Quinism Awareness Week: September 12-18, 2022

Culminating with rallies planned for Sunday, September 18th in Saskatoon, Sk and Kingston, Ont.

It is just a little over a month now until the 6th Annual Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally, with rallies planned in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Kingston, Ontario for Sunday, September 18th, 2022.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

This year I will be joining Marj Matchee, Dave Bona, Bruce Given, and a number of other special guests over the weekend of the 17th and 18th in Saskatoon. I’m excited to be there because it will be the first time since the fourth rally two years ago that many of us have seen each other, and I am very happy to be seeing them.

Friend and fellow advocate Kentrina Jenkins will be in from New Brunswick, along with some notables that we haven’t seen for a while.

Paul Miller.

Paul Miller, partner at Howie, Sacks, & Henry and lead counsel for the Canadian mefloquine veteran’s mass tort action will be in Saskatoon on Saturday, September 17th, and will speak during the mefloquine information session that is scheduled from 11am-3pm. It will be live streamed for those who want to listen in but can’t be there in person.

A special as yet unconfirmed guest speaker.

We are waiting to hear back from another very special invited guest as to whether or not he will be able to attend, so stay tuned for further updates.

Kingston, Ontario.

Richard Delve will be hosting the Kingston rally again this year, and he and his team are trying their best to get some VIPs. Stay tuned for further developments.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/297368061647371

Participate virtually.

If you aren’t able to make it to any of these events in person, you can always participate virtually by tuning in to the live streams and by showing your support on your Facebook page.

A Tale of Two Strongmen Part 2

Justin “Little Potato” Trudeau.

An actual strongman and two jerks who are only technically “strongmen”.

His pedigree.

Pierre Trudeau speaking at a fundraising meeting for the Liberal Party at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal, Québec 1980

Unlike the more average middle-class family Morrison grew up in, Justin Trudeau grew up with his two brothers in the privileged environs of Ottawa political society, all three being born while their father was in office. Being the oldest he was cast in the spotlight at an early age, meeting the countless world leaders and celebrities who orbited within his father’s life. He would be compared at times to John F. Kennedy Jr., or John-John.

Despite learning at his father’s knee and being the “crown prince” and heir apparent to the political throne, he didn’t aspire to politics and chose instead to pursue an education in the arts, and later worked as a drama teacher and gave snowboarding lessons.

Big Potato Little Potato

大土豆(Dà tǔdòu)-Big Potato 小土豆 (Xiǎo tǔdòu)-Little Potato

Those who know me know that I will often refer to Justin as “Little Potato”. During a 2016 trip to Beijing, Chinese social media users began referring to Trudeau as “Little Potato”, as his name sounds like the Mandarin word for potato. I just happen to think that he’s about as smart as one, so it works out nicely that way.

The real brains of the outfit.

By and large successful politicians have a team of people behind them who act to support and advise them. With the help of a good political strategist, even the most intellectually challenged of candidates can become elected, which is a credit to the abilities of the strategist. There are of course examples of this happening throughout election history, like Karl Rove who was in charge of the campaign for George W. Bush, or Steve Bannon who masterminded Donald Trump’s victory.

It isn’t uncommon for these strategists to end up working for their successful candidates, typically in positions like a Chief-of-Staff or Principal Secretary, where they can then establish themselves as the power behind the throne. Such was the case with Little Potato and the strategists and advisors who were able to get him elected.

Gerald Butts – The Kingmaker

Courtesy: Alchetron

Hailing from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Gerald Butts first met Trudeau in 1993 while they were both attending McGill University in Montreal. They would become best friends, going on to help one another plan their respective weddings. While at McGill Butts was elected as the president of the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate and won two national debating championships in consecutive years. Butts obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from McGill.

He would enter into the world of politics after graduation, landing a job as a research assistant in the office of Senator Allan MacEachen helping to organize material for MacEachen’s future memoirs which were ultimately never published. But Gerald Butts had grand ambitions of one day holding the reins in the Office of the Prime Minister, or PMO, which is one of the four central agencies that manage the behemoth organization of the federal government.

Since their days on the McGill debate team, Gerald Butts has wanted to become Prime Minister. But he knew early on that Trudeau was the one with the money, name, and charisma to step out front.

The central agencies.

The federal government is a complex organization consisting of over 150 different departments, agencies, commissions, corporations, and other entities. To manage and keep things as organized as possible, these various organizations are managed by four “central agencies”, these being;

  • The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
  • The Privy Council Office
  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • The Department of Finance Canada

The PMO represents an important central agency in the Canadian government. The term “central agencies” refers to a group of government administrative bodies whose responsibilities extend across all policy areas. This is due to the Prime Minister’s position at the pinnacle of executive political power in the federal government, and the PMO’s role as the Prime Minister’s personal exempt staff. The PMO acts as an extension of the Prime Minister in his/her dealings with other parts of government and the parliamentary system as a whole and, in this context, plays an important role in political decision-making.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is made up of a team of officials, partisan political advisors and administrators, which provides support to the Prime Minister. Three characteristics are important in this context. First, the PMO is intended to serve the Prime Minister exclusively. This is in contrast to other central agencies, such as the Privy Council Office, which serves the Prime Minister, and, more broadly, the federal cabinet.

Second, the PMO is a “partisan” organization. Personnel of the PMO are loyal to the prime minister, not as the head of government, but as the leader of a political party and as a politician who seeks to maintain his power in a democratic system. In this context, the PMO provides support and advice to help the Prime Minister govern in a manner that will maintain his control over his/her political party, maximize his/her influence in government and the House of Commons, and ensure future electoral success.

Finally, the PMO is comprised of “exempt staff.” These are government officials who exist outside the federal public service and are exempt from regular Public Service Commission staffing guidelines, controls, and protection (though, they are subject specific terms and conditions set out by the Treasury Board of Canada). The Prime Minister enjoys wide discretion in choosing the staff of the PMO, and often selects individuals who can be trusted to show strong personal loyalty.

re:politics
https://repolitics.com/features/prime-ministers-office-of-canada-responsibilities-organization-and-issues/

Ontario provincial politics.

Dalton McGuinty, 2007 Wikipedia

In 1999 Butts took a position in the office of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, helping to develop policy before becoming McGuinty’s principal secretary. He would ultimately become the Liberal premier’s principal adviser where he would become involved in shaping the government’s progressive legislative agenda, in particular with regard to environmental policy.

WWF Canada.

In 2008 Butts left to become the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada. While there he would receive some rather significant increases in his compensation until the time he left in 2012 to help run Trudeau’s election campaign. Despite having resigned in order to take the position, WWF Canada paid Butts over US$360,000 in severance pay. The WWF would later go on to be the recipient of the Trudeau government’s largesse, receiving federal grants worth millions of dollars.

The power behind the throne.

Butts put together a successful campaign for Trudeau and was duly rewarded with the job of running the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as Chief of Staff while also being Justin’s chief adviser. Together with Trudeau’s other key adviser Katie Telford, Butts would be the ones setting the legislative agenda and making sure that Liberal MP’s were in lockstep. They would also be the ones to coach Trudeau, giving him his talking points on issues and doing their best to ensure he didn’t appear intellectually challenged and self-absorbed, but, as good as they might have been, there was only so much that they could do.

Then, in early 2019, Butts was forced to resign in the wake of a scandal that could have brought down his boss and meal ticket.

Jody Wilson-Raybould (Puglas)

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2021/first-reading-the-revenge-of-jody-wilson-raybould

Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected to Parliament in 2015 representing the riding of Vancouver-Granville. Once a crown prosecutor in provincial court, Justin Trudeau named her as his Minister of Justice and Attorney General, making her the third female and the first member of Canada’s First Nations community to hold the position. She was by all accounts a capable and competent minister.

