Saturday, June 4, 2016





“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father.

Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.  Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights.

No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.

This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here.

I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow.

I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”


Friday, June 3, 2016

Get To College, Get A Job, Get Poorer: Students Are Worse Off After Attending For-Profit Colleges


Go to college, study hard, get a good paying job - that's the mantra heard by most students across America as they wind down their high school careers.


Intuitively taking out loans just to go to college because everyone says so isn't a good idea, and a new study by the NBER finds that in fact, students who left for-profit schools during the 2006-2008 timeframe were worse off after attending. A key factor, as the WSJ reports, is that most of these students never earned a degree, they dropped out. Making matters worse, and certainly contributing to the fact that over 40% of student borrowers don't make payments, is the fact that these students borrowed to attend the colleges.

From the WSJ

The working paper, published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, tracks 1.4 million students who left a for-profit school from 2006 through 2008. Because students at these schools tend to be older than recent high-school graduates, they’ve spent time in the workforce. The researchers used Education Department and Internal Revenue Service data to track their earnings before and after they left school.


The result: Students on average were worse off after attending for-profit schools. Undergraduates were less likely to be employed, and earned smaller paychecks–about $600 to $700 per year less–after leaving school compared to their lives before. Those who enrolled in certificate programs made roughly $920 less per year in the six years after school compared to before they enrolled.


The key factor is that most of these students never earned a degree–they dropped out early. Excluding them, the minority of students who earned degrees saw an earnings bump after graduating.


“Certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree students generally experience declines in earnings in the 5 to 6 years after attendance relative to their own earnings in the years before attendance,” write co-authors Stephanie Riegg Cellini of George Washington University and Nicholas Turner of the U.S. Treasury Department.


The picture is even worse when considering most students borrowed to attend the colleges. Nearly 9 out of 10 for-profit school students took on student debt; those in associate’s programs borrowed an average $8,000 and those in bachelor’s programs, $13,000.

And now we get to the main reason that more millennialls are living at home than any other time since the Great Depression:

“Examining the distribution of average annual earnings effects and average annual debt payments reveals that the vast majority of for-profit students experience both higher debt and lower earnings after attendance, relative to the years before attendance,” the authors write.

The study is being called into question by groups such as The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, saying that the students that were tracked walked right into the Great Recession.

While that is true, the fact is that we're now in a "new normal", which is simply to say that lower paying jobs are being created and better paying jobs are disappearing, along with the overall opportunity to find employment - the results of the study are indeed indicative of what's going on in today's economy.


Nine Out of 10 Americans Tested Positive for Monsanto's Cancer-Linked Weedkiller Glyphosate

A probable human carcinogen is found in far too many foods.

If you participated in the glyphosate test project launched last year by the Detox Project (formerly Feed The World) and Organic Consumers Association, you probably failed.

A staggering 93 percent of Americans tested positive for glyphosate, according to the test results, announced on May 25.

What makes that figure even more alarming is that many of you who sent in urine samples for testing probably eat more organic than non-organic food. Which suggests that either your organic food has been contaminated and/or you’re being exposed to glyphosate via unknown sources.

Worse yet? Children had the highest levels.

The testing, carried out by a laboratory at UC San Francisco, was the first-ever comprehensive and validated LC/MS/MS testing project to be carried out across America. According to the results, people who live in the west and mid-west tested higher than those living in other regions of the country.

It's way past time for the world to wake up and smell the poison.

Even before glyphosate, the most-used herbicide in the world, was labeled a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC in 2015, the chemical, prevalent in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was under fire from scientists who say the chemical makes us sick. Internal documents reveal that Monsanto has known this all along.

Despite the warnings, in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Monsanto, raised the allowed limits for glyphosate residue on fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming pesticide residues are “safe,” doesn’t test for glyphosate residue on food.

Only recently has the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said it will begin testing human food for glyphosate. The FDA is a bit late to the testing party. Independent testing has already found glyphosate in many foods. It’s also been found in breast milk.  

The endocrine-disrupting (and more) chemical is even in your beer.

Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope that at least some parts of the world are waking up to the obvious dangers associated with poisoning our food, our ecosystem and ourselves. The European Commission has so far rejected Monsanto’s bid to renew its licensing of glyphosate in the EU.

Glyphosate is also up for renewal in the U.S. The EPA, amid controversy and under pressure, is stalling.

What progress has been made so far, in exposing the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and taking steps to ban it, have resulted from people power. In October, we’ll take that people power to the next level, when we expose Monsanto’s crimes at the Monsanto Tribunal, a citizen’s tribunal that will be held October 15-16 in The Hague, Netherlands.



Related Stories


Employment Lies — Paul Craig Roberts


Employment Lies

Paul Craig Roberts

June 3, 2016. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the US economy only created 38,000 new jobs in May and revised down by 59,000 jobs the previously reported gains in March and April.

Yet the BLS reported that the unemployment rate fell from 5.0 to 4.7 percent, a figure generally regarded as full employment.

The May jobs increase only covers a small fraction of the monthly growth in the labor force and, therefore, cannot account for the drop in unemployment.

Moreover, the BLS reported that the labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points, bringing the decline to 0.4 percentage points over the past two months. Normally, a strong labor market, such as one represented by a 4.7% unemployment rate, causes an increase in the labor force participation rate.

The question becomes: How real is the 4.7% rate of unemployment?

The answer is: Not at all.

The unemployment rate dropped because people unable to find jobs ceased looking and are no longer counted as being in the labor force. If you are unemployed but not considered part of the labor force, you are not included when unemployment is measured. The BLS says that in May there were 1.7 million Americans who “wanted and were available for work,” but “were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

In other words, the unemployment rate is a useless measure of unemployment, just as the consumer price index no longer measures inflation. What were once useful statistical measures have been converted into good news propaganda.

Another inconsistency is the BLS report that, despite the low unemployment rate, in May almost another one-half million Americans were forced into part-time jobs as full-time employment was not available.

