Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
Week of 6th to 12th of September 2009
Eight Years After 9/11, Ground Zero Volunteer Dying of Lung Disease is One of Many Still Fighting for Justice [DN]
I don't� I mean, we were there for them when they needed us. And, you know, they told us�Christine Whitman stood there, and I don't care what she says about it. She said the pile was different. She's a liar. I was standing there. She did not say that the air was different on the pile. She stood on the pile with her mask below her neck and talked to us and told us we were heroes and said the air was fine, and she put the mask back on, and she got back in her car, and she left, you know, and went back to New Jersey where it was safe. So she's a liar, and that's all she is.
PAM COMMENTARY: I suspected as much; I've never heard any account by a first responder where they remember her saying the pile was different. They do remember her saying that the "air was safe to breathe," though.
Good Billions After Bad� � One Year After Wall Street Bailout, Pulitzer Winners Barlett and Steele Investigate Where All the Money Went [DN]
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, what about that big meeting that you talk about�I think it was October 12th�the nine big banks? Eight of those banks, as you reported, ended up getting two-thirds of all of the money, 67 percent. How did that meeting come about, and who was there?
JAMES STEELE: Paulson actually called that meeting. He called the heads of those banks the night before and said, �I want you here tomorrow in Washington.� He was very vague as to what the purpose of the meeting was. But once they got there, he told them, �You are taking money. We are going to buy stock in your banks. And we need to get this economy going again.� Some bankers objected, saying by accepting this money it would look like they were weak. Others simply said they didn�t need it.
The fact of the matter is, one of the things we concluded very early on in this whole process is that while Treasury was trying to create the image that there was widespread weakness in these banks�and then there was a credit freeze, there�s no doubt about that�the way they went about this, just throwing the money out there in hopes that that would get the economy going, is not really what this was all about. There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America, Citigroup, those three were clearly in very weakened form. So, many of the other big banks were not. And the best example that they didn�t need this money in the beginning was that many of them, within just a very few months, paid everything back.
AMY GOODMAN: Don Barlett, this meeting of the big nine, with Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Kenneth Lewis of Bank of America, Richard Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, John Thain of Merrill Lynch, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein, who succeeded Paulson as head of Goldman Sachs, Robert Kelly of the Bank of New York Mellon and Ronald Logue of State Street Bank, went to the secretary�s conference room. It was even difficult to find this information out. But what did he lay out for them there? And how does Paulson, who was former head of one of these banks, fit into it, as well?
DONALD BARLETT: Well, reduced to its simplest terms, he laid in front of them, each of them, a sheet of paper and saying, �Write on this the amount of money you�re going to take, and you are going to take it. Otherwise,� the implication was, �regulators will be looking at you and finding something wrong there. This is one of those areas in which you have no choice. By the end of the day, you will sign that you�re taking this amount of money. You know, call your boards, do whatever you need to do, but you will take the money.�
JAMES STEELE: Amy, this is one of the most astonishing things to us as part of this whole investigation. Here you have these people signing by hand their names, the date of the meeting, and filling in with a felt-tip pen how much money they wanted: $25 billion in one case, $15 billion in another, $10 billion. A one-page piece of paper. Wouldn�t we all like that the next time we take out a mortgage or a car loan or anything like that?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, you also mentioned that when the government got to then dispensing money to hundreds of other banks around the country, the same simple application process: the name of the bank, the number of shares, and how much money they wanted. It�s astounding that this was a level of scrutiny that was given to all of these banks as they took the money.
DONALD BARLETT: I think, you know, Jim has made the point, and it can�t be made too strongly, that in�you�re intuiting it, but basically this was a bailout aimed at two or three Wall Street institutions, and not to make it look like that, Paulson brings everybody in, or as many banks as he can get, so that it looks like everybody needs this help equally. And they absolutely did not.
JAMES STEELE: And the best�the second best illustration why this was the case, this bailout was supposedly to give money to these banks to build up their balance sheets, their reserves, so that they could then start loaning money again. But when we looked at many of these banks, we found out some of these banks didn�t start loaning money; they bought other banks. Others actually jacked up their credit card rates, and thereby making credit and the flow of credit much harder for customers, some of whom they�d had for decades. So the basic purposes of this money, which was to free up credit, allegedly, did not come about.
DONALD BARLETT: And the other aspect of this is, the one non-bank beneficiary, AIG, the giant global insurer, got its money and then turned around and paid off a loan from the Federal Reserve. And that money was distributed to foreign banks. So you had this bizarre situation in which France�s Soci� G�rale gets almost $12 billion, following having lost nearly that much money in a series of rogue trading deals. Deutsche Bank in Germany gets eight or nine billion dollars. It had lost billions in bad bets. So here�s the American taxpayer actually bailing out these foreign banks, which had their own problems, which were a very different set of problems than subprime mortgages.
JAMES STEELE: You know, they�re doing this at the same time homeowners throughout the country are having their houses foreclosed, and there�s no relief for them.
DONALD BARLETT: And, you know, you could really�the average taxpayer in this country�that�s people making less than $75,000�should take a bow, because every dollar in income tax they pay for four years went to this bailout.
PAM COMMENTARY: What kind of half-a**ed scheme is this? And people were allowed to keep their jobs after it all? As usual, worst-case guesses about the bailout didn't even come close to reality.
�California�s Real Death Panels��Data Reveals California�s Private Insurers Deny 21% of Claims [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about this data that you�ve just released.
