Saturday, July 18, 2015

July18 2015. Some people call Dr. Mercola—quoted below—a quack because of his opposition to vaccination (and his views on some other issues). I find him, mostly, pretty sound. He supports his arguments with data—normally a great deal of it—so he tends to advance his positions based upon facts rather than mere assertions. That makes him almost un-American!




A great many things which U.S. corporate propaganda endeavors to persuade us are good for us—are, in fact harmful. In all too many cases, they are harmful to the point of being lethal. They are killing us—slowly, but inevitably—and often unpleasantly. If you have seen a smoker die of lung cancer, or emphysema, you will know exactly exactly what I mean.

These days, though deaths from smoking are diminishing in the U.S. itself (though a massive problem on a global basis) we have an alarming rise in  medical conditions—and a truly disturbing number of people, about 23,000 (and rising), are dying because they have developed antibiotic resistance from the meat they eat.

The carnage that American corporations are inflicting  year after year, is more insidious than a quick death. The corporate ‘way of death’ is, in the main, a more profitable, drawn-out affair, where cause and effect are less obvious.

They are glaringly clear if you think things through—and the data remove any further doubt—but this pattern of corporate behavior is so routine that, by and large, it is just taken for granted. It is socially normal and accepted. It is often referred to as, “Just part of life,” (a somewhat ironic phrase given the subject matter). True, death is inevitable, but ‘how’ and ‘when’ are important matters of detail.

Such egregious corporate behavior is also protected in other ways.

#1. FREEDOM OF CHOICE. By the argument that we all have freedom of choice—so if large numbers of people decide to shorten their lives by smoking or eating fast-food, why should anyone intervene.

The arguments against that are:

  • Corporate propaganda is now so effective that what passes for freedom of choice is, in effect, nothing of the sort—but more a consequence of mass manipulation. But can people be manipulated to that extent? The answer is clear and un-ambivalent—and the data are  extensive. It is, “Yes.”
  • Only very rarely do corporations make all the facts available, so most consumers are making decisions based upon inadequate information. Smoking is a classic example of this. Big Food and Big Pharma are just beginning to be recognized as probably inflicting harm on a comparable scale. The producers of something like 84,000 chemicals in general use—most of which have never been either tested, or determined to be safe for humans to consume, are waiting in the wings. Behind them is a very long queue. 

#2. CORPORATE POWER. U.S. corporations are now so strong that they have, in effect, hijacked the Constitution. Subject to rare exceptions, they pick the candidates, fund their campaigns, determine the political agenda through an army of lobbyists—and fund the political demise of those who do not conform. Corporations now spend more money on lobbying Congress than the government does running it.

Legally, corporations have been treated as people since the late 19th century (without the legal rationale for that decision ever being determined).

The arguments against such corporate power are:

  • It is unjust and unfair.
  • It is the antithesis of democracy.
  • It violate the Constitution.
  • It leads to the political and economic systems being rigged to favor both the corporations themselves and the ultra-rich who control them.
  • It is immensely damaging to the environment.
  • It is socially disruptive.
  • It doesn’t deliver the quality of life for the population as a whole which more balanced economies manage to achieve. 

In other cases, where corporations are not actually killing us, they are still causing immense damage to the environment—even though they inhabit that very same environment. Like much corporate behavior, that makes no sense at all—except as a consequence of short-term greed.

Despite our positive vibes about Mars—and the current enthusiasm about Pluto (a somewhat long commute, in my opinion) Earth is the only world we’ve got—yet corporations seem hell bent on destroying it.

  • They are flooding the planet with toxic chemicals.
  • They are polluting the air we breathe, the soil we grow our crops in, and the very water we drink
  • They are causing serious damage to the food chain—starting off by producing sub-standard ingredients.
  • They are causing climate change.
  • They are making both living creatures and plants extinct at a truly frightening rate.

I don’t subscribe to the view that either capitalism or corporations should be abolished. The free market, policed by competition, has proven to be a highly effective way of channeling both resources and human endeavor to the best advantage of society as a whole—but I think it is self-evident that the American Business Model (ABM)is deeply flawed and needs to be overhauled fairly drastically.

We shouldn’t be either surprised or particularly upset by this. All human institutions and systems—no matter how well they start—degrade over time.

Good grief! Just look at Christianity! If Jesus Christ, reportedly the son of God (I’m taking no position here) can’t get it right—it is scarcely surprising that Congress has turned into a deeply corrupt nest of mediocre opportunists after a couple of hundred years.

Human organizations run up against that  that well established set of human characteristics known as human nature—and nothing survives that unscathed. In addition, we have the rather depressing fact that a not insignificant minority of the population are psychopaths—and that such people, by nature of their dispositions (and who lack a moral code), have a natural tendency to gravitate to the top—a truly fundamental flaw where democracy is concerned.  Throw in greed, ignorance, and a few other foibles for good measure—and it is rather surprising that we do as well as we do.

In the following piece, raises the long neglected issue of processed food.

We seem to think about it much less than we should, but what we eat has consequences.

Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression Keep Getting Stronger

July 16, 2015 | 18,581 views

By Dr. Mercola

Research shows that the food you eat can have a profound effect on your mental health. So, regardless of your mental health problem, the importance of addressing your diet simply cannot be overstated.

In a very real sense, you have two brains — one in your head, and one in your gut. Both are created from the same tissue during fetal development, and they’re connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.

It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, which helps explain why mental health appears to so intricately connected to your gut microbiome1 — the bacteria and other microbes living in your gut.

For example, researchers recently found that fermented foods helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified when given a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.

Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

At the end of the day, if you’re trying to address your mental state, optimizing your gut health should be toward the very top of your list.

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