The average work week is no longer 40 hours. The shrinkage of the average work week to 34.4 hours (May) is another reason for declining real median family income. Assuming 3 weeks of vacation, a 34.4 hour work week is 274.4 hours less per year. At $20 per hour, for example, a 34.4 hour work week produces $5,488 less annual income than a 40 hour week.

The loss of annual income is greater for many. The average is a result of shorter and longer work weeks. The shorter work weeks that pull down the average are not full-time jobs and therefore do not receive health and pension benefits.

Just as Washington and the presstitute media lie about everything else, they lie about the economy.

The United States of America has beeen reduced to a House of Cards whose foundation is lies.

How long can it stand?

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Guided By Nonsense - The Data Doesn't Add-Up


Submitted by MN Gordon of Economic Prism (annotated by Acting-Man's Pater Tenebrarum),

Seven Year Achievement

“Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.” — Lewis Carroll



See? It’s easy Janet! Just read the directions!


U.S. consumers are at it again.  After a seven year hiatus they’re once again doing what they do best.  They’re buying stuff.

According to the Commerce Department, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which is the primary measure of consumer spending on goods and services in the U.S. economy, increased $119.2 billion in April.  That marks an increase of 1 percent, and is the biggest one month increase since August 2009 – nearly seven years ago.  Indeed, this is quite an achievement.

The consumer, you know, is the primary engine of U.S. economic growth. Without consumption GDP doesn’t go up; rather, it goes down.  Moreover, in a debt based money system, when GDP goes down the whole financial debt structure breaks down.

We don’t condone it.  Certainly we’d prefer an honest hard money system where savings and investment drives growth as opposed to borrowing and spending.  But our preference has no bearing on reality in this matter.

Still, given the vast array of pretense inherent to a debt based money system, when we hear that PCEs increased by the largest margin in nearly seven years, we take a keen interest.  Naturally, we want to know what’s going on.  Namely, we ask, where’s the money coming from?


Where’s the Money Coming From?

Middle class incomes, the last we recall, scored a big fat rotten goose egg over the last decade.  By this we mean incomes haven’t gone up.  To the contrary, they’ve going down.

Our understanding of this unfortunate situation isn’t based on anecdotes we overheard at the corner donut shop.  Nor is it based on experiences shared by the crusty fellows casting their lines off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.  Instead, we have hard evidence and solid proof.  Specifically, we point to the distilled findings of Pew Research released earlier this month.

“The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee.  From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.  The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.”



Incomes going nowhere but down  – one of the many great achievements of monetary central planning, a.k.a. Anglo-Saxon central banking socialism (via Pew Research)


So if it isn’t rising incomes that are propelling the PCE increase then what is it?  According to recent findings from the New York Federal Reserve, “total household debt climbed 1.1 percent in the first quarter to $12.25 trillion.”  This is “the seventh straight quarterly rise, and the biggest increase in mortgage debt since the Great Recession began.”

Yet, while “there were also increases in auto and student loans, […] credit card and home equity debts declined.”  In particular, “total debt remains more than $400 billion below the peak of 2008.”


2-household debt

US households and non-profits: drowning in debt, courtesy of the post-Nixon default system’s eternal fountain of make-believe money – click to enlarge.


Guided By Nonsense

Hence, if rising incomes and an increase in consumer debt are not culpable for the PCE gains, then what is?  One possibility is that Americans are dipping into their savings…

Americans had been socking away money,” reports the Wall Street Journal, “but now appear a little more confident.  The personal saving rate in April was 5.4 percent, down from March’s 5.9 percent and the lowest level of the year.

Perhaps this explains it.  But, nonetheless, something about it doesn’t quite add up.  Especially since it contradicts the story included in the May issue of The Atlantic, aptly titled The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.  In short, the premise of the article is based on a Federal Reserve survey that found that nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.

If that’s the case, and consumers really can’t spare $400, how is it then that they can dip into their savings to push up PCE?  As far as we can tell, there’s no good answer to this question.

One conclusion we can offer is that this little review of odds and ends shows that economic studies and reports are utter nonsense.  One says one thing.  The next says the exact opposite.  Certainly they don’t tell you if you should buy – or sell – Microsoft or Macy’s.  They merely take you down a never ending network of rabbit holes to nowhere.



Down the rabbit hole of reams of contradictory data, anecdotes, and just plain nonsense. All the information you need for “appropriate” central planning decisions!


Of course, it is this utter nonsense that Fed monetary policy is guided by.  Income, labor, inflation, these are the “key metrics” the Federal Reserve uses to inform their federal funds rate decision.  Is there any question why they dither and dawdle over what it is they think they are doing?  Here’s one recent example – as  Fed Chair Janet Yellen, clarified  just one week ago:

“It’s appropriate, and I’ve said this in the past, I think for the Fed to gradually and cautiously increase our overnight interest rate over time and probably in the coming months, such a move would be appropriate.”

Just like the data points they look to for guidance, the Fed’s utterances are absolute nonsense.



It all depends…but didn’t we tell you already what you need to do? Just read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction. Easy!


Martin Wolf: There Will Be Another “Huge” Financial Crisis


Martin Wolf writing in the Financial Times has warned that there will be another "huge" financial crisis given the nature of the modern fractional reserve banking and financial system. 

Financial_Times_corporate_logo.svgWolf asks whether there will a “another huge financial crisis” and then answers his question by saying that there will be and warns that banks “are designed to fall. So fall they surely will.”

He warns that a system built on making promises it cannot keep is bound to crash, and crash again:

Will there be another huge financial crisis? As Hamlet said of the fall of a sparrow: “If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all.” So it is with banks. They are designed to fall. So fall they surely will.

A recent book explores not only this reality but also a radical and original solution. What makes attention to this suggestion even more justified is that its author was at the heart of the monetary establishment before and during the crisis. He is Lord Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England. His book is called The End of Alchemy.

The title is appropriate: alchemy lies at the heart of the financial system; moreover, banking was, like alchemy, a medieval idea, but one we have not as yet discarded. We must, argues Lord King, now do so.

As Lord King remarks, the alchemy is “the belief that money kept in banks can be taken out whenever depositors ask for it”.

