians have left Russia, and eight million Ukrainians have left Ukraine. And these are the producers of society, the scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors, and the very essential workforce, etc., along with young people, the next generation. This is what is called a “Brain Drain” in addition to being a “DNA Drain.” Incalculable damage has been done to Ukraine and also Russia that will take decades to repair, if ever!
The Russian-Ukrainian war will end. All wars do. And then what? Even if Ukraine wins, it has been degraded even more than Russia. Although Russia will have to pay reparations as best it can, just as Germany did, Ukraine will have a much larger source to rebuild itself. For one, all the confiscated assets of Russia will have to go to rebuilding Ukraine. That will not help Russia one bit. The world will look to helping Ukraine much more than helping Russia. Despite what Putin claims, Russia is seen as the aggressor and a pariah to the rest of the world. They caused all this damage!
The United Nations, on a vote of 143 to 5, blames Russia. Putin’s propaganda machine has failed to convince the world. Putin is obsessed with the Nazis. He is still fighting World War II, and the Nazis are still the enemy. The Battle of Stalingrad is still high on his list of events to celebrate. It is just amazing to me that neither he nor his inner circle realizes they have inherited the evil mantel of the Nazis. They have turned into the Nazis before our eyes. What Putin and his army have done and are doing is very much like what the Nazis did. Genocide, killing innocent people, fighting unjustified wars, rape, torture, civilian executions, mass graves with hundreds of bodies of men, women, and children, hands zip-tied behind their backs, shot in the head, assuming powers to which they are not entitled, conducting fake referendums, and committing crimes against humanity.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, has collected evidence for 65,000 war crimes committed by the Russian military. That is not very different than what the Nazis did! Once the war ends, even more horror stories will come out, and they will be horrible!
Reparations are not going to be enough. Those responsible for this will need to be held accountable, just as Germany was held accountable for World War II. There are obviously people who are more responsible and people who are less responsible, but War Crimes Tribunals will need to make some tough decisions. There were close to two hundred defendants at the Nürnberg Trials, of which ten were executed by hanging. Adolf Eichman was executed in 1962, 17 years after the war ended. Twenty-three got life imprisonment. About a hundred had sentences for variable jail terms. About half-a dozen committed suicide before and during the trial. The exact total of people executed is not known for certain as many were executed at other sites, and many were not even recorded, especially those in other countries. It could number in the thousands!
Those that have violated the world order must be made to pay for their crimes, to cleanse humanity from the scum, and as examples for the next generation as a deterrent. Nürnberg held for almost eighty years. It is time to teach the same lessons again!
Did Mozart Hate the Flute?
I have had a running discussion with one of KUSC’s classical radio station hosts regarding Mozart and the flute. She doubts my assertion that Mozart hated the flute. The flute was probably the first instrument that Homo sapiens played. The first flute found was in Swabia, Germany, and said to be about 43,000 years old. It was made of a juvenile bear femur hollowed out with side holes drilled in it. It is not certain if this was an instrument made by Homo sapiens or Homo neanderthal especially as we, Homo sapiens, reportedly just got to Europe from Africa 1,000 years after the bear flute had already been made. But likely, both played it for entertainment and possibly communication over long distances for several thousand years later. The flute can be vertical or horizontal. The Baroque flute a type of “Querflöte (transverse held flute) evolved from the simpler Renaissance flute. The flute today is a much different instrument than it was in the past. It was not until the early 1800s that the flute became a more playable instrument due to work by Theobald Böhm. He was a musician, composer, and renowned flutist. His father was a well-known goldsmith who helped with the redesign of the instrument. Flutes have been made of bone, wood, silver, gold, platinum, and even crystal. The innovations made the instrument more versatile and easier to play. Expert flutists cannot distinguish with what material a flute is made just by listening to them. Alas, too late for Wolfgang Mozart, whom I contend didn’t like the flute. Mozart died three years before Theobald was born.
Mozart expressed a dislike for composing for the flute, probably for several reasons. The flute of Mozart’s time was difficult to play and was often not played correctly by the young daughters of the nobility who were instructed in playing it. Mozart was often engaged to compose for it because it was such a convenient instrument compared to the piano or the multitude of string instruments such as the violin or the harp that was a burden just to transport from one to another location. To have to listen to his masterpieces butchered by a whole bevy of young ladies was likely very painful for him.
How do I know Mozart had a distaste for this instrument? He said so in a letter to his father that he wrote on February 14, 1778, when he was in Mannheim looking for a job at the court orchestra of the Elector of Palatine and Bavaria, Karl Theodor, the most prestigious orchestra in Europe.
He had not finished several flute compositions, two Concertos, and three Quartets commissioned by a surgeon and amateur flutist, Ferdinand Dejean. Mozart reminded his father in his letter that they had discussed his feelings about the flute before. Translating from German, which is my first language, and thus am very atune to the nuances in the wording which makes it obvious to me that he makes his feelings about composing for the flute quite clear. “Wie sie wissen, gleich stuff wen ich imer für ein instrument das ich nicht leiden kan schreiben soll” “As you know, I immediately stumble if I am always expected to write for an instrument which I cannot suffer (referring to the flute).” Complicating the situation, Dejean had not paid Mozart the full amount agreed upon, and furthermore, Mozart felt it necessary to taken some time off from the flute compositions to “clear his mind” he said. So he did some piano and violin pieces in between. Dejean was not the only person with whom Mozart had some money issues regarding flute compositions. The duc de Guînes had commissioned a work for flute and harp to be played by him and his daughter that Mozart had dutifully delivered, but the good duke saw fit to pay only half the Florins agreed upon and furthermore stiffed him for all his daughter’s lessons. That was another strike against the flute. I feel fairly certain that I am correct in interpreting Mozart’s dislike for the woodwind.
