Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When Presidents Drink Their Own Kool-Aid


For years, Barack Obama has been (rightly) mocked for these grandiose promises shortly after he secured the Democratic nomination in 2008:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

But here's Donald Trump in his address to the joint session of Congress today:

Then, in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds—families who just wanted a fair shot for their children, and a fair hearing for their concerns. But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus—as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country. Finally, the chorus became an earthquake—and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first. Because only then can we truly make America great again.

Dying industries will come roaring back to life. Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need. Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve. Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our very, very beautiful land. Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately stop. And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity.

This weirdly grandiose rhetoric is a reflection of a weirdly grandiose bipartisan conception of the powers of the president.

So here's your handy reminder: Presidents do not make the earth move. They do not turn back tides. They do not heal the sick, or eliminate vice, or remake the nation. They are humans with human failings, and one of those failings is the inability to resist taking a big slup of their own Kool-Aid in moments of triumph.


White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red

White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red

In light of recommendations for heart healthy eating from national professional organizations encouraging Americans to limit their intake of meat, the beef industry commissioned and co-wrote a review of randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of beef versus chicken and fish on cholesterol levels published over the last 60 years. They found that the impact of beef consumption on the cholesterol profile of humans is similar to that of fish and/or poultry—meaning that switching from red meat to white meat likely wouldn’t make any difference. And that’s really no surprise, given how fat we’ve genetically manipulated chickens to be these days, up to ten times more fat than they had a century ago (see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?).

There are a number of cuts of beef that have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than chicken (see BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol?), so it’s not so surprising that white meat was found to be no better than red, but the beef industry researchers conclusion was that “therefore you can eat beef as part of a balanced diet to manage your cholesterol.”

Think of the Coke versus Pepsi analogy. Coke has less sugar than Pepsi: 15 spoonfuls of sugar per bottle instead of 16. If studies on blood sugar found no difference between drinking Coke versus Pepsi, you wouldn’t conclude that “Pepsi may be considered when recommending diets for the management of blood sugars,” you’d say they’re both equally as bad so we should ideally consume neither.

That’s a standard drug industry trick. You don’t compare your fancy new drug to the best out there, but to some miserable drug to make yours look better. Note they didn’t compare beef to plant proteins, like in this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As I started reading it, though, I was surprised that they found no benefit of switching to a plant protein diet either. What were they eating? You can see the comparison in Switching from Beef to Chicken & Fish May Not Lower Cholesterol.  

For breakfast, the plant group got a kidney bean and tomato casserole and a salad, instead of a burger. And for dinner, instead of another burger, the plant protein group just got some boring vegetables. So why was the cholesterol of the plant group as bad as the animal group? They had the plant protein group eating three tablespoons of beef tallow every day—three tablespoons of straight beef fat!

This was part of a series of studies that tried to figure out what was so cholesterol-raising about meat—was it the animal protein or was it the animal fat? So, researchers created fake meat products made to have the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol by adding extracted animal fats and cholesterol. Who could they get to make such strange concoctions? The Ralston Purina dog food company.

But what’s crazy is that even when keeping the saturated animal fat and cholesterol the same (by adding meat fats to the veggie burgers and making the plant group swallow cholesterol pills to equal it out), sometimes they still saw a cholesterol lowering advantage in the plant protein group.

If you switch people from meat to tofu, their cholesterol goes down, but what if you switch them from meat to tofu plus lard? Then their cholesterol may stay the same, though tofu and lard may indeed actually be better than meat, since it may result in less oxidized cholesterol. More on the role of oxidized cholesterol can be found in my videos Does Cholesterol Size Matter? and Arterial Acne.

Just swapping plant protein for animal protein may have advantages, but if you really want to maximize the power of diet to lower cholesterol, you may have to move entirely toward plants. The standard dietary advice to cut down on fatty meat, dairy, and eggs may lower cholesterol 5-10%, but flexitarian or vegetarian diets may drop our levels 10 to 15%, vegan diets 15 to 25%, and healthier vegan diets can cut up to 35%, as seen in this study out of Canada showing a whopping 61 point drop in LDL cholesterol within a matter of weeks.

You thought chicken was a low-fat food? It used to be a century ago, but not anymore. It may even be one of the reasons we’re getting fatter as well: Chicken Big: Poultry and Obesity and Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity.

Isn’t protein just protein? How does our body know if it’s coming from a plant or an animal? How could it have different effects on cardiovascular risk? See Protein and Heart Disease, another reason why Plant Protein [is] Preferable.

Lowering cholesterol in your blood is as simple as reducing one’s intake of three things: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

What about those news stories on the “vindication” of saturated fat? See the sneaky science in The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.


Vaccine Safety Commission: 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump


A new organization launched this morning calling themselves “Vaccine Safety Commission”, a nonprofit organization that was formed by “concerned scientists, doctors, journalists, and parents.” For now, the group has chosen to remain anonymous, but I certainly hope that changes soon. The group has no formal affiliation to either Robert F. Kennedy or President Trump, but wholeheartedly endorses the formation of a Vaccine Safety Commission, and claims to be actively seeking additional members.

(Article by J.B. Handley, Jr., republished in part from GreenMedInfo.com)

In my opinion, we are in the dark ages of having honest conversations about vaccine injury where truth-tellers are still routinely destroyed, and I hope this group is another step in the right direction towards honest dialogue. Consider the case just this week of science journalist and Harvard educated Mish Michaels:

Mish Michaels, who lost her job as a science reporter at WGBH News this week after questions were raised about her anti-vaccine views, issued a statement Thursday night saying her personal beliefs ‘have been positioned inaccurately.’

At issue are comments Michaels made before the Massachusetts Legislature in 2011 on behalf of a bill to add parental choice to the list of reasons children without immunizations may attend school. (Currently, children who aren’t immunized may only attend school if they have documentation from a doctor, or if a parent submits a written statement declaring that immunization conflicts with their religious beliefs.)

At least one group of doctors are going public: a group called Physicians for Informed Consent recently launched in California, speaking up about the importance of keeping vaccines as a voluntary medical procedure.

Physicians for Informed Consent

Regarding President Trump’s desire to look more closely at vaccine safety, I was emboldened by an excellent editorial last week in the British Medical Journal by their Associate Editor, Dr. Peter Doshi, which should really be read by everyone. Here’s an excerpt:

It does matter if the vast majority of doctors or scientists agree on something. But medical journalists should be among the first to realize that while evidence matters, so too do the legitimate concerns of patients. And if patients have concerns, doubts, or suspicions — for example, about the safety of vaccines, this does not mean they are “anti-vaccine.” Anti-vaccine positions certainly exist in the world, but approaches that label anybody and everybody who raises questions about the right headedness of current vaccine policies — myself included9 — as “anti-vaccine” fail on several accounts. Firstly, they fail to accurately characterize the nature of the concern. Many parents of children with developmental disorders who question the role of vaccines had their children vaccinated. Anti-vaccination is an ideology, and people who have their children vaccinated seem unlikely candidates for the title.

Secondly, they lump all vaccines together as if the decision about risks and benefits is the same irrespective of disease-polio, pertussis, smallpox, mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, varicella, HPV, Japanese encephalitis-or vaccine type-live attenuated, inactivated whole cell, split virus, high dose, low dose, adjuvanted, monovalent, polyvalent, etc. This seems about as intelligent as categorizing people into “pro-drug” and “anti-drug” camps depending on whether they have ever voiced concern over the potential side effects of any drug.”

