Tiger Tom’s Tales of Dogs


Posted April 19th, 2012

Tiger Tom’s Tales of Dogs

Slobbery Stories that Reveal the Truth about Nature’s Most Overrated Creatures

Caution: Do Not Read These Out Loud to Your Children

Tiger Tom’s great series of dog fables, designed to reveal and reflect on the mental and moral shortcomings of man’s best friend.

The Little Girl and the Dog

by Tiger Tom

Once a little girl was on her way to visit her grandmother. She had to pass through a bad neighborhood, where she saw a spotted dog with long ears and a big slobbery tongue lapping up somebody’s garbage. . The dog asked, “Are you taking that bag of goodies to your grandma?”

“Yes,” said the little girl.

When the little girl got to Grandma’s, she got the key from under the flower pot, let herself in, and headed for Grandma’s bedroom. Thirty feet from the bed she caught on that it wasn’t her grandma in bed but the same big, ugly spotted dog with a slobbery tongue and a stupid expression that she had seen gulping garbage.

Not being a nitwit, the little girl said: “Grandma, I have to pee pee then I have some goodies for you.” She stepped into the bathroom, took a cell phone from her goodies basket and called 911. While she was waiting for help, she engaged Spot in a long, pointless conversation about the size of his teeth and his ears and his tongue. By the time Animal Control arrived, the slow-witted canine believed that he was really the little girl’s grandmother. He tried to tell them they were making a big mistake as they hauled him off to the kennel of no return.

As soon as Spot was gone, the little girl’s grandma returned from the mall. The little girl helped her strip the bed, deodorize the room, and spray for fleas. Then they sat down to some cookies and soy milk and had a good long laugh about how stupid dogs are.

The Moral: Dogs aren’t as good as wolves at fooling little girls and their grandmas.

 

The Three Dogs

A Short Tale with a Happy Ending

by Tiger Tom

 

Three dogs lived in a modest one-room doghouse behind the Big House. One day when the Powers That Be brought the dogs their food, Father Dog, a big, ugly palooka who thought he knew everything, said with pompous authority: “This food is too fresh. Let’s go out and do some dog stuff, then we’ll come back and fight over the food later.”

So they went into the yard and smelled each other, dug some random and meaningless holes, turned around three times and lay down, and took a four-minute nap.They scratched, peed repeatedly, rolled on their backs, turned around three times and lay down again, did much random and pointless barking, then turned around three times and lay down and scratched some more. After licking his balls for some time, Father Dog decided it was time to eat.

When he got to the food bowl, however, he saw right away that some of the food was gone. In fact, a small generic animal was helping himself to it. Father Dog was so enraged that he did not wait for the usual “someone’s been eating my food” repartee but rather charged full speed, growling, snarling, and slobbering, in pursuit of the tiny thief. Just as Father Dog attained full speed and was closing in for the kill, the small animal slipped easily through the cyclone fence and was gone.

Father Dog was going much too fast to stop. Although he locked his brakes and clawed at the ground, he crashed hard into the fence and burst immediately into flames. Soon there was nothing left but a bad smell and a big pile of smoking flesh.

The Moral: Being big and stupid is an advantage if you are a football player, but not if you are a dog.

 

The Fancy Dog Who Learned to Heal

by Tiger Tom

Once a very fancy dog began losing hair from his face and then from his neck and then from his armpits and then from his tail and then from the rest of his body. He smelled even worse than dogs usually do and he always had big gross globs of white stuff in his eyes. He was very upset. He had always been a fancy dog who loved to put on a lot of gaudy stuff and play the fool for humans.

 

His  condition was at first misdiagnosed as a simple case of the Three Day Mange. But  when he did not respond to the usual scrubbing and scalding therapy, the dog doctor recommended an emergency thyroid transplant.

Unfortunately,  no thyroid donor was available. While he was in the dog hospital waiting for a donor, Bowser, for that was our hero’s name,  was enrolled in the dog hospital’s special “Get A Life” therapy training courses. This program was offered to improve his job skills and, of course, to get more of the owner’s money.

When he had  “Shake” and “Roll Over” down pretty good,  on his twelfth day in the dog hospital,  the trainer came in, raised his hand over his head,  and  introduced a new command.  “Heel!”  he shouted.

As if by magic, the big globs of white stuff left Bowser’s eyes, hair started growing in the places where it’s supposed to, and he suddenly smelt no worse than most other dogs. In spite of the dog doctor’s protests and dire predictions of  death and worse, Bowser left the hospital with his original thyroid intact. Soon, he was back to being his normal pompous , greedy and slobbery self.

The Moral:  Be careful what you say to dogs. They are lousy spellers.

The Wolf and the Dog

by Tiger Tom

 

I, Tiger Tom,  confess that I snatched this tale from the great Spanish fable writer Félix María de Samaniego,  who picked it up from someone else and wrote it down  over twenty decades ago. Samaniego wrote it in fancy 18th century Spanish poetry, but I am changing it to very simple English so that even Americans can understand it.  I, Tiger Tom, like this story because it sheds light on how dogs got to be the jerks they are today.

A skinny, hungry wolf was out prowling for food one morning when he came upon a plump dog at the edge of town.

“Señor Dog,” said the bony wolf, “I can’t help but marvel at how good you look, while I, who run looking for food day and night, am a picture of Death itself.”