Admittedly, thirteen years later, Mozart wrote a whole opera based on a “Magic Flute,” full of symbolism in the music, including the libretto and hidden criticism of Empress Maria Theresa. She was featured as the evil “Queen of the Night” and for whom he wrote one of the most difficult and possibly venomous arias in opera – “Hölle’s Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (hell’s rage cooks in my heart)” It was not his last opera that he composed, that was “The Clemency of Titus,” but The Magic Flute was the last one he produced and directed before his premature death at age 35, on December 5, 1791, likely from a Strep infection. Perhaps by then, he had learned to tolerate the flute.
WAR CRIMINAL (a brief preview of my new book)
It is now official. Putin has an arrest warrant issued by the I.C.C. (International Criminal Court) for War Crimes. War Crimes are serious violations of customary and treaty law rules that are classified as criminal offenses for which there is individual responsibility. Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, has registered more than 65,000 Russian war crimes so far in the one-year conflict. 16,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly taken hostage and taken into Russia. Seventy-five thousand civilian structures have been turned into rubble. Half of Ukraine has lost its energy sector, which has caused much suffering by civilians even freezing to death. Russia has become a pariah state, and Putin has been justly labeled a war criminal. After World War II, a special tribunal was created, the Nürnberg Tribunal, and 16 war criminals were executed, and many more were given prison terms from 10 to 20 years. Putin certainly qualifies and would need to be executed by Nürnberg standards. In 1899 the Hague convention created the first formal “Laws of War” that set standards that the combatants could not violate. Subsequently, others have been tried, the most notorious of whom are Slobodan Milosevic for genocide, Adolf Eichmann for complicity in the Holocaust, William Calley for his role in the Mỹ Lai massacre, and Muammar Gaddafi, who ordered the shutdown of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, with 270 fatalities, but he was killed before he could be tried. It would be an appropriate designation for Putin if Flight M.A.S. 17, shot down over Donetsk Oblast, could be memorialized in that fashion for a future historical reminder of a brutal murderer.
“They will find a way to kill the killer!” said Vladimir Zelensky, “I just don’t know when.” Putin’s inner circle eventually may come to that conclusion to stop the insanity and rescue what is left of Russia. Russia has been decimated militarily and as a country. 200,000 Russian men of military age have been removed from the workforce, and the husbands and fathers that are so necessary for the families of Russia. 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers are dead, not counting the 18,000 Ukrainian civilian casualties. As many as 1,000,000 people are said to have left Russia, mostly the more educated and professionals. Over 8,000,000 have fled from Ukraine. Believe me, Putin has thought of his culpability for all the military, and civilian deaths that will be brought up in his trial should Russia lose. It must give him trouble going to sleep at night even if he uses his new hyperbaric Oxygen tank bed, just like Michael Jackson, which is meant to make him live longer. I could recommend a doctor formerly employed by Jackson to help him sleep. I am sure the doctor has learned from his past mistakes!
The atrocities committed at Bucha on Putin’s orders are enough to make him a candidate for a war criminal. (Just a little reminder for the three Stooges Congress people and Tucker Carlson that they are promoting a war criminal as heinous as Göring and Hitler, just in case they didn’t realize it). He has already made plans for the escape should he need to do so. Various places have been mentioned, like a permanent spot at the Space Station, where Russia has some real estate. But the most likely is Venezuela. He has friends there, and with his hefty bank accounts in several Swiss banks, he will hardly suffer. He could sell his former housekeeper and lover, Svetlana Krivonogikh’s Monaco apartments if all else fails. Svetlana has come into quite a bit of money, $102,000,000. Housekeepers earn quite a bit when working under the right person. The other option is the Swiss Chalet near Lugano which has been on the market for $75,000,000 Swiss Francs, just a little over $82,000,000 US dollars, where he is hiding his current girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, along with her children.
Putin is in an untenable position that he alone has created. He is on the wrong side of International Law regarding annexing Crimea and the southeastern Oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. He is also losing the war. All Russian Czars that lost Wars have not been in power too long after their failures. He also knows that if he brings out “Nukes,” there is a good chance he will destroy the World, which I believe his inner circle, who are not interested in suicide, will not let him do. He has ruined Ukraine, he has ruined Russia, and he has killed at least 39 Oligarchs, important scientists, and politicians, along with 300,000 or more Russians and Ukrainians. How much longer can “THEY” tolerate him and his minions?
The arrest warrant for Putin, issued by the International Criminal Court, was met with apparent indifference as a useless piece of paper. But in fact, it did make all those obscure dark creatures that inhabit the Kremlin concerned that they could be the next Heinrich Himmler or Joseph Göbbels, both of whom did not fare so well at the Nürnberg (Nuremberg) Trials, choosing suicide over execution by hanging.
