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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

ÇA SENT LA MANIPULATION DES JEUNES À PLEIN NEZ !

Nous avons publié ce commentaire dans le forum de C.A.G.E. en date d'hier:

En voilà un mouvement ‘’spontané’’ des jeunes qui ont la santé de leurs semblables à cœur, diront certains en lisant l’article Popularité des cigarillos Des élèves partent en guerre .

Effectivement, leur geste aurait été louable s’il avait été aussi spontané que LCN a tenté de le faire paraître. Encore plus louable aurait été une campagne spontanée venant de tout cœur visant à sensibiliser davantage leurs pairs aux dangers du tabac au lieu de se laisser manipuler par la ‘’politicaillerie’’ des lobbies anti-tabac qui diabolisent le tabac dans toutes ses formes tout en insistant de le garder légal !

En effet, en cherchant la source de cet article, on se rend vite compte que cela est parrainé par le Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la Direction de santé publique de l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal.

Le communiqué de presse lui-même a dû coûté tout près de 1000$. Nous le savons, puisque C.A.G.E. a déjà vérifié les prix dans le passé, mais n’a pas les moyens financiers pour s’en payer.

Le titre de cet article aurait dû lire : ‘’Financés et manipulés par des lobbies anti-tabac, les jeunes partent en croisade contre les cigarillos.’’

C’est à se demander si ces jeunes sont endoctrinés d’entretenir les mêmes croyances envers l’industrie de l’alcool voire à ce qu’elle arnaque les jeunes avec les bonbons fourrés de liqueurs alcoolisées ! Aussi, comment est-ce que ces ''bien pensants'' expliquent à ces jeunes que la consommation de la marijuana et autres drogues plus fortes auprès de leurs paires augmente et ce n’est pourtant pas en raison des emballages aux couleurs vives ni au goût caramélisé !

Que les lobbies anti-tabac attaquent l’industrie du tabac impunément est une chose, mais qu’ils se servent de la jeunesse qui ne comprend ou si peu la politique derrière l’enjeu du tabac pour faire passer leurs messages, manque d’éthique et de morale.

Qu’attendent ces bien-pensants pour faire des pressions auprès du gouvernement pour instaurer un âge légal pour fumer? Même si nous ne croyons pas qu’une telle loi aurait des résultats fracassants, elle serait au moins un peu plus cohérente avec leur discours. En attendant, ça sent l’hypocrisie et la manipulation des jeunes à plein nez !

M. Luc Martial, (en charge des affaires gouvernementales pour Casa Cubana, et anciennement avec l'Association pour les droits des non-fumeurs, le Conseil canadien sur le tabac et la santé, le Centre national de la documentation sur le tabac et la santé et le gouvernement fédéral (Santé Canada)) semble être exactement du même avis que nous si l'on juge par le communiqué de presse qu'il a envoyé à ce sujet en date d'hier: L'industrie anti-tabac se sert des jeunes pour promouvoir leur propre agenda et faire de la fausse représententation

Monday, 28 April 2008

CHEMICAL LOBOTOMY

Not only are the ‘’do-gooders’’ lobbying aggressively to coerce people in giving up pleasurable habits, their pharmaceutical partners are meddling with that part of the brain that controls hedonistic experiences, as we understand from the article below. The result? The very same drugs that are allegedly destined to help smokers and the obese lead healthier physical lives, cause their users to feel depressed, have nightmares and can even lead them to take their own lives.

It is only natural for the makers of these drugs to tout that it cannot be proven that it’s the drugs’ fault, but let’s not forget that it is these same interested parties that claim that the debate is over when it comes to smoke and obesity when in fact the studies on these issues are at best inconclusive.

Articles such as this one do not only flash red lights for smokers and the obese to weigh all sides when taking powerful prescription drugs, but also prove to our readers that smoking and obesity is big business for drug makers. Is it any wonder that they finance in billions anti-smoking and anti-obesity campaigns?

Risk of depression dims hopes for anti-addiction 'super pills' to curb overeating, smoking

CHICAGO - Two years ago, scientists had high hopes for new pills that would help people quit smoking, lose weight and maybe kick other tough addictions like alcohol and cocaine.

The pills worked in a novel way, by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the feel-good response from smoking or eating. Now it seems the drugs may block pleasure too well, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide.

Margaret Bastian of suburban Rochester, N.Y., was among patients who reported problems with Chantix, a highly touted quit-smoking pill from Pfizer Inc. that has been linked to dozens of reports of suicides and hundreds of suicidal behaviors.

"I started to get severely depressed and just going down into that hole ... the one you can't crawl out of," said Bastian, whose doctor took her off Chantix after she swallowed too many sleeping pills and other medicines one night.

Side effects also plague two other drugs:

_ Rimonabant, an obesity pill sold as Acomplia in Europe, was tied to higher rates of depression and a suicide in a study last month. The maker, Sanofi-Aventis SA, still hopes to win its approval in the United States.

_ Taranabant, a similar pill in late-stage testing, led to higher rates of depression and other side effects in a study last month. Its maker, Merck & Co., stopped testing it at middle and high doses.

The makers of the new drugs insist they are safe, although perhaps not for everyone, such as people with a history of depression. Having to restrict the drugs' use would be a big setback because it would deprive the very people who need help the most, since addictions and depression often go hand-in-hand, doctors say.

A bigger fear is that the whole approach may be in trouble. Researchers say blocking pleasure, especially the way the obesity drugs do, might take the fun out of many things, not just the harmful substances and behaviors these drugs target.

It may be possible to improve the drugs so they act more precisely. Chantix targets a different pathway — nicotine pleasure switches — and in a different way than the obesity drugs, which aim at the same pathway that gives pot smokers the munchies. That is one reason many doctors are optimistic that any risks about Chantix will prove manageable.

But doctors are no longer talking about so-called "super pills" for a host of addictions.

"It certainly diminishes my enthusiasm" to see these side effects, said Mark Egli, co-leader of medicine development at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The buzz started four years ago, when studies showed rimonabant helped people shed weight and keep it off longer than previous pills had. It also was being tested for smoking cessation. The Associated Press and other media reported extensively on prospects for a pill that might tackle two big problems at once.

Rimonabant won approval in Europe. But advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration opposed it because of depression risks that became clearer with further study. Sanofi withdrew its U.S. application and said it hoped to resubmit after more research.

But in a new study last month, 43 percent of people taking rimonabant developed psychiatric issues versus 28 percent of those on dummy pills. One rimonabant patient committed suicide and one in the placebo group tried to. Unlike previous studies, this one did not exclude people who had depression in the past.

"I felt it was important to do an 'all-comers' study" to see how real-world patients might fare, said Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Steven Nissen, who led the work.

Sanofi now tells doctors to avoid giving the drug to people with a history of depression, said a company vice president, Dr. Douglas Greene.

"We are at the cutting edge of being able to manage this risk," he said.

Meanwhile, Merck had bad news from a study of its obesity drug, taranabant, which showed an increased risk of depression and other side effects among people taking medium and high doses.

"We're doing a lot to define this risk-benefit," including adding another year to all studies under way and going forward only with the lowest dose, said a Merck vice president, Dr. John Amatruda.

Others were less optimistic.

"The door is closing" on this approach, said Dr. James Stein, a University of Wisconsin-Madison cardiologist. If another study he is helping lead does not show benefit for rimonabant, "this drug's already slim chances of approval will be even more jeopardized," he said.

The situation is murkier with Chantix, which went on sale in the U.S. in 2006 and is sold as Champix in other countries.

The drug binds to the same spots in the brain that nicotine does when people smoke, causing release of a "feel-good" chemical, dopamine. Taking it is supposed to keep any inhaled nicotine from giving the same buzz.

In February, the FDA said a link between Chantix and psychiatric problems appears "increasingly likely." Pfizer added warnings to the drug's label and said that although a link had not been proved, it could not be ruled out.

But a Pfizer vice president, Dr. Ponni Subbiah, said nicotine withdrawal and even quitting smoking can cause mood swings and depression.

It is hard to know "what is causing what," she said. "We know that smokers are at higher risk of suicide than non-smokers, and heavy smokers are at higher risk than lighter smokers."

Some doctors agreed.

"Psychologically, just giving up this 'friend' that they've had many years in their life can be depressing," said Dr. Geoffrey Williams, co-director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center and a paid speaker for Pfizer.

Jeanne Morrison, 63, of suburban of Louisville, Ky., looked forward to giving up cigarettes when she and a friend went on Chantix. The friend did well, but Morrison lasted only 10 days on it.

"I got so depressed, I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to do anything, and I'm a very high-energy person. It was a depression like I've never experienced in my life," she said. She also had "major, major nightmares. These would wake me up, and I would be absolutely shaking and sweating."

Several doctors said such reactions are rare, and that most patients do well on Chantix.
Morrison's doctor, psychiatrist Dr. Jesse Wright at the University of Louisville, said Chantix helped one of his schizophrenic patients, "who smoked like a smokestack," without worsening his psychological symptoms.

