Tag Archives: Health

The discussion about Fracking and the oily truth- gasoline, natural gas, and oil production are toxic to people’s health

Fracking has become a big topic of discussion and controversy right this moment, as giant corporations work with whore-like politicians right here in Colorado, to ensure that OIL OIL OIL production will continue nonstop to produce all those consumer items that make some Fat Cats super rich off the rest of us. But what are the costs when the inevitable contamination of the environment occurs? Riki Ott lets us know just what has occurred post BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. See her Unfinished Business: The Unspoken Link Between Dispersants and Sick Children in the Gulf of Mexico …Also, read about the Colorado woman pictured at the head of this commentary- Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

Who has got their boot on Rawesome Foods and the CA organic movement?

It’s tempting to urge organic growers to push ahead with sustainable health communities, agents of the corporate food distopia be damned, but here’s what happened to Rawesome Foods: raided by Feds, food stocks destroyed, arrests and prohibitive fines. How do you combat a police state prohibiting all breaches of Big Agra’s strangle-hold on world health? Natural News has an idea, publicize the names of the Federal Agents persecuting the raw dairy evangelists. Friends and loved ones might be able to talk some sense into them. Remember, in principle these health regulators are the good guys. So whose office has got their boot on the California organic food movement? Scarlett Treviso, Terrence Powell, Kelly Sakir, Siobhan Delancey, Michelle LeCavalier, & FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Here’s how to contact them, this is your local farmer’s time of need.

cdfa logoUnless they’re an appointee from an industry lobby group, a professional who pursues a career in public health is more than likely interested in the public’s health. It’s up to you to bring them up to nutritional speed.

Scarlett Treviso, Senior Special Investigator, (mastermind of first raid on Rawesome Foods, heavily involved in intimidation tactics against raw dairy farmers across California) California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, Milk and Dairy Food Safety division. Office phone: 949-716-8913, Email: streviso@cdfa.ca.gov

Terrance Powell, Bureau Director, Specialized Surveillance & Enforcement Bureau of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 5050 Commerce Drive, Baldwin Park, CA 91706, Phone: (626) 430-5150, Fax: (626) 851-3758. Email: tpowell@ph.lacounty.gov

Kelly Sakir, assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County. Phone: 213-582-3394. Supervisor: Steve Cooley. Phone: 213-974-3512. Public Information Officer: Sandi Gibbons. Phone: 213-974-3525

Siobhan DeLancey FDA Press Officer, participated in the investigation of Rawesome, covers Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Phone: 301-796-4668. Email: siobhan.delancey@fda.hhs.gov

Michelle LeCavalier, Environmental Health Specialist III at the Department Of Health Services: 1501 Capitol Avenue, Suite 6001, Sacramento, CA 95814-5005. Supervisor: Jesus Urrutia, Chief EHS, 6851 Lennox Ave. # 310, Van Nuys, CA 91405. Phone: (818) 902-4470

Angelo J. Bellomo, Director of Environmental Health for the County of Los Angeles, 5050 Commerce Drive, Baldwin Park, CA 91706. Phone: (626) 430-5100. Fax: (626) 813-3000. Hotline: (888) 700-9995. Email: abellomo@ph.lacounty.gov
 
 
 
 
Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. Phone: 301-796-5000. Main FDA number: 888-463-6332. Email address #1: margaretahamburg@aol.com. Email address #2: Margaret.Hamburg@fda.hhs.gov

Need 15 reasons to eat organic food?

Organic foods are higher in nutrients, free of neurotoxins, growth-supportive, not pesticide factories, not water-polluters, ecologically sustainable, economically sustainable, better tasting, not gas-ripened, safer for farm workers, conducive to wildlife, less likely to be cancer-causing, free of antibiotics and hormones, tried & tested, and supportive of biodiversity. Read on, from Care2 make a difference:

15 Reasons to Eat Organic Food

1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.

2. They’re free of neurotoxins–toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.

3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).

4. They are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.

5. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water.

6. Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future. Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.

7. Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.

8. Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.

9. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).

10. Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70 percent increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.

11. Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.

12. Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides potentially cancer-causing. It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.

13. Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.

14. Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.

15. Organic food supports greater biodiversity. Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.

Is there an energy drink that’s safe or nutritious or worth drinking? A look at Lost, Bawls, Bing, Reed’s and Pimpjuice

 
Lost Energy, not found in Bawls, Petey's Bing, Reed's Elixir, or Pimp Juice
Short answer, not really. But we’re feeling left out of the excitement, even if it’s addled. Reed’s Natural Energy Elixir is probably the most interesting (sparkling filtered water, cane sugar, pineapple juice, honey, fresh ginger root, lemon juice, lime juice, green tea leaf, ginseng, goji, acai, camu camu, jiaogulan & L-theanine) but won’t deliver the jitters to suit energy drink junkies. It’s sort of like Herbal-X was to Ecstasy. Colorado local Petey’s Bing is a “natural” concoction with bing cherries, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, acai & flax seed extract (plus caffeine, taurine & guarana for the obligatory heart palpitations), but cuts its cane sugar with Sucralose to reduce the calories, so until they consider natural stevia, shelve Bing with Tab/Fresca. Pimpjuice has acai juice, grape extract, green tea extract, pomegranate juice, pear juice & yerba mate to supplement the usual suspect stimulants. The legendary Bawls ties with …Lost for best taste in popular polls. But doesn’t “Lost Energy” say it all? Our serotonin-leaking masses are being pitched caffeinated supplements to make up for what’s gone missing from their dead processed food.

Border wars of the drug cartels, ours

So, on Telemundo the “Border War” rhetoric took some serious hits which I cheerlessly predict the Minutemen, Tea Party and other klan groups are going to spend a lot of time, corporate money and hot air trying to patch.

La Migra admitted that they are losing the border, contrary to what the Republican puppet Partido Accion Nacional predicted when they  sold the Socialist economy of Mexico, and the future of the people to Anglo-American Cartels.  Two decades of capitalist “reform” have left the land and water poisoned, a lab-created mutant corn displacing the native strains which have existed thousands of years before the English existed as an organized society, the price of food, fuel, medical care have skyrocketed….

They WERE subsidized by the Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) national oil company.  “Oh NO!!” scream the “Free” marketeers… “Socialism must fail, partly because we spent so much other People’s Money and Military Power (composed of Other People’s Sons) pressuring it to fail!!

So now, those fleeing the newly created Capitalist Wasteland to feed their families are forced into a system of Immigration Control led and mandated by Racist hate groups.  Who also happen to be funded by the same foaming at the mouth capitalists who ruined their homeland.  And who feed their hate filled minions on the rage of people whose lives Here were torn down by the “Capital Cartel,” who sell the most dangerous and lethal drugs know to man, and the worst of the all is Greed.

The delusion that through faithful, arduous and low-wage servitude to the Cartel, and investing those wages back, they, too, might aspire to wealth.

They sold the same line of shit to the Mexicans.  In the two decades of NAFTA privatization, Poverty has grown, hugely, in both the U.S. and Mexico.  So has “illegal” immigration, and the poisonous hatred of murderous Terrorist groups like the Minutemen.

Thus to the next area of the web of Right-Wingnut Lies.

Drug Cartels.  Here we have a people whose subsistence Crops, corn for instance, have been displaced by plantations owned by the corporate partners Accomplices of British Petroleum, Exxon-Mobile, Monsanto…  Mutant corn with genetic material from squid spliced in, to feed the chemically altered cattle, hogs and chickens, which make up the unhealthy American McDiet.

To make “High Fructose Corn Syrup” which doesn’t chemically match the equally lethal processed cane sugar, but Provides the human body the signal to store calories as fat.  And the signals to make more insulin, which is chemically geared through the two million years of normal diet to carbohydrates such as in honey.