Some on the ultra-right say we are spending too much for Ukraine when we should worry about the Fentanyl crisis, the Southern Border, and not enough baby food in grocery stores. How exactly not supporting Ukraine is going to solve those problems is a mystery to me. Aid to Ukraine has cost us peanuts compared to the total U.S. defense budget of $715 billion a year. Our cost for Ukrainian support has been $40 billion for 2022, money well spent to degrade the military of a previously formidable opponent and expose his weakness! We would never have guessed that Russia, one of the major world powers, could be contained this cheaply! The cost to defeat Hitler was $ 4.1 trillion, along with 50 million lives—something we do not want to repeat. To date, not one American soldier was lost to Russia.
The view that our support of Ukraine is unduly costing our taxpayers and that we have no business in interfering in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia unmasks an incredibly shortsighted worldview, very reminiscent of our view when Hitler marched into Poland on September 1, 1939. It took the U.S. over two years to conclude Hitler had to be stopped. It is the same reason Putin must be stopped now! It will be much costlier for us to disregard the clear and present danger in terms of dollars and lives! “The bang for the buck” has been well worth it, not counting the preview China got if they are thinking of doing the same to Taiwan! And, for that matter, anybody else emboldened by apparent military weakness. The World is a dangerous place with bellicose countries just looking for an opening to pounce, like North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. Just saying stocking grocery stores with more baby food will not help that!
More than two millennia ago, Plato, in his book, The Republic, book 1, pointed out the view of Socrates that “justice requires strength.” That was the unfortunate truth 2,398 years ago, which is still true today. If we can show strength with just $40 billion rather than $4.1 trillion, we are ahead of the game despite what the three Stooges, Matt Gaetz, Loraine Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene said.
Let us learn from history and not repeat the mistakes of the past. I’ll take Socrates over M.T.G. any day!
The Truth About Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
THE TRUTH ABOUT VLADIMIR VLADIMIROVICH PUTIN
I have finished my fourteenth book, The Truth About Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. In it, I start with his early life, his rise to power, and his current mindset. I muse about his sanity and present data that questions it. This man could start World War III and wipe out life as we know it! Many of his public statements are propaganda that are grotesque distortions of the truth. He is still fighting World War II, and his enemies are still the Nazis. My book explains why that is utter nonsense, but in one respect, his march into Ukraine is very reminiscent of Hitler’s march into Poland, and it may just lead us to the same place Hitler wanted to go. His idea that Russians and Ukrainians are the same people is also a spurious argument. Spain and Portugal have similar origins and languages, but that is hardly a justification for one country invading the other.
Nevertheless, he has convinced many that he is the virtuous one who is trying to set things right. My insight into Vladimir Vladimirovich is from growing up in a Ukrainian home with Ukrainian parents who had spent most of their life dealing with deranged autocratic dictators who had also committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
I chose the picture of Putin, which I photoshopped for my book cover, as a maniacal monkey grabbing a club with his left hind leg because that is how I see him. Putin miscalculated big time! In his delusional World, where he thought he could recreate the Imperial Russia of Peter the Great, he assumed that Ukraine would be crushed in days. He could just walk into Kyiv and arrest Vladimir Zelensky, likely put on a kangaroo show trial, then execute him and live happily ever after. That did not happen. Surprisingly, what was thought to be the most effective Intelligence Organization in the World, the former legendary K.G.B., now F.S.B. (Federal Security Service), could not figure out that Ukrainians do not like Russians and are not the same people, nor have they been for centuries, and furthermore Putin has a warped sense of history that does not correspond to what the scholars say.
My Father was born in Ukraine and considered himself Ukrainian, like millions of other Ukrainians did and still do. 92.3% of the Ukrainian population affirmed the desire for independence and separation from the Soviet Union in a referendum conducted in 1991 by the democratically elected unicameral Parliament. Ukrainian culture goes back hundreds of years. The Cossacks who formed the kernel of the culture were influenced by Lithuania, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire long before Russia even existed. Ukrainian was my Father’s first language which he spoke all his life, especially when he spoke to my mother so that he didn’t want me to understand until I, too, started laughing at off-color jokes he would tell her. I did not study in K.G.B. school as Putin did, but I have known since childhood that the two countries were, at best grudging neighbors. When someone visits you, a Ukrainian custom dating back to Kievan Rus is to give them bread and salt. The bread symbolizes wealth, and the salt is the purity of the soul. Putin envisioned people streaming out of their homes with bread and salt in hand, welcoming the Russian soldiers. Instead, they were met with bullets.
There were clear signs that Ukraine would resist a Russian occupation. Stalin killed millions of Ukrainians, along with my uncle, and imprisoned millions more in Siberia, including my Grandmother. He forbade the Ukrainian language to be spoken, taught in schools, or even written. Hundreds, and even more, who dared speak Ukrainian were killed or imprisoned and even committed suicide. It was not until the 1960s that Ukrainian could freely be spoken in Russia. That does not engender feelings of mutual fondness, and people do remember and pass on their memory to the next generation. Eight years ago, the Maidan Protests in Kyiv chased out the pro-Russian “puppet” President, Victor Yanukovych, to Russia. Shortly after that, Putin illegally annexed Crimea. That prompted 140,000 people to leave Crimea. Crimeans saw how their population was treated by the Russian thugs. They also saw that Putin created a Kleptocracy that stole from the Russian people. He could not have amassed $200,000,000,000, built eight palaces for himself, and bought six mega yachts on his K.G.B. salary. Bombing hospitals and schools are not considered civilized and constitute war crimes that in the past have qualified those war criminals for the death penalty. That gives you a clue of how untrustworthy and uncivilized the Putin regime is. It guarantees a festering wound between the Ukrainian and Russian people that may not heal for many decades, regardless of who wins.
