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Blessings Everyone!

This newsletter is written in a narrative format. The narrative will be in the print face you are reading now, and articles will be in this print face with titles like: This.

I spent 19 days on the road, meeting and interviewing people, taking pictures, and just seeing this land.  We hope you'll enjoy this newsletter. If you don't wish to read the narrative, we still have the table of contents at the beginning as usual. However, if you read the narrative, you'll find links to all the articles and to all my pictures.

1. Meet Dr Burzynski - Fought the FDA and Medical Boards for 17 years, won; his cancer cure is slowly being approved.

2. Antineoplastons - The NON toxic Burzynski cure that works at the genetic level. FDA monitored Phase II trials were a huge success.

3. Aminocare - Burzynski's supplement, creams, and lotions that prevent cancer, help the body heal, and reverse aging at the genetic level.

4. My Trip - Nature pictures from Oklahoma, thru Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Northern California, Oregon, Wyoming, and South Dakota; additionally, we've posted more nature pix in our Fruits of the Earth series.

5. Omegasentials Baking Contest - with recipes you can make tonight: Muffins and Cookies.

6. New M&M Colors - more ways to waste your money on nonexistent cures and force children into slave labor. You can do something about this.

7. Miracle II Update - Dietary supplement subject of warning.

8. Drug's Success in Fighting Cancer Stuns Doctors - another accidental discovery.

9. The Placebo Effect - Two German researchers find out is doesn't really exist. Don't get me wrong; the power of the mind has been shown to heal illnesses, but this does not, in any way, prove to be the placebo effect discussed in the medical journals.

10. Civil War Medicine - We are lucky enough to get this article from a great physician and medical historian. You history buffs will love this one.

11. Essential Oil Update - Doctors, no less, find they work.

12. Dr Chachoua Update - You can NOW get his therapy for Cancer, Heart Disease, and HIV/AIDS.

13. Cansema Update - The maker has been jailed.

14. New Cancer Treatment Causes Fewer Side Effects - We told you about this in 2000.

15. White House Weakens EPA Cancer Safeguards to Protect Chemical Industry Instead of Children

16. Shampoos Contain Toxins Linked To Nerve Damage - Just our toxic environment.

17. The Slow Poisoning of America - We'll review his book soon.

18. Cancer's Natural Enemy - Book Review; everything you need to know about Oleander, and more!

19. Fear Cancer No More - Book Review; for anyone touched by cancer.

20. This Just In: One More Statin Drug Side Effect - Just a bit of brain damage; that's all.

21. This Just In: White Flour and Alloxan - Alloxan is a chemical used by scientists to cause diabetes in rats so they can study them.

22. This Just In: Diet Soda Users Gain Weight - Well, we told you this long ago.

23. Codex Update - It's later than you think.

24. Tidbits - Three articles on the pharmaceutical industry, news from the Organic Consumers Association, and more.

25. Laughter is the Best Medicine

Support this site: As Arnold Schwarzenegger's popularity goes down, his kitsch value goes up. A painting of Arnold (signed by Governor Schwarzenegger) is posted in eBay and the artist will donate 10% of the sale to the International Wellness Directory. Go make a bid:  Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aminocare® A10
Cancer Preventive

Aminocare® Cream & Lotion
Reverse Wrinkles at the Genetic Level



When you run a farm, no matter how large (or small), it’s hard to get away for even a few days.

I took off on a three week road trip on the 18th of April. My neighbors were to watch my home. Since I have chickens, I left one dog at home to protect them, and took the other two (Misha and Bruiser) along.

I headed south to meet with the famous Dr Stanislaus Burzynski. We had an interview planned for Thursday (Friday he’d be leaving for Europe for an international cancer convention).

Sadly, just after leaving Minnesota, I found out that Ahzoova, my old dog I'd left behind to watch the chickens, had passed away. She was getting weaker just previous to my trip. She didn't even want to ride along with us on trips to town. I had a feeling she'd be leaving us soon. I've made a little page in her memory: Ahzoova.

At home, in Minnesota, we’d hardly started our spring yet. There were no leaves on the trees and just a few spring flowers had blossomed. I left in the middle of the night and the sun began to rise passing through Missouri. By Oklahoma, it was mid day and spring flowers began to show up everywhere.

The first thing I noticed that really stood out was a very strange tree that had no leaves, but was full of blossoms. I stopped into a welcome area in Oklahoma and they told me it was called a Red Bud.

To view a larger version of the pix posted here, just click on the picture. To view them all (pix taken on the entire trip) click on the link Trip Pix or go to the table of contents above.

When I got to Texas, I quickly learned that Texans love Lady Bird Johnson. She pressed for the federal government to pay for planting wild flower seeds in Texas. And though I did not get to those locations that are filled with Texas wild flowers, I did find a few locations where they were scattered about.

My first and most important stop was in Texas. I was going to interview the famous Dr Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, PhD. I’d interviewed him by telephone in 1994, at a time when he was under attack by everyone in the medical industry. There are a lot of web sites calling his therapy quackery. Yet today, the FDA is monitoring his work, his studies, and has already approved a drug created from this research.

You can go here (Dr Burzynski) to read about him and his work, and go here to read about his Antineoplastons (they are referenced in our Alternative Cancer Therapies). Additionally, you will read how Dr Burzynski created a supplement to prevent cancer, and a lot more. He's working at the genetic level, safely I might add, and he's also created a cream that reversed wrinkles at the genetic level. Simply the Best is now carrying his products.

I also was invited in to do a photo shoot by a lovely woman I’d met on the web. They are at my PhotoArt site, but they do contain nudity, so if that bothers you, don’t go there. They are Rave’s Slide Show. Some of the shots were so good, I got excited and forgot I was 55 years old. I went jumping on a trampoline in her back yard, slipped, and landed on my butt. I jammed my coccyx. Needless to say, the prospect of driving another eight thousand miles with a sore butt was not appealing.

I took some portraits along the way and have added some of them to my portraits web page. The slide show can be seen at: Portraits (slide show). However, before you go to a slide show, please read the Slide Show help I’ve created here: Microsoft Slide Show Help. This is mainly because some pix don’t show up and there is no help once you get there.

After Texas I headed for New Mexico to visit a cousin. On the way I stopped in to meet some readers of the International Wellness Directory. We had sandwiches, and while eating, they told me that they were using my recipe for mayo. It tasted a bit different from mine, and so we discussed how they had made it.

I had to laugh. My recipes are made by a bachelor. We don’t’ measure things like housewives. You’ll never hear a housewife say, “That’s good enough for government work.”

When it came to measuring honey, they filled a tablespoon to the top, whereas I dip my tablespoon into my gallon bucket and then scrape the entire glob into the recipe. My tablespoons are closer to two tablespoons. So, I’ve had to rewrite our mayo recipe. Click here: Mayo (with Coconut Oil) and Mayo (without).

Oh, and I’ve also learned to add a little more lemon juice (with the extra honey) and the Mayo has stayed fresh for about 6 – 7 weeks. And it’s very flavorful.

Speaking of recipes, I’ve had to create some recipes using Omegasentials. Those who have read about Omegasentials know that it is not just flax oil, but that the inventor, even though he is a vegan, has added fish oils. Fish oils are needed by the brain. In adults they help with mental stability (avoiding depression) and in the young (and in the fetus during the last trimester) they promote brain development. So, long story short, I have a friend giving birth who doesn’t eat fish and wasn’t taking her supplements, so I went out and invented a cookie and a muffin using Omegasentials.

Here are the recipes (OmegaSweets) and here is a NEW contest just for our readers.

Omegasentials Baking Contest

We are giving away THREE BAGS of Omegasentials to the winner. Bake something up, wrap it well, and ship it overnight (along with the recipe) to:

International Wellness Directory
36644 Hastings St NE  
Stanchfield, MN 55080

The wining entry will be chosen by taste, creativity, and ease of baking (the more complicated, the less people will make it).

Rules: no recipe will be cooked at a temperature over 345. At temperatures over 350, you’ve just destroyed the oils. The muffins I made (Banana Chocolate Chip Omega-Muffins) were started at 345 until they started to rise, and then I dropped the temp to 325. Cookies will cook at 325; just have to cook them longer.

Deadline for the contest is November 1st, 2005.

So, create your cookies, cakes, muffins, bars and send them to us. You do NOT have to use healthy organic ingredients, but when we publish the recipes, we will modify the recipe to make sure all ingredients are healthy, organic, and free trade. For example, if you use chocolate, we will not promote the chocolate industry that puts children under the shackles of slave labor.

Which reminds me: M&Ms has a new campaign for breast cancer circulating on the web:

New M&M Colors

Pass this on to all of your friends. There are many women out there who have breast cancer. Lets do all we can to support this cause.     New Pink & White M&M's

The maker of M&M candies has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to raise funds through the sale of their new "pink & white" M&M candies.

For each 8-ounce bag of the special candies sold, the makers of M&M (Masterfoods) will donate 50 cents to the foundation. The next time you want a treat, please pick up a bag (now sold in stores nationwide) - you will be donating to a great cause and satisfying your sweet tooth.

Please pass on to all your family and friends. -- Thank you.

Every economic decision we make is also a moral decision.

I have news for you. The chocolate in M&Ms comes from the Ivory Coasts where children are sold into slavery to satisfy your sweet tooth. A conservative friend of mine tells me that it’s better than the rest of their country who are not working, because they’re all starving.

So? We fight starvation with child slavery? I’m sure that for more civilized thinkers, there are better solutions.

Next, M&Ms have artificial colors. Artificial colors, according to Andrew Weil, create changes at a cellular level that can cause cells to reproduce outside their programming; such as cancer cells.

The Susan G Koman Breast Cancer Foundation has never given a dime to Dr Burzynski, who is actually curing breast cancer.


Urge M&M/Mars to Sell Fair Trade Certified Chocolate Petition:

There's nothing sweet about child slavery.

Companies like M&M/Mars, the world's biggest chocolate company, make huge profits selling chocolate. Their products are favorites among children around the world.  However, chocolate is no treat for the hundreds of thousands of child cocoa laborers who work on their poor  families' farms or even as slaves on cocoa farms far  from home.

The U.S. chocolate industry has agreed to work to end child slavery by 2005, but their plan involves "voluntary  standards" and does not guarantee fair and stable cocoa  prices, which is the only way to end child slavery and  exploitation for good.

The solution? Fair trade. Fair trade guarantees a minimum price per pound (a living wage), prohibits abusive child labor and forced labor, requires independent monitoring,  and promotes environmental sustainability. But M&M/Mars has refused to sell Fair Trade Certified chocolate.

Chocolate lovers everywhere - we have the power to make a real difference in the lives of poor children in cocoa-producing nations! Please urge M&M/Mars to do the  right thing, and commit to selling Fair Trade Certified  chocolate:

Every economic decision we make is also a moral decision.

Once into New Mexico, I just had to stop and see the Billy the Kid Museum. It was there that I found an old undertaker's bag, dentist's chair, and some liniment for animals. I then asked if they had any more old medical stuff (for our articles on the history of medicine) and they said at the Old Fort Sumner Museum, where Billy the Kid's grave is located, that there might be some more medical devices.

When I got there, they told me no cameras allowed. So I negotiated: I offered to post the link to their museum (above) if they'd let me photograph their medical devices, pills, etc. They agreed. However, to determine what all these things are that I photographed, we'll have to wait till I have them all checked out by my brother (physician) who warned me that in the museums he's been to, what you'll find are mainly abortion tools since that was among the most common medical procedures performed in the 19th century.

I found some interesting medicines (one with mercury still used into the 20th century and quite toxic) and devices and such. I enjoy museums; took some pictures of Billy's grave (the stone has been stolen so many times that they've finally had to put a cage around it), and then got back in the car and headed to visit a cousin.

I had a chance to meet some cousins I’d never met who were now living in New Mexico. One, a young man of 20 or so, was in college and had just taken up tennis 4 weeks earlier to play me. Since he comes from a very athletic family (and will continue on teaching athletics) he had gotten pretty good in that time. He enjoyed playing with me because he felt he could actually learn something. He’d not yet played anyone who was any good.

I enjoyed the games, but by the fourth game, my lungs exploded. That was when my cousin told me that we were over a mile high. I knew I wasn’t THAT out of shape.

By the second game of the first set, I had to quit. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was dizzy, and I have never in this life felt so exhausted.

I also got to meet my cousin Peg and her family (on the right). Her dad was a fisherman from Alaska. We'd connected up years earlier in Southern California, but I'd never met any of his kids till this trip.

I knew that tennis, walking, and any movement was good for my jammed coccyx, but driving was unbelievably painful. The day after tennis the pain was so bad, I went to a chiropractor. I also found a cushion to sit on that made driving somewhat comfortable. When I got back on the road, I headed for Arizona where I immediately went to the VA Hospital. They took x-rays and told me, “Oooo, I’ll bet that hurts.”

All they could do for me was give me drugs. I asked for a “donut” pillow, but they weren’t on hand and when I arrived home two weeks later, one was there waiting for me though I no longer needed it. I asked if there was anyone at the hospital who did manipulative medicine, but nothing. They could do surgery, un-jam it, and then sew me up and send me home, but no manipulation.

So, a chiropractor friend online told me to find someone who did Logan Basic. I went online and found one who was still at his office. I went to see him. First he put heat, then cold over the area, and then he hooked me up to some electrodes. I’d never had the electrodes before. He stuck an electrode on each cheek, and began turning up the juice till my butt started to applaud. After about fifteen to twenty minutes on the electrodes, he manipulated me and taught me a stretching exercise. The pain improved a thousand percent. I went back four days later on my way out of town. This guy really helped.

In Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California, the desert was alive with flowers. They’d had a very rainy winter and flowers were blooming all over. The only spring flowers I missed in Arizona where of that cactus (saguaro) that looks like it’s making a right turn. However, I did see one white flower atop one saguaro cactus from a distance. They bloom in May, and I was in AZ in April.

I stayed w/ friends I’d met on the web there. I asked one to please write me up her story. She has been through so many medical disasters, it’s a miracle that she’s alive today. They gave her antibiotics in her first year so she has asthma. They gave her tetracycline too early in life, and it turned her teeth grey. She’s had back surgery after back surgery, and even a hip replacement that left one leg shorter than the other. Some day I want her story printed here.

While in Arizona I got two article sent to me of interest to our readers.

The first is a Master’s Miracle update.

Master’s Miracle Update
Dietary supplement subject of warning

A health products company warned Wednesday that some of its dietary supplements may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause blindness.

The Master's Miracle Inc., based in Minneapolis, said its Fortified Mineral Neutralizer and Ultra Fortified Mineral Neutralizer dietary supplements are at risk of bacterial contamination. According to the Food and Drug Administration, some Master's Miracle distributors have been promoting the use of the supplements in people's eyes. If the contaminated product comes in contact with the eyes, it could lead to serious injury, including blindness.

The FDA also said the supplements do not meet FDA sterility standards for eye products and that they should not be used or marketed that way.

The supplements come in 8-ounce, 20-ounce and 1-gallon size containers and are sold nationwide.

— Associated Press

We have to keep in mind that the FDA is not the most truthful organization in the world. We here do not promote Master’s Miracle because they left behind the original manufacturer to make their own products. The original products had years of testimonials behind them, and no problems such as those mentioned by the AP article. We don’t know if the FDA is lying or not, but we just thought we’d pass this on to you.

In addition to trip photos, I've posted more photos in our Fruits of the Earth series; photos from last year that I never got around to posting. You can visit them here: Fruits of the Earth, Page 5.