Thirdly, labeling people concerned about the safety of vaccines as “anti-vaccine” risks entrenching positions. The label (or its derogatory derivative “anti-vaxxer”) is a form of attack. It stigmatizes the mere act of even asking an open question about what is known and unknown about the safety of vaccines.

Fourthly, the label too quickly assumes that there are “two sides” to every question, and that the “two sides” are polar opposites. This “you’re either with us or against us” thinking is unfit for medicine. Many parents who deliberate on decisions regarding their children’s health ultimately make decisions — such as to vaccinate or not vaccinate — with lingering uncertainty about whether they were right. When given a choice, some say yes to some vaccines and no to others. These parents are not zealots, they are decision makers navigating the gray, acting under conditions of uncertainty in perpetual flux.

The AAP Letter

On February 7, 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to President Trump protesting the establishment of a Vaccine Safety Commission, and included a list of 41 published studies which the AAP believes prove that vaccines are “safe and effective”, and couldn’t possibly be causing American children any harm whatsoever, as they state in their letter:

“Claims that vaccines are unsafe when administered according to expert recommendations have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature.”

'Vaccine Safety Commission': 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

What I find interesting about the AAP’s choice of words is that they often seem to be mixing up their words when it comes to “vaccine safety.” On the one hand, they make statements that are simply unsupportable like expressing their “unequivocal support for the safety of vaccines.” What does that mean, “unequivocal support”? Does that mean whatever harm they cause is simply worth it, or that absolutely no harm is ever caused? By engaging in generalized hyperbole, the AAP makes it hard to have an honest conversation about the risks vs. benefits of vaccines.

In certain ways, I think the AAP’s letter is laughable. The AAP claims that vaccines are “safe”, but most of the studies they include only address one very specific condition: autism. What about the growing body of evidence relating the aluminum adjuvant in vaccines to the chronic food allergies our children are experiencing? Never mentioned. What ahout the new HPV vaccine with an alarming rate of adverse events reported? Silent. What about the data showing that children receiving multiple vaccines have much higher rates of emergency room visits? Not a word. Are vaccines “safe” so long as they don’t cause autism, or does “safety” mean something much broader?

My personal opinion about this whole mess is that we’ve traded a reduction in certain acute illnesses (measles, chicken pox) for an explosion in many chronic illnesses, particularly neurological and auto-immune disorders, all of which are now epidemic in our children. Let me ask you a simple question to test my hypothesis:

If you have a child between the ages of 4–15, do you know a single classmate of theirs who doesn’t have one or more of the following conditions: autism, ADHD, asthma, anaphylactic food allergy, diabetes, a learning disability, or a sensory processing disorder?

‘Vaccine Safety Commission’: 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump

What’s wrong with our kids, why are they so sick, and why isn’t a massive uptick in the number of vaccines given a reasonable hypothesis for what’s happened? I like this blog post yesterday from author, journalist, and nutritionist Catherine J Frompovich where she asks many of these questions:

If the Rand Corporation found strong evidence vaccines cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), myalgia, seizures, meningitis, encephalitis and other adverse health problems, and Robert F Kennedy Jr., Esq. is revealing more and more research — almost daily — this time from the Yale School of Medicine and Penn State College of Medicine about an association between vaccines and brain disorders, then what’s all the ‘tap dancing’ about? Let’s get to some serious conclusions.

Like tap dancing that makes a lot of noise, so too are vaccine studies peripherally pointing to real vaccine concerns about which the U.S. federal health agencies (HHS, CDC and FDA) and state health departments probably won’t do anything to correct, i.e., eliminate vaccines, as some countries are doing with some vaccines. The ever-increasing — “growing like Topsy” — CDC vaccine schedule has to stop! With almost three hundred new vaccines in production, how many will infants, toddlers and teens be mandated to receive when those vaccines obtain licensure? Furthermore, aren’t vaccines Big Pharma’s annuity products, so what should consumers expect?

A whistleblower, a wanted felon, and a paper acknowledging that vaccines cause neurological tics

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a trade union for pediatricians. Pediatricians make most of their income from vaccinating babies. They are encouraging President Trump NOT to study making vaccines safer, even though our government has paid out more than $3.5 billion to Americans to compensate them for vaccine injury. Something isn’t adding up!

'Vaccine Safety Commission': 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump

We really can’t make vaccines ANY safer?

Can you imagine if the Automakers lobbied President Trump against forming a commission to make safer cars?

As I already mentioned, the “science” the AAP sent President Trump deals exclusively with the subject of whether or not vaccines cause autism. Oddly, they sent the President several papers authored by a Whistleblower scientist at CDC who has confessed to throwing away data implicating the MMR vaccine in autism, a wanted felon, and a paper that clearly explained that vaccines WERE causing neurological tics (I don’t think that’s “safe’). Here’s the Vaccine Safety Commission’s slides addressing these three studies. (Note that Dr. Thompson — CDC Whistleblower — and Poul Thorsen — wanted felon — are actually co-authors to many of the studies the AAP sent President Trump):

The Whistleblower:

'Vaccine Safety Commission': 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump


The Wanted Felon:

'Vaccine Safety Commission': 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump

The Study showing vaccines cause neurological tics (written by the CDC whistleblower, William Thompson):

'Vaccine Safety Commission': 50 studies the AAP failed to send President Trump

50 Studies the AAP Forgot

My favorite part of the Vaccine Safety Commission website are the 50 studies they provide that the AAP “forgot” to include in their letter to President Trump. Note that the complete study is available by clicking on each study title (and here’s a pdf with every study in one place). I hope you enjoy reading these studies from all over the world, and I hope they make you think or say the thing I keep thinking and saying:

“Who wouldn’t want safer vaccines?”


Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control StudyFrontiers in Psychiatry, January 2017, Douglas L. Leslie, Robert A. Kobre, Brian J. Richmand

Summary: “Subjects with newly diagnosed anorexia nervosa were more likely than controls to have had any vaccination in the previous 3 months [hazard ratio (HR) 1.80, 95% confidence interval 1.21–2.68]. Influenza vaccinations during the prior 3, 6, and 12 months were also associated with incident diagnoses of AN, OCD, and an anxiety disorder. Several other associations were also significant with HRs greater than 1.40 (hepatitis A with OCD and AN; hepatitis B with AN; and meningitis with AN and chronic tic disorder). This pilot epidemiologic analysis implies that the onset of some neuropsychiatric disorders may be temporally related to prior vaccinations in a subset of individuals.”


New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and NanocontaminationInternational Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination, January 2017, Dr. Antonietta M. Gatti, Stefano Montanari

Summary: Scientists found contaminants in all vaccines that are not listed on the label of the vaccines. “The analyses carried out show that in all samples checked vaccines contain non biocompatible and bio-persistent foreign bodies which are not declared by the Producers, against which the body reacts in any case. This new investigation represents a new quality control that can be adopted to assess the safety of a vaccine. Our hypothesis is that this contamination is unintentional, since it is probably due to polluted components or procedures of industrial processes (e.g. filtrations) used to produce vaccines, not investigated and not detected by the Producers. If our hypothesis is actually the case, a close inspection of the working places and the full knowledge of the whole procedure of vaccine preparation would probably allow to eliminate the problem.”


Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants and Sjogren’s SyndromeIMAJ VOL 18, March-April 2016, Serena Colafrancesco, Carlo Perricone, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Summary: “Several case reports have suggested that both vaccines and silicone may trigger the development of SS [Sjo?gren’s syndrome, a chronic systemic autoimmune inflammatory condition involving the exocrine glands]. Aluminum is one of the principal adjuvants used in vaccine formulation and may be responsible for the development of ASIA syndrome. It seems that its ability to behave as an adjuvant might be related to evidence that aluminum salts seem to both induce the activation of dendritic cells and complement components and increase the level of chemokine secretion at the injection site… other vaccines including Bacillus Calmette Gue?rin (BCG), hepatitis A and/or B and human papillomavirus, should be avoided or considered only in selected patients… There is considerable evidence raising the possibility of vaccine-triggered autoimmunity”


Combining Childhood Vaccines at One Visit Is Not SafeJournal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Summer 2016, Neil Z. Miller

Summary: “Our study showed that infants who receive several vaccines concurrently, as recommended by CDC, are significantly more likely to be hospitalized or die when compared with infants who receive fewer vaccines simultaneously. It also showed that reported adverse effects were more likely to lead to hospitalization or death in younger infants. The safety of CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule was never affirmed in clinical studies. Vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, yet health authorities have no scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive. National vaccination campaigns must be supported by scientific evidence.”


Behavioral abnormalities in female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine GardasilImmunol Res, July 2016, Rotem Inbar, Ronen Weiss, Lucija Tomljenovic, Maria-Teresa Arango, Yael Deri, Christopher A, Shaw, Joab Chapman, Miri Blank, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Summary: “Vaccine adjuvants and vaccines may induce autoimmune and inflammatory manifestations in susceptible individuals. To date most human vaccine trials utilize aluminum (Al) adjuvants as placebos despite much evidence showing that Al in vaccine-relevant exposures can be toxic to humans and animals…It appears that Gardasil via its Al adjuvant and HPV antigens has the ability to trigger neuroinflammation and autoimmune reactions, further leading to behavioral changes…In light of these findings, this study highlights the necessity of proceeding with caution with respect to further mass-immunization practices with a vaccine of yet unproven long-term clinical benefit in cervical cancer prevention”

Read the other 45 studies at: GreenMedInfo.com


Monday, February 27, 2017

The Cultural Purge Will Not Be Televised


Via Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS.com,

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”

– Edward Bernays, Public Relations

I’ve been trying not to write this post, because really, who needs a bunch of shrill, hysterical snowflakes calling you a racist nazi for committing the egregious sin of pointing out the many contradictions in the #deleteshopify boycott and the wider witch hunt mentality that pervades social discourse these days?

The main factor holding me back is not cynicism but actually fear. For the first time in my life I’m afraid to speak my mind. The possible ramifications of exercising my inalienable right to free speech frighten the crap out of me. So much so that I really don’t want to do it. I’ve become known as the type of person who speaks candidly and frankly about some tough issues and I’ve never had a problem doing that in the past. I’ve gone up against some pretty intimidating forces such as the City of London IPCU and the US FDA, but I’ve never been as scared as I am now to speak out.  For that reason I’m just going to have to suck it up and do it.

There is a cultural purge in progress.

It is directed against not only those who are perceived as “pro-Trump” (which as a card carrying Libertarian I am not. I think that he’s no friend to free speech, privacy or the internet), but targeting even those who are not “anti-Trump enough”.

This cultural purge has a two-pronged approach, from one side, from elements within the corridors of power (or those recently ejected from it) who have successfully floated the concept that free speech is not inviolable and that it would be a good thing for “truth” to be curated by “somebody” who knows better:

“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to… There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world…That is hard to do, but I think it’s going to be necessary, it’s going to be possible,”

— Barack Obama in speech at Frontiers Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, Oct 13, 2016 (emphasis added)

The other half comes from the trenches, comprised of manic flashmobs directing enmity against, literally, anything remotely connected to those deemed responsible for the greatest political upset of our time.

The mainstream media, outlets like Washington Post and the New York Times, among others, are complicit, providing the glue or the lubricant between this pincer movement and its chilling effects. The combination gels into an echo chamber drowning out all rationality and renders differing philosophies and legitimate dissent as blasphemous.

Let me explain my choice of title for this post and how it captures what I see going on here:

This post title is obviously a riff on Gil Scott-Heron’s song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, and the backstory behind this song is quite instructive to times like these:

Gil Scott-Heron saw first hand how altruistically motivated social activism can turn ugly when a campus protest action he initiated went horribly overboard. After the death of one of Gil-Heron’s schoolmates, he started a grass roots movement with the goal of improving the medial conditions on his campus, including making the college infirmary operate 24×7, something he felt would have saved his friend’s life.

The laudable aim of improving conditions on campus with the possibility of saving future lives derailed into a menacing fracas. A mob congregated on the front lawn of the infirmary’s doctor’s home where they proceeded to burn him in effigy:

“The protest grew angry, culminating with some students hanging the doctor in effigy from a tree in his front yard and setting it on fire. The doctor came out of his house and swore that he wasn’t responsible for the deaths. As he proclaimed his innocence, he had tears in his eyes.


When Gil arrived at the protest, he stood between the students and the doctor, looking at the doctor’s children staring out the window in fear. ‘A cold flash scampered across the back of my neck, ‘ wrote Gil later to describe his sudden fear that events could spiral out of control into violence, a fear which was allayed only when the students went back to their dorms.


The realization that radical action sometimes leads to unintended consequences and violent overreactions haunted Gil, and that image of a distraught Dr. Davies lingered in his mind for months to come. The experience reinforced Gil’s instinct to avoid violence and militant action in the struggle for social change.”

One should easily concede that today there are many reasons to petition for change. Our governments still have us all under wholesale surveillance, we are still involved in numerous unsanctioned wars, continue to provoke toward new ones, and the government continues to methodically destroy the economy via financial repression.

But we should all take Gil Scott-Heron’s lesson to heart and try to keep in mind that we are all human beings. We all have rights, we should all be secure in our ability to speak and associate freely.

But that isn’t what’s happening.

Today, the mainstream media, rather than objectively and rationally report on facts, are instead complicit in a sustained, wide-ranging campaign of demonization of “all things non-Democrat”. There is blanket categorical denial of any valid basis for why the citizenry worldwide are rejecting what they increasingly see as an “Establishment Elite” agenda.

Greece, Brexit, Trump and quite possibly soon, Marine Le Pen in France are all continuations of a theme. These events are referendums unto themselves and those “Global Elites” are on a losing streak. Instead of trying to understand the basis of these rejections (that the populace are sick and tired of having a two-tiered society in which their civil rights are eroded and they get saddled with all the debt, while the elites get to operate under a different set of rules and gobble up all the assets); they have mounted a concerted campaign of outright propaganda and mind-numbingly nonsensical narratives to dismiss away these acts of “defiance”.

As alt-market.com’s Brandon Smith commentary  observes:

“One of the most favored propaganda tactics of establishment elites and [those] they employ … is to relabel or redefine an opponent before they can solidly define themselves. In other words, elites [and their media] will seek to “brand” you (just as corporations use branding) in the minds of the masses so that they can take away your ability to define yourself as anything else.” (emphasis added)

And this is exactly what’s happening. For example, when you say “Breitbart”, your average person is so inculcated from the repetition of the words “white supremacist”, “racist”, and “ nazi” that people just assume that’s what it is. From there people think that it’s ok to #boycottshopify simply for supplying basic online ecommerce services to them (where does it stop? Btw, Breitbart derives 100% of it’s revenues from the internet, perhaps everybody in a twist about it should do us all a favour and boycott that too).