The people of Mexico eat corn.  No, no, I mean they EAT corn.  And all the indigenous peoples from Canada to Tierra del Fuego having their dietary staples being displaced by the U.S. led McFake-food corporate McDiet.  Poisoning other nations to enable poisoning us.  John the Baptist’s diet of locust and honey was much healthier than ours.

So they run to other crops, local favorites like hemp and coca, introduced crops like opium.  What they can grow in the land not deemed suitable for the Corporate Plantation.

Incidental note: More opium and coca is produced LEGALLY for Big Pharma, Codeine (Vicodin is the most prescribed drug in America), Morphine, Dermerol, Methadone, Lidocaine, Novocain… Lidocaine is in toothache remedies (we start “coking up” when we’re infants), skin creams, sunburn lotions…

One word for Hemp is “weed” and is very apt.

Unregulated dope would put legalized dope dealers out of business, must protect capitalism at all costs.

Bring that back down, remember Monsanto and the Mutant plants?  They have the patent on the McPotato, developed for the McFat food corporations French fries.  THE most common potato in the U.S. market.  It gets weird from there.

They teamed up with R.J Reynolds and Liggett-Morris, the freakin’ biggest drug dealers in the WORLD, mon…  Sellers of the single deadliest product, very addictive and even Kills people who don’t voluntarily “partake” (like unborn children).  Add in their top shareholders own gun companies, Alcohol brewers and distillers, oil companies, Mc”Food”, the Republiklan and Tea Parties, Auto makers, mortgage bankers and other death-dealing organizations…

…and the “Right to Life” organization.

Quite the murderous lot o’ sodding gits, they are.

Monsanto was developing tobacco which would be resistant to some of their other products…  Round-up, Paraquat and Agent Orange.  Chemically they’re closer than beer is to brandy.

And they kill every plant already sprouted.

The resistant mutant could be planted and the “farmer” could still spray for weed control.

Now how much would you pay?  But wait, THERE’S MORE!!

This “Team Effort” to make cigarettes MORE deadly came less than a decade after Monsanto “settled” a lawsuit in a Reagan appointed court for less than a tenth of the med expenses of Vietnam vets who were sickened, even killed, by Agent Orange, and all who hadn’t been diagnosed yet cut completely off.  Monsanto had insisted A.O. was harmless, until the DEA ratted them out.  They were using the chemical twin, Paraquat to spray hemp crops and warned U.S. smokers that Army documents had shown that inhaling the smoke of burning A.O causes cancer of the lungs, kidneys, and liver.

So, how’s that cool, refreshing full-flavor ciggie taste right now?

Yet, their political Shock Troops in the Tea Party condemn the violence of what is really a revolution, in Mexico, especially, against their Corporate Whore-Lords.  While promoting a similar “Revolution” here in favor of maintaining the power of their Racist establishment.  

And selling the Guns to both sides.

CSU Drake coal plant situated in heart of Colorado Springs, for heart disease

Colorado Springs Utilities Martin Drake Power Plant
Europe is closing the last of its coal-fired power plants, while America rebrands coal as clean. And Colorado Springs literally embraces its pollution-spewing Martin Drake Coal Plant. You can burn fossil fuels to warm the globe from anywhere, but for a coal plant’s particulate contaminants to directly deal death, chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia, it’s even more effective to sidle up close. How’s this for cozy? Downtown practically wraps its lips around CPU’s toxic stacks, you don’t even need rolling papers. Makes no difference which way the wind’s blowing.

The consumer goods Killer App -KILLED

A consumer goods bar code scannerFinally a real KILLER APP. A free iPhone application called the Good Guide lets you scan the barcodes of (eventually) every consumer good to learn immediately its goodness rating on a scale of 0-10. No more Consumer Report printouts, mental notes or improvisational evaluation. The Good Guide score is the synthesis of three criteria, the ratings for which are also shown: health, environment and social. How healthy is this item? How environmentally friendly? And how socially-responsible is the producer? Notably missing is a ranking for price, sidestepping the inescapable real world cost vs. benefit compromise.
 

UPDATE: FALSE HOPE ALARM. So far the products itemized by the GoodGuide are the General Mills variety, all of them rank highly. There’s a sugared cinnamon cereal that gets a 10 for health. Hoho.

According to an article in Grist, GoodGuide emerged from a project called TAO IT, created by Dara O’Rourke, associate professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Management and Policy. Goodguide’s aim sounds like a watchdog function better administrated by a regulatory agency. I can already see industry lobbyists setting up offices to influence the GoodGuide analysts.

A lot will depend on the transparency of the GoodGuide benchmarks and the objective distance they can keep from market interests. For example, the PR budget of one conglomerate alone could create a faux ratings mechanism to usurp GoogGuide as consumers-aid du jour. A recent processed food industry Smart Choices badge comes to mind.

The GoodGuide evaluation policies do give a good impression.

GoodGuide aggregates and analyzes data on both product and company performance. We employ a range of scientific methods – health hazard assessment, environmental impact assessment, and social impact assessment – to identify major impacts to human health, the environment, and society. Each of these categories is then further analyzed within specific issue areas, such as climate change policies, labor concerns, and product toxicity. Currently, GoodGuide’s database has over 600 base criteria by which we evaluate products and companies.

Health Performance
As an example, for health performance, GoodGuide’s system takes into account both the impacts of a company’s operations on its workers and local communities, and the impacts of using a specific product on your health. Our team has gathered data on important health hazards such as:

• Cancer risks
• Reproductive health hazards
• Mutagenicity
• Endocrine disruption
• Respiratory hazards
• Skin and eye irritation

Our research currently uses a simplified health hazard assessment process that allows us to rate thousands of products along standard criteria. It should be noted that while these ratings are not risk assessments of products or chemicals, they do highlight potential hazards associated with the use of these products.

Environmental Performance
For environmental performance, GoodGuide is aggregating data on the life-cycle impacts of products, from manufacturing to transportation to use to final disposal. For companies, impact categories include:

• Environmental emissions and their impacts on air, water, land, and climate
• Natural resource impacts
• Environmental management programs

GoodGuide uses these categories to generate overall environmental performance ratings for companies.

Social Performance
For social issues, GoodGuide aggregates data on the social impacts companies have on their employees:

• Compensation
• Labor and human rights practices
• Diversity policies
• Working conditions

In addition to impacts on employees, Social Performance ratings consider impact on consumers and communities. The social scoring system also brings together information on corporate governance, disclosure policies, and overall practices.

OUR RATINGS

Types of Information
Different types of information flow into GoodGuide’s system: absolute measures, relative measures, and binary measures. Absolute measures describe measurable activities of a company or product. For example, the pounds of toxic air emissions released per year, the CEO’s salary, or the amount of money a company donated to charity. Relative measures are scores, such as a numerical grade of “6.5 out of 10” or a textual grade of “bad” to “excellent.” Binary (or Yes/No) measures indicate whether a product or company does or does not have specific characteristics. For example, a product may or may not have earned an environmental certification, or a company may or may not test its products on animals.

The GoodGuide Rating
These measures are then used to create GoodGuide’s ratings. To calculate a single rating for a product or company, we convert all of the existing measures into a 0 to 10 score. In GoodGuide’s system, a score of 10 is the best and a score of 0 is the worst. Products and companies are rated relative to the performance of similar products or companies in the same industry.

The initial ratings are based on a set of selected criteria from a broad pool of data available within the GoodGuide database. We think these criteria are some of the most representative and understandable. As this is the first time all of this data has ever been aggregated in the same place, we are currently working to assess the consistency and comparability of measures across our many data sources. We would love to hear your suggestions on the relative importance of these various measures of product and company performance.