Drug's Success in Fighting Cancer Stuns Doctors
Medicine First Used to Treat Symptoms of Blood Disorder

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 16) - No one could have been more surprised than the doctors themselves. They were just hoping to relieve the symptoms of a deadly blood disorder - and ended up treating the disease itself. In nearly half of the people who took the experimental drug, the cancer became undetectable.

Specialists said Revlimid now looks like a breakthrough and the first effective treatment for many people with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, which is even more common than leukemia.

''It may be, if not eradicating the disease, putting it into what I would call deep remission,'' said Dr. David Johnson, a cancer specialist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center who is familiar with but had no role in the research.

Revlimid ''is not yet on the market but almost certainly will be'' because of these findings, he said.

MDS refers to a group of disorders caused by the bone marrow not making enough healthy, mature blood cells. About 15,000 to 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, and as many as 50,000 Americans have it now. They usually suffer anemia and fatigue and need blood transfusions about every eight weeks to stay alive.

''It's a serious problem, it tends to occur in older people, and it's fatal for most,'' said Dr. Herman Kattlove, a blood disorder specialist at the American Cancer Society.

Revlimid is similar to thalidomide, a drug notorious for the birth defects it caused decades ago but that in recent years has proved effective against another blood cancer, multiple myeloma. Researchers don't really know how it works other than that it boosts the immune system in a number of ways.
In small studies, Revlimid also showed promise and with far fewer side effects. In a new study, doctors tested it on 115 people with MDS who have the most common chromosome abnormality that causes the disease.

After about six months on the drug, 66 percent no longer needed blood transfusions, said the study's leader, Dr. Alan List of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. A year later, three-fourths of them still don't need transfusions.

But the big surprise was that signs of the genetic mutation fueling the disease diminished in 81 patients and vanished in 51.

''The chromosome abnormality completely disappeared, something we've never seen before'' from a drug aimed just at boosting red blood cells, List said.

Dr. Bruce Johnson of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston compared it with what doctors saw in early tests of the drug Gleevec on people with chronic myelogenous leukemia several years ago.

''If you extrapolate what they saw, it's one of the signs for long remission,'' he said of the abnormality's disappearance.

Dr. Jasmine Zain, a blood specialist from the City of Hope Cancer Center in New York, said the results warrant further testing on the drug.

''Nowhere do you see 60 to 70 percent responses,'' she said.

About one-third of people on the drug had temporary drops in other blood cells and clotting components, fixed by briefly interrupting treatment or lowering the dose.

The study was sponsored by Celgene Corp., which makes Revlimid. List is a consultant for the company and reported results Sunday at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando.

In other news at the conference:

- A five-year study of cancer care in America concluded that most people get good care but that quality differs from region to region.

The oncology society commissioned the study by Harvard University and the RAND Corporation after a 2000 Institute of Medicine report said that not all Americans were getting good cancer care and that this seemed to be a substantial problem.

Researchers measured more than 100 factors affecting breast and colon cancer care, such as whether women were appropriately prescribed tamoxifen and whether radiation doses were correct. They concluded that 86 percent of people with breast cancer and 78 percent with colon cancer got good care, higher than what other studies have found for other diseases.

However, ''these numbers range all over the place'' for the five cities studied - Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Kansas City and Los Angeles - said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a National Institutes of Health physician who headed the study. (Individual measures for each city were not released).

- Another study found that surgery and follow-up tests for stomach cancer are inadequate in most U.S. hospitals. Three out of four patients don't have enough lymph nodes removed to check for cancer, and this made a big impact on survival rates, said Dr. Natalie Coburn of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto who used a federal cancer database for her study.

Five-year survival was more than twice as high in Hawaii than in Utah, where surgery was poorest.

''I'm not suggesting you fly from Utah to Hawaii to have your surgery done,'' but patients need to know the qualifications of their surgeon, said Dr. David Johnson, who is president of the oncology society.

''If that's true for gastric cancer, we know it's true for other cancers like lung surgery, breast surgery and the like,'' he added.

Nearly 22,000 new cases of stomach cancer and 11,550 deaths are expected in the United States this year.

05-16-05 10:25EDT

I left Arizona to drive up thru Nevada to Reno and then cut over to San Francisco. Eastern Nevada is desert. Most of the little towns along the way make more money off speeders than any other business. You’re traveling along at 65-70 miles per hour, and then this two shack, one horse town suddenly appears posting a 25 MPH speed limit. Let me tell you, 26 mph will get you pulled over.

There was very little to see in most of Nevada beyond the Joshua trees and the colorful flowers in the southern desert. Again, the rain just flooded this area and the Mojave desert in Southern California and the flowers were spectacular. For miles and miles, the long hot roads passed through a truly painted desert. No matter where we stopped, we found blossoms. That is, until we left the southern area and began getting into northern Nevada. Suddenly it was hot with nothing to see but an occasional "ranch."

While driving, I often thought of things that would have to go into this newsletter. Since I read studies all the time and have always been fascinated about the placebo effect, I decided to do a little more research on it. I discovered that all we believe about it was created by one person in one paper published a long, long time ago. on:


HEALTH – SCIENTISTS PRESSURED TO APPROVE DRUGS DESPITE RESERVATIONS: The Washington Post reports, "almost one-fifth of the Food and Drug Administration scientists surveyed two years ago as part of an official review said they had been pressured to recommend approval of a new drug despite reservations about its safety, effectiveness or quality." The survey also found "a majority had significant doubts about the adequacy of federal programs to monitor prescription drugs once they are on the market" and "more than a third were not particularly confident of the agency's ability to assess the safety of a drug." The findings "appear to support some portions of the controversial Senate testimony last month by FDA safety officer David J. Graham."


The Placebo Effect

Everywhere you go, you read about the Placebo Effect. The QuackPots (Quackwatch/Debunkers) want to tell us that the only reason things outside conventional medicine work is the placebo effect, only.

Traditionally, the placebo effect has been set at 25 to 30%. However, when trying to explain how something works when it’s not supposed to work, I’ve seen figures of 40 to 80%, and some tell me that even 100% of the control group experienced this Placebo Effect.

The first time the Placebo Effect was ever described was in a paper in the Journal of the American Medical association in 1955, “The Powerful Placebo,” by a physician named Henrey K Beecher. He claimed that people who took the placebo would respond favorably about 35% of the time due to the power of suggestion.

Since then, physicians everywhere attributed anyone getting better by using an herb, a vitamin regimen, or something outside of the current convention to the placebo effect.

It’s funny how quickly the Placebo Effect was accepted by conventional medicine, and never once tested. All studies since have simply assumed that those getting better who were on a placebo were simply part of this placebo effect. Did anyone ever think that people sometimes get better on their own? Did anyone ever test to see if another control group taking nothing got better?

In the late 1980s, a German team set out to test the placebo effect. They first examined Beecher’s work and even found that the good doctor had claimed to have found his Placebo Effect in studies that had not even used a placebo.

Drs Kienle and Kiene examined some 800 papers and concluded that . . .

the placebo effect is counterfeited by a variety of factors including the natural history of the disease, regression to the mean, concomitant treatments, obliging reports, experimental subordination, severe methodological defects in the studies, misquotations, etc; even, on occasion, by the fact that the supposed placebo is actually not a placebo, but has to be acknowledged as having a specific action on the condition for which it is being given. A further reason for misjudgment is the lack of clarity of the placebo concept itself. Experimental subordination and conditioning are other areas of insufficient conceptual differentiation. [Placebo effect and placebo concept: a critical methodological and conceptual analysis of reports on the magnitude of the placebo effect, Alternative Therapy Health Medicine 2:39-54, 1996]

The conclusion has startled many researchers. Modern medicine has still not accepted their findings, but they demonstrated that the placebo effect is “unfounded and grossly overrated, if not entirely false” to the point of being illusory.

Again, in 1996, they published their results in Alternative Therapy Health Medicine 2:39-54, 1996

People sometimes just get better no matter what they do. The human body is an amazing piece of machinery. If you want to test the placebo effect, you really must have a group that takes nothing, and gets nothing. Perhaps a group like the one mentioned in the article: Cardiovascular Fraud:

From JAMA, we found the results of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial, in which nearly 13,000 men aged 35 to 57, were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group would get absolutely nothing. The other group, the experimental group, got “stepped-care’ treatment for hypertension, counseling for cigarette smoking, and dietary advice for lowering blood cholesterol levels, or to their usual sources of health care in the community. [JAMA. 1982 Sep 24;248(12):1465-77]

The results of the study are still being debated, for you see, in both groups, risk factor levels declined over a seven year period, with the difference in mortality from cardiovascular disease being statistically insignificant. The study group had fewer deaths by heart attack, 17.9 deaths per 1000 people, than the control group that had 19.3 per 1000. The truly interesting fact squeezed from this study concerns the overall mortality rate of both groups, because the people in the control group actually lived longer.


A similar study conducted in Finland took nearly 3,500 business executives with at least one cardiovascular risk and put them into two groups. The control group got nothing while the experimental group got visits from counselors who promoted dietetic-hygienic measures and monitored cholesterol lowering measures as well as blood pressure medicines. Again, fifteen years later, the results showed that the control group had fewer deaths during the study period. [Journal Watch September 10, 1991].

Some people just get better on their own.

References; [Kienle, GS, Keine H, The powerful placebo effect: fact of fiction? J Clinical Epidemiology 50: 1311-18, 1987]

Once inside California, I knew I had to head for San Francisco to meet with old friends, new friends and pick up my email. Oh yes, and have some sushi. It's three times cheaper there than in Minnesota.

One of the emails I received was permission from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland to use an image in an article sent to me by a great physician and medical historian. The article is called: Civil War Medicine. The author told me there the two most researched subjects on this planet are Jesus Christ and the American Civil War.

Oh, here is an article that was sent to me in my email. We've talked a lot about essential oils and their properties. This just goes to show you that what we've learned from history, doctors are just starting to learn in studies.

Essential Oil Update
Doctors find they work! Way to go, Doctors!


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Applying certain essential oils to the ear canal appears to be an effective treatment for ear infections, findings from an animal study suggest.

"If toxicity studies confirm the safety of (anti-bacterial) essential oil components for use in the ear, then a significant advance can be made" in the treatment of ear infections, the investigators conclude in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The vapors that are released by essential oils, such as oil of basil, have been shown to have rapid bacteria-killing effects.

Topical therapy for ear infections is usually not recommended because most drugs are in a liquid form that cannot penetrate the eardrum to reach the infected middle ear. However, the vapors from essential oils may be able to diffuse through the eardrum and destroy the microbes present.

To investigate, Dr. Karl G. Kristinsson, from Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland, and colleagues tested oil of basil, various essential oil components, and inactive "placebo" on rats with experimental ear infections.

Treatment with the oils cured up to 81 percent of the animals. With placebo, by contrast, cure rates did not exceed 6 percent.

The team notes that based on their properties, essential oils may be able to destroy a variety of bacteria that can cause ear infections. They also point out that essential oils are generally considered to be safe.

SOURCE: Journal of Infectious Diseases, June 1, 2005.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.


It's impossible to find a parking space in San Francisco. The ride into town had been so long and tedious with bumper to bumper nonsense, that the first thing we did was go looking for a park where the pups could play Frisbee and relieve themselves. The park we eventually found was the highest ground in the city. Both Bruiser and Misha are very well trained and do not need leashes, but we didn't want to start any trouble in SF, so I had to leash them, only to find out that most of the dogs run free there. So we reached the top of the park and played Frisbee with other dogs joining in. The pups made a lot of friends, and one standard poodle, a male, really liked Bruiser and kept mounting the poor guy. His owner kept telling him to get off, but to no avail. I turned to her and said, "Well, if you're going to have your first gay experience, I suppose San Francisco is the place."

She agreed.

Dr Chachoua Update

For those of you who do not know who Dr Sam Chachoua is, you need to read this article: The Truth Will Set You Free.

Dr San Chachoua is in good health and is away researching another theory he's come up with. However, his therapies for HIV/AIDS, Heart Disease, and Cancer are now available. All you need is a physician willing to administer it.

The price is $10,000.00 per therapy. Each therapy is administered in seven injections over a 15 day period. People with cardiovascular disease report that they begin to feel better within minutes of the first injections.

If you want to discuss this, ask questions, or order the therapy, contact Gilbert at [email protected].

Quotation of the Year

In Praise of America

"The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they
brought it to my house." Iraqi citizen being interviewed
 after his release from Abu Ghraib.

In the San Francisco area I got to meet friends I'd only known online, meet an old friend I'd known in Israel, and play tennis with an old friend. The last time we'd played tennis was in 1978.

Then I headed north to see the redwoods. I know that, as a photographer, it is nearly impossible to capture the magnificence of the redwoods. One needs a helicopter and an Imax camera.

I arrived in the evening and had to just get out and walk among the giants. The pups ran happily among them. That evening, I went to sleep secretly praying for fog in the morning. I figured only with a the trees in a light fog could I really capture them.

In the morning, there was fog. We drove up the Avenue of the Giants and spent the better part of the day, just driving, and stopping to look around, and then back in the car to find another scenic area.


Cansema Update

This letter is going out to all customers of Alpha Omega, the makers of Cansema:

Dear Alpha Omega Customer,

Thank you for your order or information request, however, we are unable to sell or ship any of our products at this time. The FDA has taken our products, our ingredients, our files and our testimonies. They have destroyed all products, everything from the Cansema Salve to the Aloe Vera Acemannen. We are unable to ship to ANY location – we do not have any products and have no resources for making more at this time. Our herbalist (Greg Caton aka James Carr) is currently serving 16 months in jail for introduction of a new unapproved drug and mail fraud charges.

Although we had disclaimers on each page of our web site the FDA considered our wording as medical claims. Our disclaimer says: “To U.S. Users Only: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The viewing of this page in your country is for historic and educational purposes only. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” We also had offices in Nassau, Bahamas, however – we were shipping from our Louisiana facility. Because the labels listed our Bahamas address rather than our Louisiana facility, Greg Caton was charged with mail fraud. We believe this to be an error, which warrants correction and a possible fine, but not a reason for Federal Agents to invade our business, warehouses and the Caton’s home with guns drawn and full body armor as if they were searching for Tony Montana’s cocaine stash. We ultimately had to shut down our Bahamas offices due to the Louisiana raid.

Our Story:

At 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 17th, 2003 the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) suspended all activities at our fulfillment center in Louisiana. The arrested our herbalist, Greg Caton. They believe that our products are not safe for human consumption, and have destroyed everything they took from us (an estimated $100,000 to $200,000 in stock and ingredients).

The FDA claims that we were selling battery acid to our customers (referring to the H3O). This product has a CAS and a TOSCA number and has been EPA approved through its manufacturer. Although the H3O tests out analytically as 9.4% sulfuric acid, it is actually a patented product from California that has been extensively tested for safety and has OSHA’s approval. It is no more corrosive than water and is not required to have special labeling when shipped. The testing that is required for OSHA proves that it is non-caustic and non-corrosive. In fact, the FDA contacted the man who made the H3O to find out the best way to dispose of the H3O…they were told with out a missed heartbeat to “drink it”. Although the FDA didn’t find it amusing, the man was right, it has been tested at Texas A&M Prairie View and is found to be non-corrosive to man, plant and animal, because the sulfuric acid is made to be non-corrosive.

In the 10+ years we’ve been in business, we’ve had thousands of satisfied customers. Not one complaint in 10+ years, and then we received 2 complaints. The first complaint was from a woman in Texas who claimed her doctor used H3O internally during surgery and it fused her organs together. We had expert witnesses testify that this was not possible. All expert witnesses agreed that her fused organs was most likely from multiple surgeries (an occurrence common with multiple surgeries), the woman had several surgeries prior to this surgery. One expert witness said (and I quote): “ I feel the post-operative small bowel obstruction was the result of pelvic surgery, not the use of the H3O solution.” The doctor actually used the H3O after surgery to help the healing process and after an investigation the decision was that the investigation be CLOSED with no action recommended because the evidence did not indicate a violation of the Texas Medical Practice Act. Unfortunately our insurance company felt it would be more cost effective to settle, instead of proving our innocence in court.