Is Breitbart really white supremacist, racist nazi hate site? Actually, no it isn’t. Most people think it is however, because they’ve been conditioned to believe it, and they’ve never actually gone there to see for themselves.

How do I know that Breitbart isn’t really the white supremacist, neo-nazi hate-site that we are incessantly brainwashed  to believe it is? Well for one thing, I’ve seen the real deal. They look like this:

This place is called “Shitskin Plantation”. They wound up on easyDNS (my company’s system ) for about a week by the time we kicked them. The fact that we did eject a real honest to god racist, neo-nazi hate site doesn’t bolster the #boycottshopify movement for three reasons:

#1) Shitskin is clearly racist and contains actual language condoning violence toward an identifiable group. It was right there for anybody to see. Here in Canada such material is codified into law as “hate speech” under the Criminal Code.


#2) We chose. We assessed our AUP, found them in violation and kicked them. Specifically we found them in violation of “the Non-Aggression Principle” in our plain english Terms of Service. The NAP has grey areas and subjective rabbit holes. Libertarians debate it relentlessly. But the important thing is that nobody else forced us to do it in the absence of due process. We made our own determination, and that’s important. Sacrosanct, in fact.


And #3) Breitbart is an ultra-conservative, hard-right political opinion site. That’s all. They seem also have a penchant for inflammatory, click-bait headlines (who doesn’t these days?) You may not like it, I may not like it, but they absolutely have the right to be online and to publish.

That anybody who has even the most tenuous affiliation with them is fair game for having their rights curtailed, their livelihood sanctioned or sabotaged is indefensible. The only legitimate mechanism for these people to suffer in their fortunes is through the failure of their ideas in the marketplace of thought. By being rejected, not through being repressed (see below).

It is entirely reasonable for Shopify, or  any other vendor to keep supplying services to Breitbart (at present they have no services with easyDNS)

It is also reasonable for any of those vendors to choose not to supply services to them of their own volition (you can’t have it both ways folks, you can’t force Shopify to dump Breitbart and simultaneously force some Bible-thumping redneck to bake a cake for a gay wedding).

What isn’t reasonable is to coerce or compel anybody else to take any action they would not themselves take under their own judgement. It’s truly frightening that there is a growing sentiment that this is acceptable behaviour.

Do you really want to live in a world where people sever business and personal relationships because a literal flash mob demands it? Where mobs get to pick and choose who you are allowed to associate with?

Shopify has over 300,000 customers. You honestly expect them to sort through those and kick out the ones that you think are morally objectionable?

In 2010, when easyDNS was itself embroiled in the Wikileaks debacle I was absolutely appalled when ranking politicians applauded the vendors for severing ties with them. Senator Lieberman congratulated Amazon and Paypal by name for “breaking their contracts”, he literally used those words. A ranking politician applauding behaviour that should rightly get you sued. The public backlash then was huge and pro-Wikileaks. In our own small way, we stood up for Wikileaks then, we maintain a congruent position now. I applaud Shopify for standing firm and refusing to sever their ties for the same reason.

The “Right Side” of History

Whenever I hear a lot of activists whining about the current situation I frequently hear references to being “on the right side of history”. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that. Actually that’s a nonsensical statement since history is amoral, or as Winston Churchill famously observed, “One damned thing after another”.

However there is one rule of thumb I’ve formulated over the years which I think can keep one onside of the grand currents sweeping through time and society and helped me understand my sympathy with Libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism. That is to know the fine line between rejecting an idea that one finds immoral, unethical, obsolete or otherwise objectionable and repressing it.

Morality is largely subjective. Very few people act in a way they themselves consider immoral. Almost everybody thinks that whatever they’re doing, they’re on the side of the angels. The tiny sliver of participants who are fully cognizant of their own immoral action and proceed anyway are criminals and sociopaths (the majority of them gravitate into politics).

When enough people’s ethical compasses align you get a cultural or societal norm. One of the cultural norms that we fought hard for over the ages was that people have a right to free speech and free association. You can disagree with what I have to say but respect my right to say it.

These rights were so hard won that they were codified into universal laws and into the very Constitutions that govern most civilized nations. I believe one of the more well-known words for it was “inalienable”.

Until now. Now people are putting conditions around “free speech” and “free association”.

The idea that free speech has its limits somewhere around the point where it hurts somebody’s feelings is beyond idiotic and dangerous.

Tweet of person exercising her free speech to encourage economic harm to others…

The world is not one big foam insulated, bubble wrapped safe space. This may come as a shock to you but there is a widespread sentiment, a backlash dare I say, against the idea that a Saviour State should watch over everything and smooth out all the world’s sharp edges.


Boycotts usually backfire.

Back in the mid-90’s, Bob Rae was the Premiere of Ontario and I was in a failed metal band out of London, Ontario. Mr. Rae wrote a nice song about multiculturalism called “Same Boat Now” and submitted it to various record labels who promptly rejected it and told him not to quit his day job. My band recorded a power-pop version of his song and released it on 7” vinyl. Our label  put an open letter to Mr. Rae on the back sleeve that was highly critical of his socialist political platform (albeit quite tame by today’s standards). I was mortified, fearing a media backlash but felt trapped. I called Jack Richardson, my former college prof from Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts program and widely credited with having single-handedly created the Canadian music industry and asked his advice.

Before I finished relaying the details he was laughing. “Mark”, he said, “The only thing that truly matters is that they spell ‘Landslide’ right. That’s it”.

This has been bourne out countless times since that event. I could list them here but the point is, boycotts usually invoke The Streisand Effect and actually bolster the target of the boycott. We can cite a couple brief examples:

  • During the Bob Parsons era of Godaddy, when he shot the elephant, or when he aired some super-sexist Super Bowl commercial, Godaddy numbers, in terms of net-new domains-in or registered usually  went up not down, in the face of consumer outrage and boycotts.

  • Wikileaks, again – when we did help their mirror sites get back online there was a counter-reaction against that. Every once in awhile I check the emails from the customers who sent me extremely hostile emails telling me they were leaving, and almost all of them remained (and some still do) customers to this day.

  • Shopify itself, who is publicly traded, has been on a tear in share price for most of the year, and it’s continued unabated since  #deleteShopify began.

So what can you do?

You can only govern yourself. Your only recourse is whether to associate or disassociate with somebody. Yes, you are perfectly within your rights to #boycottshopify but as I’ve outlined, you’re being naive doing so and will likely have the exact opposite effect if you’re enough of a loudmouth about it .

But if this Cultural Purge proceeds we will actually, for real, lose what used to be inalienable rights. Our right to free speech, our right to free association and our rights to our own minds. If something you say is considered “hurtful” (which will more closely resemble dissent or criticism of the Official Narrative than anything else) you will be sanctioned. You will tow the line or you will be penalized – contracts severed, vendors disassociate themselves, boycotts ensue. Whatever you do, just don’t say or think the wrong thing, because not going along with the crowd will make you a pariah.