The dog got right to the point. “Señor Wolf, it could be that you are in the wrong profession. Perhaps you should follow my example.  Give up all this roving about and sleeping in caves.  Move to town. Find a rich family and get you a good watchdog job.  Watchdoggery is a noble calling.  You just keep an eye on things, suck up to the people, act like a moron,  and the  good stuff in life rolls your way.”

The wolf didn’t think twice. He vowed at once to give up his hungry lifestyle and move to town. So the two compadres walked along and chatted amicably until the wolf started asking some personal questions.

“Señor Dog,” he said. “I’ve been wondering about that ring around your neck where all the hair seems to be worn away. What, pray tell, is that?”

The dog evaded the question, so the wolf asked again. The dog said, “Oh, that’s nothing.  Just the mark of the chain”

“Chain?”

“Yes. It’s no big deal. They put it on me to make sure I stay on the job and don’t go wandering around.  But they let me off at meal time and treat me like a king.  Anything they don’t want to eat they throw right on the floor for me. Stuff like bones when the meat is gone, stale bread, and sometimes even a big glob of fat that was accidentally burned by the cook.  It’s great!  Sometimes they rub their hands around on my back and all I have to do is act like I like it, keep my mouth shut, and wag my tail.”

“All that is fine,” said the wolf, “but it sounds to me that being a watchdog is a lot like being a prisoner.”

“In fact,” said the wolf, moving to center stage and adopting the tone and posture of an 18th century neo-classical poet,

 

“Though you dine like a glutton

on bread crusts and mutton,

I’ll stick to my cave

Where I’ll n’er be a slave.”

 

 


The Oversanitization of America

by Rebecca Ephraim, RD, CCN

Conscious Choice, July 2002

“Kill those bugs!” appears to be a slogan that germ-phobic Americans have fanatically adopted. And merchants have responded with zeal. If you visit the soap, detergent, or health and skin-care aisle of any store, you’d swear that malicious monster bacteria are on the loose and they are on the hunt for your family members. Product labels touting extra-strength bacterial fighting agents conjure up images of filthy disease-breeding germs that have to be stopped! Of course, the makers of these products are simply meeting the feeding frenzy of misguided consumers who are intent on spraying, squirting, and smearing all forms ofantibacterial agents in and around their homes as well as on themselves and their kids.

Antibacterials are designed to remove disease-causing organisms from external surfaces before they can enter the body. But we’re learning that, in the case of a large group of these antibacterials, this is not a healthy approach to keeping disease at bay for a number of reasons. Most important, there’s growing evidence that certain antibacterials may well be contributing to the alarming problem of bacterial resistance that was initially linked to our indiscriminate and improper use of antibiotics.

Antibacterials are in a separate category from antibiotics but both are lumped under the umbrella term of antimicrobials. It’s been a well-known fact for years that this country’s wayward use of antibiotics has created mutant strains of bacteria — including those that cause meningitis, pneumonia, children’s middle-ear infections, and blood infections — that are now resistant to at least one antibiotic. In fact, tuberculosis has been shown to be resistant to many antibiotics and frequently does not respond to treatment.

Quite logically, consumers’ fear of this situation and the urge to protect themselves has resulted in the persistent and arbitrary use of antibacterials. But, ironically, in our unwitting need to build germ barriers by applying antibacterials — and buying items impregnated with them (such as cutting boards, high chairs, toys, and mattress pads) — we are contributing to the problem on several levels according to emerging new research.


Stuart Levy, M.D., could be considered America’s resident expert on the entire sweeping subject of antibiotics and antibacterials. As director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University Medical School, Dr. Levy is a scientist on a campaign to reduce the indiscriminate use of them. But the issue of antibacterials is one that is fairly new on the scene. For instance, in 1992, he released The Antibiotic Paradox, a book detailing antibiotic misuse. He didn’t address antibacterials at the time, as they hadn’t emerged on the consumer scene. In the ten years since, antibacterials have become a ubiquitous presence in most American homes. This time, Dr. Levy dedicates an entire chapter to the subject in his newly released and updated second edition.

He emphasizes that antibacterials can be divided into two group: one is the cause for alarm and the other includes a group that’s considered safe to use. The safe group is referred to as non-residue-producing antibacterials and includes the sorts of products that many of us carry around in our cars or purses to clean our hands when soap and water are not available. They are products with ingredients that immediately kill bacteria and then quickly evaporate. These include antibacterials made from alcohols, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine bleach.

The real culprits are in the other group, termed residue-producing agents which are chemicals that linger on surfaces or products impregnated with them. These long-lasting residues will continue to kill benign bacteria and increase the growth of resistant strains long after target bacteria have been removed.

The most widely used among these are triclosan, triclocarbon, and benzalkonium chloride. (A full list can be accessed at the Web site “Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics” at www.apua.org). These are the residue-producing chemicals that are used not only in toiletries and detergents, but also incorporated into toothbrushes, pens, and children’s products.

Antibacterial agents are a concern on three different fronts. First, there’s the controversial issue of whether using them in the home conclusively contributes to antibiotic resistance. Constant use of these disinfecting agents tends to disrupt the normal bacteria that act as barriers against invading pathogens. In turn, this could eventually lead to pathogens that are treatment resistant. For example, the bacteria that give rise to ear infections and pneumonia can exist on the outside of our bodies. Theoretically, if these germs are consistently exposed to low levels of antibacterials that are spread around our homes, the germs might not be killed and may instead mutate into stronger strains resistant to treatment.