The second complaint came from a woman in Indiana. She claimed that Cansema Salve burned the skin off her nose off. She then stated that it was the H3O that was the cause of the damage. She did in fact order H3O, but tried to return it 1 & ½ years after ordering stating that she never used it. In her own sworn testimony she claimed that she never even opened the H3O bottle. She then claimed that it was Bloodroot Paste from Appalachian Herbal Remedies that was the cause of her nose falling off. After several sworn and signed affidavits from the Indiana woman this is what we know:

1. She applied Cansema, she then applied Bloodroot Paste from a different company altogether.

2. She didn’t have problems until after the application of the Bloodroot Paste and she picked the skin off of her nose.

3. She never opened H3O although she claims H3O was the cause of the damage to her nose.

4. She signed a sworn affidavit that didn’t mention H3O, Cansema, Greg Caton or Alpha Omega Labs at all three days after Greg Caton (owner of Alpha Omega Labs) plead guilty of introduction of a new unapproved drug. She blamed the entire incident on Appalachian Herbal Remedies.

5. She also testified that before she applied any of the herbal treatments she was diagnosed with Cancer. She reports that she is now Cancer Free.

The sad fact is although we had hard evidence that Cansema did not damage this woman, she did use the product before applying the Bloodroot Paste. Once again the insurance company felt more comfortable with settling than with going to court. Everything I have said above is on the record and documented with the courts.

My last update is regarding Mr. Toby McAdam aka Risingsun Health aka McAdam Enterprises. We have gotten hundreds of complaints starting from last year about Mr. McAdam. He claims to have Cansema products and has none. He has tried to create a product that mimics the creation of Greg Caton but has failed. Upon doing so, he has cheated hundreds of people out of their money, hopes and in some cases – their health. I have complaints that he charges customers cards and then they never receive any products. I also have complaints that he charges customers cards and after waiting sometimes several months, they get something that isn’t Alpha Omega’s products at all, and in fact, doesn’t even work. They believe they are getting Alpha’s products because Mr. McAdam has stolen an entire copy of our web site. He uses our testimonies, our pictures, Greg Caton’s words, etc. Nothing is his own. I urge anyone thinking about ordering from aka Risingsun Health to please read the following: Please file any complaints that you have to If you used paypal to purchase your products from Risingsun, you can also contact [email protected].

We continue to pray that the suppression of natural effective herbal treatments will be unmasked and that people will one day have the right to choose their own fate. The only company that we know that still has black salve is Two Feathers Inc. in Reno, NV. You can get their Two Feathers healing formula at You can also find alternative products at:,, and The Old Amish Dewormer can be ordered from [email protected].

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime. We are also accepting testimonies. If you've used one of our products and would like to give us feed back about your experience, please write to us at [email protected].

Tabetha LeDoux
(888) 220-6780

I left the Redwoods for North Central California, near my alma mater in Chico. I got some great pix of birds but truly realized that I am NOT a nature photographer. Three things are needed to be a true nature photographer: lots of time; the patience of a sniper; and a lens that takes three people to lift. I have the patience, and I can get by without the lens, but I just didn't' have the time. I had been on the road for over two weeks and it was time to get home, so after having lunch with an old friend from college, there was just one more stop in Oregon and then all the way back to Minnesota.

However, whenever I cross the mountains, I think back to the first settlers who crossed them. It makes you wonder what kind of person it takes to do something like that. We like to think of our CEOs as rugged in day out there in the wilderness. On the radio some right wingnut was complaining about illegal immigrants. We tacitly allow them into the country to work jobs that are beneath us. And it hit me, I'll bet our illegal immigrants could cross these mountains. They want something and are willing to work for it. I've reached an age where I don't have the stomach for crossing a mountain pass with a horse and a pack. But for 30 miles of twisty windy mountain roads, I was the Mario Andretti of the Rockies!

New Cancer Treatment Causes Fewer Side Effects

ABC News published this story recently about a targeted radiation therapy that is worth viewing:

However, we first reported this story in 2000:  NeoRx - A New Approach to Radiation Therapy

Coming into Oregon, we left the sun behind in California. I met an old friend there, and her husband, who took me out to see the sites. I'm still waiting for her to name all the different trees and flowers they showed me. We went up a few mountains, fished pumice stones out of a lake (the only stone that floats), viewed two mountain falls, and discovered wild flowers. We found their favorite Thai restaurant just before the clouds ripped open and drenched the countryside.

When we got back to their home, we discovered Misha and Bruiser had escaped, and a neighbor said that someone had picked them up when they were running up and down the side walks. He said that they sat by my car for a while, and then would take off down the road looking for me, and then return to the car, and then take off again. Like any parent, I bout freaked. But the person who took them home knew by their behavior (they did everything she told them to) that someone was missing them, and she found my home phone on their tags. Long story short, they were returned and they both trotted into my motel room without looking up at me. They knew they'd done something wrong. 

Cancer's Natural Enemy
by Tony Isaacs
Your complete guide to making Nerium Oleander Extract in your own kitchen.

White House Weakens EPA Cancer Safeguards to Protect Chemical Industry Instead of Children

White House Inserted Language in Guidelines Making it Easier for Chemical Industry to Stymie EPA Chemical Reviews

WASHINGTON -- March 29 -- The Environmental Protection Agency's new guidelines for assessing cancer risk from chemical pollutants will give industry too many opportunities to stifle safeguards that protect children, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

EPA's guidelines acknowledge, for the first time, that children under 2 years of age are 10 times more likely to get cancer from certain chemicals than adults who are similarly exposed. But the White House Office of Management and Budget undermined that acknowledgment by inserting language in the guidelines that make it easy for industry to block EPA from following them when assessing cancer-causing chemicals.

"The White House decided it was more important to protect the chemical industry than protect our kids from cancer," said Dr. Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with NRDC's environmental health program.

The guidelines announced today, which dictate how EPA regulates cancer-causing chemicals, finalize a draft policy issued by EPA in March 2003. That draft policy included supplemental guidelines for assessing cancer risks to children.

The guidelines had to go through several rigorous scientific reviews before they were released today.

EPA's draft guidelines, including the children's supplemental, first passed through an internal agency review two years ago. The agency's Scientific Advisory Board reviewed the guidelines and agreed with EPA's conclusion that early-life exposures to chemical pollutants increase cancer risk. The board recommended finalizing EPA's draft guidelines as written.

The guidelines then went to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for scrutiny, where they languished until today. Out of public view, OMB substantially weakened the guidelines by adding language that will allow the chemical industry to contest policy decisions more easily, according to NRDC. Specifically, OMB inserted language allowing for "expert elicitation," opening the door for any outside party to challenge the way EPA applies the guidelines to assess chemicals. Such a challenge could slow the agency down for months, if not years, in making a decision on regulating a cancer-causing chemical, according to NRDC. OMB further weakened the guidelines by adding language requiring any EPA cancer evaluation to meet the standards of the Data Quality Act, a law designed by tobacco industry consultants to quash protective regulations. By opening the process to relentless industry challenges, said Dr. Sass, OMB set the bar so high that children will not be adequately protected from many cancer-causing chemicals.

"The White House took what would have been strong guidelines to protect our children from cancer and turned them into an industry punching bag," said Dr. Sass. "Chemical companies will be able to pummel any new safeguard to death. The chemical industry wins, our children lose."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

We left Medford, Oregon heading for Crater Lake. If you've ever seen it, its one of the most beautiful spots in the entire US. However, when we got there, we could barely make it out thru the fog. The snow was 14 to 16 feet high along the roads. We got out, exercised a bit, and then headed for Wyoming and the Grand Tetons.

This is the only mountain chain in the US I'd never seen. I really didn't want to spend too much time on the road. My coccyx was still in pain. I had to sit funny on a pillow with an ice pack in the middle of my butt (I had a cooler of ice and had to exchange ice packs every few hours). But when I was pulling into the Grand Tetons, I spotted two Bald Eagles sitting on one branch, and pulled off the road as far as I could and nearly caused a six car pile-up as I got my camera out.

The sun came back, the mountains were truly magnificent, and the wild life was abundant along the roads. For a lot of pictures, I did not have to get out of the car. It hurt to get up and out and then back in and I was starting to show the wear of the trip. When I did get out, I made sure we were in a rest area where the pups could exercise.

Shampoos Contain Toxins Linked To Nerve Damage

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a correlation between an ingredient found in shampoos and nervous system damage. The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage.

Which products contain this chemical compound MIT? Head and Shoulders, Suave, Clairol and Pantene Hair Conditioner all contain this ingredient. Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders.

The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the brain and nervous system.

These finding were presented December 5th at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting.

I have frequently warned readers about the dangers of using brand-name personal care products. The vast majority of these products contain toxic chemical compounds like MIT that contribute to cancer, liver disorders and neurological diseases. In fact, this chemical, MIT, is just one of dozens of such chemicals that are found in personal care products.

Why are these dangerous personal care products allowed to remain on the market? Because the FDA, which is responsible for regulating these products, spends almost no time, money or effort actually investigating the safety of such products. Instead, the FDA spends the vast majority of its time approving new prescription drugs rather than protecting the public against the dangers from such drugs or personal care products like shampoos, soaps, deodorants and fragrance products.

In fact, it may surprise you to learn that manufacturers can put practically any chemical they want into shampoos, even if it is a hazardous chemical listed in the RTECS database of toxicity and even if it is considered a toxic waste chemical by the EPA. The FDA allows all sorts of chemicals to be used in these products, including chemicals that are known carcinogens and that contribute to liver failure and nervous system disorders. How's that for protecting public health?

If you thought prescription drugs were dangerous, just take a look at the toxic chemicals found in personal care products used by virtually all Americans every single day. Americans bathe themselves in toxic chemicals and they do it by buying and using products made by brand name companies that have premier shelf positioning at convenience stores, grocery stores and discount clubs.

One of the more curious personal care products on the market is Herbal Essences Shampoo by Clairol. Personally, I think this product is a joke because it's trying to exploit the word "herbal" to imply that the shampoo is healthy, even though it is primarily made with the same ingredients as other popular shampoos. The first three ingredients, for example, are: water, sodium laureth, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Big deal, huh? You can find the same three ingredients in 99-cent shampoo at Wal-Mart. Plus, the product contains all sorts of other ingredients that I personally would never allow to touch my skin (like methylchloroisothiazolinone, if you can believe there's actually a chemical with a name that long). Think the color of the shampoo is from the herbs? Think again. Three other ingredients in the shampoo are Yellow #5, Orange #4 and Violet #2.

In other words, this is a shampoo product purchased by naive consumers, in my opinion. People who really know herbs and natural products can only laugh at a product like this. Want a real shampoo? Buy Olive Oil Shampoo from Heritage Products, available at most natural health stores.

The bottom line to all of this, though, is that every week, it seems like we see a new announcement about some toxic chemical found in personal care products that is related to either cancer or neurological disorders. And yet week after week these products are being sold by retailers and consumed in large quantities by the American people who remain oblivious to the real damage these products are causing to their health.

Once again, the solution here is to protect yourself by learning the truth about these products and switching to products made with safe ingredients. There are safe shampoos, safe soaps, safe laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids and even deodorant products. You don't have to expose yourself to toxic chemicals to take care of personal hygiene, because whether you agree with it or not, these disease-causing chemicals are going to remain quite legal in the use of personal care products for many years to come. Why? You can bet that the manufacturers of these products will fight against any attempt to regulate or outlaw these toxic chemicals. That's because the chemicals are convenient for such manufacturers. It's much the same way in which food manufacturers use sodium nitrate in bacon and other packaged meats. It's all about their convenience rather than protecting your health.

So, here's the idiot test for today: if I was standing on a street corner with a bottle of colored liquid, and I told you that liquid contained a toxic chemical that caused neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease and birth defects, would you buy that product from me and scrub it into your scalp under warm water?

Of course not. But if you're buying these popular shampoo products, that's exactly what you're doing right now. Such is the power of brand marketing in America. is part of the News Target Network ©2004,2005 All Rights Reserved.

Wyoming has an enormously varied landscape, though most of it is desert. Once past the mountainous area, I was so tired of driving and just wanted to get home. My speedometer kept telling me I was doing 90 but it seemed like 25. I had one stop left: Crazy Horse Monument.

I'd seen it as a kid of 10. When I arrived I was absolutely amazed at two things: 1. How far the sculpture had NOT come (Mt Rushmore was built at the speed of light comparatively) and 2. How large the center had grown. It seems that the memorial has become a central point for Native American history. There is not one nation on Native Americans that has not contributed to the center. They are building a museum of Native Americana and even have a school in the back that teaches the ways of the Natives. I was very impressed.

Being our last stop, we stocked up on puppy treats and coffee and took off thru Custer National Park to get to the freeway. I was told to watch out for buffalo, but the only ones we ran into were in a picnic area (no humans to be found).

We found the highway and put the cruise control up to 80 and sat back. Till we hit the biggest storm I've ever been in. I was on the phone to a friend who had the Weather Channel on. She said that the storm I was in stretched from Kansas to the top of North Dakota.  Every once in a while we had to slow down for the two inches of hail on the road.

After a few hours, we were past it and heading into Minnesota. We arrived home just in time to tell everyone that this big storm was heading our way. And it was.


Slow Poisoning Of America [and CANADA]

I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, so did a friend of mine, John Erb.

He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and spent years working for the government.

He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called /The Slow Poisoning of America/. In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies.

No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so the scientists have to create them. They make these morbidly obese creatures by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and humans?) to become obese they even have a title for the race of fat rodents they create: "MSG-Treated Rats" MSG?

I was shocked too. I went to my kitchen, checking the cupboards and the fridge. MSG was in everything! The Campbell's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, Kraft salad dressings, especially the 'healthy low fat' ones. The items that didn't have MSG had something called Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate. It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff. They hide MSG under many different names in order to fool those who catch on.

But it didn't stop there. When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what menu items had MSG. Many employees, even the managers, swore they didn't use MSG. But when we ask for the ingredient list which they grudgingly provided, sure enough MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere. Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant, even the sit down ones like TGIF, Chilis', Applebees and Denny's use MSG in abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG as in every chicken dish, salad dressing and gravy. No wonder I loved to eat that coating on the skin, their secret spice was MSG!

So why is MSG in so may of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative or a vitamin? Not according to my friend John. In the book he wrote, an expose of the food additive industry called The Slow Poisoning of America ( he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body. Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG at: explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.

A study of elderly people showed that people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobby group says eating more benefits the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?

'Betcha can't eat just one', takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight?

The MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added. Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance!

Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the prepackaged meals, soups, snacks and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.

The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. How can they claim it is safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these?

The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity. Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT, Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002

Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats. Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori RC, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug

Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: an animal model of multiple risk factors. Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar

Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity. Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K, Kusunoki Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct

Yes, that last study was not a typo, it WAS written in 1978.