CHARLES IDELSON: Well, this is data that the insurance companies have always wanted to hide, and it�s just now become available. It documents that the insurance companies have denied, in California alone, 45 million claims since 2002, and in the first half of this year alone, their rates continue to skyrocket. Some of these rates ranged as high as 40 percent for UnitedHealthcare�s PacifiCare. And other large, giant insurers like Blue Cross, Health Net, CIGNA, Kaiser were all in the range of 30 percent. So it shows a clear pattern of very high denials by the very insurance companies that people depend upon to assure that they get care they need when they need it.
AMY GOODMAN: Wait. I want to go through these figures again of the denial rates, of�let�s start with PacifiCare, which is here in California.
CHARLES IDELSON: PacifiCare is a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, one of the biggest insurance companies in the United States. Its denial rates are 39 or 40 percent, 39.6 percent.
AMY GOODMAN: Almost 40 percent.
CHARLES IDELSON: First half of this year, almost 40 percent. And then you have CIGNA, which is one-third of all claims, 33 percent. You have Health Net, 30 percent; Kaiser Permanente, 28 percent; and Blue Cross, 28 percent. So those are four of the biggest insurance companies in California. And it�s clear that a substantial percentage of their�of the claims that are submitted to them are rejected.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you feel needs to be done about this?
CHARLES IDELSON: Well, there�s been a lot of discussion about the public option in the healthcare reform debate. Our concern is that the problem is not the public option; it�s the private option. The insurance companies aren�t in business to provide care; they�re in business to make profits for their shareholders. One of the ways in which they make profits, the main way they make profits, is by collecting money from patients and from families and not paying money back in claims. They call it a medical loss ratio, every time they make a payment on a claim. So they�re in business to do that. They have warehouses full of bean counters and claims adjusters, whose sole purpose is to find reasons to not make payments.
And there are a variety of reasons they claim why they make these denials, having to do with�whether it�s paperwork, a war that goes on between the insurance companies and the doctors and the hospitals. They also say that some of the denials are because patients were seeking treatment for care that was not covered by the plan or that they were not eligible for or that were duplicate or were experimental or investigational. What�s been very interesting is that they�ve come up with a variety of reasons; the only they�ve left out is �the dog ate my homework.� But the issue is serious enough that the Attorney General of California, Jerry Brown, has announced he�s going to conduct an investigation into the business practices of these companies and why these denial rates are so high.
But it�s extremely important that this data has finally come to light, because it reflects one of the key issues that has not been discussed in the national healthcare debate, which is the denial of care by the insurance companies, which is so fundamental to the basic problem with the collapse of our healthcare system in this country. And one of the great tragedies is that issue has not come up in the national healthcare debate, that those practices by the insurance companies go unchecked, that there�s nothing in the national legislation that would change this behavior. And that�s why so many organizations like ours have been advocates of a Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare reform that would take these private insurance companies out of the business of denying care and gouging people for payments.
PAM COMMENTARY: I've been in a couple of auto accidents over the past 11 years, and even though I was the party NOT at fault both times, my experience has been that I could never get insurance companies to pay until I got a lawyer. Yeah, insurance isn't there to help you out -- although they'd like you to think that so you'll buy their product. They're there to make as much money as possible. When friends start telling lawyer jokes, I may or may not laugh, but always mention that we NEED lawyers, that medical bills would never be paid without them!
White House Environmental Adviser Van Jones Resigns Citing �Vicious Smear Campaign Against Me� [DN]
JAMES RUCKER: . . . And then we went to advertisers. And as our members signed a petition calling on advertisers to pull back, advertisers started to do that. And as of last week, fifty-seven�basically all national advertisers have abandoned his show.
Glenn Beck hasn�t mentioned Color of Change by name. He hasn�t mentioned the association with Van Jones by name. But what he�s done is basically try to make an example not only of Van Jones, but I think really, you know, send a chill down the spine of not only activists, people who are now in the administration, but the administration officials themselves.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, companies like Wal-Mart, how did you get them to stop running ads during Glenn Beck�s show?
JAMES RUCKER: Yeah, absolutely. You know, our message to them was pretty straightforward. It's, does Wal-Mart want to be associated with and want to be seen as supporting the kind of hate that Beck is spouting? So we�Media Matters was very helpful. They had produced videos of what Glenn Beck had been doing. We showed them those videos. We entered in one-on-one conversations with staff at Wal-Mart and other places and said, �This is why our members are upset. This is not�it's not about left-right. It's not about some alternative view. It's about using a new platform to push as fact things that are known to be false, and that he had done that repeatedly.� And I think, for the advertisers, it was pretty straightforward. It's, no, we don't want our brands associated with this. This is not good for�the public is not good for policy.
AMY GOODMAN: This was clearly very threatening to Glenn Beck at Fox. Did Van Jones work with you? He co-founded the organization Color of Change four years ago. But did he work with you on the boycott now?
JAMES RUCKER: Yeah, not at all. In fact, the irony was that when we launched the campaign, we had no idea that he had even attacked Van. It was the comments that he had made about Obama, and it was this narrative that we saw he was spinning. I'm not even sure if, before that point, he had mentioned Van by name. So that was really not a factor.
And Van, I didn�t talk to Van until after we had actually launched the campaign. And, you know, we had no coordination throughout it. I talked to Van after he lost his job, effectively, as a friend. And it�s definitely sad, and it�s unfortunate. It�s a loss for all of us. But yeah, no, Van had nothing�you know, he�s been pretty busy, both in the White House, with Green for All before that. He hasn�t been an operational part of Color of Change for over a year and a half.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you critical of the White House for not standing up for him or not accepting his resignation?