This is a confidence trick in two senses: it works if, and only if, confidence is strong; and it is fraudulent. Financial institutions make promises that, in likely states of the world, they cannot keep. In good times, this is a lucrative business. In bad times, the authorities have to come to the rescue. It is little wonder, then, that financial institutions have become so large and pay so well.

His solution to the dangerous alchemy of the current banking system is to make Central banks pawnbrokers of last resort. This seems somewhat more prudent than the more dangerous deflationary experiment of bail-ins and confiscating deposits, both individuals and families life savings and indeed SME and corporate deposits above a certain level, in order to bail out failing banks.

Wolf joins a long list of investment and finance experts and even the Prime Minister of Japan who are warning that another global financial crisis is coming. The question is not if, but when.

Read full FT article via Irish Times here

Recent Market Updates
– Silver Price To Surge 800% on Global Industrial and Technological Demand
– BREXIT Gold Diversification As Vote Fuels Market Uncertainty
– Gold Forecasts Revised Higher – Citi Says “Buy the Dip”
– Gold Should Rise Above $1,900/oz -“Get In Now!”
– World’s Largest Asset Manager Suggests “Perfect Time” For Gold
– Gold As “Extremely Low-Risk Asset” – Rogoff Advises Creditor Nations
– Silver – “Best Precious Metals Trade”

Must Read Bail-In Guide Here

Breaking News and Commentary
Stocks, sterling roiled as ‘Brexit’ poll unnerves (CNBC)
Gold Sees Short-Covering, Bargain-Hunting Bounce (Bloomberg)
Gold steady after overnight losses; Fed in focus (Reuters)
Gold Traders Pay Most in Years to Keep Big Bullish Bets Alive (Bloomberg)

Global commodity assets rise to $220 billion in Aprill – PMs 50% of AUM (Reuters)
Gold and Silver Worst Performing Assets In May (Zero Hedge)
Disappearing Money and Opportunistic Candidates (Huffington Post)
Gold Isn’t A Hedge Against Monetary Disorder, It’s “An Investment In It” (Zero Hedge)
Read More Here


Woman Refuses Conventional Treatment & Cures 4th Stage Cancer


Alternative cancer treatments are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people begin to question conventional treatments and seek out less harmful options. While many in the medical field claim this is dangerous and can cost lives, many patients know that the success rate of chemotherapy is quite low, and question whether the toll it takes on the body is worth the risk.

According to a 2004 report by Morgan, Ward, and Barton, the contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3 percent in Australia and 2.1 percent in the United States. It concluded that, “it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”

A recent study conducted by researchers at Stanford University further complicates the issue by noting that approximately 90% of doctors would themselves choose to abstain from chemotherapy if they had terminal cancer, wishing instead for a better quality of remaining days. And a 1985 survey found that only about one-third of physicians and oncology nurses would have consented to chemotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer. Today, willingness to undergo cancer treatment by doctors who prescribe it is still lacking. While some would undergo treatment, many have still stated that they would not. Unfortunately there is little research on these numbers available today.

In 2016, it’s estimated that there will be 1,685,210 new cancer diagnoses in the United States. It’s also estimated that approximately 600,000 of those diagnoses will end in death. And we can be reasonably sure that the majority of these people will be receiving cancer treatment.

Regardless of medical opinion, facts are facts, and the fact that more people are opting out of traditional cancer treatment and choosing ‘natural’ methods instead warrants, as various studies claim, greater investigation into the success rate of these treatments, and more rigorous scientific testing of their ability to heal cancer.

But oncologists’ hands are tied. When they encounter someone with cancer, they are required to recommend the only two approved treatments, radiation and chemotherapy. Even if an oncologist would not enter into treatment themselves, they must refrain from offering different advice and instead stick to protocol.

And it’s not just chemotherapy statistics that have patients searching for other options. Corruption, medical fraud, and corporate funding also have many people running the other way. Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and long-time editor-in-chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), offers the following observation on the issue:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.  (source)

Two-time Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Dr. Linus Pauling, considered to be one of the most important scientists in history, told us that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organisations are “derelict in their duties to the people who support them.”

Then we have science showing how many natural substances, like vegetables, spices, and even cannabis, can completely annihilate cancer cells. Some of these studies are in vivo, others in vitro. Cannabis oil, for example, has been killing cancer cells in the lab for decades — a simple Google search of scholarly publications regarding cannabis and cancer will make this clear — but, as with many other natural cures, pharmaceutical companies refuse to fund human clinical trials. This is disturbing to say the least, given the fact that when a pharmaceutical drug shows half as much promise, clinical trials are instantly set up. The medical industry is not interested in healing people, they are interested in profit.

The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.

–Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal (source)

We need to make this side of the cancer story known to all. While some people have still died after seeking alternative treatment, people have also died after seeking conventional treatment. But we never hear about the success stories with these natural options, and there are many. We only hear about the unsuccessful ones, and these are glorified by mainstream corporate media.

Related CE Article:

The First Three Things I would Do If Diagnosed With Cancer. (opinion piece)

Candice-Marie Fox

Candice-Marie Fox was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer in 2011 at age 28. After surgery and radiation, it spread. Then she adopted a radical diet (mostly fruit) and made some lifestyle changes, and her body healed.

Below is an interview that Candice did with Chris Wark, another person who beat cancer using alternative methods (you can learn more about him here). This is a short summation of her story. To hear her story in full, you can listen to THIS interview, which spans more than an hour.

These are stories mainstream media will not share. The only stories we hear of in the mainstream media regarding ‘natural medicine’ are the ones that end in tragedy. We need to shift the conversation and make sure people have access to both sides of the story so they can make informed decisions.

Candice cites the ‘NORI Protocol‘ for her success, which was created by the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute, a centre run by a group of doctors whose primary mission is to provide cancer patients with scientifically sound, nontoxic, and effective alternatives to conventional therapies. They are one of many such institutions.