Both the medical research community and food "manufacturers" have known MSG's side effects for decades! Many more studies mentioned in John Erb's book link MSG to Diabetes, Migraines and headaches, Autism, ADHD and even Alzheimer's.  But what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping fattening and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we now see? Even as you read this, George W. Bush and his corporate supporters are pushing a Bill through Congress. Called the "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act" also known as the "Cheeseburger Bill " this sweeping law bans anyone from suing food manufacturers, sellers and distributors. Even if it comes out that they purposely added an addictive chemical to their foods.  Read about it for yourself at:

"Last month [February 2, 2005] the House of Representatives passed the "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act" to protect the food and beverage industry from civil lawsuits. Under the measure, known as the "Cheeseburger Bill," people who buy food or drinks couldn't sue the companies that made them, the stores that sold them or the restaurants that served them if they got fat from the products, so long as the products met existing laws. The Senate is expected to take up a similar bill later this year."

The Bill has already been rushed through the House of Representatives, and is due for the same rubber stamp at Senate level. It is important that Bush and his corporate supporters get it through before the media lets everyone know about MSG, the intentional Nicotine for food.

Several months ago, John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of the highest government health officials in Canada. While sitting in the Government office, the official told him "Sure I know how bad MSG is, I wouldn't touch the stuff!" But this top-level government official refused to tell the public what he knew. The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing legal issues with their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin.

So what do we do? The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it. Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive. But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice, what can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while guys like Bush are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us.

I for one am doing something about it. I am sending this email out to everyone I know in an attempt to show you the truth that the corporate owned politicians and media won't tell you. The best way you can help save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic, is to forward this email to everyone. With any luck, it will circle the globe before Bush can pass the Bill protecting those who poisoned us. The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry. Imagine if big tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on Nicotine? Blow the whistle on MSG. If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us, and you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the National Library of Medicine, at Type in the words "MSG Obese", and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.

We do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic, addicted sheep, waiting for the slaughter. With your help we can put an end to this, and stop the Slow Poisoning of America.

“Let's save our children,” says John Erb.

So let's look at the box score:

Vioxx: 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths. Taken off
the market by its manufacturer (not the FDA) YEARS after the
FDA recognized an elevated risk of cardiac problems.

Ephedra: About 100 deaths attributed to synthetic ephedrine.
Banned by the FDA.

There's your "watchdog" for you. Not to mention a showing of
true colors.

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

This Just In

A new look at the effects of statin drugs on cognitive function should give pause to anyone thinking of taking them. Researchers looked at the learning ability of patients taking a low dose of simvastatin compared to controls (Am J Med 2004 Dec 1;117(11):823-9. Using tests called Elithorn Mazes, researchers looked at the level of improvement when patients take the test several times. The time for solving a puzzle of some kind was improved by 16 percent in the control group whereas the statin group showed no improvement. The difference, together with the differences in a few other tests, was highly significant, meaning that a considerable number of statin-takers were unable to learn anything from the first test. The researchers tried to explain away the results by stating that “The observed treatment effects were quantitatively small and were primarily manifest not as an absolute decline in performance but as a failure to improve upon repeat posttreatment testing.” In a THINCS group report, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov describes the results somewhat differently: “Consider that this result was achieved in a study comparing only 189 statin-treated patients with 94 controls after only six months and on the lowest simvastatin dose used in clinical practice. Translated to the U.S. population, it means that millions of people may have become unable to learn from previous experiences due to their cholesterol-lowering treatment.”

Source: Weston Price Foundation

Now why would statin drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs affect a person's brain?

Could it be that our brains are mostly cholesterol?


This Just In

White Flour and Alloxan!

I was just utterly shocked to have recently discovered another FDA first degree murder! When I studied chemistry forty plus years ago, they were using a fairly benign bleaching agent to bleach white flour. Now it comes out they have started using alloxan! Alloxan is a poison, the most famous spinner up of super oxide free radicals known to science! It is used to chemically produce diabetes in normal rats, because alloxan spins up enormous amounts of free radicals in pancreatic beta cells, utterly destroying them! Aspartame also so damages the mitochondria, that people are then damaged by the free radicals spun up by the damaged mitochondria!

(Premature graying for example) The VERY LAST thing we need added to our diet is alloxan, (A well known grievous poison!) which the FDA now has being force fed to us in white flour! (This includes even pasta!) Boy! Is the FDA ever making it hard to get any wholesome food in this country!

Alloxan thus directly interacts with Aspartame to produce multi organ damage, including diabetes and syndrome X! It also makes the poisonings from many other junk-foods far worse, and causes advanced aging (just like Aspartame!) AND, many other DEGENERATIVE DISEASES!

I hope this information helps to prove to the New Mexico Legislature, and to the courts that the FDA is now indeed just farcical, since Rumsfeld in 1981 broke everything decent in our government to put the heinous Aspartame into Us!

Sure glad I eat mostly whole wheat bread! I will now avoid ALL white flour products from this point forward. Somebody, obviously just wants to kill us!

Please pass this on to the Minnesota Attorney General for me.

James D. Bowen MD

To read more on Alloxan and White Flour and your health risks:

This Just In: Diet Soda Users Gain Weight

Diet soda drinkers likely to gain weight, study says. Good article, but we've touched on this previously pointing out that Aspartame is very acidifying which slows your metabolism. There are many other reasons for this phenomenon (ever see someone wash down two double cheeseburgers and a super fries with a diet Pepsi?), and some are listed here: and

Codex Update

The following article is a MUST read, written by a journalist with a law degree. Our nutritional freedoms are on the verge of being pulled out from under us.

Who Says Whatever Happens at Codex
Does Not Affect US Law and
Why Do They Say It?


Now you can go to and view a 76MB video. If you have broadband, you can simply download it to your computer and watch it later. It will take two days to download if you are hooked to the internet by telephone.


Aminocare® A10
Cancer Preventive

Aminocare® Cream & Lotion
Reverse Wrinkles at the Genetic Level


Store Wars!
Click above for a movie worth viewing.


New guidelines set by the National Academies of Sciences would permit the development of human-animal hybrids. The creation of these new species would be allowed for the sake of research. According to the standards, this would be permitted "under circumstances where no other experiment can provide the information needed." The standards also recommend "strong scientific justification" for experiments where human cells are used to develop major aspects of the brain of the new animal. In addition, newly developed human-animal species are not allowed to breed with each other. These standards are voluntary, and human-animal hybrids are already under production. Learn more and speak your mind:


An ethics committee at Stanford University has approved a proposal to create mice with brains made almost completely of human brain cells. Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board endorsed this procedure based on the assumption that the animal would probably not experience higher levels of human thought, given the size and shape of the mouse brain. The committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display "human-like behavior," although, admittedly, no one quite knows how an observer would be able to truly distinguish whether or not a lab mouse is thinking and feeling like a human. Learn more and speak your mind:



Japanese scientists are splicing human genes into rice that will ultimately be grown for human consumption. While some opponents say the concept borders on cannibalism, genetic engineers claim the new rice has environmental benefits. Researchers spliced a gene from a human liver into rice to help the plant "digest" pesticides, thereby allowing the crop to be sprayed with up to 13 different pesticides without damaging the rice. The developers of the new human-rice admit that if this gene were to escape into the wild, a new generation of "superweeds" could be inadvertently created. No testing of the product's impact on human health has yet been conducted.


The USDA has refused to respond to allegations that it has been covering up cases of Mad Cow disease in the U.S. for well over a decade. Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian, says he was told by USDA officials as far back as 1991 that if his testing laboratory ever found evidence of Mad Cow disease, he was to tell no one. He and other scientists say they know of cases where cows tested positive for the disease in laboratories but were ruled negative by the USDA. Mad cow is a concern to public health because humans can contract a fatal brain illness known as variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease from eating beef products contaminated with the mad cow pathogen. TAKE ACTION! Sign the Mad Cow petition:


Government officials from 130 nations are currently meeting in Uruguay to discuss methods of eliminating twelve of the world's most toxic pesticides and chemicals. Specifically, these toxins, such as DDT and PCBs, are referred to as Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs). They are known to kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders, and interfere with normal infant and child development. According to Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, eliminating POPs will be expensive but "will save lives and protect the natural environment - particularly in the poorest communities and countries."


The University of Hawaii has released a new study that shows people who consume processed meats have a 6,700% increased risk of pancreatic cancer over those who consume little or no meat products. The study was done over a period of seven years on nearly 200,000 people. Researchers pin the blame on sodium nitrite, a chemical used in nearly all processed meats, including sausage, hot dogs, jerkies, bacon, lunch meat, and even meats in canned soup products. Although these same meats can be purchased without sodium nitrite, consumers must seek the few products that are labeled as such. The USDA attempted to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970s, but was blocked by the meat industry, which relies heavily on the chemical to add color to processed meats, making them look more appealing. Author and nutritionist Mike Adams said of this and other similar study results, "Sodium nitrite is a dangerous, cancer-causing ingredient that has no place in the human food supply."


Just in time for World Fair Trade Day, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is pleased to announce our next House Party film and action pack, featuring the new documentary, Coffee with the Taste of the Moon. Starting May 14th the OCA and allies around the world will promote Fair Trade and organic goods, like coffee, chocolate and tea. Certified Fair Trade goods provide a fair price for farmers, create sustainable economic opportunities for global communities, and offer an alternative to so-called "Free Trade." Make everyday Fair Trade Day!





  • In a recent press briefing in Bentonville, Arkansas, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott Jr. announced the corporation could not afford to pay living family wages to its workers in a manner similar to what its competitors Costco, Safeway, Giant and Kroger currently do.
  • Wal-Mart does more business than Target, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Safeway and Kroger combined.
  • Wal-Mart is the largest profit-making corporation in the world, with 1.4 million employees, 5,000 stores, and annual sales of a quarter of a trillion dollars.
  • Wal-Mart's profits, after all expenses, have nearly doubled in the last four years, from six billion dollars in 2001 to ten billion dollars in 2004.
  • Learn more and join the OCA's "Breaking the Chains" campaign


The American Heart Association has released a study indicating that the rate of obesity among Americans earning more than $60,000 a year is growing three times faster than the rate among the poor. "Sedentary lifestyles and restaurants are the two big things that affect that group the most," said Marc O'Meara, a dietitian at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The portion sizes just keep growing."

Although dreaming of one day being a heavy metal drummer, 15 year old Micah Hinton may be destined for engineering. The high school sophomore has designed a model car that uses a solar panel to create hydrogen fuel out of water. When the car is running, it converts that hydrogen back into ordinary water. As a result, the fuel source is never depleted, and the car never needs a fill-up. "It lasts forever," said Hinton, 15.

The OCA has announced the launch of its new international Science Oversight Board (iSOB), that will expand OCA's outreach into the biomedical and public health arena. The iSOB oversight board will investigate and publicize conflicts of interest at academic medical centers and in governmental agencies worldwide. It will focus on the corporatization of medicine and the commodification of human life.

The Pentagon is lobbying Congress to pass a new law that would allow the military to freely violate a host of environmental regulations. Entitled "The Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative," the legislation would allow military facilities to ignore laws like the Clean Air Act. The Pentagon claims environmental regulations are a threat to national security, since they restrict the military. The proposal comes on the heels of a sharply different bill sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein of California that would hold the military responsible for cleaning up perchlorate pollution (rocket fuel), which has recently been discovered in 93% of the nation's lettuce and 97% of breast milk samples.
Take action here:

On February 15, the Mexican government voted to legalize genetically engineered (GE) crops. Up until now, GE crops have been banned in the country in order to keep GE contamination away from what is the world's most diverse, important, and pure collection of maize (corn) varieties. Although surveys reveal the vast majority of Mexican citizens oppose the legalization of GE crops, intense pressure from the U.S. eventually won over. Monsanto, which owns the patents and distribution rights to 91% of GE seeds in the world, is now one of the leading advertisers in Mexico, second only to Coca-Cola.


Under the New World Order of the World Trade Organization (WTO), corporations now have the right to "discover" seeds and genetic materials used by indigenous peoples for centuries, and patent these materials, thereby obtaining monopoly rights to its products and profits. One such example is that of India's Neem Tree, traditionally considered a sacred tree, whose seeds have a fungicidal quality that has been common knowledge to the indigenous people of India for centuries. Despite this widespread traditional use, an American company, Thermo Trilogy, was able to obtain a patent on that process. In other words, using Neem Tree seeds as a fungicide suddenly became illegal, unless you paid Thermo Trilogy its royalties first. But last week, for the first time in history, a patent has been revoked as a matter of protecting traditional knowledge and practices. This landmark decision, made by the European Patent Office, is being celebrated in India and will likely inspire the reassessment of dozens of other similar patents.



Southern U.S. cotton farmers are speaking out against Bt cotton, a plant genetically engineered to create its own pesticide to ward off bollworms. Although Bt cotton farmers are enjoying a decrease in bollworm damage, they say the plants are unexpectedly attracting other pests at a much higher rate. This week, North Carolina State University released a study on the matter, indicating that the state's Bt cotton fields have an average of three times more damage from stink bugs than conventional cotton.




American moms and dads are expressing anger over new reports revealing a host of hidden carcinogens in baby care products. According to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, "The cosmetics industry has borrowed a page from the playbook of the tobacco industry by putting profits ahead of public health." The OCA and Cancer Prevention Coalition joined together last week to inform consumers of these dangers while providing information about safe alternatives.




The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the advertising practices of Splenda. The artificial sweetener carries the slogan "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar," and as a result, nearly half of all consumers believe Splenda is natural, according to a survey done by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. In actuality, Splenda is made through a complex chemical process using chlorination and phosgene gas.




This week, a committee of 35 scientists from 13 countries, organized by the World Health Organization, announced major concerns with increasing levels of acrylamides in food. Acrylamides are carcinogens that are now known to be created when carbohydrates are cooked at extremely high temperatures, like french fries and potato chips.



The American Medical Association has published the results of three new studies, further underlining the fact that plant based diets reduce cancer risks. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables offers nutrient combinations that are consistently being shown to lower risks of prostate, breast and colon cancers.



The OCA would like to thank all of you who have joined in on our Organic Bytes Action Alerts, signing our online petitions and forwarding these important news briefs to friends and colleagues. We now have 250,000 online subscribers to Organic Bytes and 20,000 people visiting our website daily. Here's a quick update on some of our recent victories:

SUPPORT TILLAMOOK CHEESE AGAINST MONSANTO INTIMIDATION (Issue #51) - On 2/25/2005, the OCA called on Bytes readers to support a large nationwide distributor of cheese that was considering going rBGH-free. Thanks in part to your action, despite threats by Monsanto, the Tillamook board of directors has voted to go rBGH-free. We hope this will inspire a chain reaction of other major dairy companies to do the same.

TERMINATE THE TERMINATOR (Issue #50) - On 2/11/2005, the OCA informed you of new efforts to legalize the "Terminator" gene, an experimental genetic engineering technique that makes plant seeds sterile. Thanks in part to your letters to the United Nations, those efforts by the biotech industry were stopped, and the terminator has been (at least temporarily) terminated.

#49) - On 1/28/2005, the OCA notified subscribers about a new agreement between the Bush Administration and factory farms that allows these industrial operations to ignore a variety of environmental regulations. The good news is that a federal court has ruled that Bush's new water pollution policies for factory farms are so lax they are illegal. The bad news is that the EPA has not reversed its January 2005 announcement that factory farms don't have to follow the Clean Air Act. If you have not signed the petition yet, please do so now:

EPA CUTTING BACKROOM DEAL THAT THREATENS KIDS (Issue #47)- On 12/31/2005, the OCA alerted Bytes readers about Dow Chemical and the EPA meeting behind closed doors to remove the ban on the toxic termite pesticide Dursban. Thanks in part to your overwhelming response to that alert, that backroom deal was dropped and the ban on Dursban is still in force.



Pharmaceutical Company Corruption

Here are three articles that are a must read for anyone taking any drug. This first story was published in Business Week, in June of 2002. Note the dates of the articles and the simple fact that nothing has really been done to contain the power of these companies. The FDA, as corrupt as any government agency can be, protects the pharmaceutical industry, not the people.