JAMES RUCKER: Yeah, I am. And the reason is, Beck himself has said, and Fox has made clear, that they will go on such witch hunts if they can keep doing it. And when you have�when you respond to what Beck has done by essentially trying to be silent, it doesn�t work. And when you respond by allowing your folks to leave, it's basically not only rewarding bad behavior, it also sends a message that, hmmm, maybe something was wrong with Van Jones, which I know that the administration doesn�t think. I think everyone who knows Van who understands the situation doesn�t think that.
But it actually, I think, is problematic. There�s no way, if you look at what we�ve seen with the healthcare debates, and you have folks who are armed with misinformation�they show up as if they�re really participants in a discussion�is destructive. It scares politicians. It undermines the political process. And I think the only way you can deal with folks like Glenn Beck and what Fox is doing is by coming head on with it. And the administration, in this case, failed to do so.
PAM COMMENTARY: I wouldn't mind seeing Beck taken off the air, although I realize that he isn't his own person -- Fox would just fill his seat with another employee working on the same corporate agenda.
Rates of Diagnosis and Medication for ADHD (chart from book, bottom of page)
PAM COMMENTARY: Scroll to the BOTTOM of page 350 for the chart I'm referring to here. This is from google book "The developing person through childhood and adolescence" By Kathleen Stassen Berger. In table 11.1 at the bottom of page 350, it says that 10.8% of whites are diagnosed with ADHD and 76% of those diagnosed take medication for it. But 9.1% of blacks are diagnosed with ADHD, and of those, only 56% take meds. Hispanics are diagnosed at 4.0% and 53% of those take meds for it.
So you see, Van Jones was right about all (or most) school shooters being white. Aside from the fact that whites are still the majority of the population, whites are more likely to be diagnosed as children with ADHD and therefore more likely to be treated with Ritalian "and other" psychiatric drugs -- the same "other" drugs found to cause increased rates of homicide and suicide, the same drugs that all or most school shooters were taking or withdrawing from at the time of the shootings! (I'd have to do a fancy statistical calculation here to get the exact likelihood of a school shooter being black based on this info, but just at a glance I'm thinking the chance is less than 1%. That's because whites are still the majority in the US, yet almost twice as likely to get the drugs, meaning their risk is double or they'd have to be counted twice, etc.)
And with this, I'll end my series of articles on why Van Jones was right, and shouldn't have stepped down from his job with the Obama administration because of Glenn Beck, a Goebbels-like right wing propagandist agent from Fox News! If anything, I'm impressed that Obama managed to hire someone as intelligent as Van Jones! Hopefully there will be many more like him, but personally stronger and unwilling to step down because of criticism from the Murdoch propaganda empire.
Children and Ritalin
LeFever decided to do a comprehensive survey in Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. She would examine the records of all elementary school students during the 1995-1996 school year. Because school nurses often administer Ritalin doses during the school day, LeFever used school nurse records to determine the percentage of children being treated.
"[Back then] there was some discussion in the public media that ADHD diagnoses were being used to suppress black boys, that black boys were being unfairly diagnosed and being encouraged to go on medication to curb their behavior," she says.
What she found stunned even her. Not only was that theory shot down, she found that whites tend to receive Ritalin almost twice as often as blacks. Over all, 17 percent of white boys received drugs like Ritalin compared to 9 percent of black boys; 7 percent of white girls were medicated and only 3 percent of black girls. In Virginia Beach, during the school year, 20 percent of white fifth grade boys were receiving Ritalin or other psychotropic drugs.
The overall statistics were shocking enough, but details were even more disturbing. When she launched her study, for example, LeFever assumed that children who had failed a grade would be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. To calculate this, she tabulated statistics by age. The data confirmed that pupils too old for their grade were diagnosed with ADHD at a slightly higher rate. What stunned her was that children who were too young for their grade were far more likely to be diagnosed and medicated. A whopping 62.7% of Virginia Beach children [who were younger for their grade, I think - PJ] were taking ADHD drugs. . .
The use of Prozac and other anti-depressants for children under 18 was up 74%, for ages 7-12 up 151%, and for children six years of age and under, anti-depressant drug use rose a shocking 580%. IMS Health, a company that tracks and reports the latest trends in medication usage for the pharmaceutical industry, compiled the statistics.
PAM COMMENTARY: This is an article (or a collection of pieces of articles) that someone put together on a personal web site, but I'm using it because it cites a good study on the black/white ratio of kids getting Prozac "and other anti-depressants." (Racial ratio studies for this sort of topic are rare, so I have to work with what's available at the moment.) Ritalin is rarely the drug that school shooters are on, although Ritalin has its own set of problems for the long-term health of the child (see the quote below for one example). It's the "and other" category always there, quietly in the background barely noticed, that is linked to school shootings -- the more serious drugs like SSRIs go hand in hand with Ritalin use, as both are prescribed for ADHD depending on the child's doctor and circumstances of each individual case. This puts kids on the types of drugs known to approximately double or triple the risk of suicide, increase the rate of homicide, etc.
I've wondered whether psychiatric drugs just make people go CRAZY, or if something else is at play here. It's pretty well known that Omega-3 deficiency can cause depression (one of its main symptoms), and that few Americans get enough Omega-3 in their diets. It's also known that Dr. Abram Hoffer was curing schizophrenia with Vitamin B3, and therefore schizophrenia seems to be a deficiency disease, at least partly. (Dr. Rudin also had good luck treating schizophrenics with Omega-3, but it didn't totally do the job, indicating that something else like B3 may have been needed.)
Well, what if a person gets a disease from a deficiency like that, and you take the patient to a doctor -- but instead of telling the patient to eat the nutrients he or she needs, the doctor just puts the patient on a pill to mask the symptoms? (This is actually the basis of most drug therapy.) What happens when the patient's deficiency gets worse, still taking the medicine that masks it? Do they get to a point where the medicine no longer works, or works poorly? Does the deficiency cause other problems with their health until they're over-medicated in a number of ways? Or do they just go freakin' NUTS and start killing people?