I would love to see statistics comparing chemotherapy success rates with alternative therapy rates, but these simply don’t exist. If they did, I think the chemotherapy industry would go out of business. But that’s just my opinion.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Supplements Proven Beneficial for Your Mental Health


By Dr. Mercola

Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements not only have a significant amount of evidence supporting their use for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems typically treated with drugs, they also have an admirable safety record.

The same cannot be said for antidepressants, the side effects of which run the gamut from sexual dysfunction to lack of emotions or "emotional flatness," sleep disturbances, brain damage, and even to suicide and homicide.

Antidepressants have also been shown to increase your chances of worsening depression, turning what is often a temporary condition into a lifelong struggle. One in 20 Americans over the age of 12 struggles with depression1 and 11 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication.2

Considering the prevalence of depression and the risks associated with antidepressants, we really need to reevaluate how we approach this problem. Depression is undoubtedly a serious issue that should not be dismissed, but I urge you to consider your options before taking the drug route.

 Antidepressants Are Not Science-Based Medicine

Total Video Length: 01:02:08
Download Interview Transcript

If you believe in following the recommendations of science-based medicine, you wouldn't take an antidepressant. Studies have repeatedly shown that these drugs work no better than a placebo. As noted in a 2014 paper on antidepressants and the placebo effect:3

"Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory.

But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect ...

Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.

The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future."

FDA Data and Unpublished Trials Show Antidepressants Don't Work

That 2014 paper is well worth reading if you still doubt the claim that antidepressants' effectiveness is on par with placebo. The author, Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist who has performed a number of analyses on antidepressants.

In 2002, his team filed a Freedom of Information Act to request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the trial data provided by drug companies as part of the drug approval process. There were several benefits to using this data:

FDA requires drug companies to provide data on all clinical trials they've sponsored, including unpublished trials. As it turned out, nearly half of all clinical trials on antidepressants had never been published.

Only 43 percent of trials (published and unpublished) showed a statistically significant benefit of drug over placebo. In the majority of trials — 57 percent — the drug showed no clinical benefit over placebo.

Moreover, the placebo response actually accounted for 82 percent of the beneficial response to antidepressants. These results were reproduced in a 2008 study4 using another, larger, set of FDA trial data. According to Kirsch, "once again, 82 percent of the drug response was duplicated by placebo."

All of the trials used the same primary measure of depression, the Hamilton depression scale — a 17-item scale with a possible score of 0 to 53 points. The higher your score, the more severe your depression.

This made the drug-placebo differences easy to identify, compare and understand. Importantly, the mean difference between drug and placebo was less than two points (1.8) on this scale, which is considered "clinically insignificant."

To illustrate just how tiny a difference this is, you can score a six-point difference simply by changing sleep patterns without any reported change in other depressive symptoms.

As noted by Kirsch, "thus, when published and unpublished data are combined, they fail to show a clinically significant advantage for antidepressant medication over inert placebo."

The drug company data sent to the FDA is the basis upon which antidepressants were approved, which makes these trials particularly important.

If there were significant flaws in the studies — which is a common complaint when someone doesn't agree with the results — the FDA should never have approved them in the first place.

Vitamins and Supplements Boost Effectiveness of Antidepressants

Considering the fact that antidepressants have the clinical effectiveness of a placebo, is it any wonder that nutritional supplements can "boost" their effectiveness? That's exactly what a recent study found.

The meta-analysis, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 40 clinical trials in which supplements were added to the drug regimen.5,6,7  

The following four supplements were found to improve the impact of the medication — which included serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants — compared to medication only:

  • Fish oil
  • Vitamin D
  • Methylfolate (an effective form of folic acid)
  • S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe)

Fish oil — specifically the fat EPA — produced the most significant improvement, which isn't so surprising if you understand the importance of animal-based omega-3 for brain health.

In fact, it would have been far more interesting to see how these supplements might have fared without the use of medication, as the supplements could very well have been the true benefit.

After all, studies have shown that both omega-3 and vitamin D can help improve mental health all on their own, and if the medication doesn't add anything of real value, why risk your health and wellbeing by taking it?

Lowering Inflammation Is Important for Mental Health

Studies have linked depression to chronic inflammation and dysfunction of the gut-brain axis.8 Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

One likely theory as to why certain nutrients work so well for depression is because they are potent anti-inflammatories. Indeed, many studies have confirmed that treating gastrointestinal inflammation helps improve symptoms of depression.9 The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn't all that surprising, even though it's often overlooked.

A previous article10 titled "Are Probiotics the New Prozac?" reviews some of the supporting evidence. For example, animal research has linked changes in gut flora to changes in affective behaviors, and in humans, probiotics (beneficial bacteria) have been shown to alter brain function.11 According to lead author Dr. Kirsten Tillisch:12

"Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut. Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street ...  When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings 'you are what you eat' and 'gut feelings' take on new meaning."

Previous research has also shown that certain probiotics can help alleviate anxiety. For example, the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility13 reported the probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain.

Other research14 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA levels — an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes — in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior. (It is likely other lactobacillus species also provide this benefit, but this was the only one that was tested.)

Important Brain Nutrients

Part of the reason why depression is so rampant may well be linked to the fact that vitamin D and omega-3 deficiencies are rampant as well, and both of these nutrients are really important for optimal brain function and mental health. Consider this: your brain is made up of about 60 percent fat,15 and vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue, suggesting vitamin D has an important role to play in your brain.

Omega-3 fats are important for mental clarity and focus. The 2001 book, "The Omega-3 Connection," written by Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Stoll, was among the first works to bring attention to and support the use of omega-3 fats for depression. Omega-3s have also been shown to improve more serious mental disorders, including schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.16

There is no set recommended standard dose of omega-3 fats, but some health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA for healthy adults. If you suffer from depression, higher doses may be called for. In one study,17 an omega-3 supplement with a dose range of 200 to 2,200 mg of EPA per day was effective against primary depression.

As for vitamin D, researchers have suggested vitamin D may play a role in depression by regulating brain chemicals called monoamines, which include serotonin.18 As a general rule, depressed individuals have lower vitamin D levels than non-depressed people.19

Having a vitamin D level below 20 ng/ml can raise your risk of depression by 85 percent compared to having a level greater than 30 ng/ml.20 Among seniors, low vitamin D levels have been shown to raise the risk of depression by as much as 1,100 percent!