"The risk-benefit ratio is still very much on the side of use of the medication," Williams said. "The alternative, smoking, is extremely highly risky."

MÊME JOUR AUTRE DISCOURS

Même jour, autre discours sur l’ingérence du gouvernement dans notre vie privée. Inutile de souligner que nous sommes tout à fait d’accord avec l’opinion de Me Julius Grey qui est en contradiction totale avec l’opinion de M. Benoît Dupont que nous avons commenté plus tôt.

Une démocratie totalitaire

Depuis quelques mois, l'offensive de notre société contre les libertés fondamentales prend de l'ampleur. Tant la droite que la gauche y participent avec enthousiasme.

Nous savons tous que nos gouvernements ne cessent de renforcer le droit criminel, d'augmenter les pénalités, de créer des lois d'exception pour combattre un terrorisme en grande partie fictif et faciliter la surveillance et l'invasion de la vie privée.

Ces dernières semaines, le gouvernement fédéral a proposé de restreindre la liberté artistique des réalisateurs et de donner au ministre de l'Immigration des pouvoirs absolus. Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé une collaboration entre notre police et celle de New York qui facilitera le partage des renseignements, et même des soupçons.

VIE PRIVÉE

Beaucoup ignorent qu'en même temps, la soi-disant « gauche » des lobbys, chacun muni d'un agenda particulier et de sa propre version de rectitude politique, est en train de porter des coups tout aussi cinglants à la liberté et à la vie privée.

La Cour du Québec vient de confirmer la validité d'une clause dans un bail qui interdit à un locataire de fumer chez lui. Si le tabagisme n'est pas à recommander, il n'est pas pour autant illégal. Notre législation a déjà voulu assurer à un locataire les mêmes droits et presque la même sécurité que ceux du propriétaire.

Ce principe jadis si évident sombre devant notre hystérie anti-tabagisme. Il n'est pas trop tard pour contester cette décision devant la Cour supérieure, mais pour l'instant, c'est un coup dur pour la vie privée.

QUESTION DE LANGUES

Les préoccupations légitimes pour l'avenir du français ont inspiré des demandes visant à empêcher les immigrants d'utiliser l'anglais, surtout dans les communications avec les institutions publiques. A-t-on oublié les notions d'égalité des citoyens et de liberté de s'exprimer comme on veut ?

Nous pouvons certes restreindre l'accès à l'école anglaise et exiger un meilleur enseignement du français, mais la situation incertaine du français ne justifie ni les incursions dans la vie privée, ni la création de catégories de citoyens.

TABOUS ET RELIGIONS

Notre société continue de réprimer les paroles qui paraissent blessantes ou haineuses, sans comprendre la nature étouffante de ce type de législation et le danger que des choses importantes mais impopulaires deviennent difficiles à exprimer.

On vient de rendre public le contenu des cours d'éthique et de culture religieuse pour nos écoles. Hélas, ce cours est un autre exemple de rectitude politique et de répression de la pensée indépendante.

Notre peur d'offenser nous empêche de discuter des sectes. De plus, on ne parle qu'en bien de toutes les religions et on omet de mentionner l'athéisme ou la morale sans religion comme alternatives légitimes.

Pourtant, l'humanisme laïc et le rejet de toute religion sont des éléments très importants dans la tradition occidentale.

Chacun de ces accrocs à la liberté est plutôt mineur. Toutefois, ensemble, ils présagent une société qui garde les formes d'une démocratie mais impose un conformisme rigoureux.

Une société où le concept douteux de « droit collectif » non seulement remplace la solidarité entre individus, qui était à la base de grandes réformes sociales au 20e siècle, mais obtient une préséance sur les libertés individuelles.
Bref, une démocratie totalitaire.

DES ''LITTLE BROTHERS'' DÉSARMÉS

Dans un article du Devoir, on nous présente le point de vue du criminologue Benoît Dupont en ce qui a rapport à l’ingérence de l’État sur la vie privée du citoyen.

M. Dupont, qui admet lui-même aller contre le courant, tente de nous convaincre qu’avec la technologie moderne et plus particulièrement l’internet, Big Brother est sous surveillance d’une foule de little brothers, notamment les citoyens qui le tiennent ainsi responsable de ses actes répréhensibles.

M. Dupont est d’avis que l’envahissement de l’État dans la vie privée, peut être combattu par la capacité de résistance de l’être humain et que le message des protecteurs de droits civils est donc trop alarmiste.

Nous n’adhérons pas au point de vue de M. Dupont. Il est effectivement vrai que le citoyen dispose des moyens technologiques peu dispendieux pour rendre le gouvernement imputable. Cependant, le citoyen manque l’arme la plus puissante pour combattre la gouvernance excessive : le pouvoir de changer les lois à sa guise. En effet, l’État détient exclusivement cette arme qui lui donne la latitude d’amender ou instaurer toute loi au nom de la sécurité publique, la santé publique, l’ordre social, et tout autre motif qu’Il juge pertinent à ses objectifs convoités. En plus, pour chaque véhicule technologique que le citoyen dispose, l’État a recours à
d’autres moyens beaucoup plus sophistiqués qui sont hors de la portée du commun des mortels.

M. Dupont avance que l’Amérique du Nord est loin du totalitarisme. Sous le régime communiste démentiel, nous dit-il, l’État engageait une personne pour dix citoyens à surveiller. Il oublie que nul besoin pour l’État d’embaucher des ‘’surveillants’’ des lois et des mœurs, quand il n’a qu’à faire la promotion de la délation pour ainsi arriver aux mêmes résultats sans aucun frais à débourser.

Il n’y a peut-être pas de cataclysme encore, comme M. Dupont constate, mais faut-il attendre qu’il en ait vraiment avant de sonner l’alarme ? La vie du citoyen est de plus en plus réglementée et ce n’est pas parce-que sa capacité d’adaptation lui permet de fonctionner encore, que son quotidien, et pire encore, son mental, n’est pas affecté pour autant. Il y a un mouvement de protestation qui germine dans le cœur des citoyens qui en ont assez des lois répressives et nous sommes d’avis que les événements récents des attaques aux voitures policières à deux reprises à Montréal, ne sont pas le fruit du hasard. D’ailleurs c’est ce sentiment de révolte latent qui pousse le citoyen de devenir un little brother qui se fait un devoir d’épier Big Brother. Le contexte social actuel en est un de méfiance envers son voisin, son collègue de travail, son ami, son conjoint et son gouvernement qui est loin d’inspirer la confiance. Lorsque les ‘’leaders’’ provoquent la méfiance, le peuple réagit par des actes de défiance.

M. Dupont confond également la liberté d’exposer sa vie privée par choix, avec l’ingérence de l’État dans son intimité. Face Book et My Space, ne sont pas imposés par législation au citoyen et si plusieurs jeunes et moins jeunes adhèrent au concept, c’est par désir et plaisir de socialiser avec leurs concitoyens. Ils exposent d’ailleurs, seulement ce qu’ils veulent bien exposer. Le parallèle avec l’ingérence de l’État ne tient pas la route.

Lire l’article du Devoir au : L'entrevue -

De Big Brother aux Little Brothers

Sunday, 27 April 2008

DALTON MCGUINTY'S FABRICATIONS

On February 7, 2008 we sent a letter to the Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty urging him to take a look at the science used to justify car smoking bans. Our letter read as follows:

To the honorable Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty

Smoking in the presence of children is in no way, means or form to be considered parental neglect or abuse unless the child has a condition that second hand smoke can aggravate. Risk does not automatically mean harm, especially when the risk factors are hardly at levels where cause can be inferred and all confounding factors can be dismissed. Epidemiology is too subjective, biased and inaccurate, for any legislation to be based on its weak and inconsistent conclusions. Case in point, the WHO’s biggest and most extensive study (Bofetta et al 1998) surprisingly found that second hand smoke protects children from lung cancer. Should we base legislation on this allegedly serious ‘’scientific’’ study and force all parents to smoke in the presence of children to save them from lung cancer?

One of the reasons provided by the OLA to justify car bans is the following: "Asthma in children is growing at an unsettling rate. We know that tobacco smoke is not only a known trigger for causing asthma episodes, it can actually cause asthma in healthy children.’’Not only is this message not coherent with the very well-documented increase of allergies proportionately to the decrease of smoking for the last 30 years, but the same epidemiology that the OLA uses to justify legislation has found the exact opposite results to those that they claim. The conclusion from a 32-year population-based cohort study, published on December 3, 2007 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, does not quite correspond with the OLA's message. In fact it concluded that ‘’Personal and parental smoking is associated with a reduced risk of allergic sensitization in people with a family history of atopy.’’

With only a bit of digging, anyone, can find at least one or more studies that report the exact opposite finding for each and every statement various anti-smoking groups have made to justify legislation against smoking in cars with children. The bottom line is, science does not conclusively back up any of their claims.Who then better than the parent, under the advice of the child’s pediatrician, knows best when a situation aggravates their child's condition and when it doesn’t? One could argue that some parents are negligent and could care less about their child’s medical condition and yes, unfortunately such parents do exist -- thankfully in small numbers -- and by all means these children should be protected from this type of parental neglect. However, the fact is that there are laws already in place to protect children from parental neglect and abuse and it is those laws that should be enforced rigorously instead of wasting our already deficient human and financial resources to put ‘’feel good’’ laws in place that would not only be very difficult and expensive to enforce, but that would target all parents when in fact it is the few irresponsible ones that should be targeted.