SNC Lavalin

SNC Lavalin is a large construction and engineering company based in Quebec. In 2015, the company found itself facing criminal prosecution for allegedly bribing officials in an effort to win lucrative contracts with the Libyan government. If found guilty, it faced the possibility of not being able to bid for Government of Canada contracts for a long time, something which would have a negative effect on employment in Quebec where the company employed thousands.

A 2018 change in the Criminal Code allowed for deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs), which allowed for corporations to pay fines and take other steps to redress any wrongdoings in order to avoid prosecution. A DPA in this instance was rejected by the Public Prosecution Service, which was under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice which Wilson-Raybould headed as minister.

Pressure from the PMO.

In January of 2019, Wilson-Raybould was suddenly and rather unexpectedly moved from justice to veteran’s affairs, a move that was reported in February 2019 by the Globe and Mail. According to the report, the move apparently took place due to her resisting pressure from the PMO to intercede on SNCLs behalf with the Public Prosecution Service, in order to get them to negotiate a DPA with SNCL.

According to Trudeau however, there were no improprieties on the part of himself or anyone in the PMO, and he claimed that he left the matter up to Wilson-Raybould’s discretion. She would later testify before a Commons committee that there had been a “consistent and sustained” effort from the PMO to have her intervene in the matter and that she had received “veiled threats” from the PMO and the other central agencies. She would go on to name the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, and Trudeau’s best friend and principal secretary, Gerald Butts, as being among those who attempted to unduly influence her decision in the matter. She was repeatedly reminded that SNCL was a major employer in Quebec and that there would be major implications for the party in the next election if she didn’t step in and take care of things.

Butts falls on his sword.

On February 18th, Butts resigned from the PMO claiming that he was doing so “in the best interests of the office and its important work”. Katie Telford would later go on to become principal secretary, though most people were of the opinion that Butts was still running the show from the outside.

Re-elected two years later.

Trudeau would manage to survive what could have been a politically fatal scandal to win re-election in September 2021, despite the Liberals having received nearly 200,000 fewer votes than the opposition Conservatives. That’s just the way things work in Canada because of the way our electoral system is set up, and more often than not the Liberal Party has historically benefitted from it.

https://www.elections.ca/enr/help/national_e.htm

Only one example out of many.

The SNC Lavalin scandal is but one of many examples that demonstrate just how much power the Prime Minister and the PMO have, essentially being able to do whatever they like at any time and having to be accountable to nobody. The matter involving Adm. Mark Norman is another good example that demonstrates how much power the Prime Minister and PMO actually have, using the law as a sword rather than as a shield the way that it was intended.

Justin Trudeau – Aspiring Chinese Communist Strongman.

Like his father before him Justin Trudeau has an affinity for communist China, having stated so in the past, and his actions seem to bear this out. I would therefore classify him as being an aspiring communist Chinese strongman, which I have no doubt would be much to the chagrin of Xi Jinping.

A lesson for ScoMo.

Scott Morrison would have seen much more success as a strongman if he had followed the Trudeau model, which has worked quite well for its intellectually challenged namesake. If he had, he wouldn’t be spiralling out of control and headed for certain disaster right now. So let this be a lesson for all those other aspiring political strongmen out there. By following Justin Trudeau’s example, even the biggest idiots can achieve political success and become the strongmen they truly aspire to be.

Courtesy: The Australian

An important lesson for voters everywhere.

Let this also be a lesson to those living in other so-called democratic nations. It is up to those living in these countries to stand up and begin demanding some accountability from their elected leaders, in addition to demanding real and meaningful political reforms that would inhibit a national leader’s ability to act as a dictatorial strongman.

Mefloquine Stories: Gunter

This Mefloquine Story was sent in by Gunter from Belgium, who has been suffering since a holiday to India almost 25 years ago.

If you have a Mefloquine Story of your own, drop me a line and tell me about it. Email ibmediacorp@gmail.com and I will publish your story too.

I’ve been suffering from this horrible side effect for almost 25 years now.

I’m 49 years old and live in Belgium. Here is my story;

I went to India in 1996 on holiday. The doctor prescribed me an antimalaria drug named Lariam. So I took a weekly pill. 

After I took the first pill I had crazy dreams and a feeling that was not good, but I didn’t realize that it was from those drugs, Lariam. After 2 weeks on holiday, the horror began. One evening I started feeling sick and had to go to my hotel. Once there I started to vomit and had severe diarrhea. Realizing now that my body was trying to work out that poison but it was already too late.

I start to have severe panic attacks and terrible thoughts. From that moment my whole life changed and never came back as before.

I came back to Belgium and stayed for 3 weeks in a university clinic but they didn’t find anything. However, I was fighting for my life with severe panic attacks, sickness, depression, and many other terrible symptoms that I never had before. I visited a psychiatrist for years because every investigation turned out negative and still I was feeling so sick. So I started thinking that there was something wrong with me in my head psychologically. This went on for years and years. I took anti-depressants for years, and nothing was helping me.

I went for hundreds of investigations but always nothing. It was really hell for me. Luckily I have a strong character and survived. But unfortunately, many people kill themselves because of those severe side effects that I felt too.

Now I learned and discovered the terrible side effects of this horrible drug Lariam. This helps me to keep fighting against the symptoms. So sad for me that this drug took away my happiness and everything to enjoy in my life. I was just 24 years old!!! So sad I can do nothing against the ones that are responsible for this Drug and the terrible things that it does to people.

Never give up in life!

Gunter

Mefloquine Stories: Naomi, Mefloquine Survivor

This Mefloquine Story was sent to me by a brave young woman from Australia named Naomi, who wanted to share her story. In 2010 went to Vanuatu with an organization called Teen Missions International, and prior to leaving her family doctor prescribed mefloquine for malaria prophylaxis. Soon after she began experiencing serious side effects, but it was only after returning home that she would discover this with her father. This is the first time that she is going public with her story, based in part on her desire to raise awareness of the dangers of mefloquine. As always I have made some minor structural changes to the text that haven’t changed the meaning or intent of the statements herein.

If you have a MEFLOQUINE STORY of your own to share, you can send it to me by email at ibmediacorp@gmail.com.

This is my story…..

In 2010 (I was 16 at the time) I went on a Missions Trip with Teen Missions to Vanuatu. My doctor had advised me to take an antimalarial drug to prevent me from catching malaria. The drug that I got prescribed was called mefloquine, sold under the brand name Lariam. I started taking it 2 weeks prior to going overseas and continued taking 1 tablet weekly until I returned from my trip.

It was only when I returned home that my parents realized something wasn’t right about my behaviour. My dad found out I was having side effects from Lariam. He only discovered this after reading the inserts and doing a bit of research online that what I was experiencing was a result of this antimalarial drug.

I’ll go back to when I was in Vanuatu. The group I went overseas with I had only met 2 weeks prior at a bootcamp to prepare you for what’s to come. One night I remember having an extremely vivid dream and apparently I was shouting weird things during the night to my roommates. The next morning I wastold that there had been an earthquake during the night, which I had been oblivious to. I still remember one boy who said, “you’re weird”, and he was right. I wasn’t my usual self; they didn’t know any better because we had just met. I had hallucinations, but to me those things were reallt there and existed.

Coming back to Australia I can recall that the worst side effect for me was the insomnia. I literally didn’t sleep during the night for weeks. When I was up during the day I was like a zombie, in a sense sleepwalking. I did a lot of crazy things. For one, I threw my iPod in the bin thinking it didn’t work when in reality it just needed to be charged. I threw unopened chip packets in the bin (I mean, who does that?!). I rememeber eating my favorite cereal, Sultana Bran, and at the time claiming that it tasted like poison.

One time I was trying to have a shower with my clothes on. My mum had to help me undress. One of the craziest things I did was when I visited my dad’s work. I saw these two ladies who were vacuuming. I shouted at them and said, “why have you vacuumed up my mum?!” I was totally serious and angry. You can imagine the looks on their faces.