A double-blind randomized trial21 published in 2008 also concluded that: "It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression. Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship."Vitamin B12 deficiency can also contribute to depression, and affects about 1 in 4 people.

The Importance of Exercise

Besides nutrition, exercise is one of the most potent anti-depressants at your disposal. Research has confirmed it actually outperforms drug treatment. It's also a key treatment strategy for anxiety disorders. Exercise combats depression in a number of different ways, including by:

  • Helping to normalize your insulin levels, which reduces inflammation
  • Boosting "feel-good" hormones in your brain
  • Eliminating kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression.22 (Confirming the link between inflammation and depression, your body metabolizes kynurenine primarily via a process activated by stress and inflammatory factors)
  • Increasing brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which tends to be critically low in depressed individuals
  • Activating mitochondrial biogenesis

Putting Treatment Options for Depression Into Proper Perspective

If you suffer from mental health problems, be it depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or any other mental or emotional disturbance, it's really important to reassess your diet and general lifestyle. Your body and mind are closely interrelated, and physical dysfunction can easily take a toll on your mental health. Your gut health, especially, can play a significant role.

One thing's for sure. Antidepressants fail miserably in addressing the cause of people's mental health problems. The booming market of "booster" drugs or "antidepressant add-ons" like ABILIFY (originally developed to treat schizophrenia and mania23) is just another sign that antidepressants really don't work as advertised.

While adding one or more supplements to the treatment protocol would be a step in the right direction, it still falls short, as the side effects of these drugs can be worse than the original complaint. For these reasons, I recommend avoiding drug treatment unless absolutely necessary.

There are instances where they can be useful and lifesaving, especially when dealing with more serious psychological disorders like schizophrenia and psychotic episodes, but for run of the mill depression, the long-term answer is more likely to be found in your kitchen than in your medicine cabinet.

Remember, studies show antidepressants are on par with placebo in terms of effectiveness, so by forgoing them you're not turning your back to a science-based cure.

It's really unfortunate that psychiatry has been so resistant to changing its treatment recommendations based on the scientific evidence, because if it did, antidepressants would no longer be among the top selling drugs in the U.S. (ABILIFY nabbed second place among the top 10 best-selling brand name drugs in 2015, with a total of 8.3 million total prescriptions written that year.24)

Overcoming Depression Without Drugs

Research tells us that the composition of your gut flora not only affects your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your brain function and mental state, and your gut microbiome can be quickly impacted by dietary changes — for better or worse.

Research has also revealed there are a number of other safe, effective ways to address depression that do not involve hazardous drugs. So if you suffer from an anxiety- or depression-related disorder, please consider addressing the following diet and lifestyle factors before you resort to drugs:

Eat real food, and avoid all processed foods, sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and GMOs

High sugar and starchy non-fiber carbohydrates lead to excessive insulin release, which can result in falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia.

In turn, hypoglycemia causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, and panic attacks. Sugar also fans the flames of inflammation in your body.

In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

Gluten sensitivity is also a common, hidden cause of depression, so going on a gluten-free diet can be part of the answer.

Recent research also shows that glyphosate, used in large quantities on genetically engineered crops like corn, soy, and sugar beets, limits your body's ability to detoxify foreign chemical compounds.

As a result, the damaging effects of those toxins are magnified, potentially resulting in a wide variety of diseases, including brain disorders that have both psychological and behavioral effects.

Increase consumption of traditionally fermented and cultured foods

Reducing gut inflammation is imperative when addressing mental health issues,25 so optimizing your gut flora is a critical piece.

To promote healthy gut flora, increase your consumption of probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables, kimchee, natto, kefir, and others.

Get adequate vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects one in four people.

Optimize your vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is very important for your mood. Remember, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression related to sunshine deficiency, so it would make sense that the perfect way to optimize your vitamin D is through UV exposure.

Be sure to check your levels (via blood test) at least once or twice a year. You'll want to be within the therapeutic range of 40 to 60 ng/ml year-round.

If you cannot get sufficient sun exposure to maintain this level, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement would be advisable. Just remember to also increase your vitamin K2 when taking oral vitamin D.

Get plenty of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats

Your brain is 60 percent fat, and DHA, an animal-based omega-3 fat, along with EPA, is crucial for good brain function and mental health.26,27

Unfortunately, most people don't get enough from diet alone, so make sure you take a high-quality omega-3 fat. I recommend krill oil, which has a number of benefits over fish oil, including better absorption.28 

Beneficial herbs and  supplements: SAMe, 5-HTP and St. John's Wort

SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines.

Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels.

The evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression29 — more than can be said about antidepressants.

One caveat: anxiety and social phobias can worsen with higher levels of serotonin, so it may be contraindicated if your anxiety is already high. St. John's Wort has also been shown to provide relief from mild depressive symptoms.

Evaluate your salt intake

Sodium deficiency actually creates symptoms that are very much like those of depression. Make sure you do NOT use processed salt (regular table salt), however.

You'll want to use an all natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.

Get adequate daily exercise

Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity.

There's also a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.

Exercising creates new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm. It also boosts your levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which help buffer the effects of stress.

Get enough sleep

You can have the best diet and exercise program possible but if you aren't sleeping well you can easily become depressed.

Sleep and depression are so intimately linked that a sleep disorder is actually part of the definition of the symptom complex that gives the label depression.

Energy psychology

Energy psychology techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), can also be very effective for reducing symptoms of depression or anxiety by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that causes your body's reactions — without adverse effects.

Recent research has shown that EFT significantly increases positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreases negative emotional states.

EFT is particularly powerful for treating stress and anxiety because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.30,31

For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT32 to help guide you through the process.

