Raising the popular consciousness on food was the primary driving force in my life from the age of 19, when a quirk of fate led me through a series of companies that were the first to offer organically grown natural food products to the British public. My focus was always to accentuate the positive – the greater flavour, satisfaction and vitality of a plant-based diet based on unrefined traditional staples, with seasonal vegetable foods. It was cheaper too. More detail about that activity is on my website.
It was clear, even in 1967/8, that our governments were implicit in the introduction of the factory farm and chemically supported agriculture. In the 1970’s the veil was lifted from my eyes when I learned about the fundamental nature of the state, understanding why they make a mess of things that we could do much better. Yeah, I wrote a book about that one.
So it is most heartening to see aspects of both those interests combined in this illuminating article from the well-respected American Institute for Economic Research.
Every health nut will tell you the reason why the US food market is such a mess. It’s fast food and corporate farming. We need to get back to local food and organics, they say. And no processed foods ever.
Let’s look more closely, based on an experience I had just today.
The waiter in this airport bar walked by carrying huge plates of food, piled high with fries and burgers on puffy golden buns…
We are now told there is no basis to the advice that we complete an antibiotic course after we feel well again. The British Medical Journal reports on what appears to be the first scientific look at this , which discovered that prolonged exposure to antibiotics makes any lingering microbes more likely to develop resistance. I was five years old when I had my first exposure to antibiotics, listening in to my mother having a rant about them to her friend. They were new then and she didn’t like them. The next day, in school, I fell from a climbing frame in the playground and hurt myself enough that they wanted to give me a tetanus shot. I was sure they were trying to dose me up with antibiotics and wouldn’t let them. They told me I might get lockjaw, whatever that was, and I still refused, convinced they were duping me. For a few years I wondered if my mouth might suddenly lock into a position but it never happened.
I eventually came to realize that antibiotics do have a place in medicine, and an important one. This very importance means that in many cases they should not always be the first resort. At the age of 19 I came down with pneumonia during a period of suppressed stress. At the time I was fanatically macrobiotic and tried all manner of natural means to overcome the infection, including being wrapped up in a cold blanket – none worked. After a week, and two days with a fever at 40.5C, (105F) I said yes to antibiotics. In two days I was feeling fine again and stopped the pills a day later. Still, the main reason I avoid blue cheese is because they used to say it was just as harmless as antibiotics. which I do not put on toast for the taste.
Every five years or so I may have need of antibiotics and have always stopped as soon as the problem passed. My logic is that when an attacking army of microbes has been knocked out there will be a few nearly dead stragglers staggering about. By letting my body’s now dominant defenses finish these ones off I seek to develop resistance.
The current scientific discovery gives a valid, though mirror, explanation to the logic I used to explain my instinct. According to them, the longer the lingering bacteria are exposed to antibiotics the more resistant they become. As they say in the review “Far from being irresponsible, shortening the duration of a course of antibiotics might make antibiotic resistance less likely.”
Professor Martin Llewelyn and a high-powered group of colleagues have come out in the face of decades of stern advice from health professionals – advice that is not evidence based. Am I surprised? No. Clearly, the pharmaceutical companies benefit from this and perhaps they were deviously involved in the propagation of this myth. Then again, maybe it was just doctorial dumbness, sticking to the status quo. I expect we will see an orchestrated rebuttal of the case against antibiotic course completion, backed by a well-rewarded team of so-called “independent” medical researchers. Big Pharma is good at destroying careers and debunking sound research. I do hope Prof Llewelyn has good ammunition for the fight that may come.
Addendum to the above: The world’s largest consumers of antibiotics are farm animals, consuming 70% of America’s output, even more in Spain and Italy, far less in the Nordic countries and Australia and New Zealand (China is another story). It is in their feed, every day, to protect “health” in the overcrowded filthy conditions of most factory farms. This constant contact allows pathogens to develop resistance. Antibiotics also promote growth rate, fattening animals up faster for slaughter and giving farmers a financial incentive to use them.