I had major paranoia of the government; thinking they were trying to kill me! Every time I would watch the news I would literally think they were directly taling to me. One day I went outside seeing a helicopter above our house thinking they were after me. Every time I went in public I would see the video surveillance cameras and think that they are focusing on me. While in the car with my mum I was convinced there was a bomb inside.

I missed the first 2 weeks of year 12 due to my serious side effects. For the next two years I had horrible depression which I never previously had. I even had to take anti-depressants. On a daily basis I had thoughts of committing suicide for no apparent reason. What saved me was a group of dedicated followers of Jesus who continually prayed for my recovery. I even remember they anointed me with oil. I truly believe in the power of prayer and that God can work miracles and thankfully I am a survivor.

It’s been 11 years since this experience and I have never previously went public about my side effects of mefloquine. I didn’t want to be on of the statistics which don’t report on adverse effects and want to raise awareness into the dangers of mefloquine. It is important to be aware of side effects from anything. That is why I believe in informed consent and personal choice as to what goes into your body.

Afghanistan Ironically Marks Independence Day

Recognized as the “Empire of Afghanistan” on August 19, 1919.

Courtesy: reddit

Afghanistan ironically marks its Independence Day today, though this is hardly the first time in its history that Afghanistan has done so. For the second time now, the Taliban is but the latest in a historical string of oppressive rulers to bring despair to the people of this central Asian nation.

A long history of conflict.

The earliest recorded history of the area today called Afghanistan goes back to the 6th century BCE when a Persian dynasty ruled until about the middle of the 4th century BCE when they were defeated by Alexander the Great. The nomadic Kushan people ruled from the end of the 3rd century BCE until the 3rd century CE. From then until the 7th century CE the region was fragmented and under the control of another Persian empire.

Islam comes to the region.

Arab Muslims began to take control of the area following the Battle of Qadisiya in 637 CE and then began to conquer and convert the local tribes over the next century. A variety of Islamic dynasties ruled over Afghanistan until 1220 CE when the Mongol empire conquered Central Asia under Genghis Khan. The Great Khan’s descendants ruled until early in the 16th century when Persian and Indian rulers would contest control until the mid-1700’s when indigenous Pashtuns called the Durrani took over. They would rule until the late 1970s when communist factions took over amidst an internal struggle for control within the Durranis.

Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last King (Badshah) of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973.

The Soviet Invasion.

In late December 1979, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev ordered 80,000 troops into Afghanistan in an effort to help prop up communist Afghan leader Babrak Karmal who was under threat from a tribal insurgency.

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev extends a comradely greeting to Afghan party boss Babrak Karmal.

For the next decade, the Soviets would have their hands full against the US-backed mujahadeen, thanks in large part to one of its most talented field commanders, the great Ahmad Shah Massoud. Making effective use of the difficult terrain and Stinger ground-launched anti-aircraft missiles, the mujahadeen were able to frustrate the mighty Soviet Red Army, forcing them to withdraw in 1989. Thus ended what would become known as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam.

Photo: Wikipedia

Enter the Taliban.

What followed was more conflict as a civil war erupted between the new government and the various mujahadeen factions, who were also fighting amongst each other for control. Then, in 1996, a fundamentalist Islamic group made up of religious students that were known as the Taliban would come out on top and seize power.

September 11th, 2001.

In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks on American soil, al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden became the most wanted man on the planet, and he was a guest of the Taliban, who were refusing US demands that they immediately hand him over. In November of 2001, the US led an invasion of Afghanistan in an attempt to capture the Saudi terrorist, however, he and the Taliban managed to escape to neighbouring Pakistan.

The Mayor of Kabul.

Afghan leaders selected the US-backed moderate Hamid Karzai to lead a provisional government in December of 2001. A new constitution was ratified by regional leaders in a Loya Jirga, or constituent council, in early 2004, and later that year Karzai was officially elected President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in a landslide victory. Karzai would gradually begin to fall from favour in Afghanistan as economic problems and corruption would plague his administration.

He would also begin to lose favour among his American supporters following his calls for US troops to leave Afghan villages after a soldier went on a rampage, killing 16 innocent civilians in their own homes. There would also be doubts as to how much control Karzai actually held over the country, with many people referring to him mockingly as the “Mayor of Kabul”.

Corrupt governance plagues the country.

Afghans would head to the polls again in 2014, this time selecting Ashraf Ghani over the well-known one-time Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the preferred candidate of the United States, who would ultimately enter into a power-sharing agreement with Ghani. While he has fans outside of Afghanistan, it has been widely rumoured that Dr. Abdullah isn’t as popular at home, which is likely due to his alleged corruption.

Back to the Taliban.

Taliban soldiers ride down the street in a pickup truck during a celebration of the first anniversary of the Taliban’s return to power on August 15, 2022 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Nava Jamshidi/Getty Images)

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/08/in-afghanistan-7-1b-in-planes-trucks-weapons-seized-by-taliban-since-withdrawal-dod-watchdog/

After making a return and completely embarrassing the United States and its Allies, the Taliban paraded some of the $7.1 Billion American Dollars worth of equipment they received as a housewarming gift from the fleeing foreign army. Not only did Joe Biden fail to save those who were left behind, but he also provided the Taliban with all the means in the world to hunt them down and kill them too.

My hope is that Afghanistan will one day be well and truly independent, however, I honestly can’t see this happening any time in the foreseeable future. The only choices they seem to have had essentially come down to either extreme fundamentalists or the greedy and corrupt.

There is one group of Afghans who are independent now though, and it is made up of the millions of members of the Afghan diaspora across the globe who have managed to escape to freedom. To them, I say Happy Independence Day.

https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Afghanistan-history.htm

https://nationaltoday.com/afghanistan-independence-day/

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB409/

Focus On Fentanyl Shifts From China To Burma Following Bust

Enough fentanyl and meth to cover a football field, and a Canadian national born in China dubbed Asia’s El Chapo may be behind it.

Thank you Big Brother Bear Bill Bertschy for posting about this on Facebook.

A massive Asian drug bust has stirred a fentanyl mystery

Barrels of chemicals seized from a drug lab in northern Myanmar. 
Barrels of chemicals seized from a drug lab in northern Myanmar.
Credit:Myanmar’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control

https://www.pri.org/stories/2020-06-10/massive-asian-drug-bust-has-stirred-fentanyl-mystery?fbclid=IwAR0u75tHwD8HAbv0kXPE5-0OIjz-f9xALyI3ALbdZua5dYa4L0PipP4cT2s

An update now on an article originally posted back in October of last year called Fentanyl: Weapon Of Mass Destruction. Reports out of Asia indicate that ground zero in the fight against illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine has moved to Southeast Asia, specifically Burma. I still call it Burma because, like many, I don’t recognize the legitimacy of a name change made by an unelected ruling military junta. Hence Burma.

https://onecalgaryvoter.com/2020/01/18/fentanyl-weapon-of-mass-destruction-2/

About ten days ago Patrick Winn, a correspondent for Public Radio International’s program The World, published an article about a massive drug bust there in which the haul was so big that it had to be displayed on a football pitch. In all 18 tons of methamphetamine, mainly in pill form, were recovered as well as about 1,000 gallons of the powerful fentanyl analogue methyl fentanyl, which has been estimated to be anywhere between 400 to 6,000 times more potent than morphine in certain instances.

https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB01571

The contents of a meth-producing superlab in Myanmar. 
The contents of a meth-producing superlab in Myanmar. 
Credit:Myanmar’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control

The labs were set up in northern Burma near the Chinese border and according to Burma News International were run by the Sam Gor (Brother Number Three in Cantonese) Syndicate. Brother Number Three’s real name is Tse Chi Lop, a Canadian national who was born in China and is suspected of leading a large multinational narcotics network. The media have even labeled him “Asia’s El Chapo” and “The Most Wanted Man In Asia”.