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Health Ranger publishes scientific study revealing heavy metals contamination of America's municipal water supplies (EPA Watch)

Mike-Adams-lab-ICP-MS-5.jpg (NaturalNews) As promised, I've now published the first 100 EPA Watch water test results in a scientific paper you can find at the Natural Science Journal.There, in a science research study I conducted at my analytical laboratory (, you'll find the full details of...


Harvard PhD Immunologist Destroys SB277's Faulty Logic With Open Letter to Legislators

Tetyana-Obukhanych.jpg (NaturalNews) SB277 is the rule of law in California. The state is no longer allowing most vaccine exemptions for children hoping to attend public schools. The law, at its very core, is designed to "smoke out" those who choose to resist all vaccines or just a some of them. The legislation...


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

State Department Admits It Deliberately Cut Video Confirming It Lies To The Public


Three weeks ago a mini scandal erupted, when the State Department was accused of purposefully altering a briefing video to remove a portion of a discussion about the Iran nuclear talks. The missing clip involved then spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who was asked in 2013 whether officials ever lie to the public to protect national security interests. Psaki indirectly confirmed that this happens. "James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that," Psaki replied to Fox News reporter James Rosen. Or, as Jean-Claude Juncker would openly admit, "when it gets serious, you have to lie."

When it was revealed that the video had been edited to remove those comments, the State Department quickly restored the entire video, and blamed the missing video on a "glitch."

Well, as market participants know too well, any time a "glitch" is used as an excuse, it is to protect one or more guilty parties who have enough power and/or money to blame their action on a technical error, usually in the passive voice.

This is what happened this time as well.

As Reuters reports, a portion of said briefing video that was archived online was deliberately deleted at the request of an unknown person, possibly the day the video was made, spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday after an investigation. As noted above, "the deleted video segment dealt with whether a State Department spokeswoman had misled reporters at an earlier briefing about whether U.S. and Iranian officials had directly discussed the Iran nuclear deal."

Only while one lie was confirmed, another quickly took its place when Kirby said the office of the legal adviser "learned that a specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing. We do not know who made the request to edit the video or why it was made." Instead, Kirby insisted that the person who made the edit only remembers that he or she got a call from someone at the State Department, who was passing on a request from the departments' Public Affairs Bureau. But he said the person who received the call didn't remember who the caller was, and doesn't know who in that bureau made the request.

We have some ideas.

Kirby said the video had been replaced some time ago with a full version that was archived with the Defense Department. He said the transcript of the briefing had always been available online and had not been modified. He said it was unclear why the video had been edited. "There were no rules in place at the time to govern this sort of action, so while I believe it was an inappropriate step to take, I see little foundation for pressing forward with a formal investigation," he said.

In other words, Kirby said that while it was wrong to edit the video, there's no basis for investigating the issue further.

And just like Hillary's email, er, problems, the only solution to the problem is that measures will be taken. Quote Kirby: "To my surprise the Bureau of Public Affairs did not have in place any rules governing this type of action. Therefore, we are taking immediate steps to craft appropriate protocols on this issue as we believe that deliberately removing a portion of the video was not and is not in keeping with the State Department's commitment to transparency and public accountability," he added.

He said it with a straight face.


Orwell Could Never Have Predicted This...


Submitted by Mark Nestmann via,

I love technology. I can’t imagine life without modern conveniences like telephones, email, and the Internet. Not to mention running water, air conditioning, and automobiles.

But sometimes, technology gets… well, creepy.

And the creepier the technology, the more likely your friendly Big Brother will use it to keep tabs on you. A case in point is the increasing sophistication of face recognition technology.

Face recognition combines digital images of faces with -software that creates a unique “faceprint” of each one, along with a database of images against which “faceprints” can be compared.

A few years ago, face recognition systems were almost laughably inaccurate. I have an article in my archives from 2003, in which two Japanese tourists visiting Australia fooled an early version of the technology simply by swapping passports.

However, this strategy wouldn’t fool today’s face recognition software.

In the US, you generally have no right to privacy with respect to your facial features. And no federal law regulates the collection of biometric data. If you’re in a public place, the courts have concluded you have a greatly reduced expectation of privacy. Anyone with a camera can legally take your picture in a public space.

But the rules for face recognition are beginning to change, thanks to laws in a handful of states and a court decision involving one of the largest collections of faceprints in existence, compiled by Facebook. Earlier this month, a federal judge in California refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit against Facebook brought by residents of Illinois. The lawsuit alleged Facebook collected, stored, and used faceprints in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The law is intended to protect the privacy of Illinois residents in their personal biometric data. Regulated biometric identifiers can include a scan of “face geometry.”

Facebook uses face recognition technology to match photographs users have uploaded to subsequently present “tag suggestions” for digitized images uploaded later. Subscribers can then “tag” friends or family members. At first glance, it seems completely harmless, especially since you can turn off “tagging” in your Facebook settings. But the Illinois plaintiffs didn’t see it that way at all.

And the fact is Facebook has the largest single collection of images ever assembled. More than one billion Facebook users had uploaded more than 250 billion pictures by 2013, and the total number today is undoubtedly much higher. Of course, not all the photos are of faces, but many – perhaps most – are.

But what’s the real harm in allowing companies like Facebook to assemble vast face databases to make “tag suggestions”?

Consider FindFace, a face recognition app now taking Russia by storm. FindFace allows users to photograph people on the street, in a bar, or anywhere else and identify them by matching the photos to digital images uploaded to VK, a Russian social networking site. VK has about 200 million users – large, but not nearly as big as Facebook. The developers claim the system is 70% reliable in identifying the right person, with each version of the app improving accuracy. Apparently, FindFace can’t match photos posted on Facebook, at least not yet.

The really creepy part is the way the app has already been used – and abused. FindFace makes it possible for stalkers to harass individuals on the street who have VK profiles. The founders – 20-something males – envision being able to take a photo of an attractive woman, match her photo to a VK profile, and then ask her out on a date. But they believe the real breakthrough for their company will come when law enforcement authorities adopt it. They claim police have already used FindFace to locate criminal suspects who had seemingly disappeared.