Laboratory research has proven that this is a possibility although the phenomenon has not been duplicated on the home front. Dr. Levy believes it’s simply a matter of time. “We have not seen [the emergence of antibiotic resistance] yet in the home but it’s a potential that may well be real because there’s nothing that’s been in the laboratory that hasn’t eventually occurred outside in a worse situation.”

Nonetheless, Dr. Levy is quick to point out that there is a place for the residue-producing antibacterials when severely immune-compromised people are at home. “My suggestion is to reserve [these] products for when you need them and that is for a vulnerable patient… a patient who comes home from the hospital whose immune system is down…for elderly diabetics, for AIDS patients… for people who really need them.

Further, if you need to use residue-producing antibacterials for these purposes, Dr. Levy cautions that they be applied “in a careful way” by spreading them for a period of minutes — not for the few seconds that we usually take to wash surfaces.

Another concern about the indiscriminate use of residue-producing antibacterials, according to Dr. Levy, is the issue that’s termed the “hygiene hypothesis” which is a theory originating in Europe. “If you try to keep your house too sparkling clean — especially with infants — they then don’t come in contact with the good bacteria that allows their immune system to mature correctly. We have antibacterials circulating in the house in little fine films all over. What kind of microbiology is going to live there and is it going to be the right kind to allow the immune system to mature as it has for centuries?” He believes the answer is “no.” Research shows there is a higher percent of allergies, asthma, and eczema among kids who have been raised in super sanitary conditions.

Moreover, the use of the residue-producing antibacterials poses a severe threat to our environment as these chemicals have been found in surface waters, sewage treatment plants, the bile of fish, and even breast milk! As an environmentalist, Dr. Levy fears the repercussions of this situation. “On one hand, it says that products we use in the home and for ourselves don’t just miraculously disappear…. Sewage disposal…can’t get rid of these chemicals so they will have a life afterwards. They will then hit bacteria microbes down the way. How do we know what effect they’re going to have eventually on ecosystems which rely on a mixture of bacteria?”

As conscientious consumers we can avoid buying the residue-producing antibacterials for everyday use — the chemicals should be listed on the product labels. Moreover, Dr. Levy says there is no evidence that routine use of these chemicals imparts a health benefit. Scrubbing with plain old nonbacterial soap and water removes virtually all the bacteria.

Disclaimer: This column is for information only and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement by Ms. Ephraim.

Rebecca Ephraim is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a nutrition reporter specializing in integrative medicine issues. She can be reached at rebecca@consciouschoice.com

© Rebecca Ephraim. All rights reserved.

 

Gazette’s Fair Use Statement

The Pure Water Gazette proudly confers its Hero Award on Mr. Bud Welch of Oklahoma City

[Capital punishment] has no redeeming social value. It’s no deterrent to crime. It just teaches our children to hate.–Julie-Marie Welch, speaking to her father shortly before her death at age 23 in the Oklahoma City bombing. 

It is easy to keep to one’s principles when things go our way.  But when things turn bad, few have the Job-like strength to stick to what they know is right in spite of the pain. 

Bud Welch, an Oklahoma City gas station owner, lost his only daughter Julie-Marie in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.  Julie-Marie was the center of his life.  She was a happy, intelligent young woman, who studied several foreign languages and was working as an interpreter for the Social Security Administration when the Timothy McVeigh’s bomb ended her life.

When Julie-Marie was killed, Mr. Welch, now 61, says that for ten months his grief and rage were unbearable. “I was so damn full of rage and vengeance that I drank myself to sleep every night,” he said.    

Although he later paid a lengthy visit to McVeigh’s family and offered condolences to his father and sister, Mr. Welch says that he has not yet been able to forgive the man who killed his daughter. Speaking at Harvard University, he said: 

Every Wednesday at 11:30,  I’d meet my daughter Julie-Marie for lunch at a Greek restaurant across the street from the Murrah building. She spoke five languages and translated Spanish for the Social Security office there. But on Wednesday, April 19, 1995, I never got to have lunch with Julie-Marie. I miss her so–her smile, her kindness. She was only 23.  

As far as the death penalty is concerned, it won’t help me any when Tim is killed. The death penalty is about revenge and hate, and I know there are people sitting around this table right now that profess to be Christians. If we’re going to truly follow Christ, as I feel like I try to do, I think we must ask ourselves this one question about the death penalty: “Would Jesus pull the switch?” I don’t think that he would, because Jesus stopped an execution, when he said, “Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.”  I think Ghandi put it very well about the Old Testament–“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”  (For the full text go to http://www.mvfr.org/harvard.html.)  

On another occasion, Bud Welch said:  

I fear for our country. We need social change on the death penalty–just as we needed social change in the 1800’s with slavery. We moved from abolishing slavery, to granting women the right to vote, to passing civil rights laws. We finally made these necessary social changes and we must take the next step with the death penalty. Do not allow fundamentalist religious groups to control our social agenda. 

Speaking in Colorado before an Amnesty International gathering,  Welch delivered the following address.  At that time, the McVeigh execution was scheduled for May 16, 2001. 

 

Bud Welch Statement about Timothy McVeigh

To my friends and fellow abolitionists who will be in Terre Haute for the state sanctioned killing of Timothy McVeigh, or at other protests around the country, I want you to know that my prayers are with you. I believe that a statement should be made.

I ask you to be my voice on May 15 and 16, 2001. I urge you to send a clear message to our Government–and to the people of this nation–that what we are embarking on on May 16 is just plain wrong. Our society should not tolerate a government with the power to kill its own citizens. Send that message in whatever way you feel is appropriate, with compassion, with nonviolence, and in peace.