GoodGuide recognizes that even the most quantitative assessment of environmental, health, or social issues requires value judgments about the relative importance of various issues. For example, rational people can disagree over the relative importance of animal testing in evaluating a product or company. We have used our best scientific judgment in building our current ratings, and in future versions we will flag issues where personal values and preferences are particularly relevant. We will then enable people to create personalized ratings based on their own concerns.

In order to facilitate your ability to assess the data, we will also be providing an assessment of data uncertainty, completeness, and quality. These assessments can be used to weight the existing data within the GoodGuide database.

Incomplete Data
In some cases data is unavailable for a company or a product. This may be because we have not yet identified a credible data source for a given issue or topic. It may also be that the data is not publicly available because companies have not disclosed critical information. One goal of this project is to work collaboratively with key stakeholders around the world, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, private research firms, and companies to promote the quantity and quality of disclosure of important data to the public.

Learn more about GoodGuide’s methodology.

Simplifying the Omnivore’s Dilemma

The author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma put together a list of eating rules for the New York Times. From 2,500 submissions made by his readers, Michael Pollan gleaned 20. If I lob cheap laughs off the top, like “Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine” and other home-spun wisdoms which help NYT editors trivialize critiques of consumerism, I’m left with eight tips to spark constructive rethinking of our eating patterns. For starters: 1. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.

2. You may not leave the table until you finish your fruit.

3. You don’t get fat on food you pray over.

4. Breakfast you should eat alone. Lunch you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.

5. Never eat something that is pretending to be something else.

6. Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself.

7. Don’t yuck someone’s yum.

8. Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three-tenths for hunger.

the food revolution starts here. only the healthy will survive.

food incThere is a spate of recent films spilling the beans about the corporate takeover of the global food economy. Many are available online or through Amazon and Netflix.
 
Please watch some of these. Show your kids. Host a screening in your community. Donate a copy or two to the local library or public school system. Encourage teachers to show the films. Spread the word! Subvert the dominant food paradigm! Refuse to play along anymore!

Food, Inc., the first enviro-food movie to be screened in major theaters across the country, has brought food consciousness in the United States to a new level.

Fresh: The Movie is the perfect follow-up screening to Food, Inc. because it shows the flip side—positive change being created by farmers, students, thinkers, and business people in the U.S. today.

French Fries to Go documents Telluride, Colorado’s quest to run city buses on recycled fryer oil.

Garden Cycles: Faces From the New Farm is the story of three women on a three-month bicycle-powered tour of urban gardens throughout the Northeast.

Polycultures: Food Where We Live looks at communities in Northeast Ohio that are coming together to grow a more sustainable, just, and local food system.

The Greening of Southie is about Boston’s first LEED-certified residential green building and the way it affected a community.

Eating Alaska is a documentary by a vegetarian filmmaker who moves to Alaska and marries a hunter. The film looks at the ethics behind food choices and how politics, society, religion, and taste all play a role.

Sustainable Table: What’s on Your Plate? traces West Coast food production from field to table.

To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Pig tours outstanding farmers’ markets from Baltimore to Hawaii.

The Real Dirt of Farmer John looks at one man and his family farm. Farmer John and his story will have you reconsidering stereotypes about farmers.

The Garden examines the largest community garden in the U.S., 14 acres of green in South Central Los Angeles, and the fight to keep it there.

The World According to Monsanto looks at this behemoth of a multinational agricultural biotech corporation and their dominance of patents on genetically engineered seeds and pesticides.

Seeds of Deception focuses on how genetically engineered food is making its way into our daily diets.

Bad Seed: The Truth About Our Food looks at who is controlling the world’s food supply and the consequences of genetically modified food on health.

The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that affect what we eat and what we will eat in the future.

Food Matters takes a look at the often overlooked connection between food and our nation’s current state of health. With the health-care debate raging, watching this film feels extra-timely and important.

King Corn investigates the staggering scale of the corn related food economy in the U.S. in an entertaining way. While you’re at it check out Carey’s two part quest to go corn free.

Two Angry Moms shows two angry (and awesome) moms striving to improve school lunch with simple changes, like having fresh fruits and vegetables included on cafeteria trays.

Our Daily Bread is shot like a high end art-house film sand hows minute after minute of shocking footage of industrial food production and high-tech farming.

Super Size Me now feels like a classic among all these newer films. Watch as Morgan Spurlock spends 30 days eating nothing but McDonald’s while investigating the companies’ extremely long reach into school cafeterias and countries around the world.

Media That Matters: Good Food is a collection of 16 short films on food and sustainability.

The Greenhorns is an upcoming film on enterprising, hopeful, and young farmers that are bringing an infusion of youth and a wave of excitement to the one of the oldest professions of all.

The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.

Mondovino explores the impact of globalization on the various wine-producing regions. It pits the ambitions of large, multinational wine producers, in particular Robert Mondavi, against the small, single estate wineries who have traditionally boasted wines with individual character driven by their terroir.

We Feed the World is a film by Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer about food and globalization, fishermen and farmers, long-distance truck drivers and high-powered corporate executives, the flow of goods and cash flow – a film about scarcity amid plenty.

McLibel is a story of two activists who took on McDonald’s in the longest trial in English history. They won.

The Cove follows a team of activists and filmmakers as they infiltrate a heavily-guarded cove in Taiji, Japan where more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are being slaughtered each year and their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is being sold as food in Japan, often times labeled as whale meat.

The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil tells the story of the Cuban people’s efforts to feed the population and create a low-energy society after losing access to Soviet oil in the 1990s.

Information from the Serious Eats website. Thank you, Serious Eats!

sweet lies of high fructose corn syrup

high-fructose-corn-syrup-processing-plant
I’m sure you’ve seen the Sweet Surprise commercials. There are several to target different consumer groups, but all involve a person #1 expressing hesitation at the offer of a high fructose corn syrup-laden “treat” and a smug HFCS-pusher asking sneeringly, “Oh yeah? Well, what’s so bad about HFCS?”

In the ads, person #1 hems and haws and has trouble articulating a satisfactory reply. HFCS person pats person #1 on the head condescendingly and says, “I thought so. Don’t worry, high fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s part of a healthy diet.” Person #1 quietly accepts the offered Frankenfood while DDB Chicago, the creator of the ads, and the Corn Refiners Association, creator of the poison, high five at their clever game, played to the grave detriment of the confused end-consumer.

I’m going to enlist my fledgling filmmaker son to help me produce a commercial of my own. The script will look something like this:

———-

Corporate Shill Cornelia: High fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s perfectly peachy for you.

Vigilant Consumer Veronica: Oh, no, Cornelia. Fortunately for you, I have a PhD in molecular biology and can help you understand how terribly you’ve been duped.

When an individual consumes sugar, the pancreas responds by increasing the production of insulin which enables the glucose in the bloodstream to be transported into cells and used as energy. The body also increases the production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate the appetite and send a satiety signal to the body. This tells us that we’ve had enough to eat, a crucial component in the pursuit of “moderation.”

HFCS, in contrast, doesn’t cause insulin or leptin production nor increased cellular energy. You see, every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, but HFCS is only processed in the liver, like fats and alcohol, where it’s converted into triglycerides. The “energy” locked in HFCS stays largely inaccessible to the body, and most people know that elevated triglycerides — which we commonly refer to as high cholesterol — can lead to a whole host of health problems, including hardened arteries and heart attack. With HFCS, the moderation mechanism is never triggered; we never feel satisfied. Maybe this explains why 30% of American children are obese and sluggish, and why Lipitor, which is used to treat high cholesterol, is the best-selling drug in the country today. With approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are now prescribing it to children as young as 8.