If you want to prevent that:

1) you have the duty to look at the issue first hand and decide for yourself if it has any merit. Don’t ever come to me and tell me “XYZ is white supremacist, neo-nazi hate speech” unless you can show me an article that has the hate speech in it. Show me the white supremacist rhetoric. If you tell me you believe it simply because that’s what Wapo told you then you are a fool. You are Wapo’s useful idiot. A Wapobot.

2) you have to be prepared to call b/s whenever some whining snowflake demands safety from any contrary opinion, whenever some pundit robotically repeats the “white supremacist, hate speech, homophobe, Russian hackers” mantra, and whenever you’re asked to jump on some witchunt bandwagon against someone who dares to dispute the Official Narrative.

3) you have to be able to take the heat. Guess what? You’ll be next. Speak out against this nonsense and you’ll be subjected to hysterionics, character assassination, guilt by the most tenuous of associations, distortions of fact and a co-ordinated piling on by mobs of unquestioning ideological berserkers.

  • You’ll be Peter Thiel (there was a popular outcry to remove him from Facebook’s board, why? Because he endorsed Trump.)

  • You’ll be Scott Adams (his crime? Correctly predicting that Trump was going to win)

  • You’ll be Ivanka Trump (facing a co-ordinated attack on her livelihood for her transgression of being born a Trump).

That is a cultural purge.

Hell, I’m probably next just for writing this piece. So be it. My credibility as a non-racist, free-speech Libertarian are unassailable and am categorically unaffiliated with Russian intelligence. My duty is to speak out precisely because it is becoming more dangerous to speak out.

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. — Unknown


Vitamin D Is More Effective Than Flu Vaccine

Vitamin D Is More Effective Than Flu Vaccine:

'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump’s Ambassador to UN: We Must Sanction Assad Over Chemical Weapons!

Recently, we had a look at the ways President Trump’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is making her predecessor, “humanitarian bomber” Samantha Power, look like a model diplomat by comparison. It turns out Haley’s ghastly performance at the UN…


Intellectual Intolerance - Stunning Speech From Stanford University Provost Exposes "The Threat From Within"


In a remarkable - for its honesty and frankness - statement on the intellectual rot within America's Ivory Towers, Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy lay bare the challenges that higher education face in the coming, increasingly divisive, years.

The Threat From Within

Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors.


I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within.


The threat from outside is apparent. Potential cuts in federal funding would diminish our research enterprise and our ability to fund graduate education. Taxing endowments would limit the support we can give to faculty and the services we can provide our students. Indiscriminate travel restrictions would impede the free exchange of ideas and scholars. All of these threats have intensified in recent years – and recent months have given them a reality that is hard to ignore.


But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.


This results in a kind of intellectual blindness that will, in the long run, be more damaging to universities than cuts in federal funding or ill-conceived constraints on immigration. It will be more damaging because we won’t even see it: We will write off those with opposing views as evil or ignorant or stupid, rather than as interlocutors worthy of consideration. We succumb to the all-purpose ad hominem because it is easier and more comforting than rational argument. But when we do, we abandon what is great about this institution we serve.


It will not be easy to resist this current. As an institution, we are continually pressed by faculty and students to take political stands, and any failure to do so is perceived as a lack of courage. But at universities today, the easiest thing to do is to succumb to that pressure. What requires real courage is to resist it. Yet when those making the demands can only imagine ignorance and stupidity on the other side, any resistance will be similarly impugned.


The university is not a megaphone to amplify this or that political view, and when it does it violates a core mission. Universities must remain open forums for contentious debate, and they cannot do so while officially espousing one side of that debate.


But we must do more. We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise.


I fear that the next few years will be difficult to navigate. We need to resist the external threats to our mission, but in this, we have many friends outside the university willing and able to help. But to stem or dial back our academic parochialism, we are pretty much on our own. The first step is to remind our students and colleagues that those who hold views contrary to one’s own are rarely evil or stupid, and may know or understand things that we do not. It is only when we start with this assumption that rational discourse can begin, and that the winds of freedom can blow.

We wish John well in his future endeavors as we are sure there will be a groundswell of hurt feelings demanding his resignation for dropping another truth bomb on their safe space.



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lavrov Deep-Fries Merkel: US Tapped Your Phone, But You’re Whining About ‘Russian Hacking’?


by Matthew Allen, Russia Insider:

It’s not even up for debate — Sergei Lavrov is in a league of his own. Russia’s Foreign Minister mutilates NATO press releases in his sleep and eats Washington soundbites for breakfast — no salt.

As you are well aware, Sergei dropped a payload of painful truth on Mike Pence’s smug, smarmy face during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. But that was just a warm-up. Pence is a small fish in a big ocean of idiots.

On the sidelines of the Munich conference, Lavrov participating in a meeting with top diplomats from the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine).

Angela Merkel used this opportunity to lecture Lavrov and the rest of the audience about the dangers of Russian hacking.

You think Lavrov just sat there and took it on the chin? No. When it was his turn to speak, he reminded the entire world that Angela Merkel’s phones were tapped by her “ally”, and that this is a confirmed fact, and that Angela Merkel is a sad puppet:

The German story was shown to be a fact. You know when it happened, several years ago. It was confirmed that top officials had had their phones tapped. And the other day there was a leak showing that the 2012 presidential election campaign in France coincided with cyber-espianage on the part of the CIA. And talking to a journalist today, a CIA representative said that he had no comments to offer.

So I repeat: show us the facts.

So basically Lavrov can check “told Merkel to her face that she’s a miserable witch” off his bucket list.

A true hero. Watch (starts around 6:40):

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Visualizing The Stunning Truth About How Students Are Spending Loan Cash


Over the last 15 years the starting salary for recent college grads has declined about $4000. Unfortunately, as ValueWalk.com details, the amount of student loan debt most students are graduating with has skyrocketed. You can now expect to graduate into a worse job market and with more debt than just a decade ago, which is leading to a serious financial crisis- the average debt load upon graduation is $37,000, and many people can’t even make their minimum payments.

Nearly 60% of student borrowers have no idea when their student loans will be paid off. Over half of borrowers have no idea what their monthly payments will be when they graduate. When you combine these facts with declining wages and rising housing rates, many people will find they just can’t make ends meet.

There are a few things students can do before graduation to ensure they aren’t set up for failure. Find out what your total costs will be and only take out the amount you need- financing a pizza every Friday night for four years can easily turn an expense of $1800 into $2291 when you have to pay interest over time. Try to seek out alternative ways to cover at least a portion of your expenses- a work-study program or part-time job can be a big help!


Student loans can never be bankrupted, so it’s important to pay them off as quickly as possible. Make payments while you are still in school on order to minimize your debt load upon graduation, and once you graduate try to make additional principal payments whenever possible to help accelerate your payoff schedule. Stay on top of payments and set up automatic payments if necessary so you never miss a payment- penalties can keep you on the hook much longer than you need to be. Learn more about lightening the student loan burden from this infographic!



Medical Cannabis — A Vastly Underutilized Therapeutic Option?


By Dr. Mercola

Cannabis is a vastly underutilized therapeutic option that has been wrongly vilified by U.S. regulatory agencies. In this interview, Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Stanford-trained pathologist and award-winning researcher, discusses the therapeutic value of this plant.

While initially focused on the conventional medical model, Gedde eventually transitioned over to holistic, drug-free health care in 2004. At present, she runs an alternative medical practice in Colorado, the home of medical marijuana, as it was one of the first states to widely legalize and apply it.

Gedde specializes in the use of cannabis, especially for the use of pain, thereby allowing her patients to get off dangerous drugs like opiates, which have created a public health emergency of massive proportions.

