Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Health Canada Leading a Do-Gooders Polgrums, to Limit Your Rights

A possible legal precedent in the offing (pdf), that could allow the government to control what you do in the privacy of your home. Activists and paid lobbyists are now pressing governments in Canada to pass new law that would 'protect' citizens from second hand smoke wafting between dwellings.

This is a turning point in a government controlled, preventative health care, smoking cessation program that is beginning to encroach on the fundamental civil liberties of Canadians.

This about sums up my take on the anti-smoking program:


"Instead of concentrating almost exclusively in the fight against malaria, which kills one child per minute, as well as AIDS and tuberculosis, this organization has embraced the politically fashionable and equally criminal agenda of lies and persecution already going on in Canada, Australia, United States, and England."

The docile, intoxicated smoker has happily acquiesced to a number of changes related to the comfort and happiness of others. Now, with the threshold of their doorways being darkened by the specter of government tyranny, a line has been crossed. As P. E. Trudeau said, "...there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." I would propose, that at this time, we need to extend that kind of vision to the porch as well.

The Anti-smoking lobbies hypothesis, that smoking was the central cause of the cancer epidemic, was thrown for a loop when evidence began to show that non-smokers have similar rates of cancer as the smokers have.

From the critical thinker, James P. Siepmann, MD:

"Based upon what the media and anti-tobacco organizations say, one would think that if you smoke, you get lung cancer (a 100% correlation) or at least expect a 50+% occurrence before someone uses the word "cause."

Would you believe that the real number is <10 data-blogger-escaped-blockquote="blockquote">

All that could be done to prevent cancer through smoking cessation programs had been done by 1995. With the end of the funding in sight, 'interested parties' - or as I like to call them, 'The Do-Gooders Polgrum' - latched on to 'second hand smoke' theory. Linking work place health and safety to second hand smoke, opened the door to billions of dollars in potential litigation, the settlements from which could pay for more 'prevention' by the Do-Gooders Polgrum. The government went along with the new ideology because people with nothing better to do, like to complain; better they complain about their neighbors than about government. Also it muddied the waters for governments - the question as to who is responsible for public health becomes un-clear; is it the responsible government entity or the individual?
When neighbor sues neighbor sometime soon, the amount of smoke and the quality of it's toxicity will be the pivot points around which Canadians right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness will revolve. The slippery slope with this zero-tolerance mindset, is in the statistics, the degrees of exposure and the qualities that are assigned to second hand smoke. How do you measure the health impacts of wisps of smoke drifting from your neighbors balcony? What are the actual risks of casual, intermittent contact with second hand smoke?

The fact that smoke in the work place is considered a work place hazard, and that this has been established in legal precedence is, in my opinion, a good thing. Extending these rights to citizens in public space, which at the same time places undo hardship on others, is unconstitutional in this observers opinion. If one cannot enjoy your private space any legal way you like; then the calculations of degree must be out of whack.

So, the next time a car rolls by with it's toxic engine running, I'm suing!

From Health Canada, March 27, 2007:(my emphasis)

"Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or second-hand smoke

ETS is a combination of exhaled smoke and the smoke produced by an idling cigarette, cigar or pipe. It consists of solid particles, liquids and gases.

Scientists have identified more than 4,000 different chemical compounds in ETS, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, arsenic, dioxins and furans. More than 50 of these substances are known carcinogens. Others are known or suspected mutagens, capable of changing the genetic structure of cells. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently declared ETS to be a class-A-carcinogen.

Many of the components of ETS are also found in industrial effluents where they are treated as hazardous waste."

The italicized part, at the end of the above quoted paragraph, is the kicker, it exposes the inanity of the smoking cessation policy in light of the plethora of carcinogens coming from other sources. The same chemicals science has identified as carcinogens - that are found in tobacco combustion - are also found in industrial and transportation pollutants. The exhaust from your car has hundreds more of the 50 individual 'ETS's' the government has determined are present in second hand smoke. Half the pollutants in our air come from transportation - the other half from industrial effluents. The percentage of second had smoke, a non-smoker receives, in relation to the general atmospheric pollution in a day is so small it is not measurable.