Again, Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs aren't exactly the same -- some feel that the epidemic goes hand in hand with the Autism epidemic (1 in 150 children now being autistic, according to the CDC's own numbers which are usually underestimated). Namely, if the toxic metals in vaccines (mercury and aluminum) damaged a child's brain, but not enough to give him or her autism, then the metals may have still been high enough to give the child ADHD instead. Here's an interesting quote that mentions both heavy metals' damage to brains, and taking Ritalin to help children focus, from an unexpected and off-topic source -- Devra Davis' book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer (New York: Basic Books, 2007, starting with page 417). She also mentions that Ritalin was found to cause genetic damage in one study:
Anyone who has ever struggled with a learning disabled child understands the urge to manage the problem with medication. Children can literally bounce off the walls and furniture of their homes, injuring themselves and their caregivers. Teenagers with untreated learning disabilities tend to fare poorly in school and in the community. Often they end up in legal trouble or in jail.
Some people have asked whether the rise in these problems is tied to exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, to modern chemicals, or to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can affect the brain. The brain doubles in size in the first two years of life, and dulling metals can impair irrevocably the ability to see, hear, think and learn for the rest of people�s lives. Rats exposed prenatally to just a single injection of some pesticides and other toxic chemicals are more excitable and less focused than others. There is even evidence of lifelong damage to the brains of children exposed early in life to lead or methylmercury -- compounds that are by-products of industrial activities, including coal burning. Other work has shown that mothers with higher levels of some chlorinated chemicals in their blood when pregnant bear children who develop many more problems learning, paying attention and growing up than those without such exposures.
Whatever causes learning disabilities, it�s clear that prescription drugs have become the principal treatment. America today uses most of the Ritalin consumed in the world. In some school districts, more than 10 percent of all children are on it at some point in their lives. They take Ritalin to help them focus.
We may have a much bigger problem than the ability to focus. Several papers have come out indicating that Ritalin may pose extraordinary risks to our genetic makeup. One paper, from a team of researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, studied the blood of a dozen children who were eight years old before and after they were placed on Ritalin. They looked at three different measures of damage to chromosomes that can be tracked. Their results were so stunning that they halted the study and took the children off the drug.
On each measure, after just three months on the prescribed dose of Ritalin, the children had between three and four times more genetic damage than they had when they started out. This damage was measured by examining the shape, size, and structure of their chromosomes. Coming from the two Greek words meaning color, chromo, and body, soma, a chromosome is a large building block of genes and proteins that determines our capacity to repair and survive various threats. Healthy cells are able to repair all sorts of injuries that occur just from being alive. The white blood cells of these children showed a major loss in this ability. This was not some incidental dink to genes but the sort of defect in genetic operations that has been found in adults to lead to an increased risk of cancer.
This study followed only a few children. But each of them showed the same damage to their chromosomes after being on Ritalin for just three months. Whether these risks occur in only a small subset of all children is not known at this point. It could be that there was something special about these children that suddenly caused a deficit in their bodies� ability to repair themselves.
If this finding of increased genetic damage were the only indication of a problem, it would be troubling enough. But in fact, the National Toxicology Program studied Ritalin in mice and rats and found a significant increase in liver tumors in male and female mice, though not in rats. Other work that the Texas team has heard of but not been able to see has also apparently found evidence that Ritalin has lingering effects.
The Texas group�s senior investigator, Randa A. El-Zein, told me that shortly after their report appeared in Cancer Letters, the team got some unusual visitors.
A group of government experts from FDA, EPA and the National Center for Toxicology Research all flew down to talk about what they had found. They were told by the scientist leading the group, �The data are very interesting. We can�t turn our eyes and say we don�t have an effect. We will get back to you quickly.� This sounded perfectly appropriate. Given the importance of Ritalin for many children and the disturbing implications of their findings, the responsible thing to do is to study more children soon and see whether this is a broader problem or some unknown condition peculiar to the children in their study.
Chemotherapy drugs can induce hyperactivity because cancer-treating drugs often frazzle the nerves. Many children who are on chemotherapy are also given Ritalin. A number of chemotherapy agents, including radiation, are known to increase the risk that other forms of cancer will develop. El-Zein worries about the combined impact of Ritalin and chemotherapy. As far as she knows, nobody is looking into this.
So far, El-Zein and her group have heard nothing. They keep hearing rumors that other groups are studying the problem, in Germany perhaps. One study of 28 children placed on Ritalin tracked 8 of them for a few months and found no evidence of chromosomal damage. With 10 million prescriptions filled each year, you would expect a major effort to evaluate the long-term impact of this widely used drug. The FDA has announced no plans to require additional information. The federal grant El-Zein and her colleagues were encouraged to submit proposing an expanded study of more children was turned down.
School shooters and the drugs they were taking (a chart)
PAM COMMENTARY: I�m not sure that this list is complete, but there�s still enough here to show the strong statistical link between school shooters and psychiatric drugs. And anyway, I recall mention of recent shooters being on �anti-depressants� or �treated for depression,� so among the new shootings the trend appears to continue normally.