Drug Enforcement Administration Just Took a Huge Step Backward

We've come a long way in the U.S. when it comes to re-normalizing the use of medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is still trying to suppress it as best they can.

In December, 2016, the agency announced cannabidiol (CBD) is being reclassified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, putting it on par with LSD and heroin.1,2

This despite the fact that CBD has no psychoactive component, meaning it cannot render you "high." This is truly tragic when you consider the many medical uses for CBD. As noted by Gedde:

"It has been a real boon to have CBD available … CBD is not only non-psychoactive, it is remarkably non-toxic. Far less toxic than even over-the-counter medications that are commonly used.

The concept of putting CBD on the Schedule 1 of the drug schedule, saying that it has no medical use and is highly dangerous, just flies in the face of fact, science and knowledge. It's such a regressive move. It's certainly very disappointing …

[W]ith this move, they're not going in the right direction at all. They're definitely going backward. It's like a hostile act."

Indeed, the decision is so beyond irrational, the only justification I can see is that the DEA is influenced or controlled by the pharmaceutical industry. Making CBD — a non-psychoactive, non-toxic component with medicinal value — a schedule 1 drug benefits no one except the drug companies that have to compete against it.

There's absolutely no justification in a rational, science-based system for this decision. Ironically, synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) drugs, such as Dronabinol and Marinol, are listed as Schedule 3 drugs.

Rendering CBD Illegal May Create More Medical Refugees

The DEA's decision on CBD means that patients who live in states where medical marijuana is not permitted may again have to contemplate physically relocating to a state where CBD is legally available, such as Colorado, since it can no longer be shipped across state lines.

While not commonly discussed, there are in fact many such "medical refugees" in the U.S. Prior to the reclassification, CBD was freely available in all U.S. states, and could be easily obtained via mail order.

"The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a list of six priorities when the federal government is looking at states with medical cannabis laws, or just marijuana laws in general, where they wanted to be sure that product wasn't being shipped outside the state …

[T]hey wanted to be sure organized crime wasn't getting involved. They said if the states would stay within these guidelines and not be creating an interstate crime, then they would stay hands off. That's where we've been operating. We had the availability of CBD across state lines.

But now, with the new administration and the new year, the DEA is not going to allow the CBD to be shipped. Then we'll see if the priorities of enforcement change."

Cannabis Has Been a Boon to Colorado

Medical cannabis is very heavily taxed, and Colorado has seen enormous amounts of revenue flowing into the state with the legalization of marijuana. A big portion of that money is also given back as rebates to the residents of Colorado. So, from the state's financial perspective, it's been enormously effective and beneficial.

Colorado also allows the adult recreational use of marijuana. Interestingly, Gedde believes the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana has also been quite positive. For starters, if it's legal for adults to use marijuana, then it's easier for a person to seek medical cannabis.

"After it became legal for adults to use marijuana in Colorado, we saw more and more people coming into the clinic who had never used marijuana before," she says.

"As far as culture and society in Colorado, there are some people who don't like the number of shops … However, I think it actually has made a very positive change in the state.

There's data coming out … suggesting that in Colorado, specifically, and I think in general medical states, once there is greater availability of marijuana, the death toll from opiates goes down. We've also seen some data that there's less alcohol being used on the roads.

These are preliminary data. Some people would say 'This is too soon. You can't make those conclusions.' But actually, we really haven't seen problems.

There are rules against using marijuana in public, so people aren't supposed to be walking down the street smoking marijuana in any case. Things are really pretty calm and going smoothly. I think most people are pretty happy with the developments in the state with the marijuana availability in the laws."

Why Has Marijuana Been Vilified?

Smoking marijuana was once viewed as an act of political dissidence against the Vietnam War, and looking back at the history of what President Nixon was doing at the time, one can rightfully conclude that one of the reasons marijuana was so heavily targeted was to get rid of the hippies.

Marijuana became the fulcrum in the social battle of the day, and the U.S. government sought a means to take certain types of individuals out of society, and what better way than to arrest them and put them in jail? As noted by Gedde:

"[Marijuana has] been vilified all along. For what reasons? Maybe it does too much. It does have the psychoactivity, so people can change how they think and question things. When we look at cannabis overall, marijuana and hemp combined … all the different cannabinoids in there, we know that it's excellent medicine.

We know that it's popular recreationally, which of course competes with the alcohol industry. Hemp also provides excellent biofuel. It actually competes with the petroleum industry. It provides excellent fiber for clothing. It competes with lumber, which is one of the reasons apparently why hemp was restricted earlier in the 20th century …

Medicine, recreation, food, fuel and fiber. What else can do all those things? It's excellent food. Hemp oil has essential fatty acids. It's high-quality oil and it has high-quality protein. You can actually live on hemp seeds."

On Entering the Medical Marijuana System

Gedde was trained in the idea that molecular biology will provide us with all the answers we need. By understanding the details of how cells work, we'll be able to design a cure for every disease. However, once she found herself actually working inside the pharmaceutical industry, seeing how decisions were made, she came to realize the flaws of the system.

The fact of the matter is, drug companies have the legal mandate to turn a handsome profit. This in and of itself can create situations where profits are placed ahead of actual medical benefits. Moreover, when a company selects a product to develop, that product is not necessarily what is most needed. It's the thing that will make the most money.

"I realized there are non-pharmaceutical, non-patentable, more holistic and supportive options, such as … nutritional support, hormone balancing and neurotransmitter support. Instead of taking Prozac, how about some 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)?

Those are things that naturopathic and alternative physicians are so familiar with and work with. That was not at all part of conventional medical practice. Certainly not the way I was trained. It was an epiphany. It was kind of a turning point in my career. It was a big thing to leave the pharmaceutical industry and open my first alternative practice," Gedde says.

She opened her medical practice in 2004, but it wasn't until 2009 that she began realizing the usefulness of cannabis. Initially, she learned from patients who were using it. They would tell her about how it helped heal their various ailments. Eventually she began researching it on her own, discovering the human endocannabinoid system in the process — a biological system not touched upon in medical school.

"When I started hearing the results patients were getting, I realized that the reason why [marijuana] could do so many different things in the body without being toxic is because it is acting through this natural endocannabinoid system in our bodies. That's when I said 'Wow. This is huge. There's nothing like this in medicine. There's nothing that I can prescribe that comes close to what this can do for people.'"

In 2010, she made the decision to focus on medical cannabis full-time — a decision she ascribes to careful deliberation of what actually helps patients the most.

The Endocannabinoid System

The human endocannabinoid system — endo meaning "within" — strongly suggests the human organism is actually designed to make good use of the cannabis plant. In other words, the marijuana plant triggers something that's been inside us since the dawn of mankind. The endocannabinoid system exists in other mammals as well, suggesting it is a truly an ancient biological system.

The cannabis plant makes cannabinoids, also known as phytocannabinoids or plant cannabinoids. This encompasses both CBD and THC, the latter of which is the psychoactive ingredient. In all, there are about 60 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and medicinally, several of them are used. You also make cannabinoids inside your own body. So far, two major ones have been identified and studied since the early '90s.

The endocannabinoid system was first described in a science article in "The Journal of Science" in 1992. The primary role of the endocannabinoid system — which releases human cannabinoids that interact with receptors found in virtually all tissues in the body — is to bring balance (homeostasis) to tissues and biological systems.