When my daughter, Julie, was killed, I joined a “club” that I wish had no members: The price of admission is too high. I know the pain of losing a loved one because of a senseless act of violence. On May 16, 2001, I will stand with other families who have lost loved ones to unnecessary violence, and I will be with Tim McVeigh’s family as they prepare to be victimized in a political event, staged by the Government of these United States.

Americans must be made to understand that in Tim McVeigh’s mind, he was engaging in an act of revenge when he bombed a United States installation. In his mind he was at war, and much the same as when we bomb Iraq or send more than a billion dollars in weapons to Colombia, innocent civilians die and countless lives are changed forever. The “collateral damage” from McVeigh’s “war” or any other is the same: Innocent people die.

Of course McVeigh’s thinking was horrifically wrong. I am simply saying that we must attempt to understand his mind set, and recognize that WE must choose to stop the cycle of violence! Killing Tim McVeigh only continues the violence. And, killing McVeigh makes him a martyr in the eyes of those who supported him and share his beliefs. We should not be surprised if one or more of his supporters tries to avenge our killing McVeigh. We should ask ourselves: How much killing and how much revenge are we prepared to live through?

I fear for our country. We need social change on the death penalty–just as we needed social change in the 1800’s with slavery. We moved from abolishing slavery, to granting women the right to vote, to passing civil rights laws. We finally made these necessary social changes and we must take the next step with the death penalty. Do not allow fundamentalist religious groups to control our social agenda.

To the media, I implore you: Respect everyone who is suffering through this ordeal. Please be fair and accurate in your reporting. And please respect me, the other victims families, the survivors, and Tim’s family.

Bud Welch,  March 8, 2001

The Pure Water Gazette is honored to add Mr. Welch to the recipients of its Hero Award.

 

War and Disease

by Gene Franks

There is no such thing as a germ that would prefer Rock Hudson over Cheryl Tiegs.–Dr. Peter Duesberg.

The establishment is the enemy of the enterprise.–Dr. Irwin Bross, in Scientific Fraud vs. Scientific Truth.

Official medicine, I read recently, now holds that there are more than 20,000 known diseases, each with its own cause. Most of these diseases are viewed as calamities that happen to the body as a result of attack from outside forces. That’s why reading medical literature is so much like reading a war novel.

It is easy to see that there is much to gain monetarily from a system that views the body as a castle under siege that must be defended by a host of  high-dollar mercenaries. And for the protectors to flourish, there must be a never-ending supply of attackers.

 In 1961, more than three decades ago, Dr. Walter Modell of the Columbia University Medical College lamented in an article in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics that there was an over-supply of defenders and an under-supply of attackers. “When will they realize,” he asked, “that there are too many drugs? No fewer than 150,000 preparations are now in use. About 15,000 new mixtures and dosages hit the market each year, while about 12,000 die off…. We simply don’t have enough diseases to go around. At the moment the most helpful is the new drug to counteract the untoward effects of other new drugs.”

Since we know that the pharmaceutical industry has not dwindled into bankruptcy during the decades since Dr. Modell’s article, we can assume that some profitable new foes have surfaced to alleviate the shortage that he complained of. In fact, there must be lots of new diseases, since medical authorities keep assuring us that drugs and vaccines are wiping out the old ones at record speed. Where do these diseases come from?

Most of us believe that our millions in taxes and the checks we send to weepy-eyed Jerry Lewises go to fund the efforts of self-sacrificing professionals who work around the clock without so much as a coffee break so Gretchen, the poster girl, can be home with her family by Christmas. In a word, we believe that research is about finding cures for diseases. 

It would be nearer the truth, however, to say that research is most often about finding diseases for unsold medical products to cure. Otherwise stated, although we are educated to believe that disease precedes treatment, the truth very often is that treatment precedes disease.

In spite of the widely-promoted notion that AZT, for some time the one and only official “AIDS drug,” was hurriedly developed under the Gretchen-saving scenario alluded to, the truth is that AZT’s essential ingredient was isolated from herring sperm by cancer researchers in 1961, the year of Dr. Modell’s article. The drug was promoted as a cancer treatment during the 1970s, the War on Cancer years, rejected as too toxic for cancer treatment, and assigned to the large pool of ” drugs in search of a disease.”

In the early 1980s, after the disappointing performance of Herpes, which scared far too few people into the clinics, a vague collection of remotely related existing maladies–malnutrition, chemical poisoning, Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumocystis, syphilis, lymphoma, leukemia, et al–were ceremoniously lumped under a catchy new acronym and promoted to the maximum as a world-threatening viral epidemic by the same people who brought us the War on Cancer and the Swine Flu crisis. That AZT should come to the fore as the “drug of choice,” in fact, the single FDA-approved AIDS weapon, was only natural, since AZT’s side effects, so severe that it could not be used as a cancer drug, were identical to the symptoms of the newly created disease it was touted to defend against. These include severe suppression of bone marrow and white blood cells with resulting anemia severe enough to require transfusions. To be blunt, this means on the one hand that the drug’s destructive effects are conveniently masked as results of the disease; on the other hand, it means that symptom-free people who take the drug will soon manifest symptoms and thereby justify the need for treatment. AZT thus neatly solved Dr. Modell’s dilemma by providing its own disease to treat.