I also want to include a collection of quotes here about studies linking these drugs to suicide and other violence and in CHILDREN, from the book "Let Them Eat Prozac; The Unhealthy Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression" by David Healy, New York: New York University Press, 2004. Pagination as noted:
"But, insofar as these figures exonerated placebo, they should have posed a problem for anyone who advocated using SSRIs to detect and treat depression in order to avoid the risk of suicide. An analysis of these figures by Tom Laughren from the FDA shows antidepressants were twice as likely as placebo to be associated with suicide attempts. Yet the figures didn't seem to bother Laughren or anyone else. (p. 239)
". . . With these new figures, the rates for suicides and for suicidal acts on SSRIs or for all new antidepressants is roughly 2.5 times greater than for placebo, and these differences are statistically significantly (sic). (p. 241)
". . .The difficulty was that antidepressants simply don't work regularly. Prozac could indeed produce a better-than-well response -- but not reliably. When responses are not reliable, a disease concept is vital for companies. The background of a disease excuses poor reliability in the product. If they could produce Viagra-like reliability with antidepressants, with a response that was predictable ninety-five times out of one hundred, companies could afford to ditch the disease concept of depression. . . Direct-to-consumer advertising will play a part. Employers could be persuaded that productivity is at stake. But the biggest untapped market is children. Who will protest? Have physicians protested the thousandfold increase in the diagnosis of depression in the psychotropic era? (p. 265)
". . .In a BBC Panorama program in October 2002, Alastair Benbow, a senior medical spokesperson for Glaxo-SmithKline, was quizzed by Shelley Jofre about the only published trial of Paxil in children. This trial shows dramatically higher rates of suicidal acts in children taking Paxil (Seroxat in Britain) than in those taking placebo. . . Benbow made these statements knowing that GSK had a total of nine studies of Paxil in children and adolescents, eight of which were unpublished. When the British regulators got to see all these studies in June 2003, they concluded that, combined, they pointed to a 1.5 to 3.2 times greater risk of suicidality on Paxil than on placebo. An immediate warning was issued against the use of Paxil in children and teenagers, but a company circular to health care professionals cautioned against abrupt discontinuation of treatment, as withdrawal could precipitate depression and suicide. (pp. 284-85)
"This doubling of the relative risk of suicidal acts on Paxil in children parallels the doubling of the relative risk of suicidal acts in adults on Paxil and other SSRIs. There is no reason to believe that where children are concerned this hazard is unique to Paxil, and indeed, shortly afterward Wyeth, the makers of Efexor, warned that Efexor, too, might cause suicidality, and British regulators followed their warning on Paxil with a warning against the use of Efexor (venlafaxine).
"A number of key issues fell out from this. One was the fact that the few publications that emerged from these clinical trials in children had managed to conceal the problem. Some of the children were described as becoming "emotionally labile" on treatment, when this almost always appears to have meant suicidal. Others were described as "hostile," when this term can mean actual homicide, homicidal acts or ideation, or other aggressive behavior, raising the question as to how much of the academic silence can be linked to this very particular use of language. (p. 285)
Obama adviser Jones resigns amid controversy; Environmental official had signed 9/11 petition, disparaged Republicans
Jones, well-known in the environmental movement, was a civil-rights activist in California before shifting his attention to environmental and energy issues. He is known for laying out a broad vision of a green economy. Conservatives have harshly criticized him for having left-wing political views.
Nancy Sutley, who heads the White House environmental council, said Jones "had been a strong voice for creating jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources.'
PAM COMMENTARY: The only reason that TV clowns like Glenn Beck -- an obnoxious, unattractive, obese, unintelligent, and untalented blow-hard -- can hold a job in the mainstream media is because they�re willing to say or do things that other people have too much self-respect to do. Otherwise, Fox would hire someone who is better-looking, or easier to listen to, like the women called �news models.� It�s outrageous that anything Beck says is taken seriously, much less used as justification or �pressure� for someone to step down. Notice that the person targeting worked on �green jobs� -- I�m sure the oil industry didn�t want that guy there, especially if he had the potential to become effective. Fox News media whores to the rescue!
White House Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy Over Past Activism
He continued: "I have been inundated with calls -- from across the political spectrum -- urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future."
Jones, who joined the administration in March as special adviser for green jobs at the CEQ, had issued two public apologies in recent days, one for signing a petition in 2004 from the group 911Truth.org that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.
PAM COMMENTARY: I�m sick of the government enforcing its 9/11 lie -- the majority of the population now think that either �the government� did 9/11 itself (i.e. covert ops authorized by Bush/Cheney) as a justification to start pre-planned oil wars, or that the government knew 9/11 was coming and did nothing to prevent it. So now an obnoxious right-wing windbag like Glenn Beck, from the Murdoch news empire, criticizes the man�s views on 9/11 and he has to step down? I think we need to rescue our neighbors from Fox news, get them to listen to good alternative news shows like Democracy Now! or Alex Jones instead.
Here�s an interesting fact -- years ago, the crude Comedy Central show South Park aired an episode that mentioned the 9/11 truth movement, including a character who had 911truth.org on his t-shirt. Although the web site wasn�t mentioned verbally on the TV show, I punched 911truth.org into my browser as soon as that character appeared -- but the web site 911truth.org didn�t come up. I knew the spelling had to be right, because I�d seen that web site before, and I could also google it and find old articles from the site registered on google. So it was normally there, but during the show mysteriously down?
Well, I suspected that the TV show had crashed the website with heavy traffic, and so when the site came back up, I e-mailed the contact person. He returned my e-mail, verifying that yes, traffic from that South Park episode had crashed his server. Shows you the power of a South Park appearance.
