Category Archives: Rants

Why We Are Really in the Mess We Are In

The problem with the American society today is that we forgot that hard work and compassion and not over consumption is what made us a great country. We think that we have to have a bigger house, a better car, fancier clothes and more money than our neighbor that twisted our minds away from what truly makes us happy and that is compassion for others. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama once said, “I truly believe compassion provides the basis of human survival, the real value of life, without that there is a basic piece missing. We cannot be happy ourselves without thinking about the happiness of others.”  Isn’t that the truth?

From my vantage point, this is why the Republican party is in a free fall. They seem to want to retain the greed mentality without offering anything in return to society. Consumption, consumption, consumption. Drill for more gas, the hell with reducing our consumption. Cut taxes for the wealthy so that in some mythical way it will trickle down to the poor (what a monumental con job that was).

Lest the Democrats and liberals rejoice, they have lacked the backbone to make it clear to the American people that the way we’ve been doing things just doesn’t work. They meekly push half baked projects to curtail consumption but in reality, they still like the ability to enrich themselves and their friend. Just ask the thousands of lobbyists that roam the hallways of Congress.

Compassion for others is the only way out of the morass we live in. We don’t need a million man march to do that, we need each and everyone of us to think about it, and do something compassionate whenever we can. It doesn’t need to be everyday, just whenever you can. The ripple effect from one small act, can change the world.

Zeolite Criticisms – The Truth Hurts Sales?

Of all the issues I blog about, my criticism of zeolite, a much hyped, poorly researched, money maker, is one I get the most comments about. Usually, it is in the form of threats (I refuse to allow those to see the light of day), angry diatribes, accusations which border on the ridiculous and downright silly comments. But the one thread I see is a total lack of any responses to my belief that zeolite is nothing but volcanic ash that has uses in industrial cleanups but no value in promoting human health.

I cannot wait to hear from the supposed cancer survivors who claim zeolite cured them. Of course, when confronted with the request to prove they had cancer and to publicly reveal their name with the proof, they vanish. When asked to provide research papers that have gone through the peer-review process, the constant whining that “it is about to be published in a major journal” comes out. Unfortunately for them, this claim has been going on for years with no paper being published.

Then we see the conspiracy theory coming out that the big, bad establishment is out to get them and wants to hide the positive effects of zeolite so big pharma can make more money. When you have nothing to stand on, it is time to bring out the boogie man. Why can’t they can’t release the studies on their own? Maybe because they show that their product does little but chelate money from peoples wallets into their coffers.

Boy, I can’t wait to see the comments I get on this post.

How to Improve Our World With Four Ideals

According to Forbes magazine, the average pay of a senior executive in 1980 was 40 times the average workers salary. In 2007 is was 433 times. Want to guess why things got so screwed up? Yeah, I didn’t think it was so difficult to figure out. Greed.

Instead of capping the salaries of the fat cats in the banking industry and on Wall Street, I have a better plan. Make them recite and follow the Rotary 4 way test of the things we think say or do.

  1. Is it the truth. (boy this one should make as big a change as any to the corporate culture).
  2. Is it fair to all concerned (a little bit of careing for all the people in the world would make our planet a nicer place to live in).
  3. Will it build good will and better friendships (this might have slowed down Bernie Maddoff)
  4. Is it beneficial to all concerned. (wouldn’t that be great).

I have run my businesses with these four principles in mind. I go to sleep each night knowing that I am running an ethical and honest company and that in the long run I will make a positive impact on the world. If maybe, just maybe our government and all business would apply this 77 year old ideal to what they do, we’d have no budget deficits, our economy would be far stronger and our environment would be a lot cleaner.

To read more about how the 4-way test was developed, click on the link and read about why Herbert J. Taylor wrote this brilliant manifesto.

Tara Parker-Pope: A Reporter Who Needs a Different Job

The New York Times, a newspaper you either love or hate, typically has a fine line-up of reporters and writers but one in particular needs resign from her position and find another line of work that does not require the ability to do careful research and intelligence. Tara Parker-Pope, needs to switch from reporting to something that only requires manual labor. Her recent article, “News Keeps Getting Worse for Vitamins” is an embarassment and is just another example of an inability she has to find out what the word truth means.

If she had bothered to research the studies she cites instead of choking the nonsense down like an obese person at an all you can eat buffet, she would have seen that what was presented was biased and consisted of terribly constructed research. The quantities of vitamin C and E used in the cardiovascular and cancer study were ridiculously low. Go to my podcast site and listen to episode 13 where I discuss the issues that should have made the studies Ms. Parker-Pope cites go unpublished.

One of the major problems I have with the study on Vitamin C was the insanely low dose used. They used 500 mg of C daily when all intelligent researchers and clinicians know that you need a minimum of 2 grams and with cancer, 10 grams daily to get the needed effect. It is similar to the nonsense from the Mayo Clinic when they tried to disprove Dr. Pauling and Dr. Cameron’s work on cancer. They used intravenous vitamin C and Mayo used oral C and yet they claimed it was the same (it is definitely not). This is blatant dishonesty and the media is supposed to be objective and uncover the truth, not chow down on anything the so-called experts say. Ms. Parker-Pope, find a new job.

