Iran vs Tonkin II

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In the 1960s, the United States was spoiling for a fight in East Asia.

In 1964, the ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident gave them the justification they needed to attack and invade Vietnam. For those not familiar with the situation, please check out this background story.

The resulting disaster set the policy tone for the entire Asian region for several decades to come. And countless billions wasted on the military machine.

Since almost the same time in history, the United States is spoiling for a fight with Iran.

Ever since their revolution in the 1970s, there have been efforts to alienate Iran from the rest of the world. Attempts at embargoes have failed. They are too large and have too much oil.

Nuclear power efforts have been labelled as attempts by Iran to create nuclear weapons.

Iraq was taken down shortly after 9/11, even though perpetrators were from Saudi Arabia and others were hiding in Afghanistan.

There are some theories as to why Iran is consistently in the cross-hairs of US war hawks. I’m not informed enough to really have an opinion on this, but the group of non-central bank countries is dwindling to a mere few. Cuba, Sudan, Libya, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea have been the last holdouts.

Now it’s just Cuba, North Korea and Iran.

Yesterday’s events signal a return to the positioning of ‘THEY STRUCK FIRST’. Whether this is true or not, we’ll probably all collectively never know the real truth about who made the first move.

But know this: the US will make the NEXT move and it will be a doozy.

We can already see the Oil Barons wringing their hands, giddy with the prospect that oil prices are finally starting to climb. Even though most of the world is moving away from carbon, it’ll be a last wonderful grab at the pocket books of gas consumers everywhere.

And Canada? Maybe Justin Trudeau will back off getting involved, but with Trump in charge and Andy Smear breathing down his neck, I worry that Canada will get pulled into an incursion that we cannot afford.

Maniacs run this planet. How do we make it stop?

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It IS Genocide

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The Toronto Star has come out acknowledging what Justin Trudeau was also brave enough to state: what ‘we’ as white people have done to the First Nations people amounts to genocide and risks being labelled as an intentional plan to eradicate them from this continent.

As Tanya Talaga writes,

I should have realized that the inquiry’s finding that Indigenous peoples are the victims of a “race-based” genocide empowered by colonial structures would be mocked by pundits in the media.

Of course, this understanding of the wrongs ‘we’ have committed is in addition to the Commission itself and the many First Nations people that are striving to find their place in the post-colonial Canada 1,000 years after the Vikings hit the shores.

In Newfoundland, the genocide was a ‘success’. The British placed a bounty on every dead head of a Beothuk person, leading to their rapid extinction and last known survivor dying in 1829.

Today, we push alcohol, bad water, drugs and starvation on First Nations people on top of bad relocation plans and ridiculous Western religious icons to supercede their own belief systems. We STILL do it.

Sensitivity and a profound sense of humility is what is needed next.

By ALL of us.

It’s time to right the wrongs.

Admitting the problem is an important first step.

Our Prime Minister is right. Action can happen when we stop denying there’s a problem.

There are so many things we can do. To my knowledge, we don’t allow First Nations organizations to establish charitable status, so Canadians can’t even donate to them. We have to donate through other non-First Nations organizations that may wind up perpetuating the notion of genocide and separation.

Funds transferred by different levels of government always get decried as a ‘waste of taxpayers money’. We perpetuate the same stereotypes time and again. Despite this motif, we still have to find ways to get money and infrastructure to their communities.

We have to help with negotiating land claims and settlements.

We cannot ram pipelines and other resource projects down their throats, assuming that all they want is money.

Attempts to ‘educate’ yield the same results: indoctrination into Colonial ‘ideas’ and ways, interference and control.

It’s overwhelming, but we have to start to move in the correct direction so that history will see this generation as the problem solvers and not the fools who kept their heads in the sand.

This is harder to write than I thought it might be, but we need to find ways to set our First Nations friends free.

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Why Do Conservatives Fear Women?

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I was struck by this vote in the House of Commons the other day.

The entire House of Commons stood to recognize reproductive rights in Canada, including the right to abortion.

EXCEPT the Conservatives.

They seem to hate women having rights, including the women.

Why is this?

Why would the Cons want to emulate the worst-case scenarios in the United States, where women risk jail terms and possible capital punishment for taking care of their own bodies and economic situation?

What a fucking embarrassment for the Conservatives. They should be VERY ashamed of themselves.

And anyone that votes for them? Shame on you.

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And the winner is … NO ONE

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Jody Wilson-Raybould and Joan Philpott have taken the road to …

Nowhere.

It turns out either no one will take them or they won’t join others.

Report card summary: ‘she doesn’t play well with the other kids and pays too much attention to sellout political pundits’.

I’m glad to see that they will both run as independents. With any luck, they will lose because they don’t have the backing of mainstream parties.

Time will tell.

But based on our current system of politics, I would note vote for them if they were running in my riding because the whole point is to try to elect someone with a voice in the House of Commons.

This is not to be confused with someone who’s good at making noise.

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Pharma: Trustworthy or Worthy of Oversight?

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For anyone that reads this blog, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of big pharma.

I have a lot of emotional components to this bias, but I do my very best to source real journalistic resources or scientific documentation.

This story from the folks at CBS hopefully illustrates why I think pharma companies across the globe should become subject to a much higher level of oversight than  currently exists.

When a company like Merck uses vast resources to basically shame members of the professional medical community, we have to pause and ask not ‘why’ but ‘how soon’ do we implement tighter rules and oversight of the pharma industry.

Here’s some context:

According to The Australian, Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. One email said:

We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live …

The plaintiffs’ lawyer gave this assessment:

It gives you the dark side of the use of key opinion leaders and thought leaders … if (they) say things you don’t like to hear, you have to neutralise them … It does suggest a certain culture within the organisation about how to deal with your opponents and those who disagree with you.

The Australian:

The court was told that James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University, wrote to the then Merck head Ray Gilmartin in October 2000 to complain about the treatment of some of his researchers who had criticised the drug.”Even worse were allegations of Merck damage control by intimidation,” he wrote, … “This has happened to at least eight (clinical) investigators … I suppose I was mildly threatened myself but I never have spoken or written on these issues.”

The allegations come on the heels of revelations that Merck created a fake medical journal— the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine — in which to publish studies about Vioxx; had pop songs commissioned about Vioxx to inspire its staff, and paid ghostwriters to draft articles about the drug.

See, they are a critical component of the cost and effectiveness and if they’re resorting to the creation of fake journals, threatening those that question them and engaging in a war on truth, we must stand against them and insist that our health is more important than their profits.

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