Cornelia, I know this is a lot to digest and, believe me, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. The dangerous way HFCS is made, the genetically-modifed corn and enzymes that are used in its production, the fatty deposits and liver cirrhosis that may result from its over-consumption, the criminal complicity of the FDA, even the tale of interference with free-market mechanisms that led to its prevalence in the food supply, are all feature-length films in themselves.

Please, Cornelia, take my advice. Get educated about HFCS. Read labels. Protect yourself and your family from high fructose corn syrup. It truly is deadly, and there’s no smug satisfaction in that for me.

[hugs weepy Cornelia, hands her a tissue. children run into scene, grab offered apples, run off laughing and playing. pan to crushed box of Fudgsicles on picnic table, melting, chalk outline, puddle of congealed goo, like blood, surrounding] CUT.

DMNS refutes allegations of data misuse

NOTMYTRIBE received this response from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to our post: IS THE MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE GATHERING PRIVATE DATA FOR HEALTH INSURERS? In the July 26 article I outlined concerns that medical data specialists could be harvesting checkup results conducted on visitors to the DMNS exhibit “Expedition Health.”

July 29, 2009

Dear Eric,

As the Curator of Human Health at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and a member of the team that created the Expedition Health exhibition, I can say unequivocally that visitor information recorded in the exhibition is NEVER shared with insurers, and the “signs of subterfuge” you detail in your blog have no basis in fact.

Privacy issues were a top consideration in the development of Expedition Health because the exhibition was deliberately designed to be highly personalized. Based on research and best practices in informal science education, we know that people learn human biology better when they’re learning about their own bodies, not the human body in general. The data that visitors provide when they sign-in to get their Peak Pass serves no other purpose but to customize Expedition Health for each person with the goal of creating a relevant, empowering, educational and memorable experience.

While visiting Expedition Health, visitors can choose to participate in activities that record their resting heart rate, their target heart rate, their height and arm span, their stride length, speed and energy score. These activities are designed to provide data that is accurate, but this information is not intended to be used for any clinical or diagnostic purpose. The true reason for this data collection: through these measurements, visitors see that their bodies are constantly changing in ways they can see, measure and optimize though healthy lifestyle choices.

Contrary to the claims made in your blog, we do not collect biometric data such as fingerprints,, voice patterns, retinal scan, etc., nor do we gather information about diet preferences, weight, body fat ratio, “stress test” results, vital statistics or present/past tobacco or sunscreen use. Visitors are challenged to build a healthy meal and see hypothetically what they might look like based on lifestyle choices such as wearing sub block.

Information provided by visitors in Expedition Health—information that personalizes the experience and therefore enhances the educational experience—is stored in a secure database. This database does not interface with the Museum’s ticketing systems. A very limited number of staff members in the Museum have access to the visitor information that is gathered at the exhibit components. The data is kept so that visitors can look at their information and extend their learning experience at home by logging on to their own unique and secure web site.

Visitors have two weeks to access their information online. Every two weeks, 98 percent of our visitors have their data purged from the database because they have not accessed it online after their visit to Expedition Health. The remaining two percent of visitors who elected to see their data online and extend their learning experience have their data saved in the database for six months should they wish to access their data again. The Museum never shares this data with any outside entities.

Finally, the Museum maintains as strict policy with donors when it comes to the development of exhibition content and the sharing of information gathered in the exhibition. Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the presenting sponsor of Expedition Health, and the lead donors include Boettcher Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, and Gates Family Foundation, a Colorado-based foundation that is not connected with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While these organizations did provide funding, they did not have any involvement in content development for Expedition Health, nor have they ever received any visitor information recorded on Peak Passes. This distinct separation between content and funding is critical to the Museum’s long-standing credibility.

As the region’s leading resource for informal science education, the Museum is committed to presenting objective scientific content, and retains control of and responsibility for all exhibits and programs. When the Museum developed Expedition Health, we worked to ensure that our new exhibit was firmly grounded in the most current biological science and was relevant to visitors. All content in Expedition Health was created or vetted by Museum staff members—scientists, educators and exhibition designers—with the help of a blue ribbon advisory board. Our overall aim with Expedition Health is to broaden visitors’ knowledge of human biology, disease, and wellness, and inspire the application of these discoveries to their lives.

I respectfully request you post this response online. If you would like to discuss this further, I invite you to contact me directly at the Museum.

Sincerely,

Bridget Coughlin, PhD

Thank you Dr. Coughlin, we are eager to take you up on your offer. Ultimately I would hope to see the museum provide its visitors a written assurance of what you’ve explained.

Ours is a surveillance society where military recruiters are granted access to high school records, where consumer profiles are traded among marketers, and health insurers are pushing to overcome national privacy safeguards by digitizing all medical records. You have explained that the “Expedition Health” exhibit is not collating its data with others. Because current technology makes clandestine data harvesting feasible, perhaps the museum could introduce firewalls to demonstrate how their visitors’ anonymity remains protected. This would offer more comfort than docents who assure patrons that the information is purged every night, or you, who explain it is purged after two weeks.

Is healthcare not a Human Right?

Healthcare is a Human Right
This is how Americans are going to get national health insurance, by demanding it. In Colorado Springs we’re still passing around petitions to support President Obama’s health insurance company stop-gaps. The Des Moines Catholic Workers find themselves charged with criminal trespass, for trying to confront Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield about their egregious profit-making at the expense of the public health.

INSURANCE PROFITS MAKE US SICK. HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT

Shouldn’t healthcare be considered a human right? Men are not sick of their own volition, nor by acts of capricious fate. Mankind is being sickened by industrial society, from which the poisoners are reaping their profits without regard to the true costs of their toxic schemes.

Is the Museum of Nature and Science gathering health data for insurers?

dmns expedition health
DENVER- At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science the most popular exhibit this summer is called “Expedition Health” and features high-tech diagnostic kiosks where visitors can gauge the general state of their health. Judging by the long lines, you’d think these people haven’t visited a doctor lately. I suspect that unless the medical insurance underwriters of the exhibit can be trusted, many of the DMNS-goers won’t get to see a doctor again.

My hypothesis– that “Expedition Health” is surreptitiously collecting personal medical data on every visitor who comes through their doors, to add actionable factors to insurance customer files. If this is happening or not, it easily could. And the DMNS is not offering any assurance that it is not.

Basically, everybody who goes through the Expedition Health exhibit is surrendering personal health data, which in the hands of insurers could be critical in their decision about whether or not to offer them medical coverage. Museum staff insist that the personal information is purged every night, although with a simple internet link this explanation is disproved. Staff explain that attendee magnetic cards are erased, perhaps innocently ignorant of where the information actually accrues as the public circulate from one kiosk to the next.

expedition health peak passAt pharmacies you can measure your blood pressure without a personalized magnetic card. But at the DMNS health exhibit, sponsored by Met Life, Kaiser Permanente, et al, you have to tell the machines who you are before you can learn your heart rate, your vital statistics, results of a stress test, a measure of your “stride,” digital imagery of your body at rest and in motion, scans of your fingers and palm, and a 3-D imaging of your face.

A telling detail, to my mind, is that the DMNS offers no printed assurance that the health information of its attendees is not being harvested by data merchants. Is it? Do I have any proof? I will offer you the clues, and you can be the judge. I think there are enough signs of subterfuge to suspect that “Expedition Health” is not serving your health.

Here’s how it looks to the average exhibit visitor: the attendee is given a magnetic card to use at the electronic kiosks, at the culmination of which a “Peak Pass” card will be generated to reflect the user’s health results. In the process the attendee learns about positive and negative factors which govern human health. Attendee are free to initiate the card with whatever fictitious ID data they wish, depending on how helpfully relevant they want their results to be.

The impression of anonymity is bolstered by several insincerities. I will illuminate a few.