It turns out that something similar and even creepier is already underway in the US. But instead of Facebook, authorities are using a database you can’t opt out of or turn off – archives of state driver’s license photos. State and local police and the FBI all use face recognition software to scan state driver’s license records to track down fugitives. And as part of the “Real ID Act,” states must digitize driver’s license photos, making it possible for face recognition software to sift through millions of photos in search of a match.

Several companies have developed systems that allow police to search these facial archives. The systems consist of a handheld face recognition device that plugs into a smart phone, and they’re being used by an increasing number of police departments nationwide.

It’s easy to see how this technology could be abused, and not just by stalkers. Let’s say you’re in a public demonstration against the ruling party that gets out of hand. Police identify the participants with face recognition and then arrest them at their leisure. Not to mention whistleblowers and those who support political causes or social issues that aren’t approved of by most Americans.

It’s not easy to protect your privacy against this technology, but I do have a few suggestions.

  • Don’t renew your driver’s license until it expires. Photos taken more than a decade or so for driver’s licenses aren’t necessarily in digital form and are harder to match. A few states even allow you to cite your religious beliefs to avoid having a photo appear on your driver’s license at all.
  • Unsubscribe from Facebook and other social networks. If you use these networks, don’t post photos of yourself.
  • Wear head coverings. A hat will prevent a camera above you from capturing a clear image of your face, unless you look at it. If you’re a Muslim woman or don’t mind dressing as one, a burqa will obscure your entire face.
  • If you’re a man, grow a beard. Like hats or other head coverings, a beard – at least a full one – hides enough of your face to make face recognition more difficult.

One thing is for certain. The technology underpinning face recognition will only improve. Be ready for it by acting proactively.


The End Of The American Dream——Half Of US Households Are “Financially Fragile”

By Simon Wilson At MoneyWeek What’s it like to be a middle-class American? Increasingly precarious, it seems. In an article entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans” in this month’s issue of The Atlantic, the writer Neal Gabler – an author, film critic and academic – came out as one of the many millions…


New U.S. Business Formation Falling Off A Cliff

We’re supposedly living in the age of startups when people can create new businesses, enrich themselves, and employ their fellow Americans. That narrative, like much economic optimism these days, is now mostly a tale for coastal cities, and a tenuous one at best. Fewer new businesses were created in the last five years in the…


How Industry Money Keeps Unsafe Products in Wide Use — and the Public in the Dark


By Dr. Mercola

The recent federal lawsuit filed against former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg again highlights industry influence at the highest government levels.

Hamburg, her husband, Peter Brown, and Johnson & Johnson are charged with conspiracy, racketeering and colluding to conceal the dangers of the antibiotic Levaquin, made by Johnson & Johnson.1

The suit was filed by Larry Klayman, a former federal prosecutor, who claims the parties concealed the drug's dangers for financial gain. Peter Brown is an executive in the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which held hundreds of millions of dollars of Johnson & Johnson stock. The suit charges that:2

"While Defendant Hamburg was FDA Commissioner, her husband, Defendant Brown's annual income, not coincidentally, increased from a reported $10 million in 2008 to an estimated $125 million in 2011 and an estimated $90 million in 2012, due in whole or in part to Defendants' racketeering conspiracy to withhold information about the devastating, life threatening, and deadly effects of Levaquin."

Did Hamburg Conceal Drug Dangers for Financial Gain? 

Many safety questions arose after Levaquin's 1996 approval, including the drug's role in tendon ruptures (like its fluoroquinoline cousin Cipro), possible cell damage, links to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's, and permanent peripheral nerve damage.3

Only after Hamburg left the FDA did the agency put clearer warnings on Levaquin's label says the complaint.

This is not the first time there have been questions about the relationship between the FDA's drug decisions and Hamburg's financial interests. In 2013, Hamburg verbally supported approval of the extreme opioid Zohydro despite its rejection by an FDA advisory board.

It is very rare that the FDA does not accept and follow an advisory board's decision. Subsequently, 28 state attorneys general, reeling under their states' opioid epidemics, urged the FDA to reverse the Zohydro decision.

Hamburg defended the Zohydro approval by saying that "100 million Americans" suffer from severe chronic pain, a fact that most public health experts not linked to drug companies dispute.

Yet Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund, also held significant stock in Alkermes, the maker of Zohydro, at the time, giving the appearance of a financial conflict of interest.4

Hamburg Has a Long History of Conflicts of Interest

Questions about financial conflicts of interest clouded Hamburg's entire tenure. To be appointed, she had to agree to sell her stock and stock options in Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of dental amalgam (mercury fillings) and a flu vaccine seller, and to recuse herself from regulatory matters affecting Schein.

While Hamburg sold her stock, she retained her stock options, which in a few weeks gained from being "under water" (no value) to having market value.

Under Hamburg's leadership, the FDA refused to acknowledge the health dangers of mercury fillings in direct opposition to positions taken by the Department of State, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and a worldwide treaty addressing mercury dangers.

Under Hamburg's leadership, the FDA rolled out pathetic, "voluntary" measures to control the use of antibiotics on farms, despite their clear link to antibiotic resistant bacteria and thousands of deaths a year.

In a Frontline News documentary, Hamburg contended that a voluntary approach is the most effective way to stop the excess use of antibiotics.

She was wrong. Voluntary measures have resulted in more antibiotics used by livestock operators who routinely use the drugs because they make livestock gain weight with less feed.

According to the FDA's 2014 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals5 domestic sales and distribution of cephalosporins for food-producing animals increased by 57 percent between 2009 through 2014.

Lincosamide antibiotics like clindamycin increased by 150 percent and aminoglycoside antibiotics like gentamicin by 36 percent. (Aminoglycosides can have such serious side effects in humans, they are considered a last resort drug. It is shocking they are even considered for use in livestock.6)

Other Questions About Hamburg's Tenure

Hamburg also moved to loosen the traditional conflict of interest rules that govern participants on advisory panels who are supposed to be independent.7 While waivers are sometimes issued, if an expert receives $50,000 or more from industry he or she is generally barred from the agency's 50 or so expert panels.