Essentially, the endocannabinoid system plays a key regulatory role in the human body. For example, there are endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, where cannabinoids are made locally on demand. What this means is that, in your nervous system, you have sending nerve cells and receiving nerve cells, and the endocannabinoid system works with those cells to maintain balance.

For example, if the receiving nerve cell becomes too excited, you end up with a seizure. Seizures are due to uncontrolled electrical activity in the neurons. It's an overstimulated state. The endocannabinoid receptor detects this overstimulation and, on demand, makes human cannabinoids to dial down the sending impulses, thereby balancing the system.

Cannabinoids Benefit Your Entire Body

By bringing tissues back into balance, cannabinoids can reduce pain, nerve stimulation causing seizures, and muscle spasm. They also help you relax and improve sleep.

"[The endocannabinoid system] is a very key system. It totally makes sense why marijuana can do so many different things. It affects the mind. It affects the emotions. It affects the body on multiple levels. That's the THC. CBD does that as well. CBD has multiple targets in the body. The system seems very complex. There are multiple receptors.

It's not known how CBD acts. It acts in a different way from THC. There's much to research. But this is a very rich system, and it's very involved in our other body systems.

Those who write about this and report on it in the scientific literature frequently said that if this were being looked at for the first time, it would be in all the headlines. 'Hail. There's an incredible boon to mankind.' Because it can actually work through this natural system and do so many things without being toxic.

So many pain medications are damaging to the stomach, to the gut. The cannabis doesn't hurt the gut. It helps heal the gut. People are so relieved … There's nothing else that does that. It won't hurt the organs. It won't hurt the liver. It won't hurt the kidneys.

Ibuprofen … people can't stay on that for months and years. They can stay on cannabis. As we know as well, there is no known lethal dose for cannabis, whether it's THC or CBD. A person couldn't die from it even if they were trying really, really hard. There's nothing you can say that about. It offers so much to people on a medical level."

Cannabis Has Self-Limiting Effects

There is no fatal toxicity associated with cannabis. As noted by Gedde, the effects of THC and CBD are both dose-dependent. They have a bell-shaped response curve, which means there's a sweet spot where you get the benefit without any adverse effects. For THC, small, appropriate doses are relaxing and settle the stomach.

Too high a dose of THC will trigger anxiety. It can also cause nausea, confusion and/or disorientation. In severe cases, you might not know where or who you are. Temporary psychosis can also occur on high doses of THC. However, these effects are temporary and will resolve once the drug wears off.

Such side effects are actually helpful in that they cause cannabis use to become self-limiting. People don't want to feel terrible, so excessive doses are automatically discouraged by creating adverse reactions. Opiates, on the other hand, has no such feedback mechanism. People who take too high a dose simply die in a very relaxed state.

"With opiates, there's no point at which a person says, 'This is terrible. I don't want to do this.' There always needs to be more. With cannabis, it does have that self-limiting effect," Gedde says.

"We work closely with patients on the dosing. Less works; you want to start with lower. Because it is an oily medication and it does interact with the body in a different way, the cannabis can build up in the fatty tissues over time. We get this build-up effect that's very beneficial …

We explain this to patients to say, 'You could start at a certain dose. As you take that same dose day after day, it's going to build up for three to four weeks, so you could wait and see where the build-up effect gets you before you go to the next level.' That's, again, so that they're not using more than they need, not having extra side effects … The biggest thing we warn about is too-high doses of THC that would cause impairment and a very uncomfortable or unhappy experience."

Adverse Effects and Precautions

There is research in the medical literature suggesting that young people who already have a tendency to schizophrenia seem to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis sooner if they've been using marijuana. However, it's still not clear whether THC is actually causing or triggering the schizophrenia. That said, people with a family history of schizophrenia would be wise to use caution, and to work closely with an experienced doctor should they decide to try medical marijuana.

"Probably the biggest concern is simply that, in the developing brain in young people all the way up to the age of 25, the cannabinoids act on the brain. It seems THC can change brain development in such a way that — when a person is their 20s — that person would have a lower level of executive function, being able to plan and organize, and a little bit lower IQ," Gedde says.

"But there are battling studies going back and forth, where one would come out and say clearly 'Young people should not use this. Look at this correlation with bad outcomes.' And someone else will say, 'No. Look. You didn't control for XYZ. If we control this, we see that actually the reduced outcome correlates with socioeconomic status.'

As far as the cautions against adverse events, it really does relate to dose. Helping them to find the right doses that give them the benefits they need without adverse effect of too much, and just recognizing the psychoactive effect of the THC, especially for new users. But when we get the dose right, it could be very smooth and very productive."

Benefits of Cannabis and Specific Cannabinoids

As mentioned, CBD has no psychoactive activity, and has a long list of medicinal uses. It's an excellent muscle relaxer, easing spasms and pain. For this use, it can be applied topically, although edible versions tend to provide the deepest and most long-lasting relaxation and pain relief.

THC is famous for settling nausea associated with chemotherapy. According to Gedde, there's really nothing a doctor can prescribe that's as effective as THC for nausea. It also helps improve digestive function. For this reason, THC is particularly valuable for digestive disorders such as colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Cannabis has been shown to help glaucoma by reducing the intraocular pressure. It also helps normalize blood pressure, although that's not a valid medical indication for medical cannabis use in Colorado. As noted by Gedde:

"When you combine the body relaxation and the mental shifts — people talk about just being able to relax, it brings the stress down — this probably is part of how it helps blood pressure … But it does help normalize blood pressure so people are able to reduce their pills. That's actually one of the real cautions I do tell people about. If they're on blood pressure medication and they add the cannabis, their blood pressure can actually go too low. I alert them to peel back the blood pressure medications …"

Seizures are a classic indication of use, but you need to be very careful with the dosing when treating seizures. Gedde has found that CBD tends to be more difficult to use for seizures than THC, as too much CBD will exacerbate the seizures. HIV and cancer are other indications for use, as cannabis helps with sleep, nausea, pain and immune support, and has anti-tumor activity.

"The ones that aren't on the qualifying conditions list in Colorado would include the more psychological diagnosis. THC can induce anxiety if the dose is wrong or the strain is not compatible with that person. [Still], many use THC to relieve anxiety. Because we have hundreds of different strains of marijuana and cannabis, each of which is slightly different, there is a huge potential to customize [the drug] for each person."

Different Marijuana Strains Have Different Effects

In addition to cannabinoids, there's a whole other set of compounds in cannabis called terpenes — the same compounds found in essential oils. Terpenes are what give each marijuana strain its unique color and smell. Some strains smell like lemon. Other strains are purple and smell like lavender. In fact, the same terpene found in lavender, linalool, which gives lavender its calming, relaxing potential, is also found in many marijuana strains.

There's a whole range of marijuana strains known for their calming, sleep-inducing, relaxing properties, collectively known as "indicas." Indicas strains will not induce anxiety. They're relaxing and stress-reducing. The sativas are more stimulating and energizing, and resemble caffeine in this regard.

While helpful for anxiety and depression, sativas could produce paranoia and put you on edge, especially those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When addressing the psychological spectrum, strain selection is very important.

"Post-traumatic stress is so difficult to treat. PTSD patients, the veterans, are a huge population we see. We're in Colorado Springs. There are military bases here. We see a lot of the veterans who had been overseas. Not only do they have all the physical injuries, but they have those psychological injuries. [They can benefit greatly] from choosing the correct strains and be able to actually get the benefit of that well-known property of THC where it causes forgetting.

