The Media Beating The Drums Of War

My wife was upset this morning. As we watched the news over breakfast, she turned and asked me, “Does this mean the big bang? A nuclear war? The end of everything?”

I appreciated why she was concerned. For so long now, the BBC News (and every other media that I do not watch or read) has been spouting the doom-laden reports of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. They get these reports from our govenment in Britain, and the US government spokespeople too.

To my mind, this fear-mongering reporting is irresponsible in the extreme, as they do not present the other side of the issue.

It would be disastrous economically for Russia to start a war with Ukraine. Sanctions would cripple their huge gas and oil industries, as most of their customers are in the EU.
Ukraine has the largest army in Europe, second only to the much larger Russian army. 250,000 regular soldiers, plus militia groups and armed civilians. A war with them would prove costly to Russia. Both in lives, and financially. And it could well drag on for a long time too.

Using nuclear weapons, suggested in one ridiculous report, does not take into account the geographical proximity of The Russian Federation to Ukraine. Using any nuclear option would be disastrous to those Russians living on the borders, as well as the whole country of Belarus, a Russian ally.

This morning, we heard dire warnings that UK and US nationals should leave Ukraine immediately, as there will be no ‘rescue mission’ should Russia invade. Irresponsible politicians, ramping up the rhetoric, tension, and threats. Panicking ordinary people for no good reason. Then irresponsible media, parroting their words with no balanced reporting.

And why do we consider Ukraine to be an ally? Because it wants to join NATO? This is a right-wing government that has ties with neo-nazis and nazi-sympathising militia groups. Should that country even be allowed to join NATO? I think not. Could it have more to do with trade deals, and Joe Biden and his son having close ties to that country?

I think it could.

Meanwhile, I would like to see less warmongering from all sides, and especially from the BBC.

Another Covid-19 Saturday

A week has gone by in Beetley, with little of note to report. Next door has a man in fixing the roof, so Ollie is constantly barking at the hammering. The supermarket in town now seems to have abundant stocks of everything, including a whole aisle of toilet paper.

I haven’t left the village for more than two hours this week, and driving into town still feels like I am going back in time to when traffic and parking issues were unknown. But the setup at the pharmacy reminded me what is really going on. A queue outside, and a lady wearing full PPE asking why we were there. One customer allowed in at a time, and only her allowed to open and close the doors, wearing gloves. No browsing the cosmetics and toiletries, just up to the counter, get the medicine, and leave. Good to see that implemented.

I spoke to someone yesterday (across the river, on the opposite bank) who said it was good to have a dog, as it gave us a reason to go out every day. That made me wonder. If I didn’t have Ollie, would I bother to go out, to simply ‘exercise’? I can’t answer that, as because I do have Ollie, I will never know.

Having a dog is definitely helpful during this period of uncertainty. It gives me a structure to the day, and someone to play with when he wants ‘toy-time’ in the early evening. And it is a joy to see how he is completely unaware of what is going on, at a time when it is the only thing anyone ever talks about.

The Blue Tits are back in the nest box fixed to the oak tree, and the Wood Pigeons are fighting over available females, as well as any food I put out on the lawn. They wake me up at first light, clattering around on the flat roof of the extension, then crashing into the windows during their bloodless battles.

I watched some news reports, including one from America where people were demanding their civil rights to refuse the lockdown. One man said he wanted his barber to open so he could get a haircut. At first I thought it was meant to be funny. Sadly, he was serious.

China has a second outbreak of Covid-19 close to the border with Russia, in the north-east. They allowed their citizens to return from Russia by train, and the virus came back immediately. They now have a lockdown all over again, in a different place.

The US and UK should take note of that. We are still flying home Britons supposedly stranded on holiday or visiting relatives in places like India and parts of SE Asia. I want to know why those people thought it was okay to travel to those places in the middle of a pandemic, and then expect to be allowed home to potentially bring more infection back with them.

We cannot get anyone to take jobs involving picking fruit and vegetables here. So last week, 400 workers were brought in from Romania to work on farms. According to news reports, none of them have been isolated, or tested for Covid-19.

Do Britain and America have some kind of death wish? Do our governments know something they are not telling us? As death rates start to fall in Italy and Spain, they are still increasing in Britain and America. At least 15,000 deaths in the UK, and 33,000 in the US. Per head of the population, the UK figure is significantly higher than that in the US. That should tell us that our government is doing something very wrong in their feeble efforts to contain this virus.

Enough of that. The workman has stopped banging, and Ollie is no longer barking.

Peace has returned to Beetley.

The Real Cost Of Private Medicine

After my post about going to see the doctor yesterday, my dear blogging friend Kim sent me a link to a very interesting video. This may be of great interest to British readers.

Few of us here know much about private health care, although a percentage of people do pay into a scheme to get preferential, or faster treatment. Having a pet might make you realise just how expensive treatment and drugs can be these days, as I have found out with Ollie’s trips to the Vet.

In this short film, random people on a British street are asked to guess the cost of medical treatments and drugs in America, for example an asthma inhaler.

Their answers are very interesting.

Given the recent publicity about government ministers considering significant changes to the NHS and overall healthcare provision in this country, this is something we all need to be aware of.

In the UK, an ambulance callout costs you £0 in medical bills. The birth of your child costs you £0 in medical bills. In the USA, it’s a different story.

Something Everyone Needs To See

I saw this on Twitter yesterday.

It is nothing at all like the sort of thing I usually post on this blog.
But I wanted it to reach the biggest possible audience.

The harsh reality of abandoning the Kurds to their fate in Syria.
Once brave allies against ISIS, now discarded like so much rubbish.

***Content warning. This short clip includes a dead child***

But I make no apologies for showing it.