A. The ruse of an aliased identity

Part one, the ID. Before museum-goers can attend “Expedition Health,” they must obtain an admission ticket marked with the time they can be scheduled to enter. This is done ostensibly to ease congestion through the exhibit hall.

denver museum peak passIn purchasing their museum passes, or submitting their DMNS membership cards, the visitors are of course revealing their verifiable identities. If they are not already members in the museum’s database, their admission purchase via credit card or personal check and driver’s license confirms who they are. Under the pretense of museum security, driver’s IDs can be inspected all of their own. Who would begrudge the museum knowing who is visiting? And if you had the foresight to worry about your anonymity, what would it matter if the museum recorded too, when you would be presenting yourself at the start of the health exhibit?

Part two: the unclean slate. At the exhibit door attendees submit their tickets and are admitted entrance and given a blank magnetic card. The staffer who collects the tickets is not the same person who immediately hands out the magnetic cards, thus reinforcing the sensation of a severed paper trail. But in actuality, there is no discontinuity because the card-holder immediately queues for a kiosk to personalize the card.

Although the user can chose to conjure personal information entirel fictitious, the impression is given that the card’s data goes no further than the exhibit’s exit door. When I asked, a staff member earnestly assured me that all the cards are erased every night. Which could be true, but irrelevant. The cards serve like a patient wristband at the hospital. The wristband confirms the identity of the patient at the various checkup points, as the medial records accumulate in remote files.

Part three, a false sense of anonymity. The museum patients are free to initiate their magnetic cards with whatever manner of fictitious name and birthday. Especially if it does not matter to them that the final printout will bear false facts. My companion felt he had to turn around to explain to me that he always lies about his birthday, by one day, to shake off the data spooks,. He volunteered this in case I thought he didn’t remember his own birth date. My sense is that most people give their true identity, if only so the kiosks will address them by their given names, the exchanges being in full view of friends and relatives waiting in line.

If the attendee hopes to glean some helpful health advice from the “Expedition Health” experience, they are inclined not to falsify the three remaining details: sex, age, and which “buddy,” among a statistical sampling of lifestyle types, they might identify themselves with.

Tell me that the last three profile items are not enough to provide a match to the hard data from the museum entrance receipts or membership database. Remember, the samples to compare are linked by the window of time the museum alloted to your ticket.

The choice of your “buddy” is the clincher. It might appear to be the most innocuous of indiscretions, but your surrogate patient type relays reliable biographical data about you, and doesn’t add anything to the health exhibit narrative except to use as a third person example, when the patient-specific explanation would reveal the alarming degree to which the diagnostics had taken your measure.

Which, to be fair, would create a liability risk for the museum, to complicate matters with pseudo diagnoses, easily misinterpreted by laymen.

The DMNS “Expedition Health” curators thus know quite definitively who you are, as you pass through their kiosks, putting yourself through a fairly extensive check up, the results of which are explained only generally to you, but to a medical administrator say enough to narrow many odds about your health prospects.

B. Diversionary misapplication of magnetic cards

Several of the Kiosks at “Expedition Health” are not interactive, and do not require the magnetic card. Of course, to assure that your “Peak Pass Personal Profile” data card will be filled print out with your EKG, Resting Heart Rate, Target Heart Rate, whether you reached your heart rate; your Arm Span, Height, Energy Score, Stride Length and Speed, a silhouette of your walking profile and another of your outreached Leonardo DaVinci pose; you’d have to have scanned your magnetic card at those machines.

By the way, the data summarized on the personal profile card was far more rudimentary in comparison to the information shown on the screens, and doubtless neither reflect the sophistication of the diagnostic electronics employed. The optics, for example, are capable of far better than inch-high cameos of your body. The lengths of time for which you have to pose for the scans betray the resolution the graphics engines are really processing.

Here’s the information being gathered at the various stops:

Taking your measure
The station which measures your arm span and height requires you to stand, arms outstretched, shoes off, for a full body digital picture, which records an uncommonly revealing photographic record of the subject’s body fat ratio.

Another station measures your stride length and speed, from which an “energy” score is awarded. To do this, a full motion video records you as you take over a half dozen steps, perhaps pushing yourself purposefully to boost your “energy score.” This video must be invaluable in what it reveals about a person’s vitality or physical challenges.

While the cardio-vascular stress tests might appear to offer mere stationary bicycling experiences, a subject’s entire session can be recorded, offering telltale clues to heart condition and lung stamina. Probably we’d all be more comfortable studying these results with the peace of mind that we have health insurance, as opposed to considering that our results might be grounds used to deny us health insurance coverage.

Diet
Several kiosks would seem to have no need for a card. For example, one featured an interactive script about nutrition. Mostly children sit at this station, to pick among menus of food, the mission being to fortify a climber for an ascent of a peak. Their choice of nutrients determines how far the animated climber will get, before tumbling after from hunger. You plug in your card to begin, and as a result the climbing figure features a Tanqueray-head-type of your chosen buddy. If this kiosk is gleaning a sense of your diet preferences, it’s not revealed on the exhibition debriefing printout.

Identification Marks
Another kiosk teaches you about wind chill. You stick your hand into a plexiglass chamber where lasers measure the change in your skin temperature over the course of several minutes. Curiously, you have to insert the magnetic card at this stop. Why? And you cannot proffer your elbow, your fist, or the back of your hand. Is it possible that the lasers reading your hand are actually scanning the prints of your palm and fingers? I know too little about medicine to conjecture what use the medical industry might have for such information, but the data is certainly marketable to security firms.

Confessions
While on this tangent, there’s another kiosk, the most popular in fact, which DOES NOT REQUIRE A CARD. At this station you get to see your face as it’s projected to age over the course of your life. The line is the longest at this station, while subjects pose, their face held immobile, framed in a stainless steel ring, for an interminable several seconds. I witnessed one person complain that the light into which he had to stare hurt his eyes. Eventually the scan yields only an oddly primitive, cellphone-quality facsimile of the subject’s face, projected on an adjacent flat screen. Next, the subject is asked which among three factors might influence how he’s expected to age. Please check which apply: UV damage, Obesity, and/or Smoker.

By law, none of these behaviors would have to be confessed to a doctor, or an insurance agent, in particular if such was a vice already put well behind. But the aging machine draws out the truth. Because the interrogator machina does not ask for your ID, it creates the semblance that you are being asked anonymously. Who doesn’t fully comprehend by now that sun exposure, obesity and smoking are very tragic predictors of our future health problems?

The pseudo age-disfigured face is disappointing. The transformation is just a transparency of age spots, wrinkles and discoloration overlaid on an initial low-rez photograph. If you are not recording the age-progression with your own camera, the ephemeral image passes, with no trace of what the long facial scan had actually recorded. You’d think since the lines of visitors here are always so long, that the aging image is what visitors might like to take with them as a memento. Alas, there’s no slot on this kiosk into which to insert your magnetic card to “record” it. But the sovereignty of this station is illusory.

Biometrics
If a webcam, a PC, and a common internet connection can transmit video in real-time video, why would this DMNS workstation be laboring for so long over your face? Can I hazard a guess? A 3-dimensional study of your face, and something just short perhaps of a retinal scan? If medical administrators are not looking at symptoms deep in your eyes, or in the translucence of your skin, perhaps this kiosk is for the security interests tabulating your biometrics.

If nothing else, the biometric configuration of your face can be matched to a digital image of your whole body from a previous kiosk, thus confirming your identity, BECAUSE AT THIS KIOSK YOU ENJOYED ANONYMITY. But now your smoker/obesity concession can be deftly noted alongside the other red flags being added to your health profile.