I was surprised and touched by this lovely tribute from my brother Craig in his April column for the Natural Product News. We were just a couple of hippies trying to change the world and I’m still coming to grips with the realization that we did, and still are.
Photo from bottom up: Gregory, Craig, Jay Landesman, Joe Dickens.
America’s Surgeon General finally recognizes that alcohol and prescribed opioids are part of the drug problem – hallelujah! Twenty one million Americans, one in seven of the population, has a serious drug problem, more than suffer from cancer. This revelation dwarfs the illegal drugs problem that has cost society hundreds of billions in enforcement and incarceration expenses over the years, not to mention confiscated properties, ruined lives and a stimulus to organized crime. Even the recent surge in illegal heroin addiction was stimulated by the huge growth in addiction created by over prescription of potent opium style pain killers.
Out of 50,000 fatal overdoses in 2014, 30k were from opioids and 20k from alcohol, cocaine and other prescription drugs. They don’t mention ecstasy, marijuana, lsd, ayahuasca or other banned “dangerous” drugs, where they would be hard pressed to get double figures. Will they put 2 and 2 together on this?
“Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator. To rephrase that, there are 535 elected representatives shaping law and regulation in the capital of the United States, attended to by 1,724 paid persuaders from the pharmaceutical drug barons alone (as well as some 9,750 lobbyists from other interest groups in 2011).
…These drug dealers’ lobbyists openly encourage the state to pass laws controlling and restricting the alternative healing industry and the sale of herbal and other natural and unpatented medicinal remedies. Their expert lobbyists put convincing arguments to politicians that herbal medicines are unsafe and endanger the user’s life, over a nice cardiac-endangering lunch at a top restaurant. 8iui l0 77 Even the deadly killers alcohol and tobacco are usually left out of the picture when the vast majority talk about “the drug problem.””
The wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution
Do we need Big Brother to regulate our relationship with gender issues? The City of New York, in its efforts to eliminate gender discrimination has made citizens liable to fines of up to $125,000 for calling somebody mister who considers themself miss (or vice versa), rising up to $250,000 if transgressions are deliberate and hurtful. Hello? It comes with the Human Rights Law constructed by lawyers to ban all gender discrimination. Their legalistic definitions of genders are very explicit, starting with:
“Gender is defined as one’s “actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.”
I am, officially speaking, a “cisgender.” What are you?
This blog post by Dr. Eowynmade me reflect upon the fact that when I was a young man the state jailed people for being homosexual and nobody realised that Liberace was gay. The law’s change in attitude has followed a natural shift in our attitudes to gender variety, lubricated by the social normalization of once-shunned homosexuals. Transgenders are the latest gender to leap out of the closet. Now, the authorities who once jailed the few who dared to express banned gender identity now fine or jail those few who still express the old-fashioned bigotry they once enforced.
Banning specific gender identities, or banning those who don’t like them, simply slows the process of social change, needlessly damaging lives in the process. The change happens first anyway, aided and abetted by social and, I hesitate to call it, “mainstream” media. So what if some baker in wherever doesn’t want to bake a cake that offends their religious quirks; or a couple from a shrinking culture are uncomfortable with the gender choices of B&B guests wanting to visit home. As far as I know, it is still legal to refuse service to bald people, teenagers, or customers without shoes. If we must have police, judges and jails this is not what they are for.
We are seeing the primal urge of an organization to grow and expand. In this case that organization is the state, which expands by finding ever more aspects of human life that need its management. In the course of it, we move closer and closer to the “thoughtcrimes” of George Orwells’ 1984. We already have the cameras, in abundance.
And yes (plug time), all this and more is explored in my book, The State Is Out Of Date – We Can Do It Better. The state is no longer “a necessary evil,” and is ultimately less capable than are we of controlling the excesses of bigoted people, or corporate greed. Indeed, the bigoted state and its body of statute law protects and often subsidizes the very activities we think they should be reigning in.