A whistle-blower rocks an industry

Doug Durand's risky documentation of fraud
at drugmaker TAP is prompting wider probes


In his 20 years as a pharmaceutical salesman, Douglas Durand thought he had seen it all. Then, in 1995, he signed on as vice-president for sales at TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. in Lake Forest, Ill. Several months later, in disbelief, he listened to a conference call among his sales staff: They were openly discussing how to bribe urologists. Worried about a competing drug coming to market, they wanted to give a 2% "administration fee" up front to any doctor who agreed to prescribe TAP's new prostate cancer drug, Lupron. When one of Durand's regional managers fretted about getting caught, another quipped: "How do you think Doug would look in stripes?" Durand didn't say a word. "That conversation scared the heck out of me," he recalls. "I felt very vulnerable."

Durand didn't end up in stripes. Far from it. To protect his good name and, as he puts it, to "cover his rear," Durand began gathering the inside dope on TAP and feeding it to one of the country's leading federal prosecutors. It was the first step in what would become a six-year quest to expose massive fraud at the company. Durand's 200 pages of information were so damning that TAP pleaded guilty to conspiring with doctors to cheat the government. And last October, after negotiating a settlement for two years, federal prosecutors announced a record $875 million fine against the company. For his efforts, Durand won an unprecedented award of $77 million, or 14% of the settlement, as allowed under the federal whistle-blower statute.

It wasn't just the 2% kickback scheme that got TAP in trouble. For years, TAP sales reps had encouraged doctors to charge government medical programs full price for Lupron they received at a discount or gratis. Doing so helped TAP establish Lupron as the prostrate treatment of choice, bringing in annual sales of $800 million, about a quarter of the company's revenues.

The government calculates that TAP bilked federal and state medical programs out of $145 million throughout the 1990s. To get some sense of just how big TAP'S fine is, consider that it's nearly nine times what Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to pay in May after the New York Attorney General accused its analysts of issuing misleading investment research. The only penalty that comes close is the $750 million that hospital chain HCA Inc. paid two years ago to settle criminal and civil charges of Medicare-billing fraud.

So far, four doctors have pleaded guilty to accepting free samples of Lupron, billing Medicare for them, and pocketing the cash; they await sentencing. Six TAP executives and one urologist face trial for conspiracy to pay kick-backs and defraud Medicaid programs. None was available to comment. At the time of the settlement, TAP said: "Whatever may have happened in the past, we are determined that TAP today and tomorrow will live up to high standards of integrity and business ethics." It has since created an ethics-compliance program, and it declines to comment further. The two companies that formed TAP 25 years ago, Japan's Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. and Abbott Laboratories, issued similar statements in October and now decline to comment on the settlement.

Durand's successful suit comes as Justice Dept. officials, the Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general have all launched an assault against what they believe to be sales abuses by the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Indeed, such accusations have forced the industry to try to reform itself. The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America recently issued voluntary guidelines banning aggressive sales tactics. "Every company is taking a long, hard look at how it does business," says Glenna M. Crooks, president of health-care consultant Strategic Health Policy International Inc. in Washington, D.C., and a longtime friend of Durand's.

It's only recently that Durand, 50, has felt comfortable talking about his experiences as a whistle-blower. A plain-spoken man, Durand was one of eight children and was raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in Pawtucket, R.I. He and his wife Elizabeth who were high school sweethearts, clipped grocery coupons even when Durand was pulling in $100,000 a year. He worked for two decades at Merck & Co., which vets every marketing campaign with its legal and regulatory teams. His last position there was senior regional director. "We always took the high road under Doug - including considering pulling a drug off the market when the Food & Drug Administration questioned it," says a former co-worker.

Not so at TAP. The company had a numbers-driven culture; top reps could earn $50,000 annual bonuses. They lavishly courted doctors with discounts, gifts, and trips. On his first day, Durand was stunned to learn that the company had no in-house counsel. At TAP, "legal counsel was considered a sales-prevention department," he says.

At first, Durand shrugged off such red flags. TAP had lured him with a salary of $140,000, a promise of a $50,000 bonus, and a big assignment. At that point, TAP was a niche player. Then-President Yasu Hasegawa wanted Durand to go after the mass market with treatments for prostate cancer and ulcers. "The job seemed like a great idea at the time," he says.

But Durand soon realized that Hasegawa wasn't really interested in change. When Durand talked about trying to earn the trust of doctors, reps rolled their eyes. At TAP'S 1995 launch of ulcer drug Prevacid in Palm Springs, Calif., the main attraction was a party featuring "'Tummy," a giant stomach that belched fire. "There was no science, no discussion of the drug," he says.

Just how little science would be used to promote the drug, Durand quickly learned. In Long Beach, Calif., he visited a urologist who had received a big-screen TV from a TAP rep. Turns out TAP had offered every urologist in the country (there are 10,000) a TV, as well as computers, fax machines, and golf vacations. Durand says his angry demands for information about other giveaways were ignored. TVs weren't the most troubling freebie. Durand discovered that reps could not account for half their Lupron samples, even though federal law requires it and losing track of even a single dose could have resulted in a fine of $1 million. Durand tried fixing the problem the TAP way: He offered an extra year's salary to those who kept accurate records. It worked. But senior management soon killed the bonus offer, and the reps stopped following the rules. "Most of what I did there was resisted, undermined," Durand says. Hasegawa, who has returned to Takeda's headquarters in Tokyo, declined to comment. At the same time, Durand says, "some of the doctors were so cocky. They'd brag, 'Oh there's my Lupron boat, my Lupron summer house,' " referring to the fact that they had take kickbacks or freebies and used them to buy some extravagance.

Durand grew increasingly concerned. Colleagues told him he didn't understand TAP'S culture. He was excluded from top marketing and sales meetings. Then came the crack about how he would look in stripes. Durand's stomach knotted in fear that he would become the company scapegoat. Yet he felt trapped: If he left within a year, he wouldn't be able to collect his bonus. He also doubted that anyone would hire him if he bolted so hastily. In desperation, he called Crooks, who had been a colleague at Merck. They met at a secluded bar near the Philadelphia airport. Appalled at his tale, she told him to "get out as quick as you can." Her advice cracked Durand's tough exterior. " After keeping all this inside I finally broke down and told my wife," says Durand. She had stayed behind in Pittsburgh to see their youngest daughter through her final year of high school.

Elizabeth Durand was terrified. She urged her husband to call the companies that had offered him jobs before he joined TAP but the positions had been filled. Financial concerns weren't what scared her most, though. "I knew he wouldn't take the easy way out and just leave," she says. "He'd try to make things right."

Soon after, Durand began to secretly document TAP's abuses. For two months, he sneaked papers home to copy, staying up for hours to type explanatory notes. On Crooks's advice, Durand mailed his binder to Elizabeth K. Ainslie, a Philadelphia attorney with close ties to James Sheehan, an assistant U.S. attorney specializing in medical fraud. Ainslie was impressed with his material. "Many think they're whistle-blowers, but most are just disgruntled employees," she says.

Ainslie urged Durand to sue TAP under the federal whistle-blower program, which allows an insider to file a civil complaint alleging fraud against the government. Typically, the informant then meets with government attorneys; if they decide to proceed, the investigation is conducted in secret. Companies learn of it as the government issues subpoenas, but executives aren't supposed to know who blew the whistle. Usually, the company will negotiate a settlement to avoid a trial, as TAP did. If not, insiders can testify secretly against their employers.

It wasn't easy for Durand to decide to file a suit. "I didn't even know about the law when I first approached Ainslie," he says. "I wanted to leave a trail showing I was on the side of the government, not working to cover up fraud. The idea of suing as a whistle-blower intimidated me. Nobody likes a whistle-blower. I thought it could end my career." Indeed, whistle-blowers live for years as double agents with no guarantee that their personal risk will result in a trial, let alone a victory. "I asked myself all the time, is it worth taking Liz and the kids through this?" says Durand. "In the end, I always found myself believing that it was the right thing to do."

After filing the suit, Durand left TAP for Astra Merck in February, 1996, but wasn't supposed to tell his new employers about the case. For the next four years, the government conducted its own investigation into Durand's allegations, which included grilling him about the documents he had collected. It was an overwhelming experience at first. "I was put in a conference room in Philadelphia with all kinds of different federal agents," he says. "I didn't calm down until the end, when everyone started greeting my attorney as an old friend. It was then I knew that I was in good hands." Because the government often asked Durand to testify on just a day's notice, he had to scramble to make excuses to take off. He almost blew his cover early on when he ran into a group of Astra Merck executives in the Chicago airport; they thought he was vacationing in Orlando. "It was wrenching, terrible," recalls Durand. "I never knew if someone would discover me as a whistle-blower. And the government was always cryptic - inching along."

Nor is Durand's ordeal over. He still has to testify in the trials of the six TAP execs, five of whom used to work for him. Durand doesn't worry too much about TAP, though he does "feel sorry" for those indicted. His wife doesn't: "Doug banged his head against the wall, and nobody would listen," she says. "They knew what they were doing."

Durand's suit may well be the first of several that challenge potentially fraudulent practices in the drug industry. Schering-Plough Corp., Merck-Medco Managed Care LLC, the pharmacy-benefit management unit of Merck, and others have received subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia. That investigation may focus on whether drugmakers gave discounts or kickbacks on certain drugs to companies such as Merck-Medco while charging higher prices to the government. All those involved say they are cooperating with the inquiry. And Merck-Medco says its actions were legal. "Thanks to Durand and other whistle-blowers, there's a revolution coming in how drug companies set pricing," says James Moorman, president of public interest group Taxpayers Against Fraud in Washington.

At the same time, state attorneys general are going after drugmakers that may be promoting unapproved uses of their products. Pfizer Inc., for example, has disclosed that a number of state AGs, as well as the US attorney in Boston, are looking into its marketing of the popular epilepsy drug Neurontin. Those inquiries appear to follow allegations by a whistle-blower. Pfizer says it is cooperating with the authorities and points out that the inquiries concern Warner-Lambert Co., which it acquired in 2000. And the Federal Trade Commission is conducting a study of the questionable legal maneuvers drugmakers often use to delay competition from generic rivals. Durand is more than happy to have left the industry behind. After collecting his $77 million - and paying $28 million in taxes - he retired to West Florida to be near his parents. They still like to shop at Wal-Mart, so he takes them there every week. And Durand and his wife continue to clip grocery coupons from the Sunday newspaper. But he did buy a new Lexus, a small reward for a reluctant millionaire.

By Charles Haddad, with
Amy Barrett, in Philadelphia

In December of that same here, the New York Times published the following:,0,7519657.story?coll=la-home-headlines

December 22, 2004  

The National Institutes of Health: Public Servant or Private Marketer?
  • Doctors have long relied on the NIH to set medical standards. But with its researchers accepting fees and stock from drug companies, will that change? A continuing examination by The Times shows an unabashed mingling of science and commerce.

    Dr. H. Bryan Brewer Jr.
    Dr. H. Bryan Brewer Jr.
    In their defense
    (Dennis Cook / AP)
    Public official's private role
    (Greg Dobos / Haemonetics 2003 Annual Report)
    'Permissive culture'
    (Tyrone Turner / For The Times)
    December 22, 2004
     Related Stories
      Times Headlines

    By David Willman, Times Staff Writer

    For 15 million Americans, it is a daily ritual: gulping down a pill to reduce cholesterol.

    They do it because their doctors tell them to. Their doctors, in turn, rely on recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and its scientists, such as Dr. H. Bryan Brewer Jr.
    Brewer, as a leader at the NIH, was part of a team that gave the nation new cholesterol guidelines that were expected to prompt millions more people to take the daily pill. He also has written favorably of a specific brand of cholesterol medication, Crestor, which recently proved controversial.

    What doctors were not told for years is this: While making recommendations in the name of the NIH, Brewer was working for the companies that sell the drugs. Government and company records show that from 2001 to 2003, he accepted about $114,000 in consulting fees from four companies making or developing cholesterol medications, including $31,000 from the maker of Crestor.

    Brewer was far from alone in taking industry's money: At least 530 government scientists at the NIH, the nation's preeminent agency for medical research, have taken fees, stock or stock options from biomedical companies in the last five years, records show.

    NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni has told Congress that outside work should be allowed if "the scientist is giving advice in an area … that is not part of his official duties."

    Information gathered by a congressional committee, in addition to company records and 15,000 pages of government documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that NIH researchers have repeatedly crossed Zerhouni's line.

    For example:

    •  Dr. P. Trey Sunderland III, a senior psychiatric researcher, took $508,050 in fees and related income from Pfizer Inc. at the same time that he collaborated with Pfizer — in his government capacity — in studying patients with Alzheimer's disease. Without declaring his affiliation with the company, Sunderland endorsed the use of an Alzheimer's drug marketed by Pfizer during a nationally televised presentation at the NIH in 2003.

    •  Dr. Lance A. Liotta, a laboratory director at the National Cancer Institute, was working in his official capacity with a company trying to develop an ovarian cancer test. He then took $70,000 as a consultant to the company's rival. Development of the cancer test stalled, prompting a complaint from the company. The NIH backed Liotta.

    •  Dr. Harvey G. Klein, the NIH's top blood transfusion expert, accepted $240,200 in fees and 76,000 stock options over the last five years from companies developing blood-related products. During the same period, he wrote or spoke out about the usefulness of such products without publicly declaring his company ties.

    Announcing such ties is not required by the NIH. The agency has encouraged outside consulting, and has allowed most of its scientists to file confidential income disclosure forms.

    Supported by the taxpayers at a cost this year of $28 billion, the NIH oversees research with a mission to extend healthy life and to reduce "the burdens of illness and disability." The laboratories and offices of most NIH scientists are at the agency's woodsy, 300-acre headquarters in Bethesda, Md., nine miles north of the White House.

    The scientists at the NIH — seen by many outsiders as neutral government experts — advise federal regulators and write hundreds of articles for influential medical journals. Some travel the world encouraging doctors to prescribe a particular medication.

    The flow of drug industry fees and stock options to NIH scientists was disclosed in December 2003 in an article in The Times. The article also explained the bureaucratic means by which most of the payments had been kept secret from Congress, the public and the nation's doctors.

    Subsequent inquiries this year by Congress have shown that even Zerhouni, the NIH's director, did not know the extent to which agency scientists were being paid by industry.

    When leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee felt the NIH was not complying with a request to identify every drug industry payment, the panel went directly to 20 companies. Those responses revealed more than 130 consulting deals with industry that did not appear to have the required NIH approval. One of them was the $508,050 relationship between Sunderland, the Alzheimer's researcher, and Pfizer.

    Other documents obtained this year by The Times, including programs of industry meetings for physicians that featured NIH scientists as speakers, reveal dozens more relationships not reported as approved by the agency.

    The companies, in marketing their products, have frequently cited the NIH's reputation for high scientific standards. The cholesterol guidelines, for example, have been widely circulated by makers of anticholesterol drugs.

    Dr. Curt D. Furberg, a former head of clinical trials at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and now a professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, explained how such information reached physicians: "The [company] reps tell the doctors, 'You should follow these guidelines,' implying that you're not a good doctor if you don't follow these guidelines."

    Often NIH involvement is featured, while the government researchers' links to the companies go unmentioned.

    When Brewer, the cholesterol researcher, praised Crestor in a medical journal in 2003, the article identified him as an NIH scientist, not as a paid consultant to the manufacturer. In marketing Crestor to doctors, the company cited Brewer's findings without mentioning that he was on its payroll.