C. The Parting Shot
The last kiosk, in my opinion, gives the game away. If you insert your magnetic card, you can record a video message, a propo anything at all. I saw many takers offering calm Youtube soliloquies, as if composing a greeting to send into space. And AHA –instead of pretending that your video would be encoded on your card, instructions beside the screen offered the internet URL at which you can go see it.

First, this directive gives truth to the lie, the DMNS staffers’ incurious conclusion, that individual records are purged everyday. Your profile lives on on the internet, see it for yourself. Give your six-digit pass-code to a friend and they can see it too. And of course, you’re not the only one with the pass-code.

Second, you might well ask yourself, what does a videogram have to do with apprising me about my health? Unless it’s a time-capsule snapshot of you before you lost your insurance coverage. Because the video has everything to do with breached personal privacy. There you are, in your unguarded candor, sitting not upright like you would for a job interview, nor slouched like you might for Social Security, and you’re providing a recording for voice pattern recognition, for further data triangulation.

Third, you’ll have noticed, if you tried the Peak Pass link to the DMNS website, you get no further with your personal code than an invitation to “extend your experience” by installing Microsoft Silverlight. I hadn’t mentioned that the Gates Foundation was another big sponsor of “Expedition Health.” Beside the security vulnerabilities of client-side code, managing what is supposed to be confidential information, what usual back doors is Microsoft leaving in its pseudo-Flash, offering untold windows into our personal medical records?

The DMNS
I do not believe the museum staff have any idea what becomes of the data, nor the extent of the data, logged as museum visitors recreate through “Expedition Health.” The multiple employees, including a manager to whom I spoke, believed all data was erased daily. I’m not sure why they were untroubled by the internet database that obviously refutes their understanding of the process.

However the IT programmers who wired up the displays, and information managers handling the data, would most certainly know the full extent of this nefarious harvest.

Judging from the recent performance of the CEOs of the top medical insurers before Congress, expressing no remorse about their disreputable practice of rescinding coverage for customers upon their being diagnosed with expensive health problems, I do not think it is alarmist in the least to suspect that projects like “Expedition Health” and other similar museum “exhibits” around the country, are being used to further screen the prospectively less-than healthy.

DNA
Readers who’ve already visited “Expedition Health” will note that I ‘ve omitted mention of a significant corner of the experience, the hands-on, let’s play pathologist portion where visitors don lab-coats and, with the assistance of similarly lab-coated docent/lab-technicians, draw and observe their own DNA samples.

Where I inquired, I saw no magnetic-stripped cards changing hands, so I cannot say, on the hot topic of DNA, that the sky is falling. This holds with my inclination to believe that the museum volunteers are not party to the privacy improprieties of the sponsors running the machines. But what hands-on scientific observations are being conducted on digital equipment, as distinguished from analog microscopes, might be kept in the records, and it would only require just one lab-coated coordinator to monitor which sample came from whom. And wouldn’t that be the whole ball of wax?

CRYING WOLF?
If all this seems implausible, consider what is happening at Buckley AFB, by coincidence only a few miles away in Denver. Although US security agencies refuse to comment, respected intelligence experts have determined that at Buckley reside the data storage units upon which are the recordings of every single cellphone conversation that’s been transmitted via satellite. Every last one, for the past several years. Current technology does not afford agents the capability to monitor all those calls, but the processors are quickly catching up. The spooks can project that the eventual capacity to parse the information is inevitable. So why not begin logging the information now? The public has learned about Buckley from former employees, this is not mere idle speculation. Meanwhile the telecom companies who’ve been complicit in the data collection, have been very adamant about receiving immunity from prosecution for what constitute gross violations of American law.

AND NOW?
The information tracking mechanisms are there, the DMNS staff do not presume to vouch for machines, only for the harmless cards. Meanwhile the DMNS has no written pledge that their visitors’ confidentiality is being respected. Harvesting test data is not illegal after all, and with the pretense of anonymity, it’s even laudable, in the name of Science and Nature. I am awaiting a written response from the “Expedition Health” curator, and I intend to solicit an informed and verifiable refutation of these charges. I’ll keep you posted.

The “Expedition Health” installation went up in April, but it’s not coming down. It’s the most recent PERMANENT EXHIBIT to be added to the DMNS offerings. Add the trajectory of time to the information the diagnostics will be able to assemble about you.

And so, what do you think of a museum of Nature and Science, adding a whole wing about FREE HEALTH TESTING? Is that the dominion of museums, usually public repositories of the archives of knowledge? Or can you imagine a more appropriate setting for equipment and staff to perform medical checkups?

Swine Flu alarm raised to nincompoop

There it is, health crisis confirmed. Today the WHO raised the pandemic alert level to five. Confirmed cases of Swine Flu H1N1 have now spread to ten countries and our health is in the hands of idiots. Conniving idiots. This morning President Obama announced the dreaded first US fatality, but declined to reveal specifics out of a concern for patient confidentiality. Through the day we learned that the US death wasn’t exactly representative of an accelerated infection rate. In reality the Swine Flu victim was a Mexican 23-month-old who’d been brought to the US for treatment. However, when CDC director Dr. Richard Besser was interviewed for the evening news, the alarm theme turned once again on the virus’s escalation with the death of the American child in Texas.

Though so far the US victims have suffered only mild cases, the CDC concludes on 4/29/2009:

“The more recent illnesses and the reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the U.S.”

I find it loathsome that Right Wing Nuts are pointing the finger at Mexican immigrants, and I’m in favor of our hospitals attempting to help whoever they can. But I don’t think it’s fair to pretend that someone afflicted in Mexico, who comes to the US, should be counted as an example of the Swine Flu having spread within the US.

Wasn’t Barack Obama supposed to herald the expunging of at least the facade of duplicity from our policy makers? We do not want to close the US-Mexico border, we say, because it’s already too late, implying concern for relations with Mexican nationals. But hasn’t the border permanently closed to them already? It’s fortified by Minutemen vigilantes in fact? No, leaving the border open has everything to do with the products which US corporations are now producing in Mexico, both agricultural and industrial.

I have to admit I’m not surprised at the lies, there are innumerable reasons to obfuscate the truth, from protecting the pork industry, to boosting shareholder investment in pharmaceutical stock. But I didn’t expect the charade to be so incompetent.

Dr. Besser went on to repeat the instructions with which we are meant to arm ourselves against the pandemic. Are you comforted any by the “duck and cover” advice they have to offer? What to do in the even of a pandemic: 1) wash your hands often, 2) cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, 3) stay home if you feel sick –I’ll interrupt to point out the obvious, this is not advice for staying well, it’s advice for not contaminating others with what you have– and 4) stay away from sick people. Is that how the health experts make themselves useful?

And what sick people might those be?

The other farcical component to this Keystone Docs epidemic is what’s passing for a description of the “flu.” Black Plague victims didn’t know what they were up against, and apparently neither do we. To my mind it would help immeasurably to know what exactly is the ailment. Oh, you know, flu-like symptoms, basically like the common cold, or a headache or sore throat, or mono or strep or a nondescript uneasy feeling, with a fever. When it comes to defining the flu, it’s as if medical science is in the Dark Age.

I omitted the last instruction: 5) If you think you might be ill, see your doctor.

Now, how many of us have doctors we can see, or are prompted to visit a doctor about a headache or a sore throat? I’m convinced that if this epidemic sweeps through before we can even guard our sneezes, it will be because few have access to medical help. Infections will go largely unreported because there’s no one to make a record of your ailment before the issue is settled about what insurance coverage you have. In El Paso County, budget cutbacks have left only a skeleton crew at the county health department. No one’s left to do the work of surveying the public health in these parts.

That is to say, the only agencies with manpower left, and the only health care generally available to the American public, are the morgues. That’s where and when this pandemic will be charted, if it materializes.