For those who reject the notion that the medical/ pharmaceutical industry would knowingly and willingly cause the suffering and demise of thousands upon thousands of people simply to make money, it is helpful to distinguish between the two basic parts of any large undertaking, whether it is the army, the medical system, the food industry, the parks and recreation department, or the city government. These are establishment and enterprise. Establishment is a term we use frequently to refer to the “powers that be,” the faceless, nameless beings who run things from behind the scenes. The enterprise consists of the doers, the “hands-on” people who do the work and deliver the product to the public.

Much of the failure to comprehend our medical system comes from the misconception that medical doctors are the establishment. They are actually at the mid-to-upper level of the enterprise. In a previous Gazette article I referred to medical doctors as ” the grunts of the medical system.” By that I meant they are the foot-soldiers of the profession, the guys who do the dirty work and get blood and excrement on their hands.

Contrary to popular opinion, doctors get a relatively tiny share of the massive medical monetary intake, and although they are imbued with a mythical god-like aura by the press and the schools, doctors have virtually no authority or freedom to innovate. They prescribe treatment within very rigid limits passed down from on high;  and crossing accepted lines puts them in danger of malpractice litigation, professional disgrace, and license removal. For a medical doctor to decide on his own, for example, that HIV does not cause the condition known as AIDS would be like a foot soldier deciding on his own that the enemy is someone other than the enemy the rest of the army is fighting. Likewise, a doctor’s decision to treat immune-system failure with nutritional therapy rather than AZT would be like an army private’s refusing to use Pentagon- furnished weapons. Only one doctor in thousands has that kind of courage, and he or she is quickly silenced, shamed, and shouted down.

This is not to say that doctors, as the grunts of the system, are totally blameless for the excesses and pillaging of the medical army. The question is: Does kindly old Doc Smith, the family physician, knowingly harm his patients for mere money? The answer is a complicated Yes and No with lots of gray area between.

Consider first that Doc Smith probably knows less about AIDS or hepatitis than anyone who has sampled a variety of the existing literature on either. He has never done first-hand research on anything. As a grunt, he works a long, hard day then goes home to get his opinions from the TV screen.

The professional information he depends on comes mainly from establishment “experts,” for whom medicine is strictly business, by way of product advertising and smooth-talking “detail men” (drug salesmen). And, again being blunt, consider too that Doc Smith doesn’t necessarily have a lot of salt in his shaker. If you can get him to step off his pedestal and drop the slogans they’ve taught him to repeat, you’ll quickly discover he really doesn’t know much at all about health. Doctors get ahead by cooperating and following orders, not by being bright. Like the army, medical schools quickly weed out people who think for themselves. Clearly we aren’t going to hang Doc Smith for pretending to be smarter and better informed than he is, but the tough moral issue begins when he accidentally learns through a Canadian magazine article sent to him by his Aunt Phoebe that the half million dollar X-Ray machine they sold him to help him better wage war on cancer and enrich himself in the process is causing far more deaths from breast cancer than early detection from mammography exams could possibly prevent. It’s at that point that Doc Smith has to decide which side he is on, and the lure of profit, coupled with his natural inclination to be a grunt rather than a rebel, makes it very convenient for him to keep on believing the establishment’s “early detection” slogans. Thus, the familiar war dilemma: At what point do soldiers become guilty for merely following orders?

People have always died. The names we give the “diseases” that kill us vary from age to age and even from season to season. Disease is largely a definition. Today many are suffering and dying from immune system failure. Although people have always died from immune-system failure, we have now focused our attention on immunodeficiency and given it a name. AIDS is a concept invented by people to whose advantage it is for us to believe that immune-system failure is a viral disease. Like Santa Claus, it exists only to the extent that you choose to believe in it.

The next time you hear news of the AIDS epidemic that is ravaging Africa, keep in mind the following simple fact about immune-system failure contained in this quote from Drs. Maxime Seligmann et al in the Nov. 15, 1984 New England Journal of Medicine:

The commonest cause of T-cell immunodeficiency worldwide is protein-calorie malnutrition. Malnourished children have defects in macrophage and T-cell function accompanied by…an increased susceptibility to infections…. Bacterial superinfection in these children is a major cause of serious disease and death.

Clearly T-cell immunodeficiency, said to be the “hallmark of AIDS,” defects in macrophage function, and the susceptibility to infection form the core of the AIDS definition. Why is malnutrition called AIDS? Investigative reporter Jon Rappoport writes:

With AIDS, an attempt is being made to reduce varieties of suffering and political conflict and starvation and chemical abuse to a single entity. Since that viral entity HIV is sensational and frightening, it satisfies the desire not to think, not to learn, not to find out what is happening in a world of troubles.

 

Editor’s Note: This article appeared first in Pure Water Gazette # 40 (Winter 1992). Since that time, the dumbing down of America on the subject of AIDS has continued full speed and AIDS has become probably the most lucrative, and ludicrous, disease promotion of all time. –Hardly Waite.

Too Much Medicine?


Posted April 19th, 2012

Too much medicine?

Almost certainly

by Ray Moynihan

Gazette’s Introductory Note:.  This short article, pregnant with ideas that relate to our modern medical dilemma, is reprinted here without footnotes.  If you want to pursue the issue, please go to the fully footnoted original that is linked at the bottom of this page.-Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor.