    As leader of the NIH, Zerhouni has acknowledged that some past deals have been improper. But he has also argued for allowing most agency scientists to consult privately for industry. Close government-industry cooperation, he says, can help bring important products to market. He has also said that the supplemental income from industry fees can help the NIH retain talented scientists.

    Others disagree. Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, said in an interview that doctors and patients counted on NIH scientists for "their critical, scientific, dispassionate judgment."

    "When they have financial ties to the companies that make the products that they're supposed to be impartial about, we can't assume that," Angell said.

    Dr. Philip R. Lee, who served Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton as an assistant secretary of Health, said that every NIH scientist should be prohibited from taking industry money.

    "Damn it, if you work for NIH, you're not working for a drug company, you're working for the public," Lee said. "When you have people who have a split allegiance, undisclosed to the public, to me it is just unthinkable."

    'Should Have Mentioned It'

    As chief of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's molecular disease branch since 1976, Brewer is one of the nation's leading experts on cholesterol.

    With his rimmed glasses and shock of sandy hair, he has the bearing of an accomplished scientist and the credentials to match. Born in Casper, Wyo., he gained his medical degree from Stanford University and received further training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Now 66, Brewer has a manner that is both authoritative and plain-spoken.

    But when Brewer wrote a medical journal article in 2003 helping to introduce Crestor, he did not inform doctors about a potentially lethal safety risk.

    The product was about to be launched in the United States by AstraZeneca, a British company that had put Brewer on a scientific advisory board and paid him $31,000 from 2001 through 2003, according to NIH records.

    In the Aug. 21, 2003, American Journal of Cardiology, Brewer wrote that Crestor "produced markedly greater reductions" in cholesterol levels than three established competitor drugs tested in clinical trials. That was true. But Brewer also concluded that Crestor's "benefit-risk profile … appears to be very favorable," and that proved to be questionable.

    Brewer assured doctors there was no basis for worry about a muscle-wasting side effect called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney failure and death. (Another anticholesterol drug, Baycol, was removed from the market in 2001 after at least 31 deaths related to rhabdomyolysis were reported.)

    Brewer wrote: "No cases of rhabdomyolysis occurred in patients receiving [Crestor] at 10 to 40" milligrams.

    But eight cases of rhabdomyolysis were reported during clinical trials of Crestor. One of the case reports cited a patient who took the drug in 10-milligram doses, according to records filed with the Food and Drug Administration and reviewed by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act. Sales representatives for AstraZeneca have routinely provided copies of Brewer's journal article about Crestor to doctors nationwide, a company spokeswoman confirmed last week.

    The FDA received 78 reports of rhabdomyolysis among patients taking Crestor during its first year on the market, FDA records show. Two of those patients died.

    In contrast to Brewer's opinion in August 2003, an editorial two months later in the Lancet, the prominent British medical journal, said: "Physicians must tell their patients the truth about [Crestor] — that, compared with its competitors, [Crestor] has an inferior evidence base supporting its safe use."

    In March of this year, a U.S. consumer group, Public Citizen, called for banning Crestor based upon several cases of kidney failure or muscle damage. AstraZeneca defended its drug as safe and effective in print and television ads this fall, adding that FDA management agreed. But on Nov. 18, senior FDA epidemiologist Dr. David J. Graham told a Senate committee that the safety of Crestor needed reassessment.

    After Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen questioned Brewer's ties to AstraZeneca and his depiction of Crestor's safety, Brewer sought to explain himself in a July 9 memo to NIH Director Zerhouni.

    Brewer told Zerhouni that he had not mentioned seven of the rhabdomyolysis cases because those patients had received doses of Crestor higher than the approved level. As for the patient who took the drug at 10 milligrams, "it was not possible to definitively conclude" that Crestor had caused her rhabdomyolysis, Brewer wrote. Other medical experts said reviewers should report such a serious event regardless of possible cause.

    "Baycol had already been pulled for exactly that same side effect and it was a matter of great concern," said Angell, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. "If he knew about it, he should have mentioned it."

    Zerhouni sought to distance his agency from the controversy in a written response to Wolfe, suggesting that the NIH had no responsibility for omissions in Brewer's article about Crestor. Brewer had produced it in his "private capacity" as a consultant to AstraZeneca, Zerhouni wrote. That the article identified Brewer as an NIH employee and directed reprint requests to the NIH was "most unfortunate," Zerhouni added, acknowledging that it "gives the reader the impression that it was done in his Government capacity."

    Zerhouni's letter added: "Dr. Brewer has been counseled about these requirements." A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca, Emily Denney, said that Brewer had remained a consultant to the company until April of this year.

    AstraZeneca was not the only client of Brewer's who made use of his NIH title. Agency rules have long instructed employees not to use their NIH affiliations for outside consulting work. Nonetheless, Lipid Sciences Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., listed Brewer by his title on the company website — and displayed video clips of Brewer that showed the entrance to his federal workplace, the NIH Clinical Center.

    In the clips, Brewer appeared in his white lab coat, telling viewers, "Currently, there are a number of excellent new drugs that have come out." In late November, after The Times submitted questions to Brewer about his role with the company, Lipid Sciences removed the video clips and all references to Brewer from the website.

    The company, which is developing a product that would remove cholesterol from human cells, paid Brewer $83,000 from 2002 through 2003. As of September 2003, his consulting contract with Lipid Sciences was to pay him $125,000 annually plus stock options, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company reported in March that Brewer, who until recently served on its board of directors and scientific advisory board, held 411,927 stock options.

    Brewer also has taken consulting fees from Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor, the nation's biggest-selling cholesterol pill. From 2001 to 2003, Pfizer paid Brewer fees totaling $55,500, according to NIH records. Brewer has been among the many agency employees whose annual financial reports were kept confidential by the NIH.

    Brewer's other duties have included serving with the agency-sponsored National Cholesterol Education Program, which issued aggressive guidelines for reducing cholesterol in 2001, and revised them in July of this year to call for even wider use of cholesterol drugs.

    Eight of the nine authors of the guidelines, including Brewer, had financial ties with companies that marketed cholesterol drugs — but their connections were not mentioned in their report, published in July by the medical journal Circulation. Following criticism from consumer advocates, the NIH posted on its website a listing of the authors' financial ties.

    Dr. David L. Brown, chief of cardiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said the interpretations of data in the cholesterol recommendations should not be trusted because the NIH panel was "in the pocket of the drug companies."

    Brown was among 22 physicians who wrote to Zerhouni in September, questioning the 2001 guidelines and the revisions this year. NIH officials said they stood behind the recommendations.

    Brewer, whose annual government salary is $187,305, referred questions submitted by The Times to an NIH spokeswoman, Diane Striar, who said Brewer's paid consulting arrangements for four drug companies had been approved in advance.

    As of this month, Brewer "no longer serves on any advisory boards of pharmaceutical companies," Striar said, adding that the agency would not comment further. Brewer, after accepting consulting payments from companies for several months this year, had stopped doing so by this fall, records show.

    Meanwhile, anticholesterol pills are the biggest-selling category of prescription drugs in America, with sales last year of $14.7 billion. Under the current guidelines, the number of Americans taking the medications may more than double, to 35 million, according to NIH estimates.

    Winning Over Its Critics

    The pharmaceutical bonanza that has swept the country in the last decade has created one of the most influential lobbies in Washington. A total of 3.5 billion prescriptions — medicating about 129 million Americans — were filled last year. Drug industry revenue in the U.S. tops $231 billion annually. The drug companies donated $41 million to candidates for federal offices in the last four years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    "The pharmaceutical industry has never been more powerful than now," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles). "The companies have made investments in the people who have power in Washington. And they've gotten a very good return on those investments."

    In the last 12 years, the companies have secured passage of legislation that fast-tracked FDA approvals of new drugs and transformed the agency into a more compliant partner of industry.

    And when congressional critics surface, the industry has a way of winning them over: This year's top two recruits had recently launched a congressional investigation of conflicts of interest at the NIH.

    Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had cited "secret consulting fees and stock options from drug companies" to NIH scientists as a reason for requesting that the agency produce documentation of all the payments. Tauzin, who did not seek reelection, was hired this month to be the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the group that represents the nation's largest drug companies.

    Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-Pa.), who led three hearings this year on NIH conflicts of interest, had criticized the agency for allowing its scientists to use "a swivel chair" to make government decisions while taking drug company fees. In July, Greenwood announced that he would give up his position as chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations and retire from Congress to become president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization — a group that urged policymakers this year not to prohibit NIH scientists from paid consulting deals.

    In the face of such industry influence, leading the NIH has become more complicated. Zerhouni, the agency's director, is an expert in magnetic resonance imaging. He also knows the value of moonlighting: While serving as executive vice dean of the Medical School at Johns Hopkins University, he cofounded a Maryland company that developed and marketed devices to enhance the usefulness of MRI scans.

    He was trained as a physician in his native Algeria. With a gently accented English and a propensity to say that he agrees with members of Congress even when they pose pointed questions, Zerhouni, 53, has projected affability while addressing the NIH's conflicts of interest.

    When he was appointed by President Bush in March 2002, Zerhouni inherited an agency whose scientists were avidly pursuing private consulting.

    Although historically separate from industry, the NIH by the late 1980s was allowing some limited outside arrangements. In November 1995, the consulting gate was swung wide open by then-Director Harold E. Varmus in an internal memo, which was first made public in December 2003 by The Times.

    The Varmus memo "immediately" lifted all limits on outside income, reversed the prohibition against taking stock or stock options, and freed the top leaders — the directors of the research institutes and centers — to start making personal deals with companies.

    At the same time, arcane rules wielded by NIH administrators were allowing more and more of the deals to remain confidential.

    Following The Times' report, Zerhouni was summoned to Capitol Hill on Jan. 22 by the Senate appropriations subcommittee for health issues.

    Zerhouni initially told the panel that the NIH had "not identified any situations where outside activities resulted in undue influence" on official decisions. The subcommittee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), warned Zerhouni that far-reaching, internal investigations would be needed to ensure that conflicts of interest did not exist.

    Zerhouni said he would impose tighter controls. Henceforth, he said, the consulting deals of all NIH employees would be subjected to "independent peer review" by a newly created ethics committee.

    He also said he was appointing a blue-ribbon committee to "completely review" the NIH's policies on conflicts of interest. But Zerhouni added that "instead of having a complete one-size-fits-all rule, I think the rules should be different" depending on the employee's rank or authority to oversee research grants.

    Zerhouni's position sought to keep the agency's many influential laboratory or branch chiefs, such as Brewer, Sunderland, Liotta and Klein, eligible for outside consulting.

    Two months later, Zerhouni's blue-ribbon panel recommended what he wanted. It called for barring the institute directors and their top administrators from outside consulting — while allowing 5,000 or more staff scientists, including all the laboratory and branch chiefs — to take payments from industry. The panel also recommended, and Zerhouni said he supported, an agencywide ban on taking stock or stock options from biomedical companies.

    Most NIH scientists should be allowed to consult, Zerhouni said, because such arrangements helped "translate" discoveries from NIH labs into products that could help patients.

    "You can have a policy that says, 'All right, all prohibited.' But how does that help the public, in terms of translating the discoveries in our laboratories into real things?" Zerhouni told reporters.

    For years, the agency has had procedures for formal collaborations with industry — but they prohibit NIH scientists from taking the companies' money. The formal agreements have resulted in at least 1,300 collaborations with biomedical companies over the last 20 years, agency records show.

    On the other hand, the public record is bereft of products "translated" from NIH labs to patients through private consulting contracts. No such evidence was presented during days of testimony this year before the NIH blue-ribbon panel or congressional subcommittees.

    By midyear, the failure of the NIH to produce a full accounting of its ties to industry had spurred bipartisan criticism in the House. On May 12, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), warned Zerhouni to lift the agency's secrecy and to relinquish all records documenting drug industry payments to NIH scientists.

    The panel's senior Democrat, Rep. Peter Deutsch of Florida, told Zerhouni at the same hearing: "I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to end the practice today of NIH researchers taking anything of value from a drug or a biotech company."

    Zerhouni endorsed some additional restrictions, including ceilings on compensation that employees could accept from industry and the amount of time they could devote to outside activities. While NIH employees could still accept fees to sit on companies' scientific advisory boards, they would be barred from serving on boards of directors.

    But a July report by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics concluded that the NIH was beset by a "permissive culture." The office found that 40% of the 155 outside payments to NIH employees it sampled randomly had not been approved in advance or accounted for within the agency.

    Zerhouni proposed another compromise: a one-year "moratorium" on industry consulting. Details of the moratorium have not been completed.

    Last month, nearly 200 NIH researchers said in a letter to Zerhouni that a permanent ban would make the scientific staff — who are paid between $130,000 and $200,000 a year by the government — "second-class citizens in the biomedical community."

    Dr. Raynard S. Kington, a deputy NIH director, said Tuesday that the agency had "moved actually quite fast" to carry out tougher restrictions. Yet he acknowledged that unless new rules were put into effect, perhaps in the new year, the scientists were free to continue collecting stock options and consulting fees from drug companies.

    "Fundamentally," Kington said, "we are operating under the same rules."

    Times researcher Janet Lundblad in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


    Dying medicine boss: 'Drug trials are pointless ... and unethical' [March 2002]

    Drug company boss dying of cancer, has decided to expose the unethical experiments that his industry carries out on patients.

    Exclusive: Volunteers stand little chance of recovery

    By Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor

    For the past 40 years Professor David Horrobin has been developing new medicines. In 1977 he founded Scotia Holdings, which was once one of Scotland's most promising biotechnology firms. But today, as the drug company boss is dying of cancer, he has decided to expose the unethical experiments that his industry carries out on patients.

    Horrobin reveals that patients recruited to clinical trials are prescribed highly toxic drugs with serious side effects, while they stand little chance of benefiting personally. He says that only around one in 30 patients on trials will respond positively to treatment, but that participants are not informed of this slim hope.

    Horrobin, who is currently chairman of Stirling-based firm Laxdale Ltd, which develops new psychiatric drugs, claims that pharmaceutical companies even deliberately recruit more patients than they need for trials so that there are too few sufferers left for competitors to test rival drugs.

    He also reveals that promising cancer treatments are not available to patients because, unless they are a completely new compound and qualify for a patent which will secure profit from their sale, no company will pay for them to go through the lengthy trial process.

    Two years ago Horrobin was diagnosed with lymphoma, cancer of the lymph tissue. As the cancer was at an advanced stage, he was told that he could not realistically expect to live more than six months.

    In a paper in the Lancet medical journal, which was fast-tracked for urgent publication, he writes: 'I entered a universe parallel to the one in which I had lived for 40 years. I became a patient and suddenly saw everything from the other side. I discovered a whole new attitude to clinical trials and experimental treatments.

    'I believe that patients who are asked to volunteer for large trials in cancer or other lethal diseases are being misled. Most such trials cannot be justified on ethical grounds.'

    He points out that large trials are needed to show up a small improvement on present treatments.

    'If a trial has to be large, say more than 100 patients, it is large only because the expected effect size is very small. That means that most patients entering the trial have little or no chance of receiving benefit. With the toxic nature of many oncology [tumour] treatment regimens, there may well be a substantial chance of harm. Although the risk of harm is usually well described in patient information leaflets, almost nothing adequate is ever said about the assumed effect size and the real chance of benefit. Almost all patients volunteering for most trials in oncology are doomed: at best they can expect little benefit. They are not usually being properly told about this low expectation.'

    As a cancer patient, Horrobin came to the conclusion that it was not necessarily in the best interests of the sufferer to take part in trials. 'In view of the frequently severe adverse events, usually much more predictable and reliable in their occurrence than ... a therapeutic response, a decision on the patient's part not to be treated is not irrat ional. I learned that few patients are made aware of this fact: that is unethical.