Due to continuing scientific advances in chemistry,
and lax regulation (a product of the current political landscape), the risk to human health is unknown for most industrial effluents. So the breadth and toxicity of the carcinogens in our environment are unknown.

In a head long rush that rides the funding stream, scientists and bureaucrats set aside evidence that doesn't jive with the funded theory. As well, a disproportionate number of cancers are being lumped together as Smoking Related Cancers without any real evidence. Mouth cancer (following the path of a cigarette smoke), throat, esophagus, lung, heart, and now even digestive tract and colon cancer are called smoking 'related' cancers.

The government would rather talk about - and fund - preventable cancer solutions; rather than other, broader threats to public health. The government does not want to talk about possible liability, to the general public or groups of sick workers, related to environmental decisions made decades earlier by other governments.

The Federal and Provincial governments have been studiously ignoring health concerns around industrial and transportation related pollutants, since they publicly became aware of them in the 1970's.
Trade offs were made - the downsides of which the government of the day choose to accept - with out discussion, or consent of the people.

The 'Mommy State' knows best, and you don't need to know.

The liabilities resulting from a large class action suit could theoretically bankrupt the Federal government, a revolution, by another name. 'What if...' Federal Lawyers must have mussed back in 1974, '..What if, someday, the whole of Canada joined in a class action suit against the state over this stuff?'
The second-hand smoke/anti-smoking Do-Gooders Pol Grum is a convenient distraction that shields governments and corporations from public liability.

They are/were worried a decision Canada made back in 1945, may come back to haunt them. After WWII the victorious US army ran on tires, the auto industry was suitably tooled for for trucks; so the Americans decided the auto industry would be the back bone of the post-war economy - which dove tailed nicely with the needs of the United States Army.

Canada had no choice, taking a different 'road' would have been economic suicide. We are now experiencing a depreciating quality of life that is a result of that decision. Smog days, tainted water and exploding cancer rates threaten to bankrupt the Public Health Care System. The average cancer patient loses 30% of their normally projected work life, not to mention their quality of life in retirement. For 25% of cancer sufferers, the cost is premature death.
Do-Gooders Pol Grum, half the funding for which comes from government, don't want to talk about the wastefulness of tackling one source of carcinogens - while ignoring all the others - as they would be biting the hand that feeds them. They obey the unstated message communicated through government actions: funding for cancer research, yes; funding for other environmental toxicology, no.

Also, when
Do-Gooders Pol Grum use the word 'related' what they hope you are hearing is "caused", because they can't use 'caused', there is no proof. So the word-sters use 'related' a term you won't see in the scientific literature. As the following break-down illuminates, 'related' is a very big word.
As death is related to life; so is smoking.

In the Canadian Cancer society most recent report, CANADIAN CANCER STATISTICS 2006(pdf), statistical information that compares rates of cancer among smokers is not even mentioned, like they don't bother to keep that stat. Why these draconian laws to reduce smoking if your not even going to keep the stats to see if it's working?

I think this Cancer Prevention Experiment has run it's coarse; it's getting twisted and scary. Time to talk about the responsibility of corporations to record data about what effluents they are discharging. Time for a transparent study of what's in industrial effluents, and what effects of that toxicity is. Time to stop funding
Do-Gooders Pol Grum, and bring the discussion back with-in a scientific framework.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Italy Swapped 5 for 2 Alive, 1 Dead, no Corpse

(Updated April 25, 2007)

Daniele Mastrogiacomo on the phone, happy to be alive.
Photo credit

From the New York Times

ROME, March 21 —An Italian journalist who was held hostage for 15 days by the Taliban in lawless southern Afghanistan was ransomed for five Taliban prisoners, the Italian government and Afghan officials confirmed Wednesday.
For more click here

They kidnap 3 of NATO's; Italy negotiates 5 we captured; in return we receive two alive and news of the decapitation execution of the third man, the driver, whose body was discarded in a river.