Back to Van Jones -- I�m outraged that he had to step down for views that are not only accurate, but held by a good percentage of the population. Mumia? Yes, there has been extensive news coverage on how he was framed by Philadelphia police because he dared to cover their bombing of the Move house as a journalist. Mumia was even threatened in court by a politician, according to eye-witness Johnny Africa, a man who survived the Move bombing/fire as a boy. (Just google the Move bombing/fire for those who don�t remember it, and Johnny�s recollection of the threat was aired on Pacifica radio in the past.) There was a man named Arnold Beverly who later admitting to killing the police officer that Mumia supposedly had shot. Press accounts cover Beverly�s claim that he was hired by members of the Philadelphia Police as a hit man, and that the police officer he was hired to shoot (Daniel Faulkner) had been targeted because he wouldn�t go along with prostitution rings and other rackets run by the police. I may post more on the Mumia scandal in the future, but that story has so much information that it could take months to cover it properly.
Another controversy is that Van Jones said school shooters are always white -- again, TRUE! I�m going to post more on that issue shortly, but I remember only one school shooter who was black -- a very young child whose mother was on �work fare� and couldn�t afford a babysitter. (Workfare -- Tommy Thompson�s invention for killing poor kids.) So she left the child with a relative who hadn�t child-proofed his home, and the kid found a gun and took it to school. That�s probably also a shooting based on TV violence, because kids see shootings on TV all the time, but don�t understand the real consequences of it when they�re barely older than toddler.
But school shootings are tied statistically to psychiatric drugs, and white kids are more likely to be on those drugs, plus whites are a bigger part of the population overall. This makes it statistically unlikely for a black kid to be a school shooter, and there may be cultural issues at play, too.
In fact, the statistical link between school shootings and psychiatric drugs is SO strong that it appears to be a cause-and-effect relationship. I can say that because all (or perhaps most, if the press accounts are incomplete) of the school shooters were on the drugs, and statistically you never see ALL or ALMOST ALL of anything together unless there�s a cause and effect relationship. (Or maybe there�s an intermediate cause -- in this case, as a side effect those drugs can block empathy and other human emotions, and of those, a certain percentage will commit homicides or suicides. Or to summarize without the intermediary link, a certain percentage of psychiatric drug users will commit homicides or suicides.) You almost never see 100% or even 90% in the statistical world, other than among the laws of physics, e.g. when you manually throw a ball in the air, it will return to earth 100% of the time because the force of gravity exerts more pressure than the human can overcome.
Anyway, more links to come on school shootings, psychiatric drugs, and the statistics that say white kids are more likely to be on those drugs and be nearly 100% of the school shooters.
FDA Approves "Emergency Rules" for Mass Medication of Population with Anti-Viral Drugs [AJ]
Under the 2004 Project BioShield Law, the FDA is authorized to make an "Emergency Use Declaration" (EUD) allowing drugs to be used in a manner normally prohibited by federal regulations. This might entail allowing the use of an otherwise unapproved drug, or allowing previously unapproved uses of a drug that is already on the market.
The new rules will remain in effect until withdrawn by the FDA or until the declaration of health emergency is lifted.
Roche's Tamiflu is normally authorized only for use in people aged at least one year, but the EUD now allows the drug to be used for people of any age, and at higher-than-usual doses for those above age one. Both Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza may now be distributed without complying with the usual labeling requirements, and may be dispensed by a wider variety of health care workers than is normally allowed.
PAM COMMENTARY: I just use good old-fashioned hand washing and avoidance of crowds to try to avoid catching it, and then if that doesn�t work, there�s always the zapper and a lot of different herbal supplements to fight viruses. Usually supplements are safer than drugs, although it does take some skill or research to know which ones to use.
Grand jury investigating Hamilton over his ODU job
The investigation is the latest development in the growing storm hovering over the Newport News Republican, who has been under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans to resign his seat.
Hamilton no longer works at the university but remains employed by the school system. He used his Newport News e-mail account to negotiate the ODU job.
An FBI spokesman would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation is under way.
The Virginian-Pilot first reported in July about Hamilton's job at ODU. E-mails obtained later by the newspaper showed that he negotiated a position for himself at the school while securing startup funding in 2007 for a teaching center at the university.
PAM COMMENTARY: More trouble for the guy who introduced making the new HPV vaccine MANDATORY for Virginia school girls, after he admitted that the drug companies ASKED him to do it. So of course he did it for them -- they�re among his larger contributors. See how vaccine policy is made? It has nothing to do with good science or sound public policy -- just some corrupt politician and some money, that�s all.
What your mint cookies purchase will now pay for� [AJ]
But this should give you some �comfort�:
It is not the first time the girl guides have been called into action in defense of the homeland. During World War II, Girl Scouts �operated bicycle courier services, invested more than 48,000 hours in Farm Aid projects, collected fat and scrap metal, and grew Victory Gardens,� according to Girl Scouts of the USA.
It�s nice to know that the United States now has its own version of Hitler�s League of German Girls program.
PAM COMMENTARY: Alex Jones, ever-vigilant against anything resembling Hitler Youth Corps. He's right, in that government programs build "excitement" among youth for whatever is planned at the time -- it could start as benign, but then take a turn toward something much worse down the road as the country launches new wars or internal draconian programs. Long story short, it's better to keep your kids focused on their own goals, which will probably be hard enough for them to accomplish.
Banned Pammie ad too raunchy
A new animal rights advertisement featuring Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson as an underwear-clad customs officer has been banned for being too raunchy.
News agency AFP reported the ad - called Cruelty Doesn't Fly and filmed for animal rights group Peta - had been banned from American airports because it could be seen by children.
In it, Anderson brandishes a truncheon and stops people attempting to walk through an airport x-ray machine if they are wearing leather or fur products. In one shot, a naked couple walks around and in another, Anderson strips a man down to his boxer shorts.
AFP reported the ad was set to air from September 10 in New York airports, targeting people who were arriving for New York Fashion Week.