My book explains why Ukraine has little choice. And why we must support them to avoid paying the same price we did to defeat that other dictator, Adolf Hitler, the spirit of whom Putin still claims to be fighting. Helping Ukraine is not charity (as some of our short-sighted Congress members claim). It is an investment in restoring the World order and securing our own safety from people that have no moral compass and no conscience. The book will be available on Amazon.com by April 1st.
Moldova, about the size of Maryland, has not been on my radar until recently when I learned that Putin is fomenting a revolution in Moldova to destabilize it. Moldova is southwest of Ukraine with a thin land ribbon between it and Ukraine called Transnistria. Moldova was part of the Soviet block. When the USSR broke apart, Moldova became an independent democratic state just like Ukraine. The small ribbon of land forming the most easterly border of Moldova wanted to stay with Moscow. The people that want to remain with Russia are considered to be a “breakaway” group of pro-Russians loyal to Moscow, even though the most recent count shows forty percent of the population is Moldovian, only about a third of its population is Russian-speaking and Russian-culturally, and a fourth is Ukrainian. Nevertheless, Russia stationed 1500 Russian troops there “to protect it” from being taken over by Moldova. All of NATO and the rest of the world do not recognize Transnistria as a separate state and see it as currently illegally occupied by Russia.
Moldova is neutral at this time, but it has had a varied past. A mix of people settled there, Germans, Austrians, Romanians, Ukrainians, and of course, Russians. Although Moldova was never part of Austro-Hungary, parts of it (Bukovina) were annexed. My Grandfather, a portrait painter struggling to make a living there, likely was in that turmoil of unrest. So he decided around the turn of the previous century to migrate, and like most Jews, the ideal place was Jerusalem, which he decided to do, briefly stopping in Czernowitz, Bukovina, to meet up with my Grandmother-to-be.
So with the recent collapse of the Moldovian government and what has been euphemistically called “the little green men” Russia sent to take over Crimea in 2014 started appearing in Moldova, my Moldovian genes started to flash the red lights. That is how it started in Crimea. Green camouflaged uniformed men with automatic weapons and no insignia on their uniforms started taking over public buildings, rounding up people, and confining them; basically taking over the country by armed force, creating civil unrest, holding public officials hostage, or just making them disappear. That is what Russians do.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with a GDP per capita at $17,779 (GDP is the total value of all goods and services of a country divided by its population) compared to the US at $75,180. Its 2.6 million people are deeply affected by the Ukrainian war next door with energy shortages, pressure from an influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine, an inflation rate in excess of 30%, and now having to deal with the Russian Secret Service trying to undermine its government. Russia has already shot missiles into Moldova as well. Putin is holding all the cards. If Moldova falls into Russian hands, it will be a major disaster for Ukraine, which now would have its southwestern border as an enemy as well.
This is what Tucker Carlson, Lauren Boebert, and MTG fail to understand. Putin is not honorable, smart, clever, or reasonable. He is a former KGB operative. Nothing is off the table. He will bomb, kill, destroy, and take over whatever he needs to gain his objectives, which are to make Russia great again. This means the West (us) must be weakened or preferably destroyed. All his actions up until now point to it.
Ukraine is not the endpoint, and neither is Moldova. Poland, then the Baltic countries, London and Berlin, are in his crosshairs too! His propagandists have said so. If that happens, there is no way the US can stay out of it. I wish all those people who want to cut Ukraine off should be in the front trenches. They should be grateful that Ukraine is fighting and dying for them this very moment.
It has now been established without a doubt by irrefutable intelligence, intercepted communications, and an International Joint Investigation Team of experts from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, and Ukraine that Putin was personally behind the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 with a BUK missile he supplied and gave the OK to shoot down, 280 civilians with 80 children aboard. He gives orders to specifically bomb maternity hospitals and apartment buildings, which has been verified by captured pilots, and cannot be denied just by looking at the pictures of the bombed-out buildings. He has given orders to drain a water reservoir in Ukraine that would deprive a million people of water and damage the ecology of thousands of acres. His list of war crimes rivals the cruelest monsters in history. He sends untrained Russian soldiers into war, knowing they will be ground up in a meat grinder. He has created a kleptocracy (a government led by criminals that steal from its people). He has amassed obscene personal wealth beyond belief that clearly is the product of theft and corruption. He has been behind dozens (if not more) of assassinations, all documented. He is a murderous psychopath who has tremendous power and no conscience.
THE WORLD ORDER
(CLICK UNDERLINED LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION)
The War in Ukraine is not just about Ukraine. It is about preserving “The World Order.“ Ever since the end of World War II, it was clear there needed to be a “New Order.“ One nation could not decide to make new rules of how things are going to be. Germany could not march into Poland and take over their government. They could not decide that 6,000,000 people could no longer exist in this world and had to be exterminated. One Führer did not have the right to take those monstrous actions. It took six years, the cooperation of more than sixty nations, and the loss of 50,000,000 lives to establish that point. Something that has cost us too much to forget.
