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Bits 'n pieces from east, west and beyond

by Lorraine H. Marie
| March 25, 2022 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Congressional Democrats are proposing a tax on large oil companies’ profits to curb profiteering. If approved, the levy would impose a 50 percent tax per barrel on the price difference between the current cost per barrel and the average cost between 2015 and 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported. Funds collected would provide quarterly checks to Americans earning less than $75,000.

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 87 percent of Americans blame Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine while 81 percent support U.S. and NATO sanctions against Russia.

Russia announced sanctions on Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats, banning them entry into the country and freezing whatever assets they may have in Russia. Clinton tweeted: “I want to thank the Russian Academy for this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Putin’s disdain for Clinton was likely cemented when, on the campaign trail in 2016, she stated that future President Donald Trump would be Putin’s puppet if elected.

Word from Ukraine: a 350.org leader from western Ukraine, along with climate activist Bill McKibben, recently wrote in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that world banks have “amorally worked to build Russia’s oil and gas industry … that funds the Russian army.” They said links between American banks, oil and Russia’s war-making are “deep and profound.” Banks “happily profited” off of their arrangements with Russia. The writers asked readers to imagine banks refusing to deal with oil companies, and using that capital “for a rapid retooling of our energy world to make it both safe and clean.” For starters, millions of heat pumps could be made and installed in Europe by next winter, putting a “noticeable dent” in oil and gas purchases from Russia.

Parts of Antarctica are registering temperatures 70 degrees higher than normal while Arctic temps are 50 degrees higher. It is rare to see both poles melting at the same time of year, according to ice scientist Walt Meier. The Arctic has been warming two to three times faster than the rest of the planet.

Cases of long COVID indicate a “looming cardiac crisis,” according to The Washington Post. Symptoms have included becoming easily exhausted, heart fluttering and failure to recall simple words. One way to measure long-Covid is with a dysautonomia test, but getting a test can take months. COVID-19 has taken more than 950,000 U.S. lives and rendered 1.3 million people too sick to work. Those with long COVID, called long-haulers, have experienced a variety of symptoms: strokes, brain bleeds, organ failure and some are forced to use wheelchairs. To reduce risk of long-haulers, internal medicine physician Dr. Richard Becker, who runs the University of Cincinnati Health’s long COVID clinic, recommends vaccination and “possibly early use of oral antiviral drugs.”

Arnold takes on Vlad: In a video posted to Twitter, Arnold Schwarzenegger told Russians they are not getting the terrible truth about war in Ukraine. Schwarzenegger recalled his Nazi father fighting Russians in World War II. He asked Putin why he was sacrificing “these young men for your own ambition” and then said “you started this war … You can stop this war.” To Putin’s claim of denazifying Ukraine, Schwarzenegger pointed out that Ukraine’s president is Jewish. To Russians who are risking jailing and beatings by protesting, he said “you are my new heroes…”

Blast from the past: “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything,” wrote George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, an Irish playwright, critic and political activist.