This is the “director’s cut” of my letter published in the Guardian 5th Dec 2006, when the BIG story was a fugitive Russian spy who had been poisoned with polonium-210 in London. It’s not really news that spies get fiendishly terminated in real life as well as the movies. It was getting caught, and the novelty of the technique, that gave this story wings. I was already familiar with a more sinister side to polonium-210 and thought this spy-killing affair would be a good hook to hang it on. My letter was published but never ignited into the story it deserves to be. Feed it to the blog, I say!
Dear Letters Editor,
In the ongoing Alexander Litvinenko poisoning story, polonium-210 continues to be described as a rare isotope. Unfortunately it is not rare at all, and is even available at a discount from most international airports. Whilst it appears as though the death of a Russian spy has alerted us to an exotic new poison, Polonium-210 already kills tens of thousands of Britons annually.
In 1990, American Surgeon General C. Everett Coop declared that radioactivity, not tar, accounts for 90% of smoking-related lung cancers. Cigarettes are lightly radioactive. Most of that radiation comes from the rock-mineral fertilizer (apatite) used by subsidized American tobacco farmers. This captures and holds onto radon gas, which decays to deposit polonium-210 in the fine hairs of tobacco leaves. This deposits in smokers’ lungs, beaming out deadly alpha radiation for years and damaging DNA.
Increasing usage of radon-rich fertilizers accompanied an 18-fold increase in the per capita incidence of lung cancer between 1930-80 in the USA. In the same period smoking decreased 20% but tobacco’s polonium-210 content tripled. It was estimated in 1982 (New England Journal of Medicine) that a 30-cigarette a day smoker’s lungs will accumulate radiation equivalent to 300 chest x-rays per year.
Of 33,000 UK deaths per annum from lung cancer (2005), 90% would equate to 30,000 caused by radiation. Whilst the death of Alexander Litvinenko fixates us, it is sobering to realize that some 575 Britons die every week as a result of gradually ingesting the same substance that poisoned him.
We can appreciate that it is neither in the interests of the government nor the tobacco industry to publicize the radiation situation, which they jointly brought about. Nor do anti-smoking campaigners wish to give attention to confusing data which might show that smoking is not, of itself, the killer. They are all well aware of the situation, and their reluctance to do anything about it is nothing short of criminal.
Perhaps we could benefit from the polonium-210 publicity bonanza by recognizing it as the unnecessary toxin in a common drug. However socially undesirable is the smoking of tobacco, it need not lead to the suffering and tragic death by lung cancer of so many users. Though I don’t smoke, a lot of my friends do and I respect their right to do so.
Whilst we must all be saddened by the tragic loss of one Russian spy, his end may have been for the greater good if, through raising this issue, the lives of millions of future smokers may be saved.
An enquiry into Litvinenko’s killing began in July 2014, finishing a year later. The report should be published by the end of 2015.
This comes from the BBC link: “After leaving the service Mr Litvinenko wrote a book, Blowing up Russia: Terror from Within, in which he claimed FSB agents had been responsible for the bombing of apartment blocks in Moscow and two other cities in 1999.”
If you are a defected spy accusing your former boss of murderous deeds then their getting murderous with you is a distinct possibility. Edward Snowden is still in hiding; Julian Assange safe but trapped; Private Bradley Manning, captured and jailed for 35 years.
The enquiry was set up, eight years after his death, positioning this as a major crime at a time when the West is seeking to counter Russia politically. His death represented a major failure of the UK intelligence service who had promised him protection, under his new identity as Edwin Redwald Carter.
Do they really think that if they can pin this on some Russian spymaster, or Putin himself, it will make a difference? What a waste of our money. Many worse things are known to have been done by our own and other governments including Russian and American around the world. This includes waging wars that killed thousands on false pretences.
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Cancer just loves genetic damage and for that, radioactivity is the best stuff by far. That said, some six hundred additives are approved for use in tobacco products. Were cigarettes and rolling tobacco subject to ingredient labelling we would know how few or how many go into what is being smoked. I guess from 3-10 additives would be in any given product. Many of these may contribute to health complaints that detract from lifespan. Some of those in the list of 600 are considered carcinogenic and some are natural harmless additions, such as nutmeg oil. Perhaps Mr Coop got it wrong and only 75% of tobacco deaths, not 90% are from radioactivity and the rest from other ingredients. Ingredient listing is the way forward, and quitting is even better.