THC is known to slow the mind down. You can't quite think about the things maybe that you were going to. For a lot of people, in a lot of settings, that would be an unwelcomed side effect. But when you have post-traumatic stress and you have intrusive thoughts, to have the mind slow down and those thoughts just don't break through and the nightmares don't break through, that's a huge boon. In post-traumatic stress, we see a lot of good results."

CBD and THC Work Very Well Together, Ameliorating Side Effects

Gedde stresses the point that CBD and THC work very well in combination, and while medical cannabis has been primarily THC-based, the availability of CBD has been a real boon, as CBD helps temper the psychoactivity of the THC.

"With hemp being grown now and CBD returning to patients, you can really use the THC in doses that are effective without the psychoactivity," she says. "We've been telling patients this is a huge boon for everyone. Get your CBD. Combine it with your THC. It's everywhere. It's not restricted like the THC.

Having this DEA action come out really puts that back on its heels for people who are not in a legal state. Here in Colorado, certainly we will continue to have CBD and THC, and continue working with them."

In closing, another point of note is that when the plant is unheated, meaning raw, it actually does not have THC in it. That's another one of its remarkable properties. The plant actually makes THC acid (THCA) and CBDA. So when you eat it raw, you get the THCA, not THC, which relieves pain and spasms. THCA is a synergizing agent, but it doesn't have the psychoactivity associated with THC.

This means you can consume marijuana raw and get health benefits without the psychoactivity. A number of doctors have become proponents of using raw cannabinoid as a dietary supplement. The key is to not heat the plant. If it were legal to use recreationally where I live I would grow it and regularly throw it in my smoothies.

Personally, I believe there are many still undiscovered benefits of taking cannabis therapeutically. There are no real downsides; no major adverse effects. Even the psychoactive side effects are only related to the heating of the plant, and even then they're temporary and largely self-limiting. The same cannot be said for opioids, which have overtaken cigarettes in popularity and kill tens of thousands of users each year, even when taken as prescribed.

Related Articles:

 Comments (5)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Democracy: The God That's Failing


Submitted by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute,

When Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe made his famous argument against democracy back in 2001, the notion that voting was a lousy way to organize society was still radical even among many libertarians. Virtually everyone raised in a western country over the past century grew up hearing “democracy” used as a synonym for wonderful, good, just, and valid. It takes a great deal of unlearning to overcome this as an adult, and to question the wisdom of representative government installed via democratic mechanisms.   

Fast forward to 2017, however, and the case against democracy is being made right in front of our eyes. Witness Hillary Clinton, who not long ago gushed about our “sacred” right to vote — that is until her stupendous loss to Trump. Today she clings to the specious nonsense that the Russians somehow influenced our election by planting stories and using social media, which if true would be an excellent argument against voting rights. If the natives are so easily duped by a few silly posts in their Facebook feeds, why on earth is their vote meaningful or sacred?

Other progressives like Michael Moore demand that Trump be arrested, presumably for treason. Left-leaning cable news pundits openly call for Trump to resign or be impeached. Mainstream newspapers wonder whether he’ll even finish his four-year term. The overwhelming message from the media is that Trump is a disaster, an existential threat that must be stopped.

But it’s not just progressives questioning democratic outcomes. Neoconservative Bill Kristol tweets that he’d rather be governed by an unaccountable deep state than Trump. Mild-mannered conservative moralist Dennis Prager, a reasonable and likeable right winger in my view, argues quite seriously that we are in the midst of a second civil war with those who simply reject their electoral defeat. And the libertarianish jurist Richard Epstein, writing for the somnambulant Hoover Institution, unloads a litany of grievances against Trump that would make Bill Maher blush.

We should recall that as democratic elections go, Trump’s victory was perfectly legitimate. Nobody seriously challenges his margins in the key states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida. Lamentations about Clinton winning the so-called popular vote are irrelevant and blatantly partisan — the Electoral College is as much a part of the “rules” as having two senators per state.

Meanwhile in the UK, former Prime Minister Tony Blair employs the language of revolution in urging Remain forces to “rise up” against Brexit and overturn the referendum in Parliament. Never mind that Blair is no longer an elected official and holds no government office, never mind that both the referendum process and the Brexit vote were perfectly valid: he just doesn’t like the results. His argument that Leave voters had “imperfect knowledge” is both hilarious and disingenuous: voters always have imperfect knowledge about candidates and policies prior to elections; pertinent new information always comes to light after elections. If Blair thinks we can start overturning elections based on any degree of voter ignorance, then I must suggest he begin with the vote in the House of Commons that made him PM. And why does he, a democrat, imagine some right to overturn election results at all?

It’s time to call a spade a spade. All of this angst hardly comports with our supposed reverence for democracy. Again, Trump handily and fairly won a democratic election just three months ago. If he’s the devil, a wrecking ball that cannot be stopped by the other branches of government, then our entire constitutional system and its democratic mechanisms are defective. Why doesn’t the #neverTrump movement take its arguments to their logical conclusion, and insist an electorate that would install Donald Trump never be allowed to vote again or have any say in organizing society?

The reality is becoming clear, even as it remains uncomfortable for many: democracy is a sham that should be opposed by all liberty-loving people. Voting and elections confer no legitimacy whatsoever on any government, and to the extent a democratic political process replaces outright war it should be seen as only slightly less horrific.

As I stated before the election last year:

… no matter who wins, millions of people — maybe 40 percent of the country — are going to view the winner as illegitimate and irredeemable.


In fact a recent Gallup poll cites that fully one-third of Americans won’t trust the election results anyway — which is to say they don’t trust government to hold an honest election.


Trump vs. Hillary represents something much bigger: what we might call the end of politics, or at least the limits of politics. Americans, and Europeans too, are witnessing the end of the myth of democratic consensus. Democratic voting, so called, doesn’t yield some noble compromise between Left and Right, but only an entrenched political class and its system of patronage.

Great libertarians like Thomas Jefferson have long warned against democracy, even as they uneasily accepted it as a necessary evil. Both Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek were democrats, men who championed both the virtues of an intellectual elite and the necessity of having that elite gain legitimacy for its ideas through public acceptance. Mises termed democracy a “method for the peaceful adjustment of government to the will of the majority.” Hayek viewed democracy as potentially wise if tempered by built-in safeguards to protect individual liberty.

But these men lived in very different times, coming as they did from pre-war Old Europe. We can’t know what they would think of modern social democratic welfare states, or Trump, or Brexit. I suspect they would find democracy quite wanting, in terms of producing what either would consider a liberal society. Both were utilitarians (of a sort) in their economic thinking, and it’s not hard to imagine they would take a consequentialist view of a society gone awry via democracy.

Things are getting strange in America when Michael Moore and Dennis Prager start to sound the same, and that’s arguably a very good development. We are close to a time when the democracy illusion will be shattered, for good and all. Democracy was always a bad idea, one that encourages mindless majoritarianism, political pandering, theft, redistribution, war, and an entitlement mentality among supposedly noble voters. It’s an idea whose time has passed, both on a national and international scale. The future of liberty is decentralized, and will be led by smaller breakaway nations and regions where real self-determination and real consensus is not an illusion. Jefferson and Hoppe were right about democracy, but it took Trump and Brexit to show the world how quickly elites abandon it when they don’t prevail.