Let’s not forget that if we’re going to legislate smoking behavior in order to save the children from their parents, we would have to review many risky habits that we allow our children to be subjected to, and legislate them in the same way, since they are all decisions parents make that pose a risk to their children. Such risky habits would include taking the child outside during smog alerts, driving in poor weather or in poor visibility conditions with a child, taking the child outdoors during mosquito season, caring for the child while we are afflicted with a viral or infectious disease, lighting candles, burning incense, lighting a fireplace in the presence of a child, the list is long and endless. The fact that we don't, is clear proof that these anti-smoking lobbying efforts have absolutely nothing to do with children's health. Even the most caring parents take some type of risk while a child is in their custody and under their authority and that is perfectly acceptable. Why should it be any different when it comes to smokers to the point that special legislation is required?

In light of the above, we respectfully ask you to reconsider your decision to implement this very intrusive bundle of legislation.

C.A.G.E.

On April 23, 2008 we received from the premier, what seems to be an automated response that not only did not comment on the studies and arguments we brought forth, but in fact repeated the same rhetoric that has become so typical of the anti-tobacco movement.

What are we to make of this letter? That Premier McGuinty could care less about scientific integrity? That he could care less about parental autonomy? That the only citizens whose voices count are those who agree with the state line of thinking? Or that even the truth is of no importance to him as Dr. Michael Siegel has pointed out in his latest entry in his blog: Ontario Health Ministry Tells Public that Secondhand Smoke Causes Cardiac Arrest Among Children

Following is Mr. McGuinty’s reply followed by excerpts from Dr. Siegel’s comments:

Thanks for your online message regarding smoking in vehicles with child passengers.

As your government, we have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians, especially our children. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of disease and death in Ontario, costing our health care system and our economy billions of dollars every year.

Our government is very concerned about the health of children who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke levels in cars can be up to 60 times greater than in a smoke-free home. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, cancer and heart disease. We have listened to Ontarians’ concerns and the recommendations of the Ontario Medical Association. That is why, this spring, we are proposing legislation to ban smoking in cars when children are present.

The move will be the next logical step in our efforts to protect Ontarians from the harmful effects of smoking. It would bring us in line with Nova Scotia, Louisiana, Arkansas and California, jurisdictions that have already enacted similar bans.

Since our government launched its Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy — which includes one of the toughest anti-smoking laws in North America — tobacco use in the province has fallen substantially. In fact, between 2003 and 2006 tobacco consumption in Ontario has fallen by over 30 per cent. Our strategy has helped people quit smoking and has prevented many young people from starting. Now we are working to protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens from the serious health-related consequences of second-hand smoke.

Thanks again for contacting me.

Dalton McGuinty Premier of Ontario

Excerpt from Dr. Siegel’s comment:

…there is simply no way to justify or explain the statement that secondhand smoke causes cardiac arrest among exposed children. There is no degree of leniency on the terminology that we can allow that would enable us to interpret that statement as being anything other than blatantly inaccurate.

Children's hearts do not stop beating suddenly because of exposure to secondhand smoke. There is no evidence that secondhand smoke exposure causes acute coronary events of any kind among children. This claim seems to be pulled completely out of the blue. It's not like the claim is even an exaggeration of a claim for which there is evidence. In other words, this is not merely an exaggeration, it is a complete fabrication.

Even worse, the Ministry is claiming not merely that secondhand smoke causes cardiac arrest among children, but that medical science clearly shows that this is the case.I do not understand why the Ministry of Health Promotion would fabricate such a claim.

And as he reiterated on the ‘’comments’’ section of that same thread:
….
What strikes me so much about the Ontario health ministry's claim is that it doesn't represent an exaggeration or distortion of published research. Instead, it appears to be an outright fabrication. I really don't understand how they even came up with this claim about sudden cardiac arrest in children. It's not even remotely plausible.

Here's why it doesn't make sense to me: If you were going to purposely fabricate an effect of secondhand smoke to try to support your agenda, why not pick an effect that actually happens? Sudden cardiac arrest is not a phenomenon that occurs in children with the exception of some very severe diseases. So why pick that as your alleged health effect? It makes no sense. Why would the health department even think that people would believe this claim?

Michael Siegel Homepage 04.27.08 - 12:06 pm #

Friday, 25 April 2008

CORRUPTING THE ''SCIENCE''


We have extensively covered and explained the various biases of epidemiology on our main site and on this blog. We have demonstrated how science can be distorted to fit political agendas and corporate interests. We have exposed how the landmark EPA environmental tobacco study among many others was manipulated to suit the predetermined conclusion and was severely criticized by Judge Osteen. We have protested vigorously against policy based on pseudoscience aka epidemiology. Although we were never alone in our battle against politicized science, we are now in even better company. Indeed, the EPA scientists themselves are now speaking out and exposing how their research is being corrupted by politics. We dare hope that this effort from within will mark the beginning of the end of the corruption of science to suit special interest agendas.

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists say they have been pressured by superiors to skew their findings, according to a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work.
Read whole article at the link above.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION (PART 2)


On March 21st we presented you with a story about how smokers are deliberately left out of every decision that affects their lives and their health.

An opinion piece from the UK from which we publish excerpts below, eloquently describes the phenomenon of taxation without representation that is common to every country under healthist control. This is happening without much opposition from the public, right under our eyes. The public health campaign to stigmatize smokers and spoil their identity has created a situation that even a good number of smokers are conditioned to accept punishment as something they have coming to them unless they obey to the state dictate.

The healthist hate campaign will continue escalating unless we stop it. The first step in stopping it is self respect. As long as tobacco is a legal product that generates billions in revenues for the state, smokers are entitled to participate in the decisions affecting them. Demand that your opinion is not only heard, but seriously considered. After all smokers pay more taxes than any other identifiable group of citizens!


Smokers, says Robin Butler, are not fairly represented by government, so why should they pay £10 billion a year in tax?
……….
While there can be no denying that we smokers pay punishing and ever escalating taxes (currently around £4 on a packet of fags), can we claim that we are not represented? Worse than that, we are routinely misrepresented, from the gloomy, overspun utterances of a self-appointed health elite striving for political influence, to those late night TV black propaganda films using lurid images designed to link smokers in the public mind with purveyors of disease and death – unsexy, degenerate, and not the kind of people anyone would want for friends!
What a scurrilous, dishonest campaign, conceived to drive a wedge between smokers (the bad guys), and decent, wholesome, clean-living non-smokers (the good guys). It all serves to create a mythology in which smokers are no longer perceived primarily as fully paid-up members of the human race, but only as the sum of everything our detractors define as negative and destructive, and therefore not entitled to the same consideration as ‘proper’ people.
……….
That same bullying gang mentality is clearly evident in many of the individuals and groups who target smokers. There is something of the totalitarian in the mentality of these people: everyone has to be the same as them. But, instead of recognising its inherent dangers, our Government has harnessed this wave of mindless intolerance to launch its own attack, issuing a mass social exclusion order against millions of innocent British citizens.
……….
All the arguments for the protection of individual liberties of smokers, balanced by effective means of protecting the health and comfort of staff together with an acknowledgement of the non-smoker’s right not to be exposed to tobacco fumes, were swept aside by a government that was determined not to listen. When an elected government decides that it only wants to represent some of the electorate and not the rest, something has gone seriously wrong with democracy as most people understand it.
………
The Government has seriously overstepped the mark. Not only has it has compromised its claim to be an inclusive government, but it has acquiesced to the hectoring, bullying demands of an unrepresentative health clique, swallowed wholesale every ludicrous myth about smokers and smoking, and inflicted deep wounds on society and itself.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

LA DÉLATION, DEVOIR DE CITOYEN OU MESQUINERIE ?

Du site L’Encyclopédie de l’agora

"C'était une des vilaines choses de l’admirable civilisation romaine impériale, que la dénonciation y fût admise florissante et fructueuse. L’empereur, c’est-à-dire l’État, bénéficiait de la fortune du malheureux convaincu du crime vague de lèse-majesté, mais le dénonciateur en recevait une partie. Ni son acte ni ses profits ne disqualifiaient le delator, car il était hypocritement convenu qu’il n’avait parlé que pour le bien public." (Remy de Gourmont, «Le dénonciateur», Épilogues. [Première série]. 1895-1898. Réflexions sur la vie)

Nous vivons dans un contexte tellement réglementé, que nul besoin de chercher trop loin pour trouver quelqu’un qui enfreint une loi ou une autre, mais, comme Me Julius Grey nous le signale, les délateurs n’ont jamais jouis d’une réputation enviable. Pourtant nos gouvernements qui se servent de nous comme policiers à rabais, nous encouragent dans cette voie. Cependant le prix de la méfiance entre citoyens, est un prix trop cher à payer pour une société qui a tout intérêt d’évoluer dans l’harmonie et la paix sociale.