I suppose my Sixties began in 1964 when I heard Bob Dylan singing The Times They Are A-Changin’. At the age of fifteen I had no idea how, but it felt like something was simmering. Within a year I had smoked my first pot, hitched to Morocco and let my hair grow. A vegetarian from ten, I embraced macrobiotics in 1965 after my brother Craig brought news of it back during his last summer break from university. My diet became what I DID eat, instead of what I did NOT.
The hotbed radical campus in America was University of California Berkeley, which is where I went in Oct 1966, as the Summer of Love gestated across the San Francisco Bay. Turned onto acid, tuned into the Universe, and at the end of the year dropped out of a tree (not high, either way), injuring my spine. Don’t think that’s what Tim had in mind.
Return to England on a stretcher in early 1967 and my ‘Summer of Love’ begins at the end of April with London’s legendary 14-Hour Technicolour Dream at Alexandra Palace. The hospital (Stoke Mandeville) sent me home on trial that weekend to see how I managed life in my new wheelchair. Had a cosmic time, immersing myself in the UK’s new-born psychedelic culture with Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Pretty Things, Arthur Brown and many more.
Later that summer I was dispensing brown rice and vegetables to hippies on the Portobello Rd once a week, inspired by the Diggers in California who had been inspired by the Diggers in England a few centuries earlier. But I still planned to get back to University after a year adjusting to the wheelchair thing.
My brother Craig, finished with University, was in the process of setting up a macrobiotic restaurant in a basement near Paddington, after his short-lived illegal venue in Notting Hill Gate had been closed down. But late in 1967 he has to abruptly leave the UK for several years and it falls to me to pick up the reins, completing and opening the restaurant in early 1968.
1968 and I’m sitting in the yard behind a bustling Seed Restaurant kitchen listening to Mary Hopkins singing Those Were the Days(my friend, we thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day). Tears welled in my 19-year old eyes as I experienced in advance the nostalgic sadness of the day when I had gone ‘straight’ and was looking back from another world. How could you beat having the hippest restaurant in hippie London, serving organic wholefood dinners to the likes of John and Yoko and supplying free meals to those with no money. We played the latest music of the era, put together on reel-to-reel tapes by the one and only DJ Jeff Dexter. I produced a magazine called Harmony that John supported with a great cartoon. It was cool.
I was a fervent crusader for macrobiotics, intent upon changing the eating habits of the world, and thereby the world itself. At the time I felt certain that the whole world would be eating brown rice and vegetables in a decade. After all, ten years ago I had been nine, and the world seemed to have changed a lot since then! Everything seems so possible, but you don’t know what is until you try.
Halfway into the 60’s, few people had ever heard of brown rice, and the only sesame seed they were likely to encounter was on top of a hamburger bun. Sunflower seeds were strictly for the birds and the only beans in British came in a tin with tomato sauce. If you were lucky enough to find pure fruit juice on sale, it would have come from Germany in a glass bottle and probably cost as much as a bottle of decent wine. Western bread was white, except in a few places like Germany, Poland and Scandinavia. Disease was seen as a random event – the fickle finger of fate, disconnected from personal lifestyle or environmental pollution. Your doctor was wholly responsible for your health.
We named our company Yin-Yang Limited, since macrobiotics was all about balancing the yin and the yang, and taking responsibility for your own health. Our company logo was the yin-yang symbol and in 1968 our restaurant sign was probably the only place in London you would see that, now common, symbol. I remember getting excited when I first saw the yin-yang sign somewhere else – on the Korean ambassador’s car (it’s their flag).
Though against the war in Vietnam, short hair and pin-stripe suits, the main enemy I perceived in those days was the sugar industry, poisoning our youth with their evil and addictive drug. As I passed those big sugar tankers on the roads, I had visions of placing plastic explosives on them, in a subversive terrorist action for the good of society. I knew our dishwasher at Seed restaurant shot up heroin in the toilet, but when I caught her drinking Coca Cola in the kitchen she was sacked immediately.