Hopefully it isn’t long before Brother No.3 is captured and dealt with by Asian authorities. If he is apprehended in Canada he will be subject to the Canadian justice system and would in all likelihood be granted low bail. Then assuming he didn’t escape, made his trial date, and was found guilty he’d probably serve six months at one of Correction Canada’s many resorts, ie minimum security prisons.

BURMA ARMY’S NEW STRATEGY: Anti-narcotics move and disarmament of a militia

Chinese-born Canadian Tse Chi Lop is alleged be the leader of massive global empire of synthetic drug manufacturing.

https://asiatimes.com/2019/12/asias-drug-kingpin-more-hollywood-than-reality/

The seizure was made by Burma’s army, or Tatmadaw, which shortly afterwards also announced the disbandment of the Kaungkha (People’s Militia). The Kaungkha were implicated in the drug trade by turning a blind eye to, and perhaps even a profit from, the sale of illicit narcotics. The move comes as part of a sudden government crackdown on the drug trade, where in the past it had been much more lenient.

BURMA ARMY’S NEW STRATEGY: Anti-narcotics move and disarmament of a militia

https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/burma-armys-new-strategy-anti-narcotics-move-and-disarmament-militia

What of China?

Donald Trump 'pleaded' with Xi Jinping to help win 2020 US polls ...

There have been reports that US President Donald Trump asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his cooperation in combatting the problem by restricting sales of the precursor chemicals that are used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine and fentanyl. It appears as though this may be the case, however this does not, in my opinion, exonerate Communist China from they role that they have played up until now.

map

It is worth remembering that we are at war with China, again my opinion, and it is still in their strategic advantage to have North America plagued by a serious opioid drug crisis such as we have today. It is taking tens of thousands of lives and adding a huge strain on the resources and economies of jurisdictions across Canada and the United States.

Time Will Tell

But right now the main focus now needs to be on Burma to see whether or not it continues to exercise its crackdown on narcotics production. If it does, it won’t be long before the results are being seen in the streets and drug markets across North America and South Asia, and hopefully in a decrease in the number of deaths. Only time will tell.

World Factbook Archive – Burma

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bm.html

World Factbook Summary – Burma

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/attachments/summaries/BM-summary.pdf

A Tale of Two Strongmen Part 1

Scott “ScoMo” Morrison.

I am going to start this out by saying that this is an opinion piece, so don’t expect very much in terms of journalistic objectivity here. I personally think that these two are complete idiots, but I’m only going upon what we’ve had to judge them by so far. While both hold university degrees, Morrison’s degree in applied economic geography holds a little more clout than Justin’s degrees in literature and education.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 18, 2018
Photo by Adam Scotti (PMO)

It also seems extremely strange for me to be using the term “strongman” when it comes to this pair. There is simply nothing about either of them that even whispers “strongman”. Just over a year ago I was joining a chorus of other voices in asking these two idiots to do something to help get our people out of Afghanistan. I think we all know how that worked out.

Lee Humphrey

I got to know Lee Humphrey over the last couple of years, having seen him around the Twittersphere, and he is someone whose opinion I value when it comes to a number of things, and politics is one of those things. I started thinking about something yesterday in the wake of the epic meltdown that Scott Morrison appears to be having. There had been rumblings in Ottawa’s dark corners of this kind of thing going on here too, and after seeing what was transpiring in Australia I began to wonder myself.

I put out a post on Twitter posing this question and sent it out to Lee and the rest of the Twitterverse that I reach. It wasn’t long before Lee had sent me a reply that made sense and had been demonstrated before in the past.

What did Scott Morrison do?

In a move that was unbeknownst to anyone else with the sole exception of the Governor General, Morrison had himself appointed as a secret shadow minister in a number of portfolios, a highly questionable act with potential legal and ethical implications for those involved.

How ScoMo was able to do it.

He exploited a loophole in the Australian Constitution that technically allowed him to do what he did, in that the wording is rather vague, but sections 64 and 65 basically give the Governor General the power to do pretty much whatever they want in this particular instance.

64. Ministers of State

The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such departments of State of the Commonwealth as the Governor-General in Council may establish.

Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General. They shall be members of the Federal Executive Council, and shall be the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth.

Ministers to sit in Parliament

After the first general election no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

65. Number of Ministers

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the Ministers of State shall not exceed seven in number, and shall hold such offices as the Parliament prescribes, or, in the absence of provision, as the Governor-General directs.

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Constitution/chapter2

Governor General David Hurley

As in Canada, Australia also has a Governor General acting as the representative of the British crown in the country. In Australia, this person is David Hurley, a retired ADF general and former Chief of the Defense Staff.

It is a largely ceremonial role, however, there are some instances where the GG is actually something of an essential part of deciding whether or not something gets done. For instance, a Prime Minister can visit the GG and ask that parliament be dissolved and that a snap election be called, at ANY time during their mandate. Under normal circumstances the GG usually just rubber stamps the writ and an election is called.

HOWEVER, the GG does also have it within their power to deny the Prime Minister’s request and order them to resume sitting and fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed in order for parliament to work. The Governor General is not there to serve at the beck and call exclusively for the Prime Minister’s use, especially under highly unusual circumstances such as these. If Hurley were performing his duties in the way that they were meant, he should have flat-out rejected the request and sent ScoMo on his way.

Hurley didn’t do this, however, and would in fact sign four different orders at Morrison’s behest on four separate occasions over the span of 14 months, which has raised some eyebrows. What was that all about? Did Morrison have something on Hurley, or was this more of a quid pro quo situation? David Hurley is a pretty big part of this scandal, yet he is remaining defiant amid calls for him to step down.

How it was done.

March 14, 2020 – Morrison is appointed Minister of State for the Department of Health.

The day before, news broke that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had tested positive for COVID.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51866343

March 30, 2020 – Morrison is appointed Minister of State for the Department of Finance.

The day before, a safety net package of $1.1billion was announced by the Prime Minister to expand mental health and tele-health services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief. 

https://www.australia.gov.au/news-and-updates/march-2020-news-archive

April 15, 2021 – Morrison is appointed Minister of State for Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

The day before, cabinet meetings were being held to get a troubled vaccine rollout back on track.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/prime-minister-scott-morrison-national-cabinet-returns-vaccine-rollout/e0294b9d-753a-4916-a359-59bff94960c0

May 6, 2021 – Morrison appoints himself Minister of State for Home Affairs and the Department of the Treasury.

The day before this, Australia and China were reported to be at odds over a proposed economic dialogue mechanism, leading to increased tensions between the countries.

https://www.reuters.com/world/china-suspend-economic-dialogue-mechanism-with-australia-2021-05-06/

Are we feeling the love?

None of the Ministers of these portfolios ever informed that the Prime Minister was actually acting in the capacity of a babysitter over them. Their decisions ultimately meant nothing and Morrison would have complete control over the ministries, all the while nobody would be the wiser. These former Ministers must feel like they just got a giant middle finger from their former boss, who didn’t seem to have the confidence in them to run their departments without his personal oversight.

A lonely ScoMo.

Back when he was still PM Morrison had the trappings of office available to him, which would have included various and sundry assistants as well as a Chief of Staff to help him run the show, though he sure seemed to want to do that by himself. Morrison’s Chief of Staff was Dr. John Kunkel, who has worked as an “economist, speech writer, policy analyst, adviser to government and industry executive” according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to being ScoMo’s Chief of Staff for the entirety of his term Kunkle worked in the private sector.

Dr. John Kunkle. Photo: LinkedIn

Now that he’s just another crappy backbencher, ScoMo’s budget has been slashed, so he’s probably in an office the size of the bathroom in the PM’s office, and has like one assistant named Tiffany or something. As for social media, he doesn’t have anyone to take care of that for him anymore, he now has to handle it himself like all the other backbench seat-fillers.

