Category Archives: Politics


Government Hypocrisy on Drugs

Of course, that topic could fill a book… but for now, note that the U.S. Government claims marijuana has no legitimate uses and insists on keeping it illegal. Why, then, has it patented the medical use of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants? Flipping hypocrites. I’ve always believed that the U.S. Government has no intention of eliminating drugs; it only wants to control their distribution and sale and the immense profits therefrom. Call me paranoid now!

NDP Motion to Let War Resisters Stay Passes

According to an NDP news release:

An NDP motion calling on Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to allow Iraq war resisters to stay in Canada received strong support from Parliament this week. NDP Immigration Critic Olivia Chow is urging Harper to respect the will of regular Canadians who think George Bush’s war in Iraq is wrong and act immediately to ensure American war resisters are able to become permanent residents of Canada.

It’s nice to know Parliament supports this, but Harper will never, ever piss off his buddy George II by doing anything about it. It’s interesting that during the first Gulf War, Canada gave an Iraqi officer refugee status and permission to stay in Canada on the grounds that he was being forced to take part in an illegal war. Americans making the same claim in the second Iraq war were told to pack their bags and head back to Leavenworth. (Under Mr. Dithers’ Liberal government.)

Acetaminophen: Most common cause of acute liver failure in US

This is one of my pet peeves (I have many!) Whenever I tell people about this, they think I’m making it up, so read the results of the Acute Liver Failure Study Group for yourself if you think this is implausible.

What really burns me is:

  • The manufacturers of acetaminophen (also known by the brand names Tylenol, Paracetamol and sometimes also as APAP) continue to insist the stuff is perfectly safe and never provide any warning stronger than the usual “there is enough medicine in this bottle to seriously harm a child”. How about “there is enough medicine in this bottle to kill several adults in one of the most grisly ways imaginable”? (Trust me, I’ve seen someone die of liver failure. It’s horrifying. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Clearly in the interests of “harm escalation” (as opposed to harm reduction), most narcotic analgesics sold in North America are adulterated with acetaminophen. I say “adulterated” because if you’re in the kind of agony that requires oxycodone or hydrocodone to manage, the APAP isn’t doing a thing for your pain. It’s only there to make sure that chronic pain patients are likely to come the aforementioned grisly end after years of inevitably escalating dosages. Percocet, Vicodin… all the usual suspects are polluted with a hepatoxin just to make sure people will get hurt if they take too much. Doesn’t this sound like it should be against the law?!

The pharmaceutical manufacturers and government regulatory agencies will no doubt claim complete ignorance of the harm they’ve been needlessly inflicting on people for years. But any idiot with a web browser and access to a search engine could tell you that the one thing that’s absolutely certain about TV’s beloved character Dr. House is that he’s gonna need a new liver very very soon.

The moral of the story is two-fold:

  • Always read the ingredients on any OTC medication you’re taking. Many of them contain APAP. IF you take two different APAP-containing medications at the same time (e.g. one for flu syptoms and one for cough and sore throat), you could be in serious trouble. This type of thing accounts for a large percentage of accidental APAP overdoses. Also make sure you know exactly how much APAP is in any narcotic analgesics your doctor or dentist prescribes for you. Ask the pharmacist, if you have to.
  • If your doctor ever needs to presribe a narcotic analgesic for you, ask him or her to give you one without APAP. Point out the obvious fact that a little Tylenol isn’t going to do anything for your pain, and it’s toxic to the liver besides. A doctor’s first duty is to do no harm and there’s a good chance are he or she will see the logic in your request.

I have to end this little rant with the disclaimer that I am neither a doctor nor a pharmacist, so don’t take any of this as medical advice. Just talk to your doctor and your pharmacist about what amounts of acetaminophen are safe and whether you’re exceeding those limits. Look out for yourself (no one else is going to!) and be safe.

“What’s Your Excuse, Mr. Gore?”

Despite my plea of poverty I broke down a bought Gore’s “Assault on Reason” (it was on sale!) The overwhelming feeling it left me with was: if this man refuses to run for the Presidency of the United States in 2008, what excuse could he possibly give?

After arguing that America desperately needs a return to reason in politics and public discourse; after proving he can win a Presidential election; after demonstrating his ability to communicate with and motivate large and diverse sections of American society; and being the only potential candidate with serious qualifications for the job… would it not be cowardly to decline?

It’s never really possible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and US Presidential politics is a vicious and dangerous sport, but… I have to wonder: if I knew I might be able to make such a dramatic difference to a country and to a planet, would I not feel a powerful obligation to try? What kind of person would I be if I just walked away?

I wish I knew what was going through that man’s mind! The most I can do is sincerely wish all the best of luck to those US citizens and groups working hard to “draft” Gore into running. It’s not just America that needs a rational and passionate leader. The whole world is pining for someone to step up and cut through the bull****. Maybe he’s not the person for the job but since no one else is exactly looking good for it either, what is there to lose?

Anyone but Ignatieff!