1969 onwards… Seed restaurant took care of the Sixties for me. Customers wanted to cook at home, so Ceres natural food store was added. Next a wholesale company, Harmony Foods, so other shops could stock the food. Hippies from different cities in the UK and Europe came for supplies with which to spread the dietary revolution. Many of our early customers grew to became regional or national wholesalers.
Magazines (Harmony and Seed), cafes (Sprout and Green Genes), wholemeal bakeries (Ceres retail and wholesale), a bookstore and pop festival catering, including Glastonbury ’71, were all part of our agenda in those early years. It was full on and full of fun. 1973 arrived and I was still waiting for Mary Hopkins’ nostalgic vision to arrive.
There were plenty of others making new music, promoting free love, living in communes, selling incense and dispensing the wisdom of the East. The primary dream of the Sixties, for my brother and I, was to turn people on to natural and organic foods and the idea that diet affected health and happiness. It was so clear that this was the way forward – the right sort of food for healthy human beings. And when you know you are right you assume that eventually everybody else will come around to your way of thinking (precisely the sort of attitude that makes fundamentalist religious freaks so dangerous). It seemed like it was only a matter of time until the message got across, and it soon did.
Today, over forty years later, I admit to being surprised, delighted and proud of the strides that have been made. The whole world may not be eating natural organic foods, but for every one person who did so in the Sixties there are thousands doing so today. Whole grains and pulses and seeds are back in the human food chain along with a huge growth in sustainable agriculture. Organic natural foods are now a multi-billion dollar industry and millions are aware that the food they eat has an effect upon the health and happiness they experience in their lives. We have come a very long way.
And yet, looking at the world today, it seems like the utopia we imagined remains on the distant horizon. I am surprised, depressed, and appalled at the progress of the industrial juggernaut that tries to divorce our existence from the natural world. Trucks full of liquid sugar are the least of our problems. Though we ‘blew the whistle’ on them in the 60’s, food industry chemists have spent the years between developing countless new means to cheapen, adulterate and preserve our food. The enemies of harmony push relentlessly upon Europe’s door in their efforts to introduce genetically modified experiments into the food chain.
Though most of today’s green movements evolved from the Sixties, we have witnessed increasing pollution of our food and our environment ever since. New varieties of disease and illness have visited mankind, with the pharmaceutical companies growing fat on the back of them. Their lobbyists are well-funded.
The war on drugs continues and any substance that makes us feel good without needing a prescription from the doctor is illegal, alcohol excepted. We used to think that cannabis would be legalized within a few years and that society would soon recognize the value of LSD to our cultural evolution. Few realized how determined the status quo would be to prevent us from tasting forbidden fruit that offers knowledge and bliss. Today (2015) the war seems to be faltering, the madness of it openly acknowledged, in some nations.
And yet, as scary as the world appears to be to me, in many ways these still are “the days, my friend,” just as much as “those were the days.” Year on year I have watched the seeds that were planted in the Sixties grow into a new global consciousness. Before the Sixties you very rarely heard people talking about harmony, environment, vision, meditation, visualization, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, organic food, natural healing, conservation or personal computers (another child of the times). There were many who believed that we would all be living on convenient pills by now. They were wrong.
It turns me on to see more and more of humanity connecting to this wonder-filled world – to know how many are looking within, as well as outside of their selves. It turns me on to see how much more joy and inspiration there is in the world – gods know, we’ll need it in the times ahead. And it turns me on to continue delighting in so many of life’s features that stem from the Sixties.
Mary Hopkins, I’m still lovin’ it.