Boy Am I Angry About the Bailouts!!!

In 1981, when Ronald Reagan came to office I was concerned that his economic policies that he was proposing were insane. They made no sense to me as an economics major. Trickle down economics, his theory that giving tax breaks to the rich would trickle down to the middle class and make the economy boom was implausible. It was, in my opinion, one of the most bizarre and illogical ideas I ever heard and even George Bush Sr agreed. Heck he even called it voodoo economics. But heck, I was just a 23 year old and too young to understand things. Or was I?

This week we barely missed going into the Great Depression part two. It was inevitable. What bothers me is that all of the billionaires and millionaires who have made so much money got bailed out and now we, the taxpayers, the hard working individuals and families have to pay for all the losses. Do the rich people who basically stole my money and your money have to pay?  Hell no. Now they put up a candidate who not only doesn’t want to pay more taxes, he wants more tax breaks for the wealthy. How much more do they want to steal from us now?

The rich have gotten richer in the past 30 years and the middle class has been squeezed and the poor have gotten nothing and been swelling over the years. On September 16th with the takeovers of AIG, trickle down and the nonsense of the past 30 years have come to an end.

Funny to hear John McCain talking about increasing regulation of the financial markets when his party spent the past three decades espousing deregulation and his chairmanship of commerce commitees were at the forefront of the deregulation movement. What a hypocritical position. While my blog is not intended to be a political blog, I am sitting here in my living room looking at my children wondering how the hell they are going to pay for this mess. I don’t know, do you?

I urge my readers to vote for Barack Obama and end the decades of the same bad economic policies that have put us on the brink of disaster. He may not be the perfect candidate, who is, but he does represent a change we really need badly or all of the sacrifices our ancestors made for this country go for naught.

More Deceit From the Pharmaceutical Industry

It just keeps coming it seems, the pharmaceutical industry has stooped to levels even I didn’t think possible. Merck was just found to have paid academic scientists to put their names on papers they didn’t write. Who wrote the papers? Company hired medical writers of course.

According to Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, JAMA’s editor-in-chief, “The manipulation is disgusting. I just didn’t realize the extent.”  I think her use of the word disgusting pretty much sums up my opinion of this revelation. The article about this scandal is in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. You can read the two articles, one by Ross, Hill, Egilman, and Krumholz and the other by Psaty and Kronmal

One JAMA report says internal company data showed in 2001 that Vioxx patients in two Alzheimer’s studies had a higher death rate than patients on dummy pills. Merck didn’t publicize that “in a timely fashion” and provided information to federal regulators that downplayed the deaths, the report said. It’s time to reign in the industry through Congressional legislation.

Lest you think that only Merck is guilty of this deception, think again. I am sure that you will see more of this cropping up in the coming months. In my opinion, this type of behavior is driven by executives of pharmaceutical companies need to impress Wall Street and fluff up their balance sheets instead of having patient’s health in mind.

Here is the result of a paper done by Choudry, et al published in JAMA about how pervasive the industry’s hooks into medicine is:

“Eighty-seven percent of authors had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry. Fifty-eight percent had received financial support to perform research and 38% had served as employees or consultants for a pharmaceutical company. On average, CPG authors interacted with 10.5 different companies. Overall, an average of 81% (95% confidence interval, 70%-92%) of authors per CPG had interactions. Similarly, all of the CPGs for 7 of the 10 diseases included in our study had at least 1 author who had some interaction. Fifty-nine percent had relationships with companies whose drugs were considered in the guideline they authored, and of these authors, 96% had relationships that predated the guideline creation process. Fifty-five percent of respondents indicated that the guideline process with which they were involved had no formal process for declaring these relationships. In published versions of the CPGs, specific declarations regarding the personal financial interactions of individual authors with the pharmaceutical industry were made in only 2 cases. Seven percent thought that their own relationships with the pharmaceutical industry influenced the recommendations and 19% thought that their coauthors’ recommendations were influenced by their relationships.

What is truly sad is how many people have suffered health and financial wise due to the greed and immoral behavior by the pharmaceutical industry.

Another National Shame – Politics Over Science

In yet another sad loss to science, the Bush Administration has superceeded science in the name of politics. Since 2001 this politically motivated administration have made it almost impossible to denote an animal species as being endangered which has already led to the extinction of a number of creatures that are part of our world. This despite the protestations of numerous scientists within the Department of the Interior.

Furthermore, the present “Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has not declared a single native species as threatened or endangered since he was appointed nearly two years ago.” George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton averaged adding around 60 species per year but these people see fit to blame everyone else but not themselves for this global shame.