Si les délits de nos concitoyens nous heurtent vraiment, ne vaudrait-il pas mieux d’avoir le courage d’en discuter avec eux au lieu de moucharder lâchement à papa gouvernement ? Il va naturellement sans dire, que nous sommes tout à fait d’accord que certains délits graves, qui mettent en danger la vie d’une tierce personne ou un mineur, doivent être dénoncés sans aucune hésitation.


La chronique de Julius Grey du Journal de Montréal
La délation moderne

La dénonciation n'a jamais jouie d'une bonne renommée. «Délateur», «cafard», «mouchard», «mouton» sont des injures lancées à travers les siècles à ceux qui trahissaient leurs amis ou leurs voisins.

Pourtant, notre société encourage souvent la délation. Les ordres professionnels, les institutions gouvernementales, l'immigration, la police nous conseillent de dénoncer. Loin d'être traité de déshonorable comme jadis, celui qui se plaint peut acquérir le statut prisé de «victime» contre qui on ne peut plus rien dire.

Il faut ajouter que plusieurs lois rendent la délation obligatoire et que, parfois, on mobilise même l'avocat contre son client et le médecin contre son patient. La réaction excessive à l'attentat du 11 septembre 2001 a fait disparaître beaucoup de réticences traditionnelles. En conséquence, on dénonce allégrement.

Certains ont essayé de justifier la délation moderne par un argument «démocratique». Selon eux, la dénonciation au profit des tyrans ou des rois absolus était effectivement honteuse, surtout en matière d'opinion politique. Mais, disent-ils, cela ne tient plus dans une démocratie où les lois sont légitimes; les opinions politiques ne peuvent être réprimées, et chaque citoyen doit défendre la liberté.

Cette distinction est trompeuse. Tous les régimes dans l'histoire condamnaient ceux qui avaient collaboré avec leurs prédécesseurs déchus tout en encourageant le mouchardage pour maintenir le bonheur qu'ils apportent. De plus, il est téméraire d'affirmer qu'une démocratie ne réprime jamais les opinions impopulaires ou que toutes les lois adoptées par elle sont justes.

Dans tous les systèmes, l'observance pointilleuse des lois est aussi épeurante que la non-observance généralisée. Il faut porter un jugement moral sur chaque cas. Le délateur n'en porte normalement aucun. Il participe d'une application aveugle des règles.

PERSONNE N'EST À L'ABRI

Notre société présente des opportunités particulièrement inquiétantes pour la délation. Le nombre de lois et de prohibitions est en pleine ébullition et, en conséquence, personne n'est à l'abri de mauvaises langues. De plus, Internet facilite la compilation de renseignements sur chacun. La dénonciation quotidienne pourrait bientôt créer une atmosphère de peur dans une société nominalement démocratique.

Il faut admettre que beaucoup de citoyens aiment dénoncer. Non seulement dénoncent-ils les actes criminels sérieux, mais encore ils sont souvent enthousiastes à se plaindre contre les professionnels ou à livrer des «illégaux» à l'immigration. Certains poussent leur plaisir jusqu'à informer les époux trompés des incartades de leur tendre moitié. Souvent, ces délateurs sont hypocrites et aussi coupables que ceux qu'ils livrent à la justice. Typiquement, ils sont motivés par une jalousie mesquine plutôt qu'un idéalisme quelconque.

Il n'est pas simple de trouver une bonne façon de décourager la délation. D'abord, nous ne pouvons pas promouvoir le crime ou l'anarchie, donc il faut dénoncer ceux qui sont dangereux. Par contre, surtout en matière d'immigration, de fiscalité ou de vie privée, la délation devrait garder sa mauvaise réputation et le délateur, le mépris qu'il mérite et qui risque de le freiner. Il faut particulièrement condamner et ignorer la dénonciation anonyme, qui permet au mouchard d'éviter ces désagréments.

L'éducation des jeunes est très importante. Tous les parents ainsi que les écoles doivent inculquer un sens de l'honneur qui est normalement incompatible avec la dénonciation. Souvent, on a l'impression que l'honneur et la honte sont des sentiments en voie de disparition. Leur résurrection irait loin pour nous protéger contre un monde de mouchardage, de méfiance et de peur.


Monday, 21 April 2008

DIRE LA VÉRITÉ SUR LA DROGUE NE PEUT PAS FAIRE PIRE QUE LA SITUATION ACTUELLE

C’est évident que bon nombre de politiciens considèrent que l’exagération et le ton alarmiste de la part de papa gouvernement, apportent des résultats. Ils n’ont probablement pas encore reçu le memo que la guerre à la drogue aux États-Unis fut un fiasco total et toute mesure répressive qu’on prend contre ce fléau, ne fait qu’empirer la situation ! Combien de vies et de ressources financières et humaines va-t-on gaspiller avant que le bon sens fasse tomber les murs de brique qui isolent nos élus de la réalité ? Ne serait-il pas temps qu'ils revisent leur façon de voir et faire les choses ?

Lire aussi: CACHEZ CE MAL QUE JE NE SAURAIS AFFRONTER

Ottawa refuse de distribuer 500 000 exemplaires d'un livre sur la drogue

Le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper a décidé de ne pas distribuer «Savoir plus et risquer moins», un livre mettant en garde les jeunes contre la drogue, a révélé Radio-Canada dimanche.

«Savoir plus et risquer moins», publié par le Centre québécois de lutte aux dépendances et commandé à 500 000 exemplaires par le précédent gouvernement libéral pour un million de dollars, restera dans les cartons d'un entrepôt d'Ottawa.

Ce livre, préfacé par le ministre québécois de la Santé, Philippe Couillard, et vendu à plus de 200 000 exemplaires depuis sa première publication, il y a 7 ans, ne cadrerait pas avec la politique anti-drogue des conservateurs.

Ces derniers n'apprécient pas le ton général de l'ouvrage et, en particulier, qu'on y évoque les sensations agréables que provoquent les drogues. Selon Radio-Canada, Santé Canada va jusqu'à soutenir que l'ancien gouvernement libéral a induit les Canadiens en erreur concernant le danger des drogues.

«Les Canadiens ont droit à un message anti-drogue sans ambiguïté pour protéger leurs enfants», a déclaré la semaine dernière Tony Clément, le ministre fédéral de la Santé.

La décision des conservateurs suscite l'incompréhension de Michel Germain, le directeur général du Centre québécois de lutte aux dépendances.

«C'est incroyable. C'est un livre qui est scientifiquement validé, a-t-il déclaré à la télévision de Radio-Canada. C'est un livre de faits, on donne les faits, on énumère les risques et, au fond, on informe, dans un langage vulgarisé, sur le phénomène des drogues».

Pour Jean-Sébastien Fallu, président du Groupe de recherche et d'intervention psychosociale de Montréal, cette décision est typique de l'idéologie conservatrice.

«Il y a un très large consensus scientifique selon lequel exagérer les risques et ne pas donner une information neutre, ça n'a pas d'effets positifs et dans plusieurs cas, cela a des effets opposés à ceux qu'on voudrait avoir», a dit M. Fallu sur Radio-Canada.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

THE ''WHO'' SPONSORED ''PASSIVE DRINKING'' CAMPAIGN, COMING SOON TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU

If you are neither a smoker, nor obese, if you don’t drink, smoke the occasional joint, or gamble, if you eat all the right foods and do all the appropriate exercises, in other words if you are perfect or a semi-god, you have little to worry about… for now. Please stop reading and keep applauding the WHO and governments that sheepishly obey their guidelines. If however you’re worried that even your perfection will be used against you and you will eventually be blamed for living too long and thus wasting precious resources more useful to the young and productive generations, then maybe you should continue reading because we certainly can’t offer you any guarantees to appease your worries.

As we have repeatedly been cautionning for the last three years, the success of the passive smoking campaign that many have selfishly applauded without listening to those with insight as to the precedent it would be setting, has indeed opened the flood gates of the modern day eugenic tactics.

First they came for the ‘’filthy smoker’’, relying on citizens who not only hate the smoke but who have been conditioned to fear it. Then they came for the obese relying once again that there wouldn’t be too many people sympathetic to the ‘’glutton fatso’s’’ plight! Now they are just about finished polishing the ‘’ passive drinking ‘’ campaign stacking the cards as high as the tobacco campaign has taught them, relying again that not too many people will stand up for the frightening killer, the ‘’disgusting lush’’.

Fear mongering and guilt campaigns have become the trademark of the healthist movement and unless they are stopped using loud protesting and feet stumping -- the only weapons we have against their billions -- you can then be sure that even perfection will not satisfy them and one day they will indeed find a way to hold you responsible for living too long and wasting nature’s resources.

Thanks to our international coalition activist Christine, at: http://www.raucherbewegung.eu for the link to the article below and these additional links that you may want to follow: The war on ‘passive drinking’ , Europe to crack down on ‘passive drinking’, says leaked report

World leaders are launching a war on alcohol, using as their main weapon the millions of men, women and children whose lives have been destroyed by drink.