This is our situation now. Vladimir Putin has unilaterally decided that Ukraine should be part of Russia for reasons that are not documentable on solid historical evidence. Various reasons have been floated, none of which can pass the smell test. Ukraine needs to be de-Nazified when in fact, there are no Nazis to be found in Ukraine. Russia needs to protect Russians, the Russian language, and their culture in Ukraine from “genocide. “ No evidence exists that the Russian language or culture has been suppressed, and no genocide has been uncovered. Putin says that all he wants to do is to unite the Russian people. He claims that Ukraine has become a Nazi country. This is despite the fact that Zelensky is a Jew, who was democratically elected by a 73% majority of Ukrainians, and no one, including the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, can find any Nazis anywhere. Putin claims that Ukraine is not a real country, despite centuries of Ukraine being its own country, with its own language, culture, food, magnificently decorated easter eggs (google pysanky), history, along with its own authors, and heroes.
My father was born in Ukraine over a century ago. He and millions of people thought it WAS a country then. A plebiscite (vote of the people) in 1991 was an overwhelming affirmation that the Ukrainian people wanted to be independent. Over 90% of the population voted for Independence.
Putin has delusions of grandeur and a perverted belief that he is the reincarnation of Peter the Great. The world cannot allow one man to look at his neighbor and decide that that country has no right to exist and then take “special military action“ to make that a reality. THAT VIOLATES THE WORLD ORDER! That illegal and irrational action requires the rest of the world to lead an intervention against the wayward country, not only to preserve a sovereign nation but to prevent us from being next!
If the world ignores that threat, where will it end? Putin will decide that Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania should also be part of Russia, and Sweden and Finland should not be part of NATO. Poland and Moldavia need to be demilitarized so as not to be a threat to Russia. The rest of Europe, Germany, France, England, and the other nuclear NATO countries need to hand over their nuclear weapons, as Ukraine was tricked into doing. In 1996 Ukraine was the third most powerful nuclear nation in the world. They gave all their nuclear weapons to Russia in return for security assurances. So much for assurances! Russia has proven itself to be dishonorable, perfidious, and not trustworthy. Have we not learned from Nevil Chamberlain, who tried to appease Hitler? It didn’t work. It just caused more lost lives when it became obvious that if we did not resist, we would all be speaking German.
It distresses me that the ultra-right does not want to support Ukraine. Are they so bamboozled by Putin that they do not realize that Ukraine is fighting for not only their freedom but ours as well? They have forgotten or are too ignorant to know who Nevil Chamberlain was. Do they not know what Russia did to the Lisbon Protocol, the Minsk Agreement, and the Budapest Memorandum (security agreements)? Let me give you a clue. Putin just trashed them. I would not be surprised if he plugged up his toilet with those Accords. In 2009, when Putin had already been President for nine years, the US and Russia signed one more agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty and reaffirming the promises Russia made in the Lisbon Protocol, the Minsk Agreement, and the Budapest Memorandum. It, too, had the same fate as all the other Accords. Putin is not crazy (maybe), but he is fighting for his own existence. If it comes down to his existence, judging by the promises made in his other agreements and the lives of 100,000 Russian soldiers, do you think he has the scruples to care about your existence? He will not hesitate to take us with him, despite all the Accords signed by Russia.
It appears that Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Tucker Carlson are not readers of history. Perhaps someone should read those Accords to them in case they are illiterate. Maybe then they will realize that Vladimir Putin is not their friend, is not brilliant nor even clever. Maybe then they, too, will “quack” in their boots (MTG gets roasted). Putin is a homicidal monster similar to other monsters we have had, like Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. Is that not obvious from seeing the thousands of Russian soldiers that so far have been turned into corpses for Putin’s delusional and perverted interpretation of history?
Putin claims that he is ready to talk with all parties, but says that it is Kyiv that is refusing to engage in arbitration. This gives you a clue as to Putin’s arrogance and his failure to think like a normal person, and certainly shows the world that he has no serious intention of talking. Shooting Ukrainians and blowing up their country does not mix well with talking. Rule # 1 in negotiations: Stop shooting first, then start talking!
Besides not knowing the first rule of negotiation, Putin is also not known for keeping his word or Accords, for that matter, and he says whatever benefits his current position, which is often unrelated to the truth. He now threatens to start World War III and use nuclear weapons preemptively against the West. No one else to date has ever made such a threat since the first use of nuclear weapons 77 years ago. It gives you a glimpse of the man’s dark soul as if killing several billion people is just another minor thing on his “to-do list.” That alone is disruptive to the “World Order” and requires the world to understand that we have a serious problem.
In addition to threatening world annihilation, Putin wants to decide who can and cannot join NATO and has increased his military presence on the Moldavian border. Are they next? Putin’s advisers are bragging about how easily Germany can be defeated and are talking about a first strike at London. Ukraine is not the final goal of Putin! If London is in their sights, are you among the deluded that believe he will stop there?