Thanks to Tamiflu, we may just avert the phantom menace entirely.

Dr Sanjay Gupta the US Quack General?

Telegenic doctor Sanjay GuptaCNN is leaking inside information that its own TV health care pundit Sanjay Gupta is being tapped for US Surgeon General. What do you suppose Barack Obama would have in mind, to chose a Big Pharma / medical industry / insurance interest / media shill to be the American people’s health care ombudsman?
 
Were you among those hoping that Candidate Obama was going to bring health care reform, instead of seeking out a second opinion to say we’re all doing just fine?

In 2003 Sanjay Gupta was an embed in Iraq for Chrissakes, reassuring American viewers that our boys were receiving celebrity care and that Hippocratic attentions were being paid to Iraqi wounded too. Did that turn out to be true? CNN embed Gupta was a propagandist! It requires what scruples to do that? Maybe Obama should pick Geraldo for FCC chair. How about Ollie North for Military Industry Czar?

More recently Gupta was the chief critic of Michael Moore’s health care documentary SICKO. Gupta led the corporate media charge to discredit Moore’s scathing assessment of the corrupt US medical system. Ask yourself, pray tell with what arguments could Gupta raise to redeem today’s pitiable state of affairs?

No surprise, Pricko Gupta has also proven to be an outspoken advocate of Gardasil, the tragically flawed inoculation being foisted upon our nation’s young girls.

To call Dr. Sanjay Gupta a quack would do disservice to chiropractors. He’s in a league with Republican Bill Frist. Take two bitter pills and call me an asshole in the morning.

Maybe being a CNN talking head comes with having to shill for whoever are your advertisers. At CNN, that would be the pharmaceutical advertisers, the HMOs and the insurance companies.

If Gupta indeed goes to Washington, will he feel the same obligation to represent his sponsors? It won’t be a matter of changed allegiances, they are the same corporate interests who fund both major parties. This time ’round that would be the Dems, including Barack Obama.

Anyone who had hope that Obama would bring change to America’s health care system, say hello to the brick wall’s new face. It’s the same face.

Red Bull is dangerous

Red Bull gives you angel wingsRED BULL contains: caffeine, ginseng and guarana (all legal stimulants) sugars, artificial sweeteners, taurine (an amino acid said to lower blood pressure).
 
RED BULL promises: increased energy, better concentration, sharper cognitive performance, greater endurance, higher metabolism, faster reaction time.
 
RED BULL delivers: increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure, anxiety, jitters, hyperactivity, insomnia, hypoglycemia, dehydration.

A single can of Red Bull or any other “energy drink” increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. The caffeine-jacked soda pop causes blood to become sticky which is a pre-cursor to cardiovascular problems. One hour after drinking Red Bull, the blood system becomes abnormal, functioning as it would in a patient with heart disease. This effect is seen even in young people.

Take a look at Red Bull‘s website. The company has aligned itself — through high-dollar sponsorships, which are nothing more than manipulative ad campaigns — with the sporting crowd. It started with rodeo; the Red Bull logo is tailor-made for a swaggering cowboy. The company’s tentacles have reached into the racing circuit, BMX cycling, extreme skiing, even soapbox derby. You’ll find athlete superstars wearing the Red Bull logo in arenas and venues across the globe.

It would be one thing if Red Bull was marketing its product to coke heads and junkies, providing them with a legal daytime buzz. But to suggest that athletes will benefit from the “energy” Red Bull offers is wildly irresponsible and evil. Unlike the electrolyte-balanced rehydration found in Gatorade, Red Bull is chock full of stimulants which cause rapid DE-hydration, making energy drinks exceptionally dangerous when used in rigorous physical activity. Loss of consciousness, kidney failure, and death are a few of the more troubling outcomes of serious dehydration. Even mild dehydration makes you feel like crap — foggy, sluggish, headachy — which doesn’t enhance physical or mental performance in anyone.

Threatening the health and well-being of rednecks and jocks the world over wasn’t quite enough for these bastards. Red Bull expanded its reach into the late night crowd. Barfare like “Vodka Bulls” and “Jaeger Bombs” combine Red Bull‘s powerful stimulants with a heavy depressant which can lead to heart failure and other health crises. Norway, France, Denmark, and even Uruguay have banned sales of Red Bull completely.

Red BullHistory has shown us that we can’t expect responsible behavior from corporations. They have an apparent duty to shareholders to make money, unfettered by ethical considerations. That’s why the Food and Drug Administration has been appointed our trusty watchdog. As soon as they’ve finished banning every natural supplement found in any organic health food store, I know they’ll muster the energy to take on Red Bull.

That day can’t come soon enough. Many of us are tired of running on empty promises.

Work in a capitalist society does make people sick

chain gangIn a previous commentary here at Not My Tribe … I wrote that there was scientific evidence, as well as everyday common sense evidence, that work as defined and dished out by our upper crust bosses under capitalist society in America makes people sick. I was amazed that such a simple and easily verifiable observation provoked so little intelligent discussion by our esteemed readers! What gives?

Personally, I have easily worked about a dozen made-dangerous-by- capitalism job types in my lifetime and feel fortunate that I have not been totally crippled by the experience. Apparently not all of us have had these work experiences though, and not having actually done any of the dangerous work in America might put rather rosy blinkers over the eyes of some few folk about the dangers of American capitalism as well as world capitalism as a whole?

The experience of writing here on this blog about how work under capitalism eats away at workers, and then getting dissed off personally for having brought the subject up at all, I have found profoundly demoralizing. (what discussion began to occur about my previous commentary was quickly erased from this site//// I hope and trust that it does not happen again?). Why write about everyday life for me and others in this country, when one only gets disrespected and put down as being an idiot for doing so? There may very well be much better venues for political expression than this blog if this sort of thing was to become routine here on Not My Tribe?

Back to the subject at hand though. Much work in the US, as in all other capitalist societies is undertaken with little concern for the physical safety, let alone emotional well being, of the workers doing the actual work. Farm workers are put out into fields with cancer causing chemicals all around, not given adequate water to drink under the hot sun, and then are harassed like they are some sort of human vermin by Immigration. Yes, work in a capitalist society does make people sick, and many farm workers get sick here in America. Only a totally hard and contemptuous person would actually call such observations about the dangerousness of work in capitalist America into any kind of real question, IMO.

Farm work is only one single egregious example of the abuse of the American worker (YES, Migrant workers are from the Americas and should be considered American workers), and this abuse of us all who do the actual work goes on in each and every sector of our economy, and the damage to our health is extreme. This is a rather simple and obvious truth, and it should not need for multiple examples to be listed out to anybody, who has been living in US society and not born with a totally dead soul.

I have vacationed myself (kind of) from writing for over a week now, and will not write any further on Not My Tribe unless I feel it has some value. The value I have seen for my writing previously, was that simple observations of current events that were not totally rank with corporate lies was of some value even if done for only a small readership. That can still be of value if allowed here by the powers to be of this blog?

A blog that is written from a consistent Left perspective is a novelty here in Colorado Springs, as it is everywhere in this imperialist and hate driven society we call the USA. There are those who either don’t want that, or are in fact totally lacking in any appreciation for why Left viewpoints need to be given opportunity to rise up from out under the blanket of total corporate censorship and non-sponsorship of such? The motives are many for some folk not wanting a Left perspective ever to be expressed anywhere and always, and I won’t attempt to guess the motives of all who dislike what I have said about work under capitalism. We live in a soceity with multiple life viewpoints and perspectives.