Well, with the Liberal leadership vote less than 24 hours away, no one seems to know—or really care—who’s going to win… as long as it isn’t Michael Ignatieff! Tim, over at Peace, order, and good government, eh? has a pull-no-punches post on exactly why “I hate Michael Ignatieff”. Then there’s always Rick Mercer’s take: “Condescending and arrogant… he’s the whole package!” Unfortunately with convention politics being what they are, even the fact that anyone who’s lived in this country for any part of the last 30 years can’t stand the man doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t win! Ooooh…the suspense!

Update: CBC convention blogger Robert Sheppard sums it up well:

In the end it came down to the battle of the academics. The one who stayed home and slugged it out in the trenches of the Liberal party, defending federalism at its most unpopular in his home province, won.
The one who went abroad and earned himself an enviable reputation in the eyes of the world lost.
It was almost as simple as that except that Stephane Dion also triumphed by beating one of the most sophisticated political machines the Liberal party could offer. And, somehow, he seemed to do it in a way that brought everyone together.

The Prime Minister and the Press

The stand-off between the Parliamentary Press Gallery and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pretty amusing to observe. And so are the reactions to it, as blogged by The Toronto Star’s Antonia Zerbisias. After 5+ years of watching the White House Press Corps lick King George’s boots, it’s hard to believe that anyone in the press has a spine anymmore. But perhaps it’s precisely because of the dramatic failure of White House press coverage that some members of the PPG (I can’t resist noting that The Star’s representative was not one of those who took a stand) are trying to take back their jobs and challenge the government for the good of the public.

We’ll see how this plays out. There’s still time for the press to return to shamelessness. In the meantime it’s gratifying to see Harper make his first Texan-sized faux pas. BTW, pogge has an interesting alternate analysis of how the press can turn Harper’s political (mis)calculation to their advantage.

“Something bad is going to happen.”

The New Yorker outs the Bush admminstration’s plans for tactical nuclear war against Iran. Don’t read it if, like me, you suffer from Post Cold War Nuclear Stress Disorder. Or if you have an unreasonable fear of psychotic Messiah wannabes itching for the Apocalypse. (If you think I’m talking about the Iranian regime, you’re right. If you think I’m talking about the American regime, you’re right.) It totally f’ed up my Saturday morning, that’s for sure. All we can do is pray that Seymour Hersh has been smoking something very nasty.

Via The War in Context.

For more on the US government’s nuclear nightmares, see the essay “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” in Foreign Affairs.

Michael Moore on the Canadian Election

Another warning from one of our friends down south:

I know you have a great sense of humor, and certainly a well-developed sense of irony, but this is no longer funny.

First, you have the courage to stand against the war in Iraq — and then you elect a prime minister who’s for it. You declare gay people have equal rights — and then you elect a man who says they don’t. You give your native peoples their own autonomy and their own territory — and then you vote for a man who wants to cut aid to these poorest of your citizens.

Read Michael Moore’s complete letter.

I guess that’s my last comment on the campaign. Tomorrow, we vote.

“Don’t Make The Same Mistake We Did”

Frankly, I’m finding the Canadian election just too depressing to write anything about. I have terrifying visions of Stephen Harper grinning like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary, barely able to control his glee: “I’m the Prime Minister. I AM THE PRIME MINISTER! BWAA-HA-HAHAHA.” Whether this happens before or after he begs the White House for permission to “perform a sexual favour” for George Bush in the Rose Garden, my imagination can’t encompass.

So to avoid having to say much myself, I offer this post from an American blogger at the Huffington Post. Russell Shaw urges us not to make the same mistake Americans did in 2000. I can’t say I entirely agree with his “don’t waste your vote on the NDP” view, but it’s nice to see that someone down there cares about what happens to us.

I know that it is tempting for you Canadian progressives tired of scandal to vote NDP, sit this one out, or vote for the Conservative Party in the hopes that they won’t be all that conservative.

But I have to tell you that many of us (not me, but many fellow progressives) made that mistake back in 2000. And we are about to pay for it in ways that frankly, are both depressing and a bit scary.

No matter how much you despise Mr. Dithers, don’t give the wing-nut right a foothold in this country. Some mistakes take decades to undo, and Canada can’t afford it. ‘Nuff said (by me, anyway.)

Update: I may not have the heart to write about Canadian federal politics right now, but others do and they do a much better job of it. I recommend the blog “Peace, order and good government, eh?” as a progressive place to start.

The $5-billion Rip-off

With regard to America’s illegal collection of $5-billion in tarrifs on Canadian softwood lumber, and their refusal to abide by the NAFTA rulings against them, Bloc Québecois leader Gilles Duceppe today put it with characteristic bluntness:

The American strategy is very clear. They want to gain time. They know they’ll lose in the end, but if the winners are dead—I mean, it’s not a win for us.

Well said. Canadians (specifically, the Mulroney Conservatives) foolishly entered into an agreement with the U.S. believing that the world’s most belligerent bully would abide by its signed agreements. Now that it’s clear to the entire world that America explicitly rejects the rule of law where the law infringes on its interests, maybe our politicians won’t be so gullible in future. I wouldn’t bet my life on it, though.