The World Health Organisation's global strategy will aim to match the success of campaigns which have made smokers feel guilty about the harm secondhand smoke does to others.
Rather than focusing on the damage drinkers are doing to their own bodies, the WHO wants to highlight the suffering of the innocent victims of drinkdrivers, domestic violence, child abuse and yobbery, this week's New Scientist reports.

The unprecedented drive, to be discussed at the WHO's annual health assembly next month, comes amid mounting concern about the devastating effects of alcohol on society.

Figures show that 40 per cent of domestic violence in EU countries is committed by someone who has been drinking.

Similarly, 40 per cent of all murders are carried out by someone who has been drinking and 10,000 road deaths a year in the EU are alcohol related.

In the UK, an estimated half a million a year are victims of alcohol-related crime - and a million children suffer at the hand of drinkers.

The WHO plan, due in draft form by 2010, will not be legally binding.

Instead, it will include a "menu" of measures that countries can implement.

Likely measures include raising taxes on alcohol and clamping down on advertising and drink-driving.

Governments will also be encouraged to stand up to the alcohol industry's lobbying against price rises and restrictions on availability.

Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians said: "The tipping point for banning smoking in public places was third party damage.

"That is much greater, in terms of violence and damage to unborn children, the first sexual experience and the percentage of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases."

Saturday, 19 April 2008

CRIMINALISER LA PROMOTION DE LA MAIGREUR

Au premier regard, une législation contre la promotion de la maigreur extrême peut nous paraître comme la seule chose responsable à faire de la part d’un gouvernement. Cependant, lorsqu’on analyse plus en profondeur ce que le gouvernement français propose, une telle législation serait non seulement inefficace mais assurément plus néfaste pour ces jeunes aux prises avec des dysfonctions graves vis à vis la nourriture.

Nous avons parcouru plusieurs des sites ‘’pro-ana’’ du type que le gouvernement français dénonce et nous avons découvert qu’en apparence du moins, ces sites sont entretenus par des adolescentes. Nous ne voyons d’ailleurs pas pourquoi que des adultes (à moins d’être malveillants et détraqués) auraient intérêt à promouvoir une maigreur qui peut conduire jusqu’à la mort. En surface, ces sites donnent en effet l’impression que l’anorexie est glorifiée et même encouragée. Cependant, au deuxième plan, nous apercevons plutôt, que des adolescentes isolées et stigmatisées tentent de normaliser leur condition et de partager leurs angoisses tant bien que mal.

À quoi exactement servira-t-il de criminaliser les actes de ces adolescentes et censurer leurs partages et qui au juste jettera-t-on en prison? Des adolescentes mineures aux prises avec des dysfonctions et problèmes psychologiques majeurs? Rendra-t-on également criminel le partage des trucs et secrets faits de vive voix entre elles ?

Plutôt que de criminaliser ces ados et de les isoler davantage, ces sites internet devraient au contraire servir d’alarme auprès de nos élus pour les pousser à analyser en profondeur ce qui motive ces jeunes à faire la promotion et la glorification de la maigreur. Le gouvernement n’est pas sans reproche à ce sujet, bien au contraire. Les messages excessifs de la part de la santé publique qui condamnent le surplus de poids et l’obésité, ne font rien pour promouvoir l’acceptation inconditionnelle de soi. Qualifier l’obésité de maladie, n’envoie guère un message équilibré à ces jeunes qui trouvent en ces messages une raison supplémentaire pour justifier leur hésitation de demander de l’aide. Par son message excessif contre l’obésité, la santé publique favorise un climat sociétal qui dé-normalise les obèses. De là à ce que l’anorexique trouve refuge dans un corps maigre pour se sentir davantage acceptée, il n’y a qu’un pas qu’elle est prête et disposée à franchir avec ce qu'elle estime être la bénédiction de l'état.


Maigres et hors la loi?

Dans le but de lutter contre l'anorexie, le gouvernement français entend faire de la promotion de la maigreur extrême un délit passible d'emprisonnement.

La ministre française de la Santé, Roselyne Bachelot, a vigoureusement soutenu cette semaine un projet de loi en ce sens qui a été adopté en première instance par l'Assemblée nationale.Elle a précisé que la cible première de l'initiative était les sites «pro-ana» - pour «proanorexie» - qui offrent des conseils en ligne pour perdre du poids par tous les moyens possibles, par exemple en recommandant des mets plus faciles à régurgiter.«Ces messages sont des messages de mort.

Notre pays doit être capable de persécuter ceux qui se cachent derrière ces sites», a déclaré Mme Bachelot.

Toute personne reconnue coupable de «provoquer une personne à rechercher une maigreur excessive» pourrait écoper de deux ans de prison et 30 000 d'amende. S'il apparaît que «cette provocation a entraîné la mort de la personne concernée», l'accusé sera passible de trois ans de prison et 45 000 d'amende.La ministre a indiqué que la loi, qui doit être revue par le Sénat avant de devenir effective, permettrait «d'ouvrir plus largement le débat public autour de cette maladie» et «d'éveiller les consciences».

Jamais trop mince

L'internet regorge de blogues animés par de jeunes adolescentes qui abordent l'anorexie sous le couvert de l'anonymat, parfois sur un ton revendicateur.Sur l'un d'eux, intitulé Soyez parfaite, soyez pro-ana, l'auteure explique vouloir partager ses techniques pour perdre du poids.Elle présente plusieurs photos d'adolescentes très maigres et met bien en évidence les «10 commandements pro-ana», qui doivent être lus «tous les jours pour le moral». Ils précisent notamment qu'être mince «est plus important que d'être en santé» et qu'on «ne peut jamais être trop mince».

Stéphane Clerget, un pédopsychiatre parisien ayant suivi plusieurs mannequins, croit que le projet de loi à l'étude est «bien intentionné» mais fait fausse route puisqu'il repose sur l'idée que l'on devient anorexique «par imitation».«Dès le XVIIe siècle, on recense plusieurs descriptions de cas à une époque où la mode était aux femmes enrobées. L'anorexie existait bien avant les blogues et les magazines», souligne le praticien.Bien que les causes exactes de ce dérèglement demeurent mystérieuses, les chercheurs évoquent des facteurs psychologiques ou neurobiologiques, voire génétiques.

Le gouvernement, croit M. Clerget, devrait d'abord assurer un large accès aux soins psychologiques et mettre l'accent sur la lutte contre le surpoids et la malbouffe pour que les enfants arrivent en santé à l'adolescence et entretiennent une saine image corporelle.

L'initiative gouvernementale ne sourit pas non plus aux élus socialistes, qui ont refusé d'appuyer le projet de loi. Le critique du parti en matière de santé, Jean-Marie Le Guen, a déclaré qu'il était «grotesque et ridicule» de vouloir lutter contre l'anorexie par une approche pénale.Ces critiques n'ont en rien entamé la détermination de Mme Bachelot, qui a fait signer récemment par les professionnels de la mode, de la publicité et des médias une «charte de bonne conduite» sur l'image corporelle.

GOVERNMENT INDUCED BULLYING


A very frightened and concerned woman wrote to us at the C.A.G.E. forum recently. She dropped by to tell us the story of her son almost losing his life because of tobacco smoke. No, not because he inhaled it, not because it made him ill, well… why don’t we let the story speak for itself:


G'day and thank you.... My first time with CAGE...I sent the following to the Globe 'n Mail, to MacLean's, to every last Ontario Liberal MPP involved with 'Health', my MPP, CTV, a few local newspapers, one of which is rural and to one I've recently met on-line through 'My Choice' who encouraged me to post this here for Michelle and Iro. So, here you have it...

A month or so ago 911 whisked our son away, saving his life, treating me with the same contempt the medical professionals at the local hospital did. Superficial first glance assumption what with the current social culture and his problem solved. It's his Mother who smokes. His Mother, who if she really cared would quit. Stereotyping and Stigma too! We mentioned Hantivirus as a concern to be told I was in denial. Huh?

We sent our son away from this house that day and went straight to our Family Doctor. All considering our son and I did a lot of wall ripping out late last summer in our over a century old home, which included discovering mice nests roughly eighteen inches by three or more feet tall between the walls to remove. Yes, we were masked, gloved and well-ventilated. Hantivirus a legitimate concern these medical professionals turned a blind eye to, minds made up including me being in denial. Thank goodness it's not Hantivirus, rather our son's asthma has sprung off the wall due to this house, it's as I thought, Toxic to him! Not only would his medication have hardly worked here, as soon as it was done, he'd be suffocating again...911 again...medical professionals once again treating us with the contempt of narrow minds and self-limiting perspective/concern. Dust Mites alone can send our son into a tailspin of life!