The rant that started it all.

I’m thinking that, aware the news was about to come out, Scott Morrison decided that the best thing to do would be to launch a preemptive mea culpa ahead of it. The only problem was that he no longer had the support system in place that he once did, so he was out of his element and in a hurry to get his side out before it hit the news. The result would be the half-assed, disjointed, and quite frankly pitiful attempt that was posted for all to see.

Scott Morrison – Failed Stalinesque Strongman.

Morrison didn’t have the political network or infrastructure that he ultimately would have needed to remain in power. Because of this, he was forced to centralize his power within himself alone, either that or he was foolish enough to believe that it could be accomplished without the need to resort to terror and intimidation like Soviet strongman Josef Stalin. If you are going to centralize the power in yourself, then you had better be prepared to take things to the next level.

For now, he continues to refuse to step down, apparently oblivious to the gravity of his actions though for how much longer remains to be seen. The net result will probably be the utter destruction of the Liberal Party of Australia and three terms for PM Albinetti if he doesn’t manage to botch it up.

In Part 2….

A look at what style of strongman has made a man referred to as Little Potato so successful, and the Gruesome Twosome that got him there.

Fentanyl: Weapon of Mass Destruction

Two members of my family are gone because of fentanyl, one of the most toxic substances on the planet.

For my little brother, who left us far too soon. I’ll miss you, Ryan.

December 21, 1975 – September 6, 2019

Loves Labor Lost

Fentanyl responsible for record proportion of Alberta opioid deaths, report finds

This is the first time that I have written anything since I lost my younger brother almost a month ago. He was 43 when he passed away as the result of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, sometime in the early morning hours of September 6th. Like millions of others, my little brother was addicted to drugs and had been for a long time. So great was the internal anguish that he had felt, that turned to narcotics to ease it.

I don’t want him to be defined by the way he died, but rather for the man that he was. He was not perfect, but he was one of the kindest, most generous people that I knew. He was loyal to his friends and family, and had many long-term friendships, some going back well over 30 years. He touched a lot of lives and will be profoundly missed by those of us he leaves behind.

I have learned that in the days leading up to his death he had been talking about entering a long-term rehab facility. He was so very tired of the life he was living and wanted nothing more than to get better, to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the day he died, he was supposed to get together with one of his good friends and together they would look online for long-term rehab facilities located outside of town.

Last year, one of my cousins lost his life to an accidental overdose of the fentanyl analog carfentanil, a drug 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It is so dangerous that many first responders have had to be hospitalized after coming into contact with a person having an overdose.

I wanted to know more about the poison that has claimed two members of my family, so as always, I started looking for some answers. The information I found in a very short amount of time sent a chill up my spine. Apart from the effect that fentanyl has had on my life personally, it also has significant international relations ramifications. The People’s Republic of China manufactures most, if not all, of the precursor chemicals used to synthesize fentanyl. You should also consider this; synthesized by scientists in a university laboratory in China, there is now a fentanyl analog so lethal, that one teaspoon would kill about as many people as the Great Plague did in Europe in the 14th century.

Opioid or Opiate?

To make the distinction, opiates are those drugs naturally derived from the flowering opium poppy plant (ie morphine, codeine). Opioids are a much broader category and include any substance, natural or synthetic, which binds to the brain’s opioid receptors.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl will probably be the drug most associated with the opioid crisis, even though that distinction belongs to OxyContin, the Purdue Pharma extended release formulation of oxycodone that has the dubious reputation of starting it.

Although it has gained a great deal of attention 0ver the last decade, fentanyl has been around for a lot longer than that. Dr. Paul Jannsen first synthesized it in 1958 under a patent held by his company, Jannsen Pharmaceutica. It is now owned by conglomerate Johnnson & Johnson, who have lost big dollar law suits brought by women claiming Johnson’s Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer.

It was a powerful analgesic, some 100x more powerful than morphine, and could also be used for anaesthesia. It would hit the market in the 1960. as an IV anaesthetic with the brand name Sublimaze.

Fentanyl Analogs and Derivatives

A chemical analog is a compound that is structurally similar to another compound on a molecular level, but differs from the original compound to some degree. Not long after Sublimaze was released its popularity would lead to the development of a number of fentanyl analogs and derivatives. among which were Sufentanil, Alfentanil, Lofentanil and Remifentanil.

Sufentanil

The strongest analgesic available for human use, it is 5x the strength of fentanyl and 500x stronger than morphine. It is used in hospitals as an analgesic and as an adjunct to anaesthesia under the brand names Dsuvia and Sufenta.

Alfentanil

Alfentanil has a potency that is approximately 10-25% that of fentanyl. It’s onset of action is 4x that of fentanyl but only lasts one-third as long. It is used as a short acting anaesthetic.

Lofentanil

One of the most potent fentanyl analogs, it is most similar to carfentanil.

Remifentanil

Used in a hospital setting, remifentanil is used for sedation, as an anaesthesia adjunct, and as an analgesic, having the brand name Ultiva. It is twice the strength of fentanyl and 200x more powerful than morphine.

Carfentanil

Carfentanil is used as a sedative for large animals under the brand name Wildnil. At 100x the strength of fentanyl, it is 1000x more potent than morphine. It started to appear on the streets a few years ago with deadly results. The estimated lethal dosage in humans is 50 micrograms. By comparison, a poppy seed weighs approximately 300 micrograms.

Image result for carfentanil lethal dose
Comparison of the lethal doses of heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil.
Image result for fentanyl lethal dose comparison
A lethal dose of fentanyl for the average adult (2mg)

Ohmefentanyl – The most potent and deadly fentanyl analog

If You Think Fentanyl Is Bad…

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/01/17/if-you-think-fentanyl-bad-10663

Ohmefentanyl was first synthesized in the early 1970’s by scientists in a lab at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, China. More than 6,000x stronger than morphine, it is so potent that one ounce of ohmefentanyl is enough to kill 175 MILLION people. That being said it is far more complex to synthesize ohmefentanyl than it is to synthesize fentanyl. The process involves more equipment and additional precursors and solvents and, because it is so toxic, it is extremely hazardous to manufacture and can only be handled safely using protective equipment.

Synthesis and analgesic activity of stereoisomers of cis -fluoro-ohmefentanyl

https://www.academia.edu/8863856/Synthesis_and_analgesic_activity_of_stereoisomers_of_cis-fluoro-ohmefentanyl

Fentanyl Precursor Chemicals

Image result for 4-anilinopiperidine
Pharmaceutical Grade 4-Anilinopiperidine (hydrochloride) for sale online from a Chinese manufacturer. This one is capable of producing 5,000kg of this compound every month.

DEA proposes to control three precursor chemicals used to illicitly manufacture deadly fentanyl

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2019/09/17/dea-proposes-control-three-precursor-chemicals-used-illicitly-manufacture

Fentanyl is synthesized using ingredients known as precursors. These precursor chemicals are sold by manufacturers in China, who make tens of thousands of such compounds. These compounds include things such as food additives, veterinary products, pesticides, and the precursor chemicals used to synthesize pharmaceutical drugs, including fentanyl.

The vast majority of the precursors used in the synthesis of fentanyl are sent to Mexico, where most of the illict fentanyl in the US is made. It takes a trained chemist to synthesize fentanyl from scratch, something the Mexican cartels do not have. But, it is easier to make fentanyl using bulk supplies of the precursor chemicals, which is what the cartels do.

On September 17th of this year the DEA announced that it was putting forth a proposal to control three of the precursor chemicals needed to synthesize fentanyl. It’s difficult to say what effect if any this will have since the vast majority of illicit fentanyl is made in Mexico.