But in 2011, Hamburg said the FDA was having trouble finding experts not taking money from industry, even though lists of conflict-free medical professionals were and are readily available from health watchdog groups.8

Finally, before leaving the FDA, Hamburg named Duke University's Dr. Robert Califf as FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco,9,10 despite his thicket of financial links to the drug industry. He later succeeded Dr. Hamburg and became the new FDA Commissioner.

According to author disclosures listed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,11 between 2010 and 2013, Califf received grants that partially supported his salary from no less than 13 drug companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, and Roche.

He also did consulting work for an even longer list of drug companies and drug research organizations. The naming of Califf as FDA Commissioner despite at least 40 industry financial links including board positions12 is the end of any pretense of a firewall between industry and the FDA.

Yet, when Hamburg was asked if she was surprised by Democratic opposition to Califf's nomination she said, "I was a little surprised by that because he's in fact never actually worked in industry, but his programs have been supported by industry dollars.

The world is changing and most academic research centers get money from companies to do clinical trials."

Hamburg is right that clinical trials, contract research organizations, and institutional review boards are increasingly for-profit and run by industry. That's precisely why we need a conflict-free FDA to regulate the lucrative but often dangerous drugs that arise from such arrangements.

Califf, for example, is known for defending the safety13 of Vioxx and leading trials for the blood thinner Xarelto, linked to 379 subsequent deaths.14

Duke University, where Califf directed clinical research until he moved to the FDA, is still recovering from a major research fraud scandal that resulted in terminated grants, retracted papers, and a 60 Minutes special.15

Former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding had a similar history of industry collusion. The CDC is charged with overseeing vaccines and drug companies and after her tenure there, she took a job as president of Merck's vaccine unit.

Industry Conflicts Are Also Invading Media

Most people trust mainstream news outlets more than the FDA to tell them the truth about the safety of drugs and foods — but should they?

In a recent article for the magazine Undark, Paul Raeburn, former science editor at BusinessWeek and the Associated Press notes the increasingly popular "partnerships" between industry and news outlets. A recent conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. for example:16

"[T]itled 'Lost in Translation: Is Science Explained Fairly in the Media?' was the product of a partnership between Scientific American magazine and two commercial sponsors: Johnson & Johnson, and GMO Answers, a public information agency funded by members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes the industry powerhouses BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Syngenta, and Monsanto.

'The conference was an example of what is now a widespread and growing practice in the publishing industry: the use of 'branded partnerships' to extended publishers' reach and boost their income. While these arrangements might generate revenue, they also raise important questions about journalistic credibility.

After all, how can news outlets like Scientific American, a respected — even revered — source of science news, maintain the appearance of impartiality while accepting checks from companies they cover? And should respected journalists lend their names and reputations to such conferences by participating on the panels?'"

Scientific American has also helped "Celgene showcase its leadership in cancer innovation," writes Raeburn, and has reviewed Caterpillar's communications, including assisting "them in revamping their overall strategy." The magazine has also partnered with the Biotechnology Industry Association on various projects says Raeburn.

While some participants at the conference told Raeburn the presence of respected journalists they knew would not be swayed by industry dollars reassured them the industry would not "taint" the conference, others expressed reservations. For example, GMO Answers is a slick organization created by the PR firm Ketchum for the Council for Biotechnology Information to "sell" the nation on the safety of GMOs. Is Scientific American now a Monsanto bedfellow?

Industry Money Squeezes Out Valuable Products From Smaller Companies

Clearly, the FDA's big bucks, pay-to-play approval system buoys the agency's budget with the drug industry's seven-figure fees. Most people realize "pay-to-play" is how drugs like Zohydro and Xarelto get approved. But the corrupt system also prevents new and innovative products from getting to the market. Companies without deep pockets and crony links seldom if ever negotiate the FDA's approval system.

New and exciting research is also suppressed through an academic and publications system that favors the status quo, says William A. Wilson in the magazine First Things.17

"In many fields, it's common for an established and respected researcher to serve as 'senior author' on a bright young star's first few publications, lending his prestige and credibility to the result, and signaling to reviewers that he stands behind it.

In the natural sciences and medicine, senior scientists are frequently the controllers of laboratory resources — which these days include not just scientific instruments, but dedicated staffs of grant proposal writers and regulatory compliance experts — without which a young scientist has no hope of accomplishing significant research.

Older scientists control access to scientific prestige by serving on the editorial boards of major journals and on university tenure-review committees. Finally, the government bodies that award the vast majority of scientific funding are either staffed or advised by distinguished practitioners in the field."

Fraudulent Research Threatens Entire Field of Science

The same system can also encourage misleading or even fraudulent research when so many paychecks and egos are affected, notes Wilson, and it may explain why so much published research proves non-reproducible.18

"The 'bad' papers that failed to replicate were, on average, cited far more often than the papers that did! As the authors [a group of cancer researchers] put it, 'some non-reproducible preclinical papers had spawned an entire field, with hundreds of secondary publications that expanded on elements of the original observation, but did not actually seek to conform or falsify its fundamental basis.'

What they [the researchers] do not mention is that once an entire field has been created — with careers, funding, appointments, and prestige all premised upon an experimental result which was utterly false due either to fraud or to plain bad luck — pointing this fact out is not likely to be very popular. Peer review switches from merely useless to actively harmful."

From Vioxx to Paxil, to hormone replacement therapy and flame retardants, many dangerous products have rested on faulty research.19 Worse, much research discovered to be fraudulent, including instances where researchers actually went to prison, has never been retracted and still stands to mislead future generations.20

For example, Dr. Richard Borison, former Psychiatry chief at the Augusta Veterans Affairs medical center and Medical College of Georgia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a $10 million clinical trial fraud conducted on unsuspecting veterans but his "U.S. Seroquel® Study Group" research is unretracted and cited over 300 times21 in subsequent research, including in medical textbooks.22

It is not surprising that both the FDA and mainstream media have become industry captives failing to perform their sworn duties of protecting and informing the public because of their lucrative partnerships with industry. Unless there is a major system of reinvigoration, the spiral of compromised ethics will only continue.

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