 

Most doctors believe medicine to be a force for good. Why else would they have become doctors? Yet while all know medicine’s power to harm individual patients and whole populations, presumably few would agree with Ivan Illich that “The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.”1 Many might, however,accept the concept of the health economist Alain Enthoven that increasing medical inputs will at some point become counterproductive and produce more harm than good. So where is that point, and might we have reached it already?

Readers of the BMJ voted in a poll for us to explore these questions in a theme issue of the BMJ, and this is that issue. Unsurprisingly, we reach no clear answers, but the questions deserve far more intense debate in a world where many countries are steadily increasing their investment in health care. Presumably no one wants to keep cutting back on education, the arts, scientific research, good food, travel, and much else as we spend more and more of our resources on an unwinnable battle against death, pain, and sickness---particularly if Illich is right that in doing so we destroy our humanity. And do we in the rich world want to keep developing increasingly expensive treatments that achieve marginal benefits when most in the developing world do not have the undoubted benefits that come with simple measures like sanitation, clean water, and immunisation?

Any consideration of the limits of medicine has to begin a quarter of a century ago with Illich, who has so far produced the most radical critique of modern---or industrialised---medicine.1 His argument is in some ways simple. Death, pain, and sickness are part of being human. All cultures have developed means to help people cope with all three. Indeed, health can even be defined as being successful in coping with these realities. Modern medicine has unfortunately destroyed these cultural and individual capacities, launching instead an inhuman attempt to defeat death, pain, and sickness. It has sapped the will of the people to suffer reality. “People are conditioned to get things rather than to do them . . . They want to be taught, moved, treated, or guided rather than to learn, to heal, and to find their own way.” The analysis is supported by Amartya Sen’s data showing that the more a society spends on health care the more likely are its inhabitants to regard themselves as sick.2

Illich’s critique may seem laughable, even offensive, to the doctor standing at the end of the bed of a seriously ill person. Should the patient be thrown out and told to cope? It is of course much easier to offer a critique of cultures than to create new ones---and Illich (like doctors, ironically) is much stronger on diagnosis than cure. But he does write about recovering the ability for mutual self care and then learning to combine this with the use of modern technology. Though his polemic was published long before the internet, this most contemporary of technologies---combined with the move to patient partnership---is shifting power from doctors back to people. People may increasingly take charge, more consciously weighing the costs and benefits of the “medicalisation” of their lives. Armed with better information about the natural course of common conditions, they may more judiciously assess the real value of medicine’s never ending regimen of tests and treatments.

Although some forces---the internet and patients’ empowerment---might offer opportunities for “de-medicalisation,” many others encourage greater medicalisation. Patients and their professional advocacy groups can gain moral and financial benefit from having their condition defined as a disease.3 Doctors, particularly some specialists, may welcome the boost to status, influence, and income that comes when new territory is defined as medical. Advances in genetics open up the possibility of defining almost all of us as sick, by diagnosing the “deficient” genes that predispose us to disease.4 Global pharmaceutical companies have a clear interest in medicalising life’s problems, 5 6 and there is now an ill for every pill.7 Likewise companies manufacturing mammography equipment or tests for prostate specific antigen can grow rich on the medicalisation of risk.8 Many journalists and editors still delight in mindless medical formulas, where fear mongering about the latest killer disease is accompanied by news of the latest wonder drug.9 Governments may even welcome some of society’s problems---within, for example, criminal justice---being redefined as medical, with the possibility of new solutions.

As the BMJ ‘s debate over “non-diseases” has shown, the concept of what is and what is not a disease is extremely slippery. 10 11 It is easy to create new diseases and new treatments, and many of life’s normal processes---birth,12 ageing,13 sexuality,14 unhappiness,15 and death16---can be medicalised. Two sets of authors in the issue argue convincingly, however, that there is much undertreatment, suggesting a need for more medicalisation. 13 17 The challenge is to get the balance right.

It is those who pay for health care who might be expected to resist medicalisation, and governments, insurers, and employers have tried to restrain the rapid and unceasing growth in healthcare budgets. They have had little or no success, and Britain’s government now plans to raise taxes to pay for more health care. Labour, the party in power, will have calculated that the risk of trying to bottle up demand is greater than the---substantial---risk of raising taxes. But while increased resources will be widely welcomed, the cost of trying to defeat death, pain, and sickness is unlimited, and beyond a certain point every penny spent may make the problemworse, eroding still further the human capacity to cope with reality.

Ivan Illich did not want the wholesale dismantling of medicine. He favoured “sanitation, inoculation, and vector control, well-distributed health education, healthy architecture, and safe machinery, general competence in first aid, equally distributed access to dental and primary medical care, as well as judiciously selected complex services.”1 These should be embedded within “a truly modern culture that fostered self-care and autonomy.” This is a package that many doctors would find acceptable, particularly if available to everybody everywhere.

Doctors and their organisations understandably argue for increased spending---because they are otherwise left paying a personal price, trying to cope with increasing demand with inadequate resources. Indeed this is one of the sources of worldwide unhappiness among doctors.18-20 Although seen by many as the perpetrators of medicalisation, doctors may actually be some of its most prominent victims.3 This is perhaps why BMJ readers wanted this theme issue.

Perhaps some doctors will now become the pioneers of de-medicalisation. They can hand back power to patients, encourage self care and autonomy, call for better worldwide distribution of simple effective health care, resist the categorisation of life’s problem as medical, promote the de-professionalisation of primary care, and help decide which complex services should be available. This is no longer a radical agenda.

Ray Moynihanjournalist.


Reprinted from the British Medical Journal.