    'Patients with lethal diseases want to get better, not to have their lives extended by a few weeks or months at great cost in toxicity and time in treatment.'

    The most damning allegation in Horrobin's paper is that pharmaceutical companies actually try to sign up as many patients as possible to their trials so that competitors have difficulty finding sufferers to test rival drugs. Speaking from the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh where he is currently undergoing treatment, Horrobin insisted he had been present at industry meetings where this unscrupulous practice had been discussed.

    'For the past 20 years I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry. Although everyone in the industry will deny it, and I doubt whether there is documentary evidence of this statement anywhere, I know that several of the larger firms use overpowered trials as a way of keeping competitors out of that particular subject. Especially with less common cancers, if a company, by manipulating the power calculations, can recruit for a trial several times more patients than is necessary, then they will gain a clear competitive advantage by making it more difficult for rivals to recruit.'

    Horrobin added that hospitals conducting clinical trials for pharmaceutical firms profit financially from the experiments -- without necessarily telling the patients.

    'Most patients entering most oncology trials will be dead before the results are known. But the institutions in which they are being treated probably benefit greatly financially. Most patient information leaf-lets do not tell them either fact. This omission is unethical.

    'I cannot find any patient information which states that the hospital will benefit from that patient taking part in the trial and by how much. This could be between £3000 and £20,000 per trial.'

    Putting new medicines through trial is expensive, and the costs are covered only when the drug can be sold at a high profit. If a medicine is not considered novel enough to be granted a patent, guaranteeing a high price when it comes on the market, it will not be financially worthwhile pursuing. Unprofitable but helpful therapies are therefore denied to patients, says Horrobin.

    The former professor of medicine at Montreal University says his knowledge has allowed him to access medicines that would not be available to most patients.

    'The high cost of large trials means that they can be done only on patent-protected new chemical entities. Since such companies have to seek a return for investment, trials will be conducted for only a tiny part of the wide range of potential cancer therapies. Cancer patients are, of course, not told that such a small part of potential therapies is open to them.

    'The Western General has collaborated with me completely. I have had no difficulty using the treatment I wanted -- but I have a special position in that I am running a pharmaceutical company.'

    Charles Warlow, professor of medical neurology at Edinburgh University and a consultant at the city's Western General hospital, is a staunch advocate of clinical trials. But even he admits he refused to take part in a clinical trial himself when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

    'I declined to be randomised in a trial of chemotherapy after my carcinoma of the colon was removed seven years ago. I was too frightened by the side effects of the new treatment and didn't think the risk could be worth the likely benefit so I stuck with the old treatment. So far so good.

    'The problem is that if a benefit is very small, does it offer anything to patients and is it worth the side effects of treatment? It depends. If there is a very small benefit it may be worthwhile if the drug is cheap, easy to take, and there are no or very few side effects -- like aspirin to prevent another stroke in a stroke survivor. Yet with some cancer drugs there may only be a small advantage, allowing patients to live for just a few weeks or months longer, but they may have to put up with some pretty toxic side effects. In that case it may not be worth it and I don't know if patients are always informed of that -- although I myself certainly was.'

    Warlow added that patients in clinical trials generally get better care than those in routine practice because they are closely followed up by doctors.

    Jim Eadie, director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry in Scotland, said: 'Clinical trials are essential to develop new and better treatments for patients, and play a crucial part in ensuring that the UK and Scotland are at the forefront of the development of modern treatments and research.

    'It is important that trials involve as many patients as possible in order to obtain the most accurate, scientifically valid data. Companies carry out multi-centre clinical trials all over the world and are not restricted to seeking patients only in the UK. It is therefore impossible for any single company to sign up all patients with a particular condition for its clinical trial work.

    'It is true that sometimes medicines may be withdrawn at a late stage in development, but this will invariably be because of problems assoc iated with safety and efficacy, not because of imminent expiry of patent life.'

    Unwilling to surrender sales, companies struggle to meet the EU's tough stand on toxics.
    By Marla Cone modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=973 

    At their headquarters in Santa Clara, researchers at Coherent Inc., the world's largest laser manufacturer, are wrestling with an environmental law that is transforming their entire product line.

    Soon, everything produced at the Bay Area company — even the tiniest microchip inside its high-powered lasers that fly on NASA satellites and bleach jeans sold at boutiques — must be free of lead, mercury and four other hazardous substances.

    The mandate that has Coherent and other American electronics companies scrambling doesn't come from lawmakers in Washington, or even Sacramento.

    Instead, it was crafted 5,000 miles away, in Brussels, the capital of the European Union.

    Europe's law, governing any product with a battery or a cord, has spawned a multibillion-dollar effort by the electronics industry to wean itself from toxic compounds.

    "This is the first time we've encountered something like this on such a global scale," said Gerry Barker, a vice president of Coherent, whose lasers are used to create master copies of Hollywood films, test the safety of car tires, imprint expiration dates on soda cans and more.

    And the electronics rule is only the beginning.

    Already, Europe is setting environmental standards for international commerce, forcing changes in how industries around the world make plastic, electronics, toys, cosmetics and furniture. Now, the EU is on the verge of going further — overhauling how all toxic compounds are regulated. A proposal about to be debated by Europe's Parliament would require testing thousands of chemicals, cost industries several billion dollars, and could lead to many more compounds and products being pulled off the market.

    Years ago, when rivers oozed poisons, eagle chicks were dying from DDT in their eggs and aerosol sprays were eating a hole in the Earth's ozone layer, the United States was the world's trailblazer when it came to regulating toxic substances. Regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats controlled the White House, the United States was the acknowledged global pioneer of tough new laws that aimed to safeguard the public from chemicals considered risky.

    Today, the United States is no longer the vanguard. Instead, the planet's most stringent chemical policies, with far-reaching impacts on global trade, are often born in Stockholm and codified in Brussels.

    "In the environment, generally, we were the ones who were always out in front," said Kal Raustiala, a professor of international law at UCLA. "Now we have tended to back off while the Europeans have become more aggressive regulators."

    Europe has imposed many pioneering and aggressive — some say foolish and extreme — bans meant to protect people from exposure to hundreds of industrial compounds that have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm and other health effects. Recent measures adopted by the European Union have taken aim at chemicals called phthalates, which make nail polishes chip-resistant, and compounds added to foam cushions that slow the spread of fires in furniture.

    EU's Big Market

    Many companies, even those based in America, follow the European rules because the EU, with 25 countries and 460 million people, surpasses even the United States as a market. Rather than lose access to it, many companies redesign their products to meet European standards. For example, Revlon, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder have said that all their products meet European directives that control the ingredients of cosmetics. And U.S. computer companies say they are trying to remove lead and other substances banned in the EU from everything they sell.

    As the EU emerges as the world's toughest environmental cop, its policies increasingly are at odds with Washington.

    Among the compounds now phased out or restricted in Europe but still used in high volumes in the United States are the pesticides atrazine, lindane and methyl bromide; some phthalates, found in beauty products, plastic toys and other products; and nonylphenol in detergents and plastic packaging. In animal tests, those compounds have altered hormones, caused cancer, triggered neurological changes in fetuses or damaged a newborn's reproductive development.

    The "biggest single difference" between EU and U.S. policy is in the regulation of cosmetics, said Alastair Iles, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group. Cosmetics sold in Europe cannot contain about 600 substances that are allowed in U.S. products, including, as of last September, any compound linked to cancer, genetic mutations and reproductive effects.

    Driving EU policy is a "better safe than sorry" philosophy called the precautionary principle. Following that guideline, which is codified into EU law, European regulators have taken action against chemicals even when their dangers remain largely uncertain.

    Across the Atlantic, by contrast, U.S. regulators are reluctant to move against a product already in use unless a clear danger can be shown. A chemical, they say, is innocent until proven guilty.

    Critics say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's search for scientific clarity takes so long that the public often goes unprotected. Paralysis by analysis, the critics call it.

    U.S. risk assessments can last years, sometimes longer than a decade, and in some cases, the EPA still reaches no conclusions and relies upon industries to act voluntarily. For instance, despite research that showed by 2002 that polybrominated flame retardants were doubling in concentration in Americans' breast milk every few years, the EPA has still not completed its risk review. Meanwhile, the U.S. manufacturer of two of the flame retardants agreed voluntarily to stop making them last year after they were banned in Europe and in California.

    In the 1970s and '80s, all the major chemical and pollution laws in the United States had a precautionary slant, said Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute.

    Lengthy reviews of chemicals, which now dominate U.S. policy, began to evolve under President Reagan and grew in the 1990s. Carl Cranor, an environmental philosophy professor at UC Riverside, said that a conservative groundswell in American politics and a backlash by industries set off "an ideological sea change."

    Part of the change stems from the much more vocal role of U.S. companies in battling chemical regulations, said Sheila Jasanoff, a professor of science and technology studies at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. American attitudes toward averting environmental risks haven't changed since the 1970s, Jasanoff said. "What has changed is politics and political culture," she said.

    EPA's Limited Role

    The Toxic Substances Control Act, adopted by Congress in 1976, grants the EPA authority to restrict industrial chemicals that "present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment." The law, however, also tells EPA to use "the least burdensome" approach to do so and compare the costs and benefits.

    A pivotal year for the EPA was 1991, when a federal appeals court nullified its ban on asbestos. The court ruled that the agency, despite 10 years of research, had failed to prove that asbestos posed an unreasonable risk and had not proved that the public would be inadequately protected by steps short of a ban.

    Since then, the EPA has not banned or restricted any existing industrial chemical under the toxics law, except in a few instances where manufacturers acted voluntarily. New chemicals entering the market are more easily regulated, and so are pesticides, under a separate law.

    Some states, including California, are filling what they see as a void by adopting their own rules. California and Maine banned some polybrominated flame retardants, for example.

    Iles said that restricting a chemical under federal law now requires a "very tough burden of proof."

    "Americans tend to think that products are safe because they are in the market and must somehow have passed government regulation," he said. "But there is no real regulation. Cosmetics, for example, are almost unregulated."

    Since the asbestos rule was thrown out by the court, EPA officials perform more complicated calculations to quantify how much risk an industrial chemical poses, assigning a numeric value, for example, to the odds of contracting cancer or figuring out what dose might harm a fetus or child. They also do more research to predict the costs and the expected benefits to public health.

    But making these precise judgments is difficult with today's industrial compounds. In most cases, the dangers are subtle, not overtly life-threatening.

    Studies of laboratory animals suggest that low doses of dozens of chemicals can contribute to learning problems in children, skew sex hormones, suppress immune systems and heighten the risk of cancer. Some chemicals build up in the bodies of humans and wildlife, and spread globally via the air and oceans. But while harm is well-documented in some wild animals and lab tests, the risks to human beings are largely unknown.

    In the face of that scientific uncertainty, Europeans say, their precautionary principle is simply common sense. If you smell smoke, you don't wait until your house is burning down to eliminate the cause, they say. Their standard of evidence for chemicals is similar to the creed of doctors: First, do no harm.

    "In the EU, if there is a risk with potentially irreversible impact, we don't wait until the last piece of information," said Rob Donkers, the EU's environmental counselor in Washington, D.C.

    "You can study things until you turn purple, but we do not work from the concept that you really need to prove a risk 100,000 times," he said. "In the face of potentially very dangerous situations, we start taking temporary risk management measures on the basis of the science that is available."

    Europe's policy is, in part, a reaction to a series of disturbing revelations about dioxins in chicken, mad cow disease, toxic substances in diapers and baby toys, all of which have made many Europeans more averse to taking risks with chemicals.

    Under Europe's rules, "there are chemicals that are going to be taken off the market, and there probably should be," said Joel Tickner, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts' School of Health and the Environment.

    Conservative critics and some officials in the Bush administration criticize Europe's precautionary approach as extreme, vague, protectionist and driven by emotions, not science.

    EPA officials would not go on the record comparing their policies with the EU's. But they asserted that their approach, while different, is also precautionary.

    Instead of banning compounds, the EPA teams with industry to ensure there are safe alternatives. In the last five years, 3M Corp. voluntarily eliminated a perfluorinated chemical in Scotchgard that has been found in human blood and animals around the world, and Great Lakes Chemical Corp. ended manufacture of polybrominated flame retardants used in foam furniture. In those cases, EPA officials said, forming partnerships with industry was quicker than trying to impose regulations and facing court challenges as they did with asbestos.

    More than any other environmental policy in Europe, the proposal known as REACH, or Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals, worries U.S. officials and industries.

    Under REACH, which was approved by the EU's executive arm and is scheduled to go before the European Parliament this fall, companies would have to register basic scientific data for about 30,000 compounds. More extensive testing would be required of 1,500 compounds that are known to cause cancer or birth defects, to build up in bodies or to persist in the environment, as well as several thousand others used in large volumes. Those chemicals would be subject to bans unless there is proof that they can be used safely or that the benefits outweigh the risks. The testing would cost industries $3.7 billion to $6.8 billion, the EU says.

    Some company executives contend that Europe is blocking products that pose little or no danger. In Santa Clara, Barker of Coherent said that the EU's precautionary approach sounds good in principle but it forces businesses to do things that are "unnecessary and probably very expensive."

    In some cases, U.S. officials say, Europeans are using the precautionary principle as an excuse to create trade barriers, such as their bans on hormones in beef and genetically modified corn and other foods.

    Not on the Same Page

    "There is a protectionist element to this, but it goes beyond Europe trying to protect its own industries or even the health of its public," said Mike Walls, managing director at the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers, the nation's largest exporter. "It's a drive to force everyone to conform to their standards — standards that the rest of the world hasn't weighed in on."

    John Graham, an economist and senior official of Bush's Office of Management and Budget, which reviews new regulations, has called the notion of a universal precautionary principle "a mythical concept, kind of like a unicorn."

    "Reasonable people can disagree about what is precautionary and what is dangerous," he said at a 2002 conference.

    It is ironic, says Richard Jensen, chairman of the University of Notre Dame's economics department, that Europeans "who embrace the precautionary principle should have such a high tolerance for risk from smoking and secondhand smoke."

    Americans are more fearful of cigarettes, nuclear power and car exhaust — and it shows in their laws. They also pasteurize foods to kill bacteria, while European children grow up drinking and eating raw milk and cheese.

    Said UCLA's Raustiala, "The United States is quite schizophrenic, as are Europeans, about when we decide" to be cautious.


    Ocean tells the story: Earth is heating up
    Human activity, not variables in nature, cited as culprit

    Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Science Writer
    Friday, April 29, 2005

    New temperature readings from the deep ocean trace a clear warming trend that seems impossible to turn around any time soon, scientists reported Thursday, promising a steadily warming world and raising the odds of a catastrophic sudden change marked by rising seas and melting icecaps.

    Researchers led by James Hansen, one of NASA's top climatologists, looked at the planet's "energy imbalance" -- the difference between the amount of heat absorbed by Earth and the amount radiated out into space -- and compared those results with predictions of leading climate models.

    They concluded that the unusual magnitude of the warming trend could not be explained by natural variability, but instead fit precisely in line with theories suggesting that human activity -- the dominant "forcing agent" driving the computerized climate models -- is responsible.

    "This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for, " Hansen said in a prepared summary of the study, which was published in the journal Science. "The magnitude of the imbalance agrees with what we calculated using known climate forcing agents, which are dominated by increasing human-made greenhouse gases. There can no longer be substantial doubt that human-made gases are the cause of most observed warming."