A Friend I Lost
This short story is about a friend I lost on November 22, 2022. I met Joe four and a half decades ago. I had been a Country General Practice doctor for about ten years when I realized that I really wanted to just do Surgery. To do that, one must have a Certificate that says, “You are a Surgeon.” That takes five years to complete. My wife and I just had our first (and only child), a little girl we called Amber. I asked my wife’s permission to go off to “Surgeon School,” and she cheerfully consented, only to say to me six weeks later, “What have you done to our lives?” I was gone every other night on duty at the hospital, and when I did come home, I went to sleep immediately, to rest for the next call night. My income shriveled to subsistence levels, and we had to move to the city where the large hospital that gives out Surgeon Certificates was. Joe was a PGY-4 (4th postgraduate year), and I was a PGY-2 (2nd postgraduate year).
The making of a Surgeon is a complicated process. One must learn a whole new set of skills that require a lot of learning, training, and practice. Surgery is a “trade” that requires not only book learning but manual skills that are not easily acquired. Besides, one has to have some innate ability and inclination that are the foundations upon which one builds with building blocks of new knowledge and new skills. An old saying claims that Jewish boys that can tolerate the sight of blood become surgeons, and those that don’t become lawyers. To an extent, that is true, even though you don’t have to be a boy or Jewish.
The method of the education of a Surgeon goes back over 100 years ago to a man by the name of William Halsted. Prior to him, there were people that just did Surgery with little if any training. Many of them combined cutting hair and Surgery. Barbers could cut hair and had cutting tools, so why not wittle on the rest that is below the skin? That made for some very bad outcomes to say the least! Halsted brought a new standard to the field. He set up a school at Johns Hopkins University to train Surgeons to do better Surgery. It is that system of training that became the American standard for learning how to do Surgery. All of his “residents” became superb Surgeons, and most of them went forth to then become teachers of the Halstedian methods of Surgery. His trainees were called “residents” because Halsted required them to live at the hospital day and night – “in residency.”
Surgical skills are obtained by doing Surgery. My program had four residents in every year. Altogether there were twenty of us residents. The professor could not teach all of us at the same time. Much of the teaching was done by the senior residents who had already achieved competency in many of the lesser skills and passed them on to us at the lower levels. Of course, the generosity of what the senior wanted to give to the junior was always an issue. Joe was more generous than most, and I learned much from him. One small skill was placing an Art. Line. The Art. Line was a thin plastic cannula that was put into the radial artery at the wrist to monitor blood pressure continuously. Blood pressure is one of those measurements that tells us how the patient is doing during the surgical procedure. If it is too high, it means the patient is feeling some pain, and his system is reacting by his adrenal glands putting out adrenalin which raises the blood pressure. Conversely, if it is too low, it could mean that the patient is getting too much anesthetic or has lost too much blood. Customarily the anesthesiologist placed those lines while he was putting the person to sleep, but Joe would always insist that we were in the operatory while the patient went to sleep. That way, we could beat the anesthesiologist in placing the Art. Line. It was a small item in the whole picture, but if one knows how to do it, it makes one a better Surgeon. It takes more than a couple of placements that make one “good.” Joe saw to it that I became good at it just like he was. That was just one small thing I learned from Joe. There was also taking out the appendix, the spleen, and even the pancreas, one organ that I believed that God never meant us to touch until I met Joe. It is the most complex thing a Surgeon does! There were at least another thousand things I had to learn.
Joe was an avid surfer. Any free time he could wrangle, he would be surfing. At seventy-six, he still had it in him! He was outside the break where he could get away from the crowd. People who saw him, said he was sitting straddling the surfboard when suddenly he slumped over and slid into the water. He was 300 feet from the shore, and by the time they got to him, he was gone. Joe was a unique person, smart, kind, generous, and a very capable Surgeon. He cared for the sick, the weak, and the dying. I knew him as a mentor and as a friend to me. And I know that if he could have scripted his demise, it would be exactly as it happened.
Pyrite, also called FOOL’S GOLD
Organic Farming is a scam! There is no evidence that organic is better, healthier, more nutritious, cleaner, safer, or more advantageous by any measure you can apply to it. This is a published fact supported by the government, science, peer-reviewed research, and common sense. It is, however, more expensive!
Take, for example, the organic restriction of using NH3 (ammonia) that is produced by the Bosh Haeber process (synthetic) from the air in favor of bat shit (guano) for fertilizer is mind-boggling. Bat shit is not cleaner than air. It never has been, will be, or can be. Yet that is what we are told by the organic crowd. Just remember Covid came from bats. I must admit that they do have fantastic PR and salespeople to convince many of us to accept this idiotic nonsense. I suspect that a few used car salespeople migrated into the organic farming business. Even the name, “Organic Farming” is a subterfuge. It supposedly means that they are producing food, both plant and animal, without being man-made and implies that standard farming practices are not organic i.e., using synthetic fertilizers, using herbicides, pesticides, radiation to kill bacteria, and genetically altering the DNA of a plant or animal. That is not entirely true. Organic Farming has a long list of “synthetic chemicals” that are allowed. Some are rather toxic substances, such as Ethanol, Ethylene, a hydrocarbon, Copper hydroxide, Chlorine dioxide, and many Sulfates, Carbonates, Oxides of zinc, iron, molybdenum, cobalt, and others are magically given dispensation. Which are OK or not OK is entirely arbitrary. They spray it with all those things they say are OK. Where are the studies published that detail the double-blind controlled test done on all those substances? If transferred to other fields of human endeavor, we would have to eliminate cancer treatments using radiation and “synthetic” chemotherapy, jet airplane transportation, a mode of transportation that is certainly “not natural,” and genetic manipulation to cure illness as is being done to prolong the life of leukemia, lymphoma, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma patients. Why it is OK to X-ray your leg to diagnose a fracture but not OK to kill lethal bacteria in food is a mystery.
