Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Got Health Care Reform?

Republican vs. Democratic Health Reform Plans

US Representative Alan Grayson, from the great state of Florida, sums up, simply and precisely, the Republican Health Reform Plan vs. the Democratic Health Reform plan, the public option.

What don't people get?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Public Option vs Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancment Act

The Public Option vs The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act

Recently, Wendell Potter, current whistle-blower and former Communications Vice-President of Cigna Health Insurance, of one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, testified before congress declaring the Public Option the only real option to reign in the insurance industry, control costs and provide affordable insurance to all Americans.

"If Congress goes along with the so called solutions the insurance industry says it is bringing to the table, and acquiesces to the demands it is making of lawmakers and if it fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the President might as well be called "The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act."

(Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Potter, while a bit long for some, is both fascinating and revealing.)

The recent 9-12 Tea PartyProtest in Washington attracted thousands of Americans vehemently opposed to health care reform and the public option. Obviously, they support insurance industry profits and self-regulation over the health and welfare of their fellow citizens.

When all of them openly renounce their own social security, public welfare, heating assistance, WICS (women-infants and children), medicare, veterans benefits, and for that matter, the US military, all government-run programs, I will be more open to hearing their point of view.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Dark Side of Science

The Dark Side of $cience
Science: knowledge, as of facts or principles, gained by systematic study.
In the past century the miracles and wonders of science have helped us understand our world and tap into, channel and use its natural forces and resources. In every field, from physics to chemistry to medicine, etc., scientific discovery has contributed to benefit and advance humankind. It is no wonder that we look at science with awe and respect bordering on reverence.
However, as the saying goes, ‘power corrupts’ and, science is not exempt.
As I wrote in my last entry, Science Fiction, in today's world $cience is abused to manipulate the masses for corporate profits. Just referencing ‘science' enhances our beliefs and primes our acceptance. Combine that with knee-jerk responses to fear triggers (ie: high cholesterol, osteoporosis, swine flu,etc.), and a general respect and desire for an authoritative voice, and you have a marketing bonanza creating obscene profits.
The corruption of science comes in two basic forms: either the science itself (e.g.; the construct and bias of studies) has been corrupted, or the use of the science (e.g.; the intentional misuse of information) is corrupt. Both abound in medicine. The rigging of medical studies and misrepresentation of research results have become routine and the accepted norm.
Due to the conflict of interests that exist in the prevailing medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex, science and medical knowledge have been appropriated and are being ‘sold’ to an unsuspecting, trusting and increasingly unhealthy public.
But, to what extent?
In September of 2001 the editors of 12 of the world’s most prestigious medical journals issued an unprecedented and chilling alarm. In an article titled: Sponsorship, Authorship and Accountability, they wrote:
“We are concerned that the current intellectual environment in which clinical research is conceived, study subjects are recruited and the data analyzed and reported (or, not reported) may threaten (scientific) objectivity….In light of that truth, the use of clinical trials primarily for marketing makes a mockery of clinical investigation and is a misuse of a powerful tool.”
In no uncertain terms they are saying that the science has been corrupted to the extent that it is no longer reliable. And, even worse, it undermines all they do while putting all of us at tremendous risk: i.e: if the doctors cannot trust the science, the basis for all they do, then how can they (or we, as patients) trust the treatments based on that science?
This begs the question:
How come the editors continue to print commercially sponsored studies?
The pharmaceutical companies that sponsor the research also sponsor the journals. They are their largest advertisers. But, more insidiously, to the tune of millions of dollars, they ‘buy back’ reprints of the published studies and use them as scientific evidence of efficacy to market their drugs to doctors and the public.
How are we to know the truth?
The truth, most often, is quite simple, and as such is often too difficult for people to believe.
The truth is: your body is genetically programmed for health. Health is your set-point, your body's most basic survival mechanism. If that was not true, we would have died out, as a species, long ago.
The truth is: we need to reform our health. We need to change our focus away from the failed scientific, never-ending, profit-generating fight against disease to a model of personal responsibility that nurtures our own natural health.
It is often wiser to trust the wisdom of the body and let good sense prevail over corporate science.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Science Fiction

Science Fiction
In the last 50 years or so a new science emerged that now dominates and influences almost all, if not all, fields of research: corporate science. The name itself exposes the obvious conflict of interests between the corporate profit motive and scientific independence and integrity. This bottom-line driven science leaves little, to nothing, to chance, let alone real science.
Perhaps, the only real and accurate corporate sciences are their self-serving studies on population demographics and human motivation/psychology as they affect profit, i.e.; consumerism.
Corporate profit-driven science, as endorsed by the government, and glorified and broadcast by the media has created a through the looking glass reality that has us believing incredible non-science, non-sense; selling us spin as science that is literally making us sicker, and killing millions annually as profits soar.
We have come to rely on their science, disguised as television and media news, informative ads and magazine articles, patient advocacy groups, etc., as our prime source for health and nutrition information. More so than any other source. And then, conveniently, they sell us the cure.
Could the atmosphere be any more conducive to manipulation and corruption? Yes.
Our belief in science has been carefully cultivated and nurtured to elicit a knee-jerk, hypnotic-type, unquestioning and accepting response to key words, phrases, visual and auditory cues that drive our buying habits.
We have been indoctrinated to respond to unsubstantiated words such as: studies show,
scientists say, doctors agree, FDA –AMA-American Heart Association or American Cancer Association approved, low-fat, cholesterol-free, high fiber, vitamin-fortified, omega-3, heart healthy, calcium-enriched, anti-oxidant, osteoporosis, acid-reflux, etc.; visual cues such as actors in white coats, a stethoscope, a clogged artery, an acid-filled stomach, a gurney, an ambulance, an ER, an MRI machine, a ‘Healthy Heart’ logo, and now, a ‘Smart Choice’ logo, etc.; and, auditory cues such as a heartbeat or the electronic sound of an EKG, and the never-ending drone: "ask your doctor if you need."

The mere fact that most people even know these scientific words, phrases, visual and auditory cues is testimony to the extent and effectiveness of the indoctrination. Why else, but for marketing reasons, would your average person even know words like cholesterol, anti-oxidant, osteoporosis, trans-fat, etc.?

How else could you possibly explain the labeling of non-food chemical concoctions such as:

vitamin-fortified, high-fiber, low-cholesterol, fat-free Froot Loops and Popsicle with anti-oxidants, as ‘Smart Choice’ healthy foods?
We are willing, if not unwitting, participants in this science of deception. We continue to allow ourselves to be duped and manipulated by corporate science to the extent that we have lost our most basic understanding of our own health and how to nurture it.
Sadly, as we have listened to corporate science over the past 50 years we have gotten only sicker. All of their scientific non-food products have led to skyrocketing rates of the chronic degenerative diseases: diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and cancer. We then seek salvation from corporate run medical science and pharmaceuticals taking us through the looking glass to a place where drugs, tests, and procedures supposedly equal health, but in reality only equate with profits.