PAM COMMENTARY: I�m not sure why the fashion industry turned to fur and leather again recently. It�s not only cruel, but offensive to vegetarians, meaning a good percentage of their customers in New York and L.A.
�Fur -- for women who want to look fat and hairy!� (I was actually going to make an ad for my website with that slogan, but didn�t have the time to line up a model with a fur coat, make payment arrangements, do the graphic arts, etc. It�s easier to make food ads because the food just sort of sits there, doesn�t move, doesn�t ask to be paid for its time. But one of these days. . . )
Otherwise, it�s about time someone did a spoof of those nasty airport checkpoints. That�s the main reason I won�t fly anymore, the post-9/11 procedures treat passengers like criminals instead of the VALUED CUSTOMERS they should be. (And that�s on top of the existing problems airlines had with squeezing us in like sardines to maximize their profits.) Now they want you to take off your shoes (meaning your socks or pantyhose will be contaminated with whatever microbes peoples� shoes tracked onto their floor -- yuck!), subject your body to low-level cancer-causing radiation so that their computer can make a virtual naked image of your body on their computer screen, etc. All a part of the experience -- of our country turning into a police state!
Schools 'cannot cope' with extreme poverty; Schools are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of children raised in Dickens-style poverty, according to a teachers� leader. [R]
In a speech, she said it was �next to impossible� for schools to counter the effect of serious deprivation, family breakdown and a lack of parenting skills in many communities.
Her comments follow the publication of figures showing nearly three million children still live below the bread line in Britain. Ministers admitted there was little chance of hitting their target to half child poverty by 2011.
PAM COMMENTARY: My dad was a Milwaukee County school teacher in his later years, and one of his complaints was that a lot of kids couldn�t be helped because their situation at home was so bad. Obviously, dad isn�t around these days to ask for specifics, but it looks like British teachers are seeing the same thing.
The Great Debit Card Game; Banks Will Make $27 Billion This Year On Overdraft Charges [R]
..Mr. Rayne's situation is not unique; he's one of millions of customers who have had to pay overdraft fees on a service they never asked for.
...As lawmakers crack down on abusive credit card practices, banks are increasingly reliant on debit card overdraft fees for revenue.
...This year banks will make over 27-billion dollars on overdraft fees from customers that overspent their checking accounts.
...On several occasions, I've asked the bank, that if I don't have the funds, to decline it - and they've said "no."
...If a purchased is flagged, all further purchases made with a debit card are charged an overdraft fee until the flag is cleared � even thought there is money in the account to cover the purchases.
PAM COMMENTARY: The original NY Times article he links to displays a �server error� message today, but you can check it later and see if it comes back up. Otherwise, some good comments from a Rense reader.
I�ve had problems with my bank�s overdraft fees just recently. I was traveling and watching my online balance to see how much was left -- everything I�d used my debit card for recently seemed to be there, so I made just a few more small purchases -- gasoline, grocery items, a sandwich, etc. Well, it turns out that one of my past hotel charges had fallen off the list and I came up just a little short of having the money in there -- less than $10 I think. The bank charged me THREE overdraft fees! Why? They told me it�s because they order the list with the biggest items first to make sure that the most important stuff clears, meaning that the little charges at the end for a sandwich, some gas, etc., came through AFTER they put the big hotel charge through, even though it was the one tardy hotel charge that sent everything negative overnight! (And this was on the eve of the direct deposit going through, so the bank already had money for my account, just didn�t order its list that way.)
I called and made a fuss, but only got one charge reversed until I googled the bank and found a phone number that went through to a higher-level resolution line in the company. (Don�t forget to use google for those customer service problems!) After I talked to someone in the bank�s administrative offices, she took the second overage fee off of my account, but of course they had to keep the one $35 fee -- the days of banks helping their customers through little problems is over, at least with the big banks. So I made sure the money they �earned� from that little issue will result in less money for them overall -- I closed a second account I had with them, where the monthly fee on the account was almost $10 a month. I�d been meaning to close that account for months, but hadn�t gotten around to collecting its old statements for tax purposes. Well, I collected those statements in a hurry and closed the account. So even though they �earned� $35 with their accounting practices on my account, they lost almost $120 in fees from me during the upcoming year.
Here�s a thought on something we all can do: just use the ATM machine to get cash, and do it the old-fashioned way -- use cash for those little expenditures! That way you can keep track of what�s left in the account better, and the bank won�t make so many middle-man fees for processing charges.
Another thing I�ve noticed, now that I�m keeping track of my account more carefully -- every week, a few dollars mysteriously disappears from the account. No unauthorized charges, the balance just goes lower. I�ve noticed this for a long time, but didn�t track it carefully until only recently. It�s hard to prove in really old accounts because you�d have to go all the way back to prove what the balance should be, and for only a few bucks here and there it doesn�t seem like it�s worth the time. So now I have to make another decision about that bank, and unfortunately I need to keep it open a little while longer for tax record purposes. But on the bright side, I�ve been using my ATM and checks almost exclusively this week, and it looks like they only stole about $1 from me this week, versus the $3-5 they normally steal! Good news for ATM users!
And YES, my bank is one of those banks that received loads of taxpayer dollars during the bailout. They just can�t keep their hands out of the cookie jar, can they?
Stem cells from fat
Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that the millions of fat cells removed during liposuction can be easily and quickly turned into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, more easily than the skin cells that researchers used when the first iPS cells were created in 2007.
These iPS cells, like stem cells derived from embryos, can be turned into many different kinds of cells, and researchers believe they eventually could be used to regenerate tissue for organs and repair damage.