Work under this capitalist society is a sickening experience, and some relief from it can actually be obtained by just being exposed to some simple honesty. That is what I strive to do when I write my commentaries here on Not My Tribe. Most all of you who have read this commentary actually do realize the simple truth that work under bosses put above us in the work force as overseers, is a profoundly alienating and deadly daily grind to our souls and our bodies. Not hard to figure out. I will write about it and other similar topics that express simple truths from a Left perspective. (if allowed to do so?)

What to do with that prick?

penisA US analysis of data has thrown a new loop into what to do with the world’s pricks? I know that many women are especially interested in this question, especially America’s nurses, who often debate this question amongst themselves for hours at a time. Shocking, but true…. but Circumcision HIV impact doubted!

The Business of Medicine

pet dogDoes ‘your’ doctor care? Of course he doesn’t! It’s simply a business relationship and his ‘care’ is quantified by money. Don’t look to a doctor for understanding

Got more money? Then you will get more ‘care’, though not necessarily care. You won’t get it from the nurses either. Being sick, old, or both is a lonely situation. Your paid ‘care’ givers rarely show genuine care in our dollar society. They are not allowed to really. Our affections are reduced down by the business community to a paycheck at best.

If you want genuine care you’d do better to turn to a dog or cat rather than to an American doctor or nurse. Heck, American business even tried to monetarily quantify that real care as a brief trip to a Petco or Petmart will have you lectured about being ‘responsible’ to their ‘companions’ whose supplies they want to sell to you. But the dogs and cats don’t buy it unlike the nurses and doctors who do. They’re not into money and thus can actually deliver the real McCoy… CARE. The doctors and nurses will mainly deliver a business service to you, and badly at that.

Irradiate the liars at the FDA

tomato berryMost of the food in the American diet is approved by the FDA for irradiation and chemotherapy treatments. Our fresh produce and meat are subjected to these invasive procedures 1) to kill microorganisms and other pathogens 2) to arrest or delay the ripening process 3) to act as a pesticide 4) to prevent spoilage or sprouting. Although they don’t say it explicitly, irradiation also masks serious sanitation problems in both farming and meat processing and provides greater immunity to the food industry executives who can claim that their products were “clean” when they left the facility.

The FDA has assured us over and over that the process of irradiation is completely safe. So safe, in fact, that consumers don’t even need to know which foods are exposed to ionizing radiation.

I think the FDA should define its terms. What do they mean by safe? Irradiation works by breaking down molecules and creating free radicals. Sure, the free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also damage vitamins and fragile enzymes. The free radicals can combine with existing chemicals in the food, like pesticides, to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products (URPs). Some of these URPs are known toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, and others are unique to the irradiated foods. Since they are unique, I guess we can assume they are safe.

After the anthrax scare a few years back, the US Postal Service began irradiating our mail. Because there is no danger in irradiating anything, least of all the mail, they were surprised when postal employees began to experience headaches, nausea, eye irritation, lightheadedness, nose irritation, and chest or throat tightness when processing irradiated mail. The USPS hired an industrial hygiene consultant who found elevated levels of carbon monoxide, ozone, chlorine, and other volatile organic chemicals in the work area. The USPS called OSHA.

Long and short of it, OSHA came in and did a bunch of tests. They found the same URPs that the consultant had identified, and quite a few more. But instead of addressing the dangers of mail irradiation, OSHA made the following recommendations:
1) “Air out” the mail before processing.
2) Monitor facilities for high concentrations of toxic chemicals/gases and, if found, try a change in handling methods or provide additional ventilation.
3) Keep a log to track health problems related to handling or being exposed to irradiated mail. Have the log reviewed periodically by an occupational medicine physician to look for trends or areas requiring further evaluation. (like maybe increased cancer rates or other pesky statistics)
4) Recommend that employees experiencing eye irritation use over-the-counter eye drops as often as necessary to relieve symptoms.

Can you believe it? OSHA sold the postal employees down the river so they could keep the irradiation-is-perfectly-safe lie going. I’m sure they weren’t given much leeway by the unscrupulous ignorant bastards at the FDA.

Scientists have known for years that irradiation causes food to become vitamin deficient which leaves well-fed bodies starved for nutrition. Irradiation deactivates food enzymes which affects the digestion process, which affects absorption of nutrients, which affects every cell in the human body. Irradiation damages the very DNA of not only the food, but also the bacteria it’s supposed to kill. This, in turn, leads to irradiation-resistant super germs that are far more dangerous to us than the original pathogens. Irradiated food contains toxic radiolytic products, aka poisons, which are ingested by you and me and everyone we know. Irradiation creates free radicals which are known to cause cell damage. The cell damage can manifest in innumerable ways, from premature aging to cancer to blindness.

radura logoThe process of irradiation is safe? It’s certainly not free of harm. I guess the FDA means that irradiation is safe from public scrutiny, safe from government accountability, safe from ethical study, safe from its own sad truth.

I HATE THE FDA! HATE ‘EM. HATE ‘EM. HATE ‘EM.

Thank you Mr. President for all you do

Beijing beach volleyball bikinisIsn’t it vaguely jarring when someone is asked publicly what would be their fondest wish, and they don’t say “world peace?” I feel that way about athletes and celebrities in these times of great conflict. They could say Impeach Bush, Stop Torture, the Media Is Lying, or at the very least, the Emperor Has No Clothes! Instead they feed the media narrative fretting about their quest for a medal, about which we know already.

Not to say the reporters aren’t eager to run with whatever revelation they get. When Usain Bolt revealed that he fuels his running by eating “nuggets,” the press was quick to announce the Fastest Man on Earth eats McDonalds. It’s an easy conclusion. Where else are nuggets on a menu but the Mc variety? A convenient conclusion too, as McDonalds is a chief sponsor of the Olympics. They’re running adds featuring ex-athletes, in athletic settings, pitching McPhood. Although no Olympic athlete could jeopard his/her health to a McDonalds meal depth-charge. Sports reporters know that too. Shame on them for perpetrating the McNuggets disinfo until Bolt’s father could be reached for an explanation. Usain’s “nuggets” are a concoction of yams, and no doubt something Jamaican that will soon be ruled out as doping.

Reporters did interview an Olympic competitor who’s eating plenty at the Beijing McD’s. He’s an archer, who has no need to move around. Probably his weight stabilizes his aim. Probably too he’s got no aspirations for the Pentathlon. The convenient unofficial unsolicited McEndorser weighs 215 pounds.

I’ve heard Olympic athletes are oblivious to real world concerns. Perhaps I can forgive them for not making political statements, even though they have the forum. They’re forbidden, but as attention hounds, you’d think they’d notice that the athletes now most honored for the 1968 Mexico City Games were the ones who raised their fists.

Instead the 2008 Beijing Olympics has this: heralded to be the best Beach Volleyball duo of all time (The TV announcer kept asking “Can I say it? Can I say this is the best beach volleyball team of all time?!” -even though this sport/spectacle pandering to the NASCAR fans has been part of the Olympics only THREE TIMES BEFORE), the winners had this statement to make, after clearing it with their interviewer.

Said Kerri Walsh: “Can I say something? Thank you Mr. President, for your support. And thank you for all that you do!”

The for-profit medical system of the DRC

Anesthetic Nobel Prize.gifThe US is not the only country with a for-profit, corporate run medical system. Most of the world unfortunately has this sort of system where life and death medical decisions are strictly made on the basis of the patient’s ability to pay. Check out how capitalism in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) has helped produce a genocide of over 5,000,000 dead.

Sure there is ongoing war there, but only 1% or so actually die directly due to wounds obtained in battle. The rest die through their capitalist for-profit medical structure of care delivery. It doesn’t work to deliver much actual health. That’s true in the DRC and also here in the USA. Congo’s silent harvest of death This report discusses the real cause of death in this African country where poverty, war, and the capitalist system of health care team up to kill people.