The take-home message here is that there are millions of fentanyl analogs that can be made from commercially available chemicals. It is all but certain that many of them will have fentanyl-like properties and that some of these will make even the most powerful analogs today, such as carfentanil and sufentanil, seem like cotton candy. 

Organic Chemistry Can Defeat Any Fentanyl Agreement
By Josh Bloom — December 5, 2018
https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/12/05/organic-chemistry-can-defeat-any-fentanyl-agreement-13645

It just isn’t realistic to think that treaties or international law will end the production and distribution of these precursor compounds. There is simply no easy or effective way of enforcing international agreements amongst sovereign nations. Just look at the current state of international relations.

One way or another these chemicals will continue to be manufactured, the genie cannot be put back into the bottle. The fact also remains that scientists, primarily in The People’s Republic of China, will continue to attempt to synthesize something even stronger.

“NPP is a sensitive products. Why you buy it?” one Yuancheng saleswoman asked me on Skype, before the product was scheduled in China. “I know many people buy it. But I don’t know what it is used for.”

I explained that it was used to make fentanyl.

“I know fentanyl,” she continued, “but why people use it? We Chinese don’t use it.”

It’s highly addictive, I said.

“Yes, I know it is a bad products to person,” the saleswoman admitted, “but I still sell it, so sometimes I feel guilt. NPP is not forbidden in China, so we can sell. I sell it, because I want earn money, earn a living.”

The Brazen Way a Chinese Company Pumped Fentanyl Ingredients Into the U.S. BEN WESTHOFF
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/08/chinese-company-helping-fuel-opioid-epidemic/596254/

While the DEA proposed making regulatory changes in their announcement of September 17th, similar regulatory changes in Canada came in to effect on May 6th, 2019, when they were registered in the Canada Gazette.

Government of Canada changes regulations to help prevent illegal production and trafficking of controlled substances

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2019/05/government-of-canada-changes-regulations-to-help-prevent-illegal-production-and-trafficking-of-controlled-substances.html

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 10

http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-05-15/html/sor-dors120-eng.html

Weaponizing Fentanyl

Image result for chemical weapons symbols
The international symbols for radiological, biological, and chemical hazards.

With such an extremely high potency, compounds like ohmefentanyl are simply not practical, or safe, for use as an analgesic in human beings. The only logical reason for synthesizing ohmefentanyl would be to use it as a weapon of mass destruction. Granted it would take a huge effort to weaponize it and come up with an effective delivery system, but it is still a distinct possibility.

In May of 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a fact sheet for Federal EPA On Scene Coordinators who respond to any incidents of environmental contamination by fentanyl or its analogs. It is a comprehensive 11 page document, and some of the information contained in it caught my attention. It includes a list of the possible exposure pathways, in other words, the ways that fentanyl could be spread to a population. These include open areas, water/water systems, indoor facilities, and food.

Fact Sheet for OSCs: Version 1.0 05/22/2018 Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs

Open Areas: While fentanyl is a solid powder at room temperature, it poses an inhalation or incidental ingestion exposure threat if sufficient powder becomes airborne. Fentanyl can also be dissolved in solvents and fentanyl citrate is soluble in water, which allows exposure in aerosol form. The literature indicates that police officers showed symptoms of opiate exposure after police activities created fentanyl dust/aerosol or when they worked in dusty areas.

Water/Water Systems: Fentanyl in liquid solution creates a possible dermal exposure pathway and is commonly used in many medicinal forms of fentanyl. Literature reviews indicate that aqueous fentanyl may be found as an illicit drug in intravenous form, nasal sprays, eye drops, and vape pen liquids. While fentanyl could enter natural waters or a water system, neither is a likely exposure pathway.

Indoor Facility: Fentanyl could potentially be dispersed as solid particulates or liquid spray (aerosol) inside a building or facility; HVAC systems may be affected. Fentanyl particulates are heavier (less buoyant) than air and will accumulate on lower levels and in utility corridors and/or deposit on surfaces inside a building.

Food: While food is an unlikely exposure pathway, fentanyl can be released as a fine dust or aerosol that may contaminate food.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-07/documents/fentanyl_fact_sheet_ver_7-26-18.pdf

Before anyone accuses me of giving terrorists and lunatics a great new idea, it is more than likely that someone has already come up with the idea and so have the security agencies that protect us. At least they should have anyway.

It now clearer than ever to me that the only way to eliminate the threat posed by fentanyl and its analogs, aside from banning its production, would be to have it classified as a chemical weapon, and heavily restrict its production and distribution as well as the production and distribution of its precursor chemicals.

The Startling Numbers

This will never happen, it simply isn’t a realistic expectation for a number of reasons. In the meantime, until someone can come up with a workable solution to counter this plague, the number of people killed by fentanyl will continue to rise.

Deaths

Here in Alberta the statistics are alarming to say the least. In 2016 out of 803 drug and alcohol poisoning deaths 43% (347) were attributed to fentanyl or its analogs. In 2017 it had increased to 59% (565/951) and in 2018 fentanyl constituted 63% of overdose deaths (622/985).

Of these overdoses 80% involved fentanyl mixed other drugs. 50% involved methamphetamine, 25% cocaine, and 5% heroin. Drug dealers will add fentanyl to other drugs in order to increase their profitability, and as a means of attracting and retaining customers. What usually results however is that their customers wind up dead.

Click to access health-alberta-opioid-response-surveillance-report-2019-q2.pdf

Nationally the number is even higher. In 2016 total number of overdose deaths in Canada was 3023, of which 50% were from fentanyl or its analogs. In 2017 it rose to 67% (4120) and was 73% in 2018 (4588). In the first three months of 2019 it was 79%.

The number of overdose deaths increased sharply as well, up 36% from 2016 to 2017 and up 11% from 2017 to 2018.

https://health-infobase.canada.ca/datalab/national-surveillance-opioid-mortality.html#fentanyl

Dollars

Trafficking in fentanyl is a very lucrative business. In fact, it is the most lucrative illicit narcotic currently sold. In 2017, 1 KG of pure fentanyl could be purchased for $4,150. That 1 KG could potentially generate $1,600,000 in revenue for the trafficker, a profit of over 38,000%

By comparison, traffickers will only realize a 1,300% profit off of heroin, or $80,000 in revenue from 1KG of heroin purchased for $6,000.

Fentanyl profitability in the US compared to heroin.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/777882/fentanyl-profitability-in-us-compared-to-heroin/

No Easy Fix

It has been more than a decade since media articles began reporting on what was then called an opioid epidemic, and is now referred to as the “opioid crisis”. In North America, fentanyl has become a threat to public safety unlike any illicit drug before, more than heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. It is the most potent and most addictive narcotic there is which also makes it the most dangerous.

Putting an end to this crisis will require action on the part of several governments. There is an ever growing population of opioid addicts who require immediate intervention, but there is currently a critical shortage of treatment facilities. Adding the extra capacity would require taxpayer funding, which would then make it a political issue, and politicians are loathe to spend money on projects from which they will recieve no benefit.

There also needs to be the political will to implement a different strategy to combat the problem. At the moment, efforts are geared more towards harm reduction for addicts. Some jurisdictions have opened safe injection sites, where addicts can do their drugs in a sterile environment and with medical intervention available in the event of an overdose.

There is also a segment of the population who believes that the legalization and regulation of all illicit narcotics is the solution. Many will cite Portugal as an example of success.

Portugal

Daphne Bramham: Decriminalization is no silver bullet, says Portugal's drug czar

Portugal in the late 1990’s was dealing with a drug crisis of its own. One percent of its population, 100,000 people, were heroin users and on average more than 350 people a year were dying from a drug overdose. In the early 2000’s, Portugal overhauled its drug laws, decriminalizing small amounts of narcotics for personal use.