Gazette Fair Use Policy.

 

Footnotes not included in our reprint.  Please go to British Medical Journal original linked above for footnoted version.

 

And When You Get Your Factory Built, Would You Like to Rape My Sister?

 By Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor

Not long ago, our fair city, as Click and Clack would say, was embroiled in a big controversy about a zoning permit granted by the city fathers to a wealthy Mexican company with more than a few shady deals in its past.  The corporation, which planned to build a copper smelter (although they never, ever called it that),  had wined and dined the city council who, save for a single councilman who was able to keep his wits about him, were so in love they were ready to skip all the usual formalities and get right on with the wedding..  Never mind that the proposed plant was to be a lead-belching smelter and its smokestacks had a straight and close downwind shot at a  large elementary school.  (more…)

What Are the Odds of Dying?
The table below was prepared in response to frequent inquiries, especially from the media, asking questions such as, “What are the odds of being killed by lightning?” or “What are the chances of dying in a plane crash?”

The table has four columns. The first column gives the manner of injury such as motor-vehicle crash, fall, fire, etc. The second column gives the total number of deaths nationwide due to the manner of injury in 1999 (the latest year for which data are available). The third column gives the odds of dying in one year due to the manner of injury. The fourth column gives the lifetime odds of dying from the manner of injury. Statements about the odds or chances of dying from a given cause of death may be made as follows:

 

  • The odds of dying from (manner of injury) in 1999 were 1 in (value given in the one-year odds column).
  • The life-time odds of dying from (manner of injury) for a person born in 1999 were 1 in (value given in the lifetime odds column).

For example, referring to the first line of the table below:

  • The odds of dying from an injury in 1999 were 1 in 1,805.
  • The lifetime odds of dying from an injury for a person born in 1999 were 1 in 24.

The odds given below are statistical averages over the whole U.S. population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular external cause. Any individual’s odds of dying from various external causes are affected by the activities in which they participate, where they live and drive, what kind of work they do, and other factors.

Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau. Deaths are classified on the basis of the Tenth Revision of the World Health Organization’s “The International Classification of Diseases” (ICD). Numbers following titles refer to External Cause of Morbidity and Mortality classifications in ICD-10. One year odds are approximated by dividing the 1999 population (272,820,000) by the number of deaths. Lifetime odds are approximated by dividing the one-year odds by the life expectancy of a person born in 1999 (76.7 years).

 

Odds of Death Due to Injury, United States, 1999
 Here is a sample of the list.  The entire list is massive.  Go here to see it all.

TYPE OF ACCIDENT OR MANNER OF INJURY
DEATHS, 1999
ONE YEAR ODDS
LIFETIME ODDS
All External Causes of Mortality, V01-Y98 151,109 1,805 24
  Deaths Due to Unintentional (Accidental) Injuries, V01-X59, Y85-Y86 97,860 2,788 36
    Transport Accidents, V01-V99, Y85 46,423 5,877 77
    Pedestrian, V01-V09 6,047 45,117 588
    Pedalcyclist, V10-V19 800 341,025 4,446
    Motorcycle rider, V20-V29 2,316 117,798 1,536
    Occupant of three-wheeled motor vehicle, V30-V39 33 8,267,273 107,787
    Car occupant, V40-V49 14,549 18,752 244
    Occupant of pick-up truck or van, V50-V59 3,133 87,079 1,135

The Number of Nights Before Christmas that ‘Twas: 1


by B. Bee Sharper

Editor’s Note:  Pure Water Gazette numerical wizard Bea Sharper writes only in the Harper’ s Index number format.  This makes fiction difficult, but you’ll see that she carries it off well in the piece below. Hardly Waite.

Number of nights before Christmas that ’twas: 1

Number of creatures, including mice, that were stirring: 0.

Stockings that were hung by the chimney with care: 16

Approximate number of visions of sugar plums dancing in Timmy’s head: 43.

Time when Timmy settled down for his long winter’s nap: 10:30.

Number of clatters that arose on the lawn: 1.

Total number of miniature sleighs seen by Timmy when he tore open the shutters and threw up the sash: 1.

Number of tiny reindeer that were pulling the sleigh: 8.

Exact number of little old lively and quick sleigh drivers seen by Timmy: 1

Number of little round bellies the lively and quick sleigh driver with a nose like a cherry had: 1.

Total number of toys he had in his bundle when he came down Timmy’s chimney: 176.

Number of stairs Timmy quietly crept down in order to watch Jolly Old St. Nick go about his work: 14.

Number of times you’ll have to click on this link to find out what happened next: 1.

 

 

Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas

by Shirley Wilkes Johnson

The article below was originally printed in the paper Pure Water Gazette in 1990.  Shirley Wilkes Johnson lives in West Columbia, TX, near Houston. She is a renowned vegetarian cook with a special passion for vegetarian chili. She is also a sincere and sensitive human being who has been a long-time friend to non-human animals.

The year was 1972. People were dying in a senseless war in Vietnam. There didn’t seem to be much to celebrate. On Christmas Day, out of sympathy for those people, we ate beans and rice and spent a quiet day at home. In a search for a more meaningful lifestyle we decided to give up celebrating Christmas for many reasons. The world seemed more concerned about all forms of pollution, wastefulness and the energy problem then. The tons of wrapping paper, boxes and bows, the cutting of millions of trees, not to mention the enormous amount of electricity used nation-wide at this time of year, seemed wasteful to me. Then there are the countless gifts, given and received, that are unwanted and go unused. It seemed that all that money and effort could be put to so much better use. We have so many unsolved problems.