– originally written March 2007, for German publisher Werner Pieper’s book on different peoples’ Sixties experience, with a few minor updates –
And after the Sixties …
The business grew into the distribution and manufacture of natural foods (Harmony Foods and Whole Earth) until 1982, when I left to launch the first VegeBurger onto the market, creating and christening the product. It did well, added a word to the language, and I sold it in 1988, leaving the food industry behind me. Two year advance on retirement, until I discover chaos theory. 1990 open Strange Attractions, world’s only chaos shop, designing and publishing lots of fractal imagery and computer graphics, later licensing these to others and through agencies. Millions of fractals reprinted throughout the world. 1998 publish my book Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date, outlining the messages and lessons that chaos theory has for our lives and societies – sell 3200 copies. 2000 to 2007, writing and researching next book, published 2008 and titled Sun of gOd – Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything. Spend my time promoting this book then in 2013 I upgrade my first book, retitled The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better. I give talks and interviews on both topics.
Volkswagen did wrong by falsifying data, crossing the line in a game where it is well know that every car maker uses canny tricks to massage their figures on emissions, fuel consumption and the like. I am glad that they were caught out, that they admitted it and that their chief executive has resigned. I suspect there will be sleepless nights across the car industry for weeks to come.
But what this accidental discovery also reveals is that Uncle Sam has not been checking actual emissions against laboratory emissions figures from Volkswagen vehicles, or any others. This has apparently been overlooked throughout some 40 years of emissions standards, with the same approach likely to have been true within the EU. I am reminded that in all my years in the food business many of my products were tested by state agencies, but never for the veracity of the ingredient listing or nutritional content.
It is ironic that the Uncle Sam Corporation, which is making a huge haul out of this ($18 Billion, possibly much more), is the same ”corporation” that hands out billions in subsidies to fossil fuel producers, the root source of the emissions in question. This same “corporation” encourages fracking, underwrites nuclear power, and uses depleted uranium in munitions that will pollute the land on which they explode for thousands of years. This collector of fines destroys entire nations overseas in pursuit of its own interests, or the interests of those pulling its strings. It doesn’t really give a damn about emissions, but has suddenly discovered a nice little earner.
It was two guys seeking to show the cleanliness of diesel that turned up this surprise, having expected Volkswagens’ performance to demonstrate their case. At the very least, the US government should be rewarding these two with a good share of their harvest in fines. Uncle Sam didn’t spend money finding this out and hasn’t personally lost anything, though many Volkswagen owners will be unable to drive vehicles made illegal overnight. Could those drivers and asthma sufferers also be calling the state to account for not doing its job over decades?
Those two guys got a surprise, as would we if our foodstuffs, body care products and many other goods were adequately vetted for damaging features.
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Here is a related extract from my book The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, that discusses the alternatives to trusting the state to keep our foodstuffs safe, one that could be extended to motor vehicles and other consumer products. From the chapter “Way and Means” “…And we want to be sure that our food is not contaminated with heavy metals, toxic bacteria, rat droppings, radioactive particles, pesticides, unexpected forms of flesh, hormone residues, or other noxious contaminants.
Though the state would have us believe that it looks after all the above and more, today’s increasingly conscious consumers are becoming ever more aware of the flimsiness of the state’s protection—a state whose own involvement in the food chain has led to dangers far more endemic and frightening than rat droppings or even a touch of heavy metal. Typically the state will try to deny or cover up its own dangerous mistakes, assuring us that there has been no risk to human health. Occasionally, when scientists speak out about the dangers, they will suggest that consumers, if they want to be absolutely sure, should consume fewer farmed salmon, or be sure to peel their potatoes and apples, while not suggesting they be overly concerned. Then, one suspects, they will take steps to ensure that such information does not unexpectedly leak out again in the future, and wait for things to get back to abnormal.
Where consumers are unconcerned about their food quality, no amount of regulations will make much difference to the quality of their diet—a diet that has often been downgraded by government interference in the food chain. Today, as consumers increasingly appreciate the connection between their health and the foods with which they make and power themselves, a vacuum exists for a company whose remit is to provide genuine certification to food producers, incorporating regular testing of their products and verification of claims made for products. This can be done with bonded personnel able to review, among many other factors, a company’s working recipes, relative to ingredient listing. It will be in the long-term interests of the food industry to have a standard of integrity that can be trusted by the public.