This medical attitude needs to be exposed as frightening, if not life-threatening as it was to us. How many other people, age doesn't matter, are being misdiagnosed or not taken seriously directly due to the current medical holier than Thou stance that seems to say smoking, second-hand smoke, end of story? How many people are being stereotyped suffering from social alienation construed as 'bad' people for smoking...at a glance, without hesitation no less. People don't know me, they don't know what I've gone through, what efforts have been exerted, nothing. Yet, the medical profession itself, seems to be a willing promoter of mental health disturbances in it's quick to judge stance that almost cost our son his life. I think this is a very serious problem that needs to be publicly addressed.

You can't have the CAMH and other like associations trying to eliminate Stereotyping and applied Stigma when it's government led and induced. To me, it's little more than government legitimizing bullying....AKA...Stereotyping, for which our son almost lost his life. This is serious. Smoking, no more than Asthma, any illness isn't a character flaw and shouldn't be construed as such. This state of affairs is morally wrong.

And this folks is what tobacco control ‘’for our own good’’ has become. A dangerous dogmatic movement that takes no notice of whatever harm it causes in the process. It matters very little to tobacco control and their faithfully blind believers what collateral damage it leaves behind in its passing. As our correspondent very eloquently expresses, tobacco control is breeding bullies stamped with government approval. A cold-hearted irresponsible doctrine that doesn’t care about science, truth, progress, morality, or ethics. Smokers are indignant parents, killers, abusers, that must be accused and embarrassed at every opportunity and be punished by any possible means including death.

For what it’s worth we have offered this woman our help with the bureaucracy of filing official complaints to every government body in existence. But above all, we feel that stories like hers must be told far and wide. The politically correct media won’t report them unless of course there is blood and even then they will minimize the embarrassment to public health. Tobacco control have to be exposed for the bullies they are at every turn.

If you too have been a victim of discrimination and harassment because you smoke, please drop us a line. If the media won’t report it, this blog and other similar ones will!


Thursday, 17 April 2008

HARO SUR LES FUMEURS


Québécoise d'origine, Danielle Charest, a fait publier son livre Haro sur les fumeurs tel que nous l’avons annoncé dans le forum de C.A.G.E.

Voici maintenant un vidéo qui nous permet de faire connaissance avec cette femme brave, ses idées et les découvertes de ses recherches : Après il sera trop tard ?

Nous vous encourageons de vous procurer son livre et remercier cette auteure qui a le courage de défendre ses convictions, en laissant un commentaire dans le site Nos Libertés.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

MANOEUVRES FRAUDULEUSES DE MERCK

Décidemment l’industrie pharmaceutique n’a pas la vie facile de ce temps-ci. Les articles dénonçant ses manigances, n’arrêtent pas de défrayer les manchettes. Signe positif qu’on ne peut pas duper tout le monde éternellement. Il est quand même étrange et désolant que les gouvernements ‘’nourrices’’ des pays développés laissent passer des tels dangers sournois pendant qu’ils nous dictent nos choix personnels face à des risques qui nous ont été expliqués ad nauseam. Manigances concertées avec les élus, ou tactiques astucieuses de la part des lobbies corporatifs puissants qui font avaler aux dirigeants du monde entier des pilules les plongeant dans une léthargie profonde ? Nous avons tendance à croire que les deux hypothèses risquent d’être vraies, selon le dirigeant.

Deux recherches font état de manoeuvres frauduleuses de Merck

La PRESSE CANADIENNE

TORONTO -- Le laboratoire Merck (MRK) aurait utilisé des prête-plumes pour écrire des articles dans des journaux médicaux et aurait falsifié des données dans le but de minimiser les risques associés à l'anti-inflammatoire Vioxx, aujourd'hui retiré du marché, ont indiqué deux nouvelles recherches publiées mardi.

Ces recherches ont été publiées dans le journal de l'American Medical Association, qui demande, en éditorial, une révision éthique de l'ensemble de la pratique de publication de la preuve médicale.

Les auteurs se sont basés sur les documents déposés par Merck dans le cadre des poursuites liées au Vioxx. L'une des deux recherches indique que le laboratoire a fait appel à plusieurs reprises à des employés non reconnus ou à des rédacteurs techniques pour écrire des articles de journaux, attribués par la suite à des chercheurs qui ont accepté d'être désignés comme auteur. L'autre suggère que Merck a tenté de minimiser les risques du Vioxx, soulevés lors d'une étude clinique auprès de patients atteints d'Alzheimer.

La compagnie a démenti les accusations, affirmant être déçu de lire des faussetés dans le journal de l'American Medical Association.

BIG PHARMA INFLUENCE MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO OUR HEALTH

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 99, April 6, 2008, includes an article on The Adverse Effects of Industry Influence.

The article starts with the following disturbing facts that we have consistently been bringing to your attention for the past 3 years:

The profession of medicine, in every aspect—clinical, education, and research—has been inundated with profound influence from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. This has occurred because physicians have allowed it to happen, and it is time to stop.

It is a long read but well worth our time in order to understand how important it is to second guess our physician and do our own research and analysis for any medication or procedure he/she prescribed. Our doctor is probably part of the majority of honest and dedicated professionals, but our medical system being what it is, he/she simply doesn’t have the time to read and analyze every study, the possible conflict of interest of its funders and the integrity of the researchers conducting the studies. As responsible citizens, it is our duty to adequately document ourselves before we agree to chemical or surgical treatment.

Without being overly alarmist or paranoid and until our elected officials put their energies and our taxes where it really counts and clean house on such unethical, if not outright fraudulent practices that are a true hazard to our health, each and everyone of us should get educated so that we may make informed choices for our well-being.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

BIGOTRY, INTOLERANCE, HATRED - ASH THEY PEDDLE IT

This piece of news that Dr. Michael Siegel has just brought to light, confirmed that there are no limits to how low ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) can go when it comes to smokers and increasingly and steadily the obese.

Through a press release which we will not dignify by linking it here, John F. Banzhaf III, their Executive Director and Chief Counsel, is suggesting that heart donors attach the explicit condition that only never smokers or long time former smokers should receive the precious organ.
Dr. Siegel opined on the bigotry and hatred aspect of such a recommendation and we fully agree with his comment. We would like to add to his analysis that if such strings were to be attached to the gift of life, only the perfect and virtuous would deserve it. If such transplants were granted to the imperfect anyway, the obese would have to be haunted if they didn’t lose and continue to keep their weight off, the workaholics would have to be barred from working long and stressful hours, the sedentary would have to be coerced into community physical work, the anorexic and bulimic would have to be force fed, the alcoholics would have to be forced to stay dry, the diabetics would have to be scolded for abnormal glucose levels! And this only partly covers organ transplants! Can we simply imagine what conditions would have to be attached to the gift of life through blood transfusions?

Since imperfection is naturally human, ASH should go peddle their absurd and immoral policies to some humanoids or godly creatures at another planet. The sooner the better!


BON VOYAGE!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

PHILANTHROPIE, QUAND TU NOUS TIENS !

On est prêt de monter aux barricades lorsque l’industrie du tabac, l’industrie pétrolière et même les géants de la malbouffe financent des fondations, des études, ou qu’ils tentent d’influencer les législateurs, mais il est très rare qu’on entend crier au scandale lorsque les richissimes pharmaceutiques financent des diverses causes dites sociales. Pourtant, dans le domaine du ‘’bénévolat’’ en santé, cette pratique est monnaie courante tel que l’article qui suit nous illustre.

La même industrie pharmaceutique qui envoie des médicaments périmés au tiers monde car cela coûte moins cher que de les détruire localement, qui se sert des enfants du tiers monde comme cobayes , qui n’investit pas ou peu dans la recherche des maladies ‘’peu rentables’’, qui invente des maladies après avoir inventé la pilule, pour ne nommer que quelques unes de ces tactiques pour s’enrichir davantage, tente de nous faire croire qu’elle ne s’attend à rien en retour des subventions qu’elle accorde aux diverses fondations et associations ?

Mais nos politiciens ‘’dorment au gaz’’ eux, ou du moins ils enterrent leur tête dans le sable pendant que les géants pharmaceutiques gouvernent le monde.
Heureusement qu’il reste encore quelques journalistes qui ne sont pas sous l’influence des potions envoûtantes de cette industrie et osent ainsi exprimer la vérité !


L’Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires, la Société Alzheimer du Canada, la Société de l’arthrite, la Fondation des maladies du cœur du Québec, le Conseil canadien de surveillance et d’accès aux traitements ainsi que la Fondation des maladies de l’œil ont un point commun : comme de nombreux groupements du milieu de la santé, ils sont financés par des entreprises privées, dont des compagnies pharmaceutiques.

Linda Furlini a été présidente de la Fédération québécoise des sociétés Alzheimer et membre de la Société Alzheimer du Canada. En entrevue avec Le Soleil, elle explique avoir quitté le navire par dépit : «Des fois, on met beaucoup trop d’emphase sur les médications.

«Il y a beaucoup d’influences, assure-t-elle. Des gens liés aux compagnies s’impliquent dans la Société.» Mme Furlini aurait préféré que le mouvement réclame plus de soutien à domicile, plus de ressources pour les aidants naturels, ceux qui prennent soin des malades. Des conjoints, conjointes, parfois âgés, souffrant souvent de symptômes dépressifs, selon elle. «Alors, on leur donne des pilules aussi?»