The number of overdose deaths has since plummeted, though this is not as a direct result of decriminalization. The Portuguese also recognized that it wasn’t enough to simply decriminalize illicit drugs, they also provided the means for addicts to access treatment, and assisted them as they reintegrated back into society.

If police find you with illicit drugs, you’ll be arrested and taken to a police station where the drugs will be weighed. If the amount is above the strictly enforced threshold limits — designed to be a 10-day supply for personal use, or 25 grams of cannabis, five grams of cannabis resin, two grams of cocaine, or one gram each of ecstasy or heroin — you can be charged as a trafficker. If convicted, jail terms range from one year to 14 years.

If the amount is below the limit, you’ll be sent the following day to the Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction — even if you’re a tourist. There, you will be interviewed by a psychologist or social worker before appearing before a three-person panel that will offer suggestions aimed at stopping your drug use.

From there, you’re fast-tracked to whatever services you’re willing to accept. If you refuse help, you can be asked to do community service or even, eventually, facing a fine, perhaps even having possessions confiscated and sold to pay the fine.

It’s why Goulão is so quick to point out that Portugal’s success isn’t because of decriminalization. It’s because, in 2001, his country made a commitment to providing whatever its citizens need to be as healthy and as fully engaged in society as possible.

“Decriminalization is not a silver bullet,” he said. “If you decriminalize and do nothing else, things will get worse.

“The most important part was making treatment available to everybody who needed it for free. This was our first goal.”

DAPHNE BRAMHAM 
Daphne Bramham: Decriminalization is no silver bullet, says Portugal’s drug czar
https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/daphne-bramham-decriminalization-is-no-silver-bullet-says-portugals-drug-czar

China: Point of Origin

The precursor chemicals used to synthesize fentanyl and its analogs are manufactured in The People’s Republic of China, and the government places no restrictions on their production or shipping. For the manufacturers the only concern is that they sell their product and make a profit on it, without regard for its end use or the ensuing consequences it may bring. There is also very little likelihood that the Chinese will place any restrictions on the manufacture and distribution of these chemicals, and very little that anyone can do about it. In and of themselves they are not dangerous and do not pose a threat

When I analyze this through the lens of International Relations, I come to some conclusions that many will no doubt disagree with. I may even be labeled as paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, but I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Strategically speaking it is to China’s benefit that these chemicals be used to synthesize fentanyl. The economic benefit to China is relatively small compared to the strategic benefit. A rapid and dramatic increase in the number of drug addicts within a society will act as a destabilizing force within it, draining resources that could be better used elsewhere.

The Chinese have also lead the way in the synthesis of the most potent and deadly fentanyl analogs, with the potential ability to kill tens of millions of people. There are no conventions banning the research and development of synthetic opioid drugs like there are for chemical weapons or other WMD. Yes, I know that it would be very difficult, and that it would need the proper vehicle for delivery in order to be effective. How are we to know that one hasn’t already been developed, or is being worked on now? Theoretically, they could have already produced enough ohmefentanyl to wipe out half the population of the continental United States. This has the potential to weigh heavily on the global balance of power.

Share This Information

There are no quick and easy fixes to be found here, and people are going to continue dying in ever growing numbers. Individually there isn’t much that any of us can do either, it is something that must be dealt with on a governmental level and frankly, this gives me little hope that a solution will be found any time soon.

A lot of people will die that didn’t have to, people like my brother, and my heart breaks for the families and loved ones that will be left behind. Share this information with the people you know so that as many people as possible are aware of just how very bad the situation is. It is possible that it might one day save a life, perhaps the life of some one you know and love.

OUTRAGE!!!

VAC Employee Counsels Vet With PTSD, Brain-Injury, About Assisted Suicide.

Global News is reporting that multiple sources have told them that an agent from Veteran’s Affairs Canada (VAC) offered advice about assisted suicide to a brain-injured combat veteran with PTSD.

The agent in question brought up the subject with the veteran, despite not being requested by him, in what sounds like a rather cavalier and nonchalant manner. The veteran was reportedly left “deeply disturbed”, and he and his family were left feeling betrayed by the agency that was supposed to be looking out for his best interests.

Veteran’s Affairs has also confirmed to Global News that the discussion did in fact take place. According to sources, the veteran had been experiencing positive improvements in his physical and mental health up until that point, and this encounter has served to halt any progress he had made and has been harmful to the well-being of the veteran and his family.

An apology was made to the family by VAC, but only AFTER numerous complaints had been made regarding this atrocious incident. A statement from VAC stated that “VAC deeply regrets what transpired”, and further said that an internal investigation would be conducted into the matter without discussing it or the potential consequences facing the employee.

Veteran’s Affairs Minister Needs To Step Down Immediately.

Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veteran’s Affairs

I would say that for starters the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs, the “Honourable” Lawrence MacAulay, needs to resign IMMEDIATELY. VAC has been a dysfunctional abomination for a very, very long time, but this ridiculousness has about topped it all and the person in charge MUST GO.

MAID for the mentally ill?

It’s pretty clear to me that the idiot VAC agent doesn’t seem to be too familiar with the Government of Canada’s stance regarding MAID and mental illness right now. A mental illness does NOT meet the eligibility requirements for MAID in the first place, so it wasn’t supposed to be brought up AT ALL, to begin with.

Now, either the VAC agent has a deficient IQ, in which case they shouldn’t be working there in the first place, or the mentally deficient VAC agent wasn’t properly instructed on the law by his equally mentally deficient superiors. Either way, there needs to be some SERIOUS training or re-training done here.

About mental illness and MAID

If a mental illness is the only medical condition leading you to consider MAID, you are not eligible to seek MAID at this time. Under the new changes made to the law, the exclusion will remain in effect until March 17, 2023.

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/medical-assistance-dying.html

While I may find the idea of MAID distasteful for myself personally, I find the idea of MAID being offered to the mentally ill as being absolutely repugnant. Mental illness cannot by any stretch of the imagination be equated to a terminal illness, and those who would argue otherwise must in my estimation be mentally ill themselves. In this case then perhaps these people ought to be euthanized.

A duty to serve, not kill.

It is the duty of VAC employees to serve our veterans and make sure that they are taken care of properly, not dead. You will forgive me and many thousands of others who are tonight left wondering if that isn’t really the plan. To counsel the mentally ill to kill themselves, because it would alleviate their pain and suffering, but also help alleviate the backlog of cases and the billions of dollars that have to be spent caring for them.

There must be a Royal Commission impanelled to deal with the VAC issues on and for all.

I am calling upon our federally elected officials in Ottawa to do the right thing and call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into what has gone so horribly, horribly wrong with the system and what can be done to fix it in the most expedient manner possible. Perhaps that will include offering MAID counselling for any VAC agents displaying signs of intellectual deficiency in the future.

Just When You Thought Australian Politics Couldn’t Possibly Get Any Weirder

Former PM appointed himself joint Minister in several cabinet portfolios while in office.

Photo: Getty Images

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62462277

On Tuesday Mr Albanese said he had been told by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that Mr Morrison became joint minister for the health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios in the two years before losing power in May.

Shaima Khalil, Australia Correspondent BBC.com

Well then. Just when I thought that Australian politics couldn’t get any weirder than it already has, a story out today showed me that I was wrong on that point. In the three years that I have followed and written about politics in the land down under, I thought that I had heard everything. Far from being the world’s most stable democracy, Australia has looked more like the kind of corrupt police state one might see in Asia or perhaps Central/South America. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Scott “ScoMo” Morrison appears to have taken micro-management to some new and rather ridiculous heights. Despite not outwardly appearing to be the type, Morrison was acting very much the Strongman, akin to others like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Fidel Castro, and Manuel “Pineapple Face” Noriega.

BBC Australian Correspondent Shaima Khalil writes an excellent analysis of the bizarre rant Morrison posted on Facebook only four hours before the time I wrote this.