If such a standard is developed and maintained by a private organization, its very existence would be threatened were integrity lost by colluding with a food company over false data. Today there is always the chance of such activity being exposed online or on Twitter, TV, or by the press. Such a certification mark adds value to the product and would be paid for by a modest charge to the company based on volume or value. There can be alternative validation schemes available so, for instance…”
The real drug problems rarely make headlines – those caused by pharmaceuticals designed to be addictive. We recently discovered that opioid painkillers claim the lives of 312 Americans every week, compared to 285 lost to murder. Since 2000 these drugs have killed three times as many Americans as were killed in Vietnam. A further 160 die each week from overdosing on heroin, most having become addicted via prescribed opioids. Yet nobody is fighting a war against them, while Big Pharma pockets big profits and markets them freely. Competition to Big Pharma is suppressed by law enforcement agencies spending vast sums of taxpayers’ money in the War on Drugs. Sometimes major drug enforcement agencies work with drug cartels, enforcing monopolies and suppressing free enterprise in the unlicensed drugs trade. For more on opioid painkiller killers, here’s the Forbes coverage.
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator.
The most successful, and profitable, pharmaceutical drugs are those which do not cure, but instead create a lifelong habit for the user…”
At issue in the sad case of young Ashya King is NOT concern over the life and well-being of a young child but a response to his parents’ defiance of the state’s authority over them and their child. This story has eclipsed that of the 1400 children in Rotherham who were abducted, abused, raped, and sex trafficked for 15 years or more WITH the knowledge of the police and social services. In that case, too, parents who intervened to try and help these children were ignored by social services and/or arrested by the police.
Nature has instilled in our genes the paramount need to protect our young – to secure the next generation’s survival. We hear of parents sacrificing their own lives to save that of their children. How on earth can employees of the faceless state assume greater authority over a child than that child’s own parents? In this case Ashya’s parents were willing to defy the authority of the NHS and sacrifice their holiday home in Spain to try a promising treatment in another land. Of course, they discovered this treatment after exhaustively trawling the Internet and, of course, the NHS doctors dismissed the world’s largest and most extensive database of information as not worthy of trust. What world do they inhabit, these official guardians of our health, who still find it difficult to accept that our diet has much to do with our health, let alone any treatments neither in their university training nor promoted by pharmaceutical companies? These are the health guardians who held so little hope for the future of Ashya King and wanted nobody to prove them wrong.Ashya‘s parents defied the authority of the state, triggering an international response, major headlines, and their immediate tracking down, arrest and rough handling by Spanish police. Their very ill child was forcibly taken into care and deprived of contact with his loving parents, who now face extradition to the UK, with them accused of kidnap. How can you kidnap your own kid? Who is the victim of their crime? The state simply asserts that its care of young Ashya will be superior to the care of his parents, with no track record suggesting this would be the case.. It is worth noting the Barnardo’s report citing the care system as putting two thirds of its young girls at risk of sexual exploitation, with half of those only coming into risk after going into care. That state care costs us some £200,00 a year, about six times the cost of an elite private school. How can we be naive enough to believe that the state has our best interests at heart when it criminalizes caring parents whilst ignoring widespread paedophile activities?1400 children were horribly abused in Rotherham, triggering no extraditions nor even a resignation by those who let this happen with eyes wide open. Girls of 11 were violently raped in front of other children, some were doused in petrol, and many trafficked for repeated abuse over a period of 15 years leading up to 2013. The majority of victims had been in the protective care of the state at the time. Hundreds must have been involved in the purveying and abuse of these children, yet just five Pakistani men were convicted, with three of them receiving lighter sentences than did the highly publicized Rolf Harris for offences committed over 30 years ago.Barnado’s Homes and others qualified to comment assert that Rotherham is only the “tip of the iceberg” with systematic abuse of children taking place across the UK. This is happening here and now! Why are police and politicians not rallying in response? Why has the recent enquiry into Westminster’s organized paedophile ring fizzled out? Have we forgotten the appalling Kincora Boys Home scandal in Belfast? All this is now overshadowed by two parents whose love for their child was greater than their fear of the state.Gregory Sams, author of The State Is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better In print and/or download from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any bookseller.