The American Command in Afghanistan, under orders from the Whitehouse did not interfere in the trade.

The Italians who made the deal, through members of the Afghan Government, did so for domestic political reasons - most importantly the Italians electorates unwillingness to send Italian soldiers to fight and die in America's 'Global War on Terror'.

So basically, what happened was:
  1. They initiated the conversation by kidnapping 3
  2. NATO countries answer by negotiating for captured Taliban
  3. The trade is 5 Taliban for 2 live 1 dead, no corpse

(Update: The interpreter was killed as well, from Peace Journalism)

1. They initiated the conversation by kidnapping 3
2. NATO countries answer by negotiating for captured Taliban
3. The trade is 5 Taliban for 1 live 2 dead, no corpses

The way some media are reporting it(CBC Radio News), we got 1 back, the Reporter, for 5 Taliban! According to wide spread reports, the fate of the interpreter is unknown.

He is probably in hiding or relocating with relatives.

NATO member countries are running in different directions In Country for reasons that relate back to domestic politics. Most are involved in tight political coalitions and Deployment Rules have become political bargaining chips. For example: (my highlight)

From St. Petersburg Times

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that her country would not permanently expand its force, though she said German forces could be deployed in the south in an emergency.

Here on The Continent(sorry Europe), in Canada, we have a clear view of the thing - because Canadian troops have no such political restrictions placed on them. Canada is in full combat mode, ever increasingly interfaced with American forces. Late last year we expanded our capability with tanks, or as there known as in Iraq and increasingly in Afghanistan, shrapnel.

And soon the Taliban spring offensive begins.

The complexities of this occupation are about to get much more interesting.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Gonzales Set to Take the Fall, Tony Snow Running Interference for Karl Rove

Photos from Google Images

It feels like 1973 these days; the pattern slowly evolving, the inner sanctum of the Oval Office revealed layer by layer.

I believe the first order of business
should be the repeal of the Military Commissions Act; but impeachment hearings may take centre stage.

This is the first link between illegal activities in the administration and the Mastermind, Karl Rove.

From the New York Times

Published: March 16, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 15 — Karl Rove, the senior presidential adviser, inquired about firing United States attorneys in January 2005, e-mail messages released Thursday show. The request prompted a Justice Department aide to respond that Alberto R. Gonzales, soon to be confirmed as attorney general, favored replacing a group of “underperforming” prosecutors.

The 'Bushite Regime' Crash and Burn Odyssey is like the morning of 9/11; you can't believe it's a news report, it looks like a movie.

Only in this case you can't stop laughing hysterically.


Friday, March 2, 2007

Wind Storms; File Under: Climate Change = Various Weather

Photo from Jeff Clow

A new kind of storm came through Toronto March 1, '07. You can hear it coming; it sounds like a jet engine at full throttle.

At the same time in Georgia, "..what appeared to be a tornado..." collapsed the roof of a high school. All told, 20 people were killed in 3 states.

Thankfully, no deaths due to wind, up here, a thousand miles north of Georgia, we got 20cm of snow in Toronto, followed by freezing rain and high winds.

The cedars were covered with some freezing rain; and these gusts of wind would bend the tops of the trees sideways so much you'd think they'd break. You can hear it coming; it sounds like a jet engine at full throttle, seconds later the decibels subside, and then the wind howls insanely at up to 100km/hr.. The air around you, is buffeting chaotically, displacing, evacuating - like when the air-lock blows in Star Trek.

I'm left feeling that something very large, very powerful, reached down from the heavens; and just missed ripping the top of that cedar off.

The Stanley Park Wind Storm, Dec. 15 2006 and the Atlanta/Toronto storm of March 1, 2007 were both associated with the collision of two, vast weather systems. The Stanley Park Windstorm was remnants of a Pacific Typhoon.

The Atlanta/Toronto Storm was classic; a pacific warm air mass rushed across the continent and north into a Arctic air mass occupying the Hudson's Bay/Great Lakes region.

It was classic in every way, except the violent winds.

Note to Self: Windstorms Bad.

Photo credit: Tysonwilliams