Some ministers – including the then finance minister Mathias Cormann – were reportedly unaware they were sharing portfolios with Mr Morrison.

Shaima Khalil, Australia Correspondent BBC.com

Unbeknownst to anyone, Morrison had secretly appointed himself as the joint minister of health, finance, treasury, home affairs, and resources.

At one point in his leadership, Mr Morrison was also operating as minister of health, finance, home affairs, resources and the treasury. High profile ministerial positions – and the decision-making powers that come with them. All now centralized by one person. All done in secret.

Shaima Khalil, Australia Correspondent BBC.com

If you’re thinking this is veering off the democracy road you wouldn’t be wrong.

I remember when the former prime minister would stand alongside his then health minister Greg Hunt to hold Covid briefings. Little did the public know that they were hearing from two health minister – one of them secretly self-appointed.

Shaima Khalil, Australia Correspondent BBC.com

The Facebook Post.

When I saw this for the first time, I thought that it had been posted on a Scott Morrison parody account, but as it so happens this is legit.

At the time that I am writing this, the Facebook post in question remains up, but in the event that it gets taken down I wanted to preserve its content, all 1,279 words of it.

Because, COVID.

The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recession required an unprecedented policy response from our Government.

These were extraordinary times and they required extraordinary measures to respond. Our Government’s overriding objective was to save lives and livelihoods, which we achieved. To achieve this we needed to ensure continuity of government and robust administrative arrangements to deal with the unexpected in what was a period of constant uncertainty during the nation’s biggest crisis outside of wartime.

Information and advice changed daily and even hourly. Meetings with Ministers, officials and advisers were constant, as was liaison with industry and other stakeholders as we were dealing with everything from supply chain shocks to business closures, the overwhelming of the social security and hospital system and the sourcing of critical medical supplies and workforce. The prospect of civil disruption, extensive fatalities and economic collapse was real, especially in the early stages, which was occurring in other parts of the world.

The risk of Ministers becoming incapacitated, sick, hospitalised, incapable of doing their work at a critical hour or even fatality was very real. The Home Affairs Minister was struck down with COVID-19 early in the pandemic and the UK Prime Minister was on a ventilator and facing the very real prospect of dying of COVID-19.

The Parliament was suspended from sitting for a time and Cabinet and others meetings were unable to be held face to face, as occurred with businesses and the public more generally.

As Prime Minister I considered it necessary to put in place safeguards, redundancies and contingencies to ensure the continuity and effective operation of Government during this crisis period, which extended for the full period of my term.

To ensure oversight, the Government, with the support of the Opposition, established a concurrent public Senate Inquiry into the management of COVID that effectively ran for the duration of my term as Prime Minister.

In addition I took the precaution of being given authority to administer various departments of state should the need arise due to incapacity of a Minister or in the national interest. This was done in relation to departments where Ministers were vested with specific powers under their legislation that were not subject to oversight by Cabinet, including significant financial authorities.

Given the significant nature of many of these powers I considered this to be a prudent and responsible action as Prime Minister.

It is not uncommon for multiple Ministers to be sworn to administer the same Department. However, given that such additional Ministers were in a more junior position in the relevant Departments, and would not be familiar with all the details of the pandemic response, I considered it appropriate that the redundancy be put in place at a higher level within the Government and not at a more junior level.

The major Department for which this was considered was the Health Department, given the extensive powers afforded to the Minister by the Biosecurity Act. This was put in place on March 14, 2020. The Department of Finance was added on March 30, 2020.

As an added administrative precaution, as a ‘belts and braces’ approach, the Departments of Treasury and Home Affairs were added some time after in May 2021. I did not consider it was likely that it would be necessary to exercise powers in these areas, but the future was very difficult to predict during the pandemic. As events demonstrated with the resurgence of COVID-19 in the second half of 2021, we could never take certainty for granted. In hindsight these arrangements were unnecessary and until seeking advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet today, I had not recollected these arrangements having been put in place. There was a lot going on at the time.

Thankfully it was not necessary for me to trigger use of any of these powers. In the event that I would have to use such powers I would have done so disclosing the authority by which I was making such decisions. The authority was pre approved to ensure there would be no delay in being able to make decisions or take actions should the need arise.

The crisis was a highly dynamic environment and it was important to plan ahead and take what precautions could lawfully be put in place to ensure I could act, as Prime Minister, if needed.

It is important to note that throughout this time Ministers in all Departments, where I was provided with authority to act, exercised full control of their Departments and portfolios without intervention. Ministerial briefs were not copied to me as Prime Minister in a co-Minister capacity, as this was not the nature of the arrangement. These arrangements were there as a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ safeguard. I also did not wish Ministers to be second guessing themselves or for there to be the appearance to be a right of appeal or any diminishing of their authority to exercise their responsibilities, as this was not the intention of putting these arrangements in place. I simply wanted them to get on with their job, which they did admirably and I am grateful for their service.

The decision in relation to the Department of Industry, Energy and Resources was undertaken in April 2021 for separate reasons. This was the consequence of my decision to consider the issues of the PEP11 license directly. Under the legislation the decision is not taken by Cabinet, but unilaterally by a Minister with authority to administer that Department. I sought and was provided with the authority to administer matters in relation to this Department and considered this issue observing all the necessary advice and issues pertaining to the matter before making a decision, without prejudice, which I announced publicly. Once having been given the authority to consider this matter I advised the Minister of my intention to do so and proceeded to consider the matter. I retained full confidence in Minister Pitt who

I was pleased to have serve in my Ministry. I believe I made the right decision in the national interest. This was the only matter I involved myself directly with in this or any other Department.

The use of the powers by a Prime Minister to exercise authority to administer Departments has clearly caused concern. I regret this, but acted in good faith in a crisis.

I used such powers on one occasion only. I did not seek to interfere with Ministers in the conduct of their portfolio as there were no circumstances that warranted their use, except in the case of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources which I have explained.

The pandemic has been a difficult time for Australia, although we have performed better than almost any other developed country in the world. There is no guide book in these circumstances and there is much commentary that will be offered in hindsight from the comfort of relatively calmer conditions. It is not surprising that some of this commentary will have a partisan or other motive, but that’s politics. In a democracy it is a positive thing for these issues to be discussed and for experience to inform future decisions and I hope my statement will help inform that process.

I have endeavoured to set out the context and reasoning for the decisions I took as Prime Minister in a highly unusual time. I did so in good faith, seeking to exercise my responsibilities as Prime Minister which exceeded those of any other member of the Government, or Parliament. For any offence to my colleagues I apologise. I led an outstanding team who did an excellent job and provided me great service and loyalty as Ministers.

Former Australian PM Scott “ScoMo” Morrison, Facebook post August 16, 2022.

Five hours before making the Facebook post in which he admits to taking joint control of THREE portfolios. Somehow he seems to have remembered another two portfolios following the interview. This then begs the question as to whether or not he stopped at five or if perhaps he just said “screw it” and decided to throw caution to the wind, assuming this role for the entirety of his cabinet.

This whole coming clean thing seems to be new territory for ScoMo, so I suppose he could be forgiven for stumbling out of the gate.

The cat’s out of the bag.

On Tuesday Mr Albanese said he had been told by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that Mr Morrison became joint minister for the health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios in the two years before losing power in May.

Shaima Khalil, Australia Correspondent BBC.com

It seems as though Morrison knew that he was busted, and so he decided to try and get ahead of things before they spiralled too far out of control. I don’t think he managed to accomplish what he set out to do if this is in fact the case.

More Yet To Come.

My sources in Oz who are in the know about things tell me that there is going to be plenty more yet to come. I’m hearing that the pins have been pulled on some grenades that will be going off in the media very soon, and some big players are about to resemble Tetley Tea Bags. The ones with 2,000 perforations.

It appears as though I’m going to have to make another bowl of popcorn.