Eating organic has failed to be helpful to you in any way, but it is also not harmful to you, that is, except in your pocketbook. There are, however, a few negatives to Organic Farming that are rarely brought up. Organic Farming takes more land, and more financing to produce the same amount of nutrition than standard agricultural practices. This is actually wasted money and wasted dirt to produce less. With many of the earth’s people starving, this is insane if not criminal. The restriction of pesticides has, in fact, caused more deaths than the pesticides themselves have caused. In 2021 there were 241,000,000 malaria cases worldwide with 627,000 deaths due to malaria, and 80% are in children under age 5 years of age. We owe this to Rachel Carson who wrote a book in 1962, “The Silent Spring,” in which she condemns the use of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). In 1972 DDT was banned worldwide, and malaria cases skyrocketed. In 2006 the Word Health Organization reconsidered its ban in view of the malaria come-back and now allows the use of this chemical in all areas that have a high incidence of malaria, which is the entire continent of Africa. For a variety of reasons is still not implemented throughout the world. Most herbicides are another forbidden substance. Interestingly “natural” substances are OK’d by the organic tribe, such as Nicotine, which we all know is a poison and should not be used for anything.
Using antibiotics is also frowned upon by Organic Farmers. I agree that mass utilization of antibiotics is counterproductive and brings forth resistant strains of bacteria that are almost impossible to kill, but not treating specific illnesses of animals with antibiotics is cruelty!
GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) are also forbidden by the Organic Farming religion. Norman Borlaug, a geneticist and plant pathologist, changed wheat to make it stronger to survive storms, more resistant to disease, and, most importantly, produce more grain per acre. It saved millions from starvation, and Norman got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. Original wheat had fourteen chromosomes. Our genetically engineered bread now has 42 chromosomes (Franken-wheat). You can’t even get the old wheat anymore without paying a lot. Yet few of us have grown a tail or a third eye by eating the evil genetically engineered bread, which all of us do!
Another banned substance is nanoparticles. A nanoparticle is 1nM to 100 nM in any dimension. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. This is a relatively new restriction because the technology to make these particles is also relatively new. For that reason, there is still more science to investigate this, and an outright ban is premature, besides our own body reduces most all the food we consume to nanoparticles so that it can be absorbed. But as is typical of the science illiterates, their first reaction is to ban it.
Organic Farming is junk science based on irrational, illogical, and false assumptions with no evidence to show its value. If you believe the organic mantra, I have the Brooklyn bridge for sale at a bargain price. Organic Farming is a scam and not worth your money! It is because of “man-made” things we were able to come out of the cave. You might say Organic Farming is Fool’s Farming.
Mozart, the Requiem, and the Autobahn
I was born in Linz Austria. Mozart was born in Salzburg. Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart, his parents, gave their first and only son the name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. When he was 21 years of age, it was trendy to Latinize your name, and he chose to change Theophilus (Greek for loved by God) to Amadé, the French version of Amadeus, the Latin version he rarely used. Here is his signature as he wrote it.
The two cities are about 66 miles apart; it takes roughly an hour to get from one to the other, especially given that there is no speed limit on the Autobahn. I remember driving to Salzburg with the family. I was driving a Ford van with a four-cylinder engine and was trying to pass a long truck pulling a trailer. I barely saw the tiny image of the distant Mercedes limo in my rearview mirror when I pulled out to pass. By the time I got to the front of the truck, despite having the accelerator pressed to the floor, the Mercedes was only 100 feet from my rear bumper, furiously flashing its lights but maintaining his speed in excess of 100 mph. It seemed that he fully intended just to drive us into the ditch or just drive over us. I was barely able to get to the safety of the right lane when the Mercedes passed and pulled in front of me with palpable anger. As previously mentioned, there is no speed limit on the Autobahn, and people have a certain “get off my road attitude.” It is that drive from Linz to Saltzbug that will always remind me of Mozart’s Requiem (music for the dead.) We were so lucky to get to the birth town of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart alive.
I am not sure why Mozart is my favorite composer. Is it that we were from the same corner of the world, or is it because, during my formative years, I heard a lot of organ, choral, and orchestral versions of Mozart’s liturgical music in my role as an altar boy in the Catholic Church? My favorite is, in fact, the Requiem, which I want at my own interment ceremony, hopefully not anytime soon. It was also Fredrick Chopin’s request at his funeral when he died in Paris. It was quite a chore to get it approved to have women in the choir, which was forbidden at the time in France. The work has +- eight parts, some of which have subdivisions, full orchestra, and choir, mostly in minor keys that is intended for somber music. The Introduction is followed by the Kyrie (Lord), the Dies Irae (day of wrath), Tuba Mirum (hark the trumpet), Rex Tremendae (King of tremendous majesty), Recordae (remember), Confutatis (the accursed) my favorite, followed by the Lacrimosa (tears), yielding to the Offertorium, then the Sanctus, the Benedictus, Agnus Dei (lamb of God), and finally the Communio which recapitulates the music of the first two movements. If you have not seen the movie Amadeus, it is one you should not miss, one of the best movies ever. Director Miloš Forman did accurately portray the life of the late 1700s and the flavor of the times. The film got eleven Academy nominations and won seven, including Best Picture. One of the great scenes is the creation of the Requiem as Mozart is dying. Although not historically accurate, it is, in my opinion, a scene with great pathos and fantastic music to boot.