PAM COMMENTARY: I have mixed feelings about stem cells. On the one hand, stem cells are a good line of research for conditions that TRULY can't be solved any other way. On the other hand, most conditions supposedly requiring stem cells could PROBABLY be solved in other ways, meaning that we�re chasing research for the very few. But once developed, stem cells won�t be used in just those few cases -- because the medical establishment will have a monopoly on their use, and because they�ll make more money for the medical establishment instead of less expensive treatments or alternative medicine. So you�ll see the whole medical industry shift toward stem cells.
MDs have lists of diseases where supposedly "nobody knows" what causes them, and "there is no cure." Just watch -- if stem cells are perfected to where they cure diabetes with a single injection, that particular line of stem cells will never be released to the market. Big pharma isn't going to tolerate any of its big money-making diseases being cured, in this case zero insulin sales.
This is also the reason I'm not an organ donor. I estimate (just from my own observations, nothing scientific), that probably 80-90% of people supposedly needing organ transplants could have avoided that situation, or in some cases still have time to get off the list, if their misguided doctors knew what to do. So there isn�t a huge need for donated organs -- those already willing to sign up for that program would be more than enough, if doctors recommended them only when they were really needed. And yes, I've seen or heard from people who have seen alternatives work first hand, that many times simple things like a Hulda Clark liver or kidney cleanse can reverse the need for surgery, dialysis, or other procedures. And of course, there's always the good old zapper, or anti-viral/anti-bacterial supplements, to stop microorganisms from destroying organs that way.
An interesting note from the 2003 Rife Conference in Seattle, where Hulda Clark was the guest speaker. Clark said that she found iridium was involved in turning our stem cells on when we needed them, for example if we cut our finger and it needed repair. But iridium "is not of our world," is actually from Mars, she said (also some meteorites, and of course the earth's "iridium layer" used to determine where some major impacts hit). So she took her syncrometer and tested regular groundwater from the tap for iridium, couldn't find any. Then she put some water outside so that it could collect "cosmic dust." Later she tested that water with her syncrometer and found iridium. Clark said this could indicate one disadvantage in drinking ground water instead of surface water.
The transcript from the Weil interview on CNN (see link to video below)
WEIL: OK. First of all, we don't have a health care system in this country, we have a disease management system that's horribly dysfunctional and getting worse by the day. And the vast majority of disease that we're trying to manage is lifestyle related and, therefore, preventable.
So what we really need to do is to shift our energies away from disease management toward making people healthy and preventing them from getting sick. And that means that I think a society wide effort of -- of everyone pulling in the same direction. You can't have the government telling us to eat more fruits and vegetables and at the same time, through its subsidy program, ensuring that fruits and vegetables are the most expensive things in grocery stores and all the unhealthy stuff is the cheapest. You know, everything has to work together here.
Secondly, the kinds of interventions that we're using to treat disease are way too expensive because they're dependent on technology. I include pharmaceuticals in that. We need a new kind of medicine in which doctors know how and patients accept low tech, high touch approaches to the treatment of illness.
Some immediate things. I would immediately ban direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceutical drugs. That's been a disaster for patients and doctors and a great boon to the drug companies. No other company -- no other country in the world allows that except New Zealand. Stop that right away.
Dr. Andrew Weil interview on CNN's Larry King Live (video)
PAM COMMENTARY: You can turn down the volume on the commercial preceding this video -- I know it's irritating, but the interview is worth the wait. This is Dr. Andrew Weil talking about health care reform, but he's talking about REAL issues, making many of the same points that I do -- that the health care system itself needs to change. He calls for an immediate ban of direct-to-consumer TV drug ads -- on a network that depends heavily on those ads! That's brave of him, and he also mentions the immense power of pharmaceutical lobbyists over our representatives.
Weil talks about how the system isn't sustainable as-is, that in this country medicine is intervention-based instead of prevention-based, and is fixated on big money. He even said that swine flu doesn't seem to be that serious and that he wouldn't be first in line to get the vaccine, despite Larry King fixating on the issue (CNN has been hyping it). Note that Larry King hadn't heard of astragalus -- that makes me doubt that he ever uses herbal supplements!
I never expected much from a Harvard-educated MD, but Dr. Weil is different. I was impressed with the amount of research that went into his book �Health and Healing,� and also enjoyed his book �Spontaneous Healing.� I don�t agree with some of the nutritional guidelines in his later books, but overall there aren�t many people with an �MD� after their name who come close to Dr. Weil. I credit his book �Spontaneous Healing� with getting me back to work after the 1998 auto accident. I�d solved a lot of my health problems from the accident by the time I read his book, but it was finding the chiropractor who also did cranial-sacral healing that finally made me well enough to return to work.
Obama hypocrisy: continuing American fascism with unlimited detention [WRH]
Almost a year after Mr. Obama's election as President, with the sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, his administration continues the unconstitutional policies of declaring human beings as "enemies" and detaining them without rights for as long as they so dictate (as in dictatorship). As a teacher for US Government classes, I can tell you that this is un-American in every academic understanding of what Americanism means. We have other words to describe a political philosophy of unlimited government that rejects inalienable civil and political rights: dictatorship and fascism are academically correct.
The US Constitution has only two classifications of human beings: citizens and "persons." All of the Bill of Rights pertain to persons. Therefore, it is President Obama's sworn duty, as it was for President Bush before him, to uphold those rights for every person who interacts with the US government. The only exception to this would be the choice of exercising international law and/or extradition for non-citizens.
PAM COMMENTARY: I've also been disappointed in the continuation of, or at best slow speed in reversing, Bush-era policies that are clearly illegal like this one. And when are the wars going to end? Is anyone responsible going to be prosecuted? We threw a bunch of people out of Washington for this, but now the new guys seem to have forgotten why they were hired!
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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com