    The Earth has warmed about 1 degree Fahrenheit on average over the past century, and the researchers argue that another rise of about 1 degree is "in the pipeline" for the next 100 years -- without any further increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Hansen, who is director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Institute for Space Studies at the Columbia University Earth Institute, said if the trend is allowed to get out of control, there could be a 10-degree jump.

    The delayed consequences of past or current greenhouse gas emissions is due to the "thermal inertia" of the planet, according to the scientists -- an effect most noticeable at the ocean's edge when the morning sun begins to warm sand while the water remains seemingly unaffected. It takes more of the sunlight's energy to penetrate into the water, particularly at its lowest depths, than it takes to warm a shallow bit of land.

    Much of the energy Earth has absorbed from global warming has been trapped in the ocean -- and will only reveal itself over a long period of time.

    But just how serious this problem might be, and what should be done about it, is still a matter of debate. The Bush administration has resisted international calls for tough limits on greenhouse gas emissions and has said more research is needed.

    Kelly Redmond, a top regional climatologist for California and other Western states at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, said the latest findings do not erase room for debate on the magnitude of the changes -- and exactly what has caused those changes -- in the politically contentious climate field.

    "How do you tell if it's global warming when you're standing in your backyard?" he said. "Is it global, or your backyard? That's our dilemma, because although the Earth may be warming as a whole, it's not warming uniformly."

    In the West, for instance, complicating factors include the ocean currents prevailing in the Pacific, patterns that change seasonally as well as over longer time periods -- and have potent effects on weather and climate that can't be easily separated from those caused by global trends.

    Redmond, who was not involved in the study, serves as deputy director of the federally financed Western Regional Climate Center, which has been installing new arrays of data collectors to track the regional climate trends. Despite any short-term or local trends to the contrary, Redmond said the latest evidence does suggest, on the whole, an explanation for such warming signs as earlier springs and less winter snow for the region. A warmer West is already exhibiting those signs.

    Hansen is "more outspoken on the issue than a lot of people," Redmond noted. "And he might turn out to be right. I'm a little bit longer to make up my mind, but I don't see anything inconsistent with what he's seeing and what we're seeing in the western United States."

    One key bit of new information incorporated into the new study, whose 15 authors included scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, came from a network of ocean-diving instruments known as the Argo system. The network is made up of hundreds of "profiling floats" that gradually sink and rise through the water, collecting data automatically from all levels to about a mile down -- providing many more measurements, from much greater depths, than ever before. About 1,800 of a planned 3,000 of these devices have been deployed.

    About 10 years of ocean data helped make a compelling case, Hansen said in an e-mail exchange Thursday, that global warming is real, and allowed the scientists, for the first time, to calculate within an acceptable range of uncertainty how much the planet's retained energy balance is increasing. By their reckoning, the "net forcing" works out to mean that about 0.85 watts per square meter is being retained by the Earth -- a seemingly tiny amount compared to the nearly 250 watts per square meter coming in from the Sun.

    But the small number, Hansen figures, is big trouble. He calculated the energy retention could be eliminated only by halting all human-caused emissions of methane or by somehow removing half of all the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere.

    "A lot of implications flow from this," Hansen said, arguing that the long lag times involved in climate change now virtually lock in warmer temperatures.

    "That is an unfortunate and challenging combination for policy makers who wish to stabilize climate," Hansen said.

    E-mail Carl Hall at [email protected].

    Pentagon's Postwar Fiasco Coming Full-circle?

    By David L. Phillips

    Christian Science Monitor, May 24, 2004

    Pentagon mismanagement, which takes the form of abuses in Abu Ghraib and confusion in dealing with Ahmed Chalabi's aspiration to political power in Iraq, is part of a disturbing pattern.

    Pentagon officials shelved existing postwar plans for the reconstruction of Iraq - yet had no plan of their own. They ignored the advice of Iraqis, except Mr. Chalabi. Critical information was obscured or withheld from Congress. As a result, national interests have been ill-served, and the promise of democracy in Iraq has been betrayed.

    The Future of Iraq project was set up more than a year before the war and was led by the State Department. The project also involved 16 other federal agencies and hundreds of Iraqis,and cost $ 5 million. I was the architect and facilitator of the project's democratic principles working group, which Iraqis called "the mother of all working groups." It was charged with developing a strategy for the political transition after Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

    I know that the Future of Iraq project was no silver bullet for all of Iraq's problems. Yet the Pentagon's outright dismissal - and even undermining - of the project was one of its critical mistakes.

    Pentagon officials thought the endeavor was too academic and ignored its recommendations simply because it was an initiative of the State Department. As part of a bureaucratic turf battle, Pentagon civilians treated State Department colleagues with disdain and disrespect. Civilians in the Office of Secretary of Defense were scornful of diplomacy itself, which is inherently about dialogue and compromise.

    Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle thought they could liberate a nation without even talking with those they were liberating. The Pentagon never had a policy or a program. All it had was a person - Ahmed Chalabi, who agreed with the Pentagon vision of making Iraq a laboratory for democratic development and using it as a launch point for reshaping the broader Middle East.

    The State Department had a fundamentally different approach. It engaged Iraqis representing the country's different ethnic and religious groups. It was clear from the beginning of our work, however, that empowering other Iraqis was antithetical to the Pentagon's goal of pushing Chalabi into power.

    At a meeting I attended with European diplomats to discuss reconstruction, a Rumsfeld protege asserted that "Ahmed Chalabi is like the prophet Muhammad. At first, people doubted him but they came to realize the wisdom of his ways."

    When a proxy of Chalabi's was wavering on whether to join our working group, he told me that officials in the Office of the Vice President had persuaded him to participate, with assurances that his views would prevail if he participated.

    For sure, the Bush administration's decision to purge the Baath party and disband the Army was ideologically driven. In practical terms, the administration also wanted to eliminate centers of political gravity that might impede Chalabi's rise to power.

    From the beginning, Pentagon officials and staff from the Office of the Vice President kept close watch on the democratic principles working group. As observers present at every meeting, they were all over the process. But independent-minded Iraqis had their own views about the transition. When representatives of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress tried to persuade the group to endorse creation of a government in exile, presumably to be led by Chalabi, other Iraqis would have none of it.

    Though the working group was ultimately unable to reach consensus on a transition a few months prior to the start of military action, US plans went ahead for a large conference of free Iraqis in December 2002. When Chalabi was pushed to the sidelines of the meeting, Pentagon officials lost confidence in the ability of Iraqis to manage their own affairs and discouraged an Iraqi-led process that would culminate in a basic law and an elected Iraqi assembly.

    The irony is not lost on anyone that the Bush administration's current approach mirrors previous plans developed by the Future of Iraq project. Denied self-rule, Iraqis became disaffected with the presence of US occupation. The failure to hand over power to Iraqis is at the root of resentment and rebellion.

    Many of today's tensions surfaced in the Future of Iraq project during the run-up to war. However, the administration did not want difficulties to come to light lest they discourage support for the war on Capitol Hill. The Pentagon established the secretive Office of Special Plans. The project's director, a State Department official, was excluded from attending meetings of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

    Dissembling and obfuscation defined the Pentagon's approach all along. Gen. Eric Shinseki was rebuked for suggesting that 200,000 troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq. Pentagon officials refused to provide an estimate of the costs of the Iraq war until September 2003, when congressional hearings were held to consider the administration's $ 87 billion request. Revelation of abuses at Abu Ghraib were suppressed. In addition, the Pentagon demonstrated an alarming unwillingness to admit mistakes and make course corrections.

    One senior career military officer tells me that in the halls of the Pentagon his colleagues are grumbling that one of Rummy's new rules is "Never let the facts interfere with reality."

    As a result of the Pentagon's mismanagement, hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqis have died needlessly. In Iraq, the well has been poisoned and a hard job made even harder. The fight against terrorism and the cause of global democracy are also casualties of war.

    The administration plan has come full circle - after a year of failed occupation, the administration is finally focused on giving power to Iraqis and establishing self-rule. It's a year behind schedule, but not too late to salvage democracy in Iraq.

    David Phillips is a senior fellow and deputy director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. He resigned as senior adviser from the US Department of State last September.


    Laughter is the Best Medicine

    An Old Farmer's Advice:


    1. Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

    2. Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

    3. Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.


    4. A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.


    5. Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.


    6. Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.


    7. Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


    8. Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.


    9. It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

    10. You cannot unsay a cruel word.


    11 Every path has a few puddles.


    12. When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.


    13. The best sermons are lived, not preached.


    14. Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.


    15. Don't judge folks by their relatives.


    16. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.


    17. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.


    17. Don't interfere with somethin' that isn't botherin' you none.


    18. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.


    19. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

    20. Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get to be had.


    21. The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.


    22. Always drink upstream from the herd.


    23. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

    24. Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.


    25. If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.


    26. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.


    The Dangers of Thinking

    It started out innocently enough.  

    I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up.  

    Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.  

    I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true.  

    Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.  

    That was when things began to sour at home.  

    One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life.  

    She spent that night at her mother's.  

    I began to think on the job.  

    I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.  

    I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.  

    I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"  

    One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."  

    This gave me a lot to think about.  

    I came home early after my conversation with the boss.  

    "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."  

    "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"  

    "But Honey, surely it's not that serious."  

    "It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as philosophers, and philosophers don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"  

    "That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.  

    She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.  

    "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.  

    I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche.  

    I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors...They didn't open. The library was closed.  

    To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.  

    Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.  

    You probably recognize that line.  

    It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.  

    Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting.  

    At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.  

    I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.  

    Life just seemed...easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.  

    I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.  

    Today, I registered to vote as a Republican.

    A Cajun was stopped by a game warden in South Louisiana recently with two ice chests of fish, leaving a bayou well known for its fishing.
    The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"
    "Naw, ma fren, I ain't got none of dem, no. Dese here are my pet fish."
    "Pet fish?"
    "Ya. Avery night I take dese here fish down to de bayou and let dem swim 'round for a while. Den I whistle and dey jump rat back inta dis here ice chest and I take dem home."
    "That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"
    The Cajun looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, "It's de truth ma' fren. I'll show you. It really works."
    "Okay, I've GOT to see this!"
    The Cajun poured the fish into the bayou and stood and waited.
    After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, "Well?"
    "Well, what?" said the Cajun.
    "When are you going to call them back?"
    "Call who back?"
    "The FISH!"
    "What fish?"


    Conversations overheard between pilots and Air Traffic Controllers.

    Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"

    Delta 351: "Give us another hint. We have digital watches"


    "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."

    "Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"

    "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


    A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, “What was your last known position?"

    Student: "When I was number one for take-off."


    A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.

    San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."


    A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following: Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

    Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

    Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

    Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war."


    One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

    Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

    The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."


    The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them.

    So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

    Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."

    Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

    The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

    Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

    Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

    Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"

    Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark — and I didn't land."


    While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

    Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

    "Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

    Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.

    Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"



    Could Cause Users to Become Ho's, Company Says

    The makers of the popular drug crack issued a safety warning today, advising crack's millions of users that habitual use of the stimulant could cause them to become ho's.

    A spokesman for Pharmacia Cranque LLP announced the safety warning from its corporate headquarters in Brussels, causing its shares to plummet on Wall Street.

    "Clinical studies have shown that continued use of crack may, in some rare instances, cause the habitual crack user to become a crack ho," said spokesman Jean-Luc Van de Velde.

    While not every crack user becomes a crack ho, Mr. Van de Velde added, "the occurrence of crack ho's per one million crack users was high enough to warrant this safety advisory."

    In Kansas City, crack user Shelly McTaggart said she felt "betrayed" by the drug giant's announcement: "I've been smoking crack every day for the last eight years and there was no warning label indicating that I was in danger of becoming a ho - which, by the way, I am."

    Drug industry experts said that the safety warning was particularly bad news for Pharmacia Cranque, which earlier this year was forced to issue similar warnings for two of its hottest-selling street drugs, China Girl and Chiba Chiba.

    Dexter Tolan of Credit Suisse First Boston said that the company's latest woes may cause investors to look elsewhere to put their drug money to work: "Right now I've gone from 'neutral' to 'buy' on crystal meth."

    Elsewhere, in his most gloomy assessment to date, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that the insurgency in Iraq could last longer than Cher's Farewell Tour.
    The Borowitz Report


    A man walks into the street and manages to get a taxi just going by.  He gets into the taxi, and the cabbie says, "Perfect timing.  You're just like Moishe."

    Passenger: "Who?"
    Cabbie: "Moishe Glickman.  There's a guy who did everything right.  Like my coming along when you needed a cab.  It would have happened like that to Moishe every single time."

    Passenger: "There are always a few clouds over everybody."

    Cabbie: "Not Moishe.  He was a terrific athlete.  He could have gone on the pro tour in tennis.   He could golf with the pros.   He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star and you should have heard him play the piano."

    Passenger: "Sounds like he was something, huh?"

    Cabbie: "He had a memory like a computer.  Could remember everybody's birthday.  He knew all about wine, which foods to order and which fork to eat them with.   He could fix anything.  Not like me .... I change a fuse, and the whole neighborhood blacks out."

    Passenger. "Wow, some guy ehh?

    Cabbie: "He always knew the quickest way to go in traffic and avoid traffic jams  .... not like me,  I always seem to get into them."
    Passenger: "Mmm, not many like that around."
    Cabbie: "And he knew how to treat a woman and make her feel good and never answer her back even if she was in the wrong.  And his clothing was always immaculate, shoes highly polished too."
    Passenger: "An amazing fellow.  How did you meet him?"
    Cabbie: "Well, I never actually met Moishe."
    Passenger: "Then how do you know so much about him?"
    Cabbie: "I married his widow."

    News Briefs

    Porn Star Attends President’s Dinner

    The annual President’s Dinner, a Republican Party fundraising event, went off last night without a “cock-up” (as they say in England) even though Mary Carey, a Californian porn star appeared as a guest of the President.

    “I also have a brain and political aspirations,” said Carey, whose priorities include legalizing gay marriage. “Besides,” she added, “I wanted to meet some powerful individuals who’ve screwed more people than I have.”

    Terri Schiavo’s Autopsy Released

    Autopsy results on the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman were made public Wednesday by Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin.

    Thogmartin told reporters that she was blind, because the “vision centers of her brain were dead,”' and that her brain was about half of its expected size when she died. “The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain,” he said. “This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons.”

    “Though incontrovertibly brain dead,” Thogmartin summarized, “I’m sure she could have still run for congress or pull off an Iraqi invasion and subsequent occupation much better than the current administration.”

    Bush Administration Plans Next War

    Now that the insurgency in Iraq is on its last legs, the Bush administration is now planning its next war.

    Who stands to feel the Wrath of the Great White Satan? Iran? North Korea? Timbuktu?

    Not according to Dick Cheney who clearly wants to nuke Amnesty International and the International Red Cross for their attacks on our illegal policies that lead to torture and inhumane acts. 

    Saddam Uses “Democracy” Defense

    Saddam Hussein’s attorney, Giovanni di Stefano, announced to the world today their strategy in court.

    “America’s attack and occupation of Iraq has killed over 100,000 innocent civilians. That’s nearly ten times the number of civilians killed under my client’s presidency his last year in office. It’s quite obvious that my client was simply trying to bring democracy to Iraq, only at a slightly slower pace.”

     Volley Fired in the War on Brains

    In light of growing opposition to the war in Iraq, President Bush, in a short press conference, reiterated his position with, “We are at war because we were attacked!”

    One reporter quickly asked, “Was that on December 7th, 1941?”

    Words Words Words

    On discovering how White House staff members have been modifying official reports concerning global warming, investigative journalists have begun combing thru years of previous White House press releases to discover further editing.

    So far they’ve only been able to discern that a line in a previous global warming report, “The pattern of global warming in the North Pole is leading to environmental disaster” was changed to “God hates fags.”


    Blessings to all,