We have the moral obligation to preserve life but I guess when you have such a low respect for science which this administration has, nothing is off limits and their is no shame. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is not conservatism versus liberalism. This is about the total lack of respect for our people, our land, and the creatures who inhabit our country. It is a true national tragedy. You can read the full story here at

The U.S. is Not the Leader in the Fight Against Toxicity

In a remarkable book written by Mark Schapiro Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, he details how the European Union (EU) has supplanted the United States as the leader in the fight against environmental toxicity. On June 1, 2007, the parliament of the EU voted for a new law called REACH Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals.

One part of this law forces companies to prove the safety of chemicals before they come to market. More importantly, it forces previously grandfathered chemicals to be tested for safety which was vehemently opposed by not just the American Chemical Society but by our own government. It scared them so much that they sent in C. Boyden Gray, the heir to the RJ Reynolds tobacco fortune to lobby against it. This is the same Republican operative who worked to eviscerate the EPA under Reagan by applying cost-benefit analysis over risk-based decision making. In other words, make money first, care about peoples health second. According to the magazine the New Republic, “So many different money trails lead to, by and through Gray it is bewildering.”

In retrospect, I’m glad my government in their ultimate arrogance decided to lobby as hard as they did because in the end, this we’re better than you attitude is what pushed the EU parliament to pass the bill. According to one European diplomat quoted in Mr. Schapiro’s book “If their only message is why we should not do anything more than they’re doing in the United States, then why should we listen? The more the United States give the impression of mounting an attack against REACH, the less we listen….. We are not going to ask the United States for permission. If we were to listen to the United States, how would we explain to European citizens where the two hundred chemicals in their bodies came from? What are we doing to them? This is the same not just for Europeans, but for Americans and every country in the world.”

The Bush Administrations steadfast belief that it is more important to make a dollar today for their big buddies than protecting the citizens of the United States is causing us to lose the leadership role we had for decades. He has lost us the respect from the world, not just because of the ill-conceived war, but because the world sees us as only caring for profits, not for people under the guise of jobs. How many jobs could we create by leading the world in the research of safer products? Millions of them. Sad to say, we won’t see a change soon unless there is a change in the White House come this November. We need it to save our children and the billions of children unborn coming to this world in the next hundred years.

The Vytorin Scandal – Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Now with the scandal involving Scheering-Plough and Merck, two pharmaceutical giants becoming the biggest news story of the day I have to comment. Do you really think that the study that Vytorin is not beneficial is an isolated incident? If you do, you are sadly mistaken. When I worked for a company that sold clinical trial software to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, I was involved in talking to a number of researchers employed by these companies and some of the things I heard made me realize that the focus of these companies was not your health but their profits.

Here are some of the details of the Vytorin story you may not know about.

  • The data that showed that Vytorin was not beneficial in the lowering of the risk of heart disease was known almost 2 years ago by people at Merck and Scheering-Plough.
  • The CEO of Merck ??? sold $29 million dollars worth of stock in her company last year, after she had to have known the results of the drug trial. 800,000 prescriptions a week are written for Vytorin which provides billions of dollars of profit to these two companies.
  • Worst of all, and something that Congress will be looking into is the fact that after the drug companies found out that Vytorin wasn’t showing up as well as expected they tried to manipulate the data to change the end points which would hopefully show the drug actually worked.

It is this last issue I have my greatest concerns about. When I taught a class to a medical device company in Cleveland, Ohio, I was asked by one of the primary investigators whether they could change the data once it was entered into the program. I made sure they understood that this would be illegal and immoral as well. Often times, I found out that many researchers (not all) in the pharmaceutical industry manipulate data end points and use other statistical machinations to create findings that are positive instead of properly studying results and reporting good and bad regardless of the financial ramifications.

With the recent research saying that there is no link between autism and thimerasol in mercury it was apparent that the researchers manipulated the end points to come up with a result they wanted to come up with. They claim that there was no relationship because there is no change in autism rates recently since thimerasol was removed from vaccines. Problem is that the number of years since the mercury laden vaccines have been removed are not sufficient to see a change in autism rates. Most autism is diagnosed at 4-5 but the removal of thimerasol was only done 2-3 years ago so how could they see a difference. This is known as changing the end point to create a result you want. It is immoral and dangerous.

It is time the FDA and our government do what they are charged with doing, protecting the citizens from dangerous drugs. The pharmaceutical industries money first attitude needs control and must be stopped. It is time for a major overhaul of the drug research and approval system.

Where do So-Called Experts and Politicians Get Their Funding? Here is a way to find out!

Ever wonder where so-called experts get their funding? What their conflicts of interest lie?  Well there is a website that can help ferret out the truth. It’s called SourceWatch and whenever I need to find out whether a scientist or researcher is giving an honest opinion or is just a shill for industry, I go there.

One of my previous posts I talked about Elizabeth Whelan, an industry shill who claims that we shouldn’t be concerned about environmental toxins in our blood. Turns out she gets a whole lot of funding from the very industries who pollute our environment. You can read it here from SourceWatch’s information about her.

When you read articles or see comments that hint of a conflict of interest on the part of the “expert”, check out their funding.