Jointe à l’Université McGill, où elle poursuit ses études doctorales, Linda Furlini vante le dévouement des personnes impliquées au «niveau local». Elle est toutefois toujours agacée par un arrière-goût à la suite de son passage, à la fin des années 90, «aux niveaux provincial et fédéral».

Le chef des communications et du développement de la Société Alzheimer, Graeme Page, confirme sans ambages que des pharmaceutiques subventionnent l’organisation. Les Pfizer, Novartis, Janssen-Ortho et Lundbeck financent des activités locales, provinciales et nationales. En plus des dons, elles fournissent du matériel éducatif.

Jamais, garantit-il, ces entreprises n’ont demandé de faire la promotion de quelque produit. La Société dépense les fonds à sa guise; une politique interne le spécifie. On remercie néanmoins publiquement les entreprises pharmaceutiques, comme les autres donateurs.

«Ils sont totalement indépendants», acquiesce une des membres de l’équipe des communications chez Pfizer Canada, Sylvie Tessier. La multinationale du médicament épaule ces «partenaires» du milieu de la santé afin de favoriser la diffusion de l’information, dit-elle. Ainsi, la population pourra «faire des choix éclairés en matière de santé». L’entreprise soutient, en outre, la recherche.

«Indépendantes»

Pfizer n’espère aucun retour d’ascenseur, continue Mme Tessier. Les politiques sur les dons corporatifs adoptées par les associations, sociétés et instituts l’interdisent : «Nos contributions sont tout à fait indépendantes.»

Difficile d’évaluer l’apport des compagnies pharmaceutiques. La plupart des sources contactées ne se sont pas mouillées.

Au Conseil canadien de surveillance et d’accès aux traitements (CCSAT), la dirigeante, Louise Binder, fait valoir que plus de la moitié de ses revenus sont versés par le gouvernement fédéral.
Elle convient également que plus de 40 % proviennent des Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Frosst et autres Pfizer. «C’est la seule source de financement qu’on peut avoir.»

Le CCSAT fait pression sur le gouvernement pour que les traitements contre le VIH-sida soient homologués plus rapidement. «Nous utilisons l’argent comme bon nous semble. Ma position est toujours prise dans l’intérêt des patients.»
Mme Binder compose avec le VIH. Comme les autres malades, elle mise gros sur les nouvelles molécules. «(Les compagnies) savent que sur certains sujets, leurs intérêts et les nôtres sont les mêmes. (...) Est-ce que je devrais mourir parce que ça donne de l’argent aux compagnies?»
Sans condition
«On n’a pas le choix parce qu’on n’a pas de subvention, affirme à son tour la directrice générale de la Fondation des maladies de l’œil, Hélène Tremblay. Alors, on prend les gens qui veulent bien nous donner de l’argent, mais sans condition.»

Entre autres, Allergan et Pfizer soutiennent les activités de la Fondation. «On n’a pas de problème avec ça! (...) L’œil fait partie de leur mission.»
«C’est clair que ça prend les “partenaires“, sinon on ferme nos portes.» Le directeur général de la Société de l’arthrite en remet. En six ans au sein de la Société, Andy Chabot ne s’est «jamais senti les mains liées». Ici, les Laboratoires Abbott, Merck Frosst, Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb et bien d’autres participent au financement.
À la Fondation des maladies du cœur, Pfizer côtoie un fabricant de margarine et une chaîne de magasins. «En aucun temps une compagnie pharmaceutique ou une autre entreprise privée (...) ne va vraiment influencer», plaide le directeur marketing et communications, Serge Breton. «En aucun temps on ne fait de recommandation de produits de nos commanditaires.»
L’Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires ne nous a pas rappelés. EpiPen, Paladin et les producteurs d’arachides sont au nombre des commanditaires affichés dans leur site Internet.

«Les cadeaux viennent avec des attentes»

«C’est un grand problème. (...) La majorité (des grandes associations de patients) ont du financement de l’industrie pharmaceutique.»Selon Barbara Mintzes, professeure associée au département d’anesthésiologie, de pharmacologie et de thérapeutique de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, le conflit d’intérêts est flagrant : les groupements sont subventionnés par des entreprises vendant des produits à leurs membres.

«Peut-être que c’est plus difficile pour eux de critiquer les compagnies qui les commanditent. (...) Il faut regarder quel est le rôle des associations de patients et si elles peuvent l’assumer.»
Mais elles ne sont pas les seules à piger dans la cagnotte offerte par les entreprises pharmaceutiques.

Des associations de médecins se servent, note Barbara Mintzes. Le matériel éducatif qu’elles distribuent serait parfois rédigé et imprimé par les compagnies.
Et les formations pour les médecins sont souvent payées et concoctées par les pharmaceutiques, fait remarquer Mme Mintzes, qui nous appelait du centre de Vancouver. Elle y participait à un congrès de médecins entièrement autofinancé, explique-t-elle. Il faut payer l’accès et c’est moins luxueux...

La coordonnatrice d’Action pour la protection de la santé des femmes, Anne Rochon Ford, est tout aussi critique : «Sans qu’ils s’en aperçoivent, les gens deviennent endettés envers les compagnies. (...) Les cadeaux viennent avec des attentes.»

«On peut penser que c’est juste de la bonne volonté, admet-elle, depuis Toronto. Mais il y a toujours des motivations.»

Mme Rochon Ford convient que les diverses associations se sont dotées de politiques sur les dons. «Ça paraît bien sur papier. (Mais) ça donne aux compagnies pharmaceutiques la liberté de laisser l’impression qu’elles sont très généreuses, qu’elles donnent de l’argent sans restriction. Sur le dos de ces organisations, ça améliore leur image publique.»

Les membres des associations sont sûrement de bonne foi, au dire d’Anne Rochon Ford. «Mais le lien avec les compagnies pharmaceutiques rend les choses moins nettes. (...) Est-ce qu’ils peuvent parler ouvertement quand ils comptent sur l’argent des compagnies pharmaceutiques?»

La solution? Que les groupes se contentent de moins d’argent ou que l’État réinjecte les fonds qu’il leur a enlevés, répondent Barbara Mintzes et Anne Rochon Ford.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

Dr. Michael Siegel was once again the guest of a FORCES round table interview. This time the discussion evolved around the unfair discrimination of smokers.

Indeed smokers have not only been de-normalized socially, they are increasingly discriminated against for employment and healthcare. Although we believe that private employers should have the right to make their own rules when it comes to ‘’on the job’’ smoking and they should have the privilege to decide who they feel is the ‘’best’’ man or woman for the job, we are unfortunately very much against the developing trend where employers are relying on political correctness and public support to discriminate a group of people that they believe is costing them more money. As we see it, if obese people, alcoholics, the handicapped and other groups of people, had public opinion against them the way smokers do, employers would not hesitate to also refuse employment to these groups of people. What is even more repulsive is that public opinion against smokers is the result of government approved insistent propaganda that encourages hostility towards smokers. This resembles a modern form of eugenics whereby only the flawless and the healthiest are deserving citizens.

Even more scandalous is the trend of the medical community who are now starting to refuse to treat smokers for ailments completely unrelated to smoking. This trend is quite spread in the UK where the health system is public and in a financial crisis. This refusal to operate has even been extended to obese people. Many have opined that it simply has to do with saving money. Much like employers, the public healthcare system relies mostly on a complaisant public who remain silent and untouched by such practices because they were conditioned to believe that smokers and the obese brought it upon themselves.

One important point that all should pay close attention when listening to this interview, is the groupthink mentality of tobacco control. Dr. Siegel believes that change towards more ethical and fair policies will not happen from within because the careers and livelihoods of tobacco control professionals would be destroyed if they dared express dissent. There are less than a handful of very wealthy groups that set the agenda for the whole movement and distribute the funds to all the smaller ones who must obey to the dogmatic tobacco control philosophy or see any future grants denied. After having unsuccessfully attempted for seven years to reason with his tobacco control colleagues, Dr. Siegel decided to take it to the public because he felt that the only way to hold the tobacco control movement accountable, is to reveal the truth publicly.

You will have heard it from someone from within: Spread the truth.


Listen to the interview at: How ‘’They’’ Are Treated

Friday, 11 April 2008

FOR THE KIDDIES...REALLY?


Although our Canadian media have reported plenty about another phase of anti-smoking to be enacted shortly in Quebec and Ontario, we have chosen to present this article from a UK reporter because we found that it brilliantly exposed every side of the perverse and hypocritical legislation of hiding or taking tobacco products down from the shelves.

Oh yes, it appears that in UK also, our kiddies must be protected from the site of the ‘’evil’’ nicotine, and be replaced by the ‘’good’’ nicotine from the pharmaceutical industry.

The anti-smoking movement is a financial and political war between two filthy rich industries with the smoking citizen caught in the middle and business people caught in the crossfire.


Indeed, the tobacco and the pharmaceutical industries battle over who will market the nicotine substance praised for its many qualities. It appears that the pharmaceutical industry is winning for the time being. Of course they have to continuously use their best arsenal: the kiddies.