Actually, the Requiem is indeed shrouded in mystery and intrigue. It was commissioned and paid for by a stranger who likely was going to pass it off as his own work. Mozart started working on it in July of 1791. He worked on it obsessively, and many historians think he had a premonition of death which, as it turned out, came true. This was going to be his own “Swan Song.” He had the first part done but only sketched out the rest. He died December 5, 1791, before he could finish it. One of his students, Franz Süβmayr, to whom Mozart had given extensive instructions along with his rough draft for its completion, did finish it at Mozart’s wife’s (Constanze) request as she was desperate to keep the commission. It was Beethoven who said, “If Mozart did not write the Requiem, it was a Mozart who did!” If you have never heard it, I highly recommend putting it on your “bucket list!” Furthermore, try to avoid driving on the Autobahn if you can help it.
The Science of Gender is complicated. We are all assigned a Gender at conception. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes made of the double helixes of DNA strands, 46 chromosomes altogether. They, in turn, harbor some 20,500 genes identified by the Human Genome Project. Males have the XY and females have the XX configuration. Every one of our cells has either one or the other configuration. To speak of Gender Reassignment is a bit disingenuous, for to truly change our Gender, every cell needs to be changed to one or the other configuration. That would be 32.7 trillion cells that would have to change their Gender, an impossible task. To cut off the penis and make a vagina and give that person some hormones to grow breasts and a few other hormonal manipulations, for example, the suppression of facial hair growth or drugs that prevent secondary sexual development of puberty does not make that individual a female and is a feeble attempt to mimic nature. Surgical manipulation to imitate one or the other sex is not all that different than cross-dressing which is a feeble attempt to assume the attributes of the opposite sex. Boys that put on a dress are still boys and girls that wear pants are still girls. The cells continue to be either XY or XX. XY muscles will remain stronger than XX muscles regardless of hormonal influences. Just because a Transgender person has external genitalia that resembles a male or female does not mean that the muscles or neural tissues act accordingly. That is why the athletic competition allowing XY genotype individuals to compete in female athletics is ridiculous from a scientific viewpoint. You might as well paint pink XX letters on a boy’s forehead and let him be on the girl’s volleyball team. Not only is that farcical but it is very unfair. Girls will work their whole life toward achieving certain athletic goals that, given the same level of training, can be surpassed because having different cells that have the XY chromosomes will and have outdone the XX cells in strength, speed, and endurance. School Boards, educators, and politicians who make public policy that endorses and supports transgender athletic competition are challenged, not only in scientific understanding but also in the ethics of fair competition.
Gender change operations are more or less permanent and cannot be reversed all that easily. For that reason, I believe the individual who undergoes such dramatic treatment needs to be evaluated very carefully and by multiple fields, including psychological, emotional, maturational, intellectual, and secondarily, anatomical/ surgical aspects. I also think a significant waiting period should be mandatory, as people do change their minds. There needs to be a whole set of rules and regulations with legal input and oversight to protect the individual who wishes to undergo this transformation, as well as protect society as a whole. This would include athletics, laws involving privacy such as bathroom access, civil rights of men, women, and children, and age discrimination mores and practices. The treatment of minors in this controversy is another issue. Vanderbilt University has just put a hold on all gender reassignment operations for individuals under 18 years of age.
There are numerous conditions, some due to chromosomal changes and some due to hormonal aberrations, that can cause ambiguous genitalia or phenotypically normal external genitalia but of the opposite sex of the individual’s genotypical sex. For example, a normal appearing female may in fact be a genetic male of XY configuration. This is due to the insensitivity to testosterone and is called Testicular Feminization Syndrome. In my business as a surgeon, I am aware of some very famous “women” in the entertainment business that have achieved great success in part by their physical appearance but are males genetically. HIPPA laws prevent me from naming names, as they should. But these individuals are unable to procreate and do not have the internal organs to carry a baby. The testes that have not descended are at high risk of becoming cancerous and must be removed. Some hormonal conditions, such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, will cause a genetic female to look more like a male, and this can also occur with tumors of the adrenal gland. The goal of treatment for these individuals should be, first of all, to cure any life-threatening condition, but secondarily to create a functioning human being that is happy with their appearance, and if possible one that can enjoy a normal life with normal functional sex organs that may even give them normal fertility in certain circumstances. Many chromosomal X or Y anomalies do not have serious brain dysfunction but some are devastating, such as Fragile X Syndrome. Here too, there must be the participation of multiple specialties to choose the right path in terms of selecting a sex for that individual and the correct upbringing, education, and psychological development. This too relates to gender assignment and must have some of the same legal, medical, and surgical inputs to reach the best outcome for that individual.
Gender reassignment is a new trend in human thinking and behavior. This has not been possible in the past because we did not have the technology to achieve this, nor is it anywhere near perfect at this point. Because it is new, with little experience in judging eventual outcomes, we need to be very careful and proceed with great caution. Vanderbilt University did the right thing.
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