Let’s not forget Pr Molimard’s exposé, pointing out how inexpensive nicotine is and how exorbitant profits can be made by those who market it. He pinned it down to a science, when he explained to us how the pharmaceutical interests wanted to profit from the momentum the substitution of heroin by methadone had on heroin addicts, by introducing nicotine replacement therapy to ‘’cure’’ smokers from their dependency. Except, as he explains, you can’t cure someone from his dependency by giving him his own ‘’drug’’ of choice. He went on opining that nicotine without tobacco does not procure the satisfaction the smoker craves for and this is why nicotine replacement therapy has very low success rates. He continues by pointing out that this is the reason smoking has dropped dramatically in Sweden after they introduced the SNUS. SNUS is a form of chewing tobacco and therefore gives the tobacco user what he’s looking for.

Yet, the legal drug pushers continue peddling their nicotine replacement treatments to the point that they are making themselves at home in private businesses by kicking out the tobacco products to replace them with theirs. At least this is in part what we conclude from the following article:

Pssst! Wanna buy 20 Capstan Full Strength?

Goodness knows what Arkwright in Open All Hours would have made of it. You can just imagine Ronnie Barker's stammering shopkeeper spluttering to his hapless assistant Granville: "W-W-What? S- s-sell cigarettes under the c-c-counter?"

But that's exactly what the Government is proposing in its latest assault on smokers.

Dawn Primarolo, Smokefinder General in Labour's monstrous regiment of meddling madwomen, wants all tobacco products taken off display and more prominence given to tobacco replacements such as nicotine patches and chewing gum.

She also plans to remove vending machines from pubs and restaurants.

"It's vital that we get across the message to children that smoking is bad. If that means removing cigarettes from behind the counter, I'm willing to do that."

That's big of you, pet. "Children who smoke are putting their lives at risk and are more likely to die of cancer than people who start smoking later."

Have you noticed how often the health fascists couch their argument in the language of caring?
Thus, if you dare to object, you are automatically accused of being in favour of children dying lingering deaths from lung cancer.

There can't be a single schoolchild in Britain who isn't aware of the dangers of smoking. They have it bludgeoned into them almost from the moment they leave the womb.

One of the biggest single factors in people giving up smoking is the constant nagging from their own children, who have just come home from school after spending the afternoon staring at pictures of diseased lungs and sclerotic arteries.

Not to mention lessons in the horrors of "passive smoking" which, as any fule kno, murders millions of unborn bay-bees every year.

Just in case there are any youngsters out there who still think cigarettes are safe, there's a handy reminder that "SMOKING KILLS" plastered across the front of every packet.

The public smoking ban introduced last year has spawned a whole industry of cessation officers and propagandists.

There's not a wall in any school, shop, factory or office without a statutory "NO SMOKING" sign on it. The anti-smoking nazi who visited my sister-in-law's place of work in Norfolk even insisted on putting one inside a store cupboard, on the grounds that otherwise someone might slip in there for a quick drag.

Even though only around one in five people still smokes, the figures aren't falling fast enough for the health fascists.

These people never stop dreaming up new ways to bully and inconvenience the rest of us. So small shopkeepers will have to behave like purveyors of hardcore pornography when it comes to selling cigarettes.

"Hello, George, I've got that College Girls Go Wild video you ordered. Psst, fancy 20 Silk Cut while you're at it? Or would you like something a little harder, know what I mean?

"I've got some Capstan Full Strength down here somewhere."

I can't see for the life of me why a perfectly legal product can't be sold on open display to consenting adults. The Government hasn't got the courage to ban smoking altogether.

Gordon likes the tax too much. So the battle goes on incrementally.

If they get away with forcing through the furtive sale of Woodbines, where will it end?
There's already an entire branch of government devoted to the eradication of junk food. On that basis, Curly Wurlies, crisps and fizzy drinks will be joining cigarettes under the counter. Booze won't be far behind, either.

McDonald's will have to clean up its act, too. First, it'll have to stop putting pictures of Big Macs in the window, then the sale of burgers and fries to anyone under 21 will be prohibited altogether.

Ministers may not be able to ban Top Gear magazine outright, but I wouldn't put it past someone like Primarolo to insist that it's sold in a plain brown wrapper to appease the polar bear huggers.

And take those magazines aimed at children, which are said to encourage binge drinking and underage sex. They'll have to go.

As for the old-fashioned Open All Hours corner shop, once the sweets and cigarettes and unsuitable comics are swept under the counter, the only thing Arkwright will have left on display will be a couple of packets of Nicorette and a dog-eared copy of Asian Babes on the top shelf.

Curious, too, that the tougher they get on tobacco, the softer they are on drugs. Only yesterday, figures were released which show that the number of cannabis dealers sent to prison is at an all-time low. Fewer than one in four is given a custodial sentence since dope was downgraded.

Next thing you know council officials will be mounting dawn raids on newsagents and tobacconists, accompanied by armed police in riot gear.

Maybe that should be Dawn Raids.

How long before the jails are full of shopkeepers convicted of putting cigarettes on open sale while the local pusher walks free?

G-G-Graaanville!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

THE MEDIA AND US

More on the biased media issue, during a FORCES multi-media round table discussion with Iro Cyr from C.A.G.E., Arminda Mota from mychoice.ca and Gian Turci from FORCES on how to react to media bias and hostility when it comes to the smoking issue.

The Media and Us

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

HE WHO CONTROLS THE MEDIA... (PART 2)


Back in March, we posted a comment under the title ‘’He Who Controls the Media’’. The person who submitted the story to us, asked that we take it down because he felt intimidated by the attitude the CAJ (Canadian Association of Journalism) demonstrated towards him and his association -- Tobacco Smokers of Canada.
Luckily, a reporter who is a member of the board of directors of the CAJ, Mr. Kerry Diotte, did not hesitate to write a column about the hypocrisy and the political correctness of the board of director members of the CAJ, no matter how his opinion might be considered a heresy by his peers.

We are reproducing Mr. Diotte’s article below that needs no comment from our part except for commending Mr. Diotte for his courage in exposing a very disturbing trend in journalists: Political correctness that stifles freedom of speech.
Having experienced this type of journalistic attitude first hand, we can only full heartedly agree with Mr. Diotte’s column.



If you asked most people, they'd tell you they're not big fans of hypocrisy and political correctness.


So how is it that journalists, of all people, can fall prey to those two nasty traits?


For the last couple of weeks, board members of a national journalism association have engaged in some heated discussion over an advertisement a lobby group wanted to place in Media magazine

.


That's the publication for the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ). I'm one of 13 people on the CAJ's national board.


Normally, we see eye-to-eye on motherhood issues, including freedom of speech, fairness from bias, truth, accuracy ...


But when a pro-smoking group called Tobacco Smokers of Canada wanted to advertise in our national magazine, all bets were off. I've learned one lesson: Where there's smoke, there's ire.
In a display of hypocrisy and political correctness, our magazine publisher turned the group down flat, claiming the ad violates Canada's Tobacco Act. Most all board members agreed with the decision.


No lawyer was called for a legal opinion, I'm told.


In my view and the view of an Ottawa consultant intimately familiar with the Tobacco Act, the ad is perfectly legal, especially since the magazine is targeted only at people over the age of 18.
Political correctness and hypocrisy were behind the decision, not rule of law.


Judge the ad for yourself:


"Dear News Industry: The opposing side of the tobacco smoke issue is not being reported. Many researchers, scientists, even doctors and politicians, as well as millions of news reading, taxpaying voters, do not believe the anti-smoking claims about second-hand tobacco smoke.

"We tobacco smokers appeal to you all. Please, also report our side of the tobacco smoking issue in accordance with the principles and ethics of journalism and the news industry's fiduciary duty to the public."


The group then rubbed a little salt in the wound by quoting, in the ad, the CAJ's principles and ethics guidelines that include the defence of free speech and the belief in allowing "disparate and conflicting views."


Clearly, the ad is not advertising tobacco and the smoking group had a right to its opinion.
That seemed lost on most CAJ board members.


Some said we'd have to investigate the group's claims and delve into the studies disputing the extent of harm caused by second-hand smoke.


Others figured the group spokesman should write a column, not buy an ad.


When I asked one board member if they would grill every potential advertiser on the facts of every ad submitted, I received this response: "Yes, every time someone wants to place an ad dealing with any product proven to kill people I would definitely ask these kinds of questions."
lt's obvious from that some people just have blinders on when it comes to the topic of tobacco, which is, last I checked, a legal product in Canada.


A major study published in the British Medical Journal backs up the group's view that second-hand smoke is not as deadly as most anti-smoking activists claim.


In that study, more than 118,000 adults were monitored for almost four decades. Essentially, it found that people exposed to a life of second-hand smoke were about as healthy as those who weren't.


It concluded: "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect."


It's tragic when political correctness trumps freedom of speech.

E-mail kerry.diotte@sunmedia.ca Or see: blog.canoe.ca/diotte