The increasing commercialism of Christmas bothered me, as it does many people. I read a newspaper article that said that there are many more depressed people, drunks, automobile accidents, family feuds and suicides at this time of year. The “good will toward men” that is supposed to prevail is not very apparent.

To lie to children about a fat man in a red suit may seem harmless to some people, but I question whether there is ever a reason to lie to our children.

As for gift giving, I prefer to choose to whom and when I give gifts. I don’t like the feeling of being expected to buy gifts for my hairdresser, mailman, etc.

December 25 is not Jesus’ birthday. In fact, during Biblical times only pagans celebrated birthdays. The date of December 25 was selected by the Christians as a way to bring pagans into Christianity: it was a concession to the pagan celebration of winter solstice.

I have read that 10% of the people do the thinking for the other 90% We all think we think for ourselves, don’t we? Someone once said, “A life unexamined is a life not worth living.” As I pondered these two ideas, I began to examine everything I did and asked myself, “Why do I do this? Is it because I want to, because I believe in it, or is it because I have been taught to do it?”

As my husband and I decided to quit celebrating Christmas, we decided it was important to celebrate LIFE–365 days a year. I wrote these thoughts in a letter to the Houston Post. They printed it on Christmas Day of that year. I braced myself, expecting to get letters calling me “Scrooge” and worse. But instead my mailbox was filled with letters from people thanking me for writing the letter.

I write this letter now, not to convince anyone to give up the celebration of Christmas, but to ask you to make a decision for yourself, whatever it might be. It is difficult to go against what everyone else is doing, as those of us who are vegetarians know. I hear a lot of people say they are tired of participating in the Christmas ritual. My purpose is to give them the moral support to give it up if they so choose.

 

Is Your Bathtub a Toxic Dump?

George Glasser and Andreas Schuld

The municipal water that your child drinks, bathes and plays in is a complex chemical mixture of dissolved minerals, contaminants and chemical additives. Chemicals are added to clarify the water, remove solid particulates and disinfect. And, when fluoride compounds are added to water supplies, polymers are added to inhibit corrosion of the water pipes.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. The EPA has concluded that the average person can absorb more contaminants from bathing and showering than from drinking polluted water.

Children are most at risk. Children’s bath times may range from 45 minutes to two hours. As the EPA acknowledged in a June 30, 1998 report, “Children have a greater surface-area-to-body-weight ratio than adults, which may lead to increased dermal absorption.”

Children’s tissues, organs and biological systems are still developing, with several stages of rapid growth and development occurring from infancy to adolescence. This rapid development, combined with the immaturity of body organs and systems, predisposes children to potentially more severe consequences within certain age ranges and windows of vulnerability.

Circulatory flow rates are generally higher in children, which may increase a child’s susceptibility to toxic effects. Despite these elevated risks, most toxicological data is based on occupational exposures for adults.

The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) reports that the U.S. has seen “a worrisome increase” in childhood diseases that may be linked to chemicals in the environment. According to the CEHN, “The incidence of two types of childhood cancers has risen significantly over the past 15 years.” Acute lymphocytic leukemia is up 10 percent and brain tumors are up more than 30 percent. Learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders also appear to be increasing.

Toxins in the Bathwater

Depending on whether a child has eaten, or if there is residual food in the stomach, about 20-50 percent of chemical contaminants are metabolized when foods or beverages are consumed. With dermal exposure and inhalation, however, virtually 100 percent of the contaminants are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

As one EPA scientist put it, “a shower cubicle can be considered an ‘exposure chamber.’ Exposure to volatile contaminants absorbed via the lung would be about double the same amount from drinking water. In the bath, underarms [axilla], scrotal and vaginal areas as well as the groin absorb far greater amounts than in the normal unwashed forearm test.”

The percentages for absorption of parathion are as follows: scalp (32 percent), ear canal (46 percent), forehead (36 percent), plant of foot (13 percent), forearm (9 percent), palm (12 percent), and scrotum (100 percent).

A study by Julian Andelman, Professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health (published in the May 1984 American Journal of Public Health), found less chemical exposure from drinking contaminated water than from using it to wash clothes or take a shower .

Studies done by Brown, Bishop and Rowan in the early 1980s showed that an average of 64 percent of the total dose of waterborne contaminants is absorbed through the skin.

A study by British researchers at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Sheffield published in the February 19, 2000 issue of Human Experimental Toxicology suggests that toxicants such as fluorides can be stored in the skin and released over a period of time.

A review of nearly 40,000 research papers listed on National Institutes of Health and other U.S. government Internet sites has failed to discover a single study addressing water fluoridation and dermal absorption.

All dosage recommendations developed by EPA are based on ingestion alone. The EPA and Centers for Disease Control have never commissioned studies on the dermal absorption of fluoridated water and refuse to do so.

 

Brushing Teeth with Toxic Sludge

The most popular fluoridation agent is fluorosilicic acid, a toxic by-product of phosphate fertilizer production.

On May 10, 1999, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert, who serves on the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, asked the EPA to answer a simple question: “What chronic toxicity test data are there on sodium fluorosilicate? On hydrofluorosilicic acid?”

On June 23, 1999, EPA Assistant Administrator J. Charles Fox replied that the “EPA was not able to identify chronic studies for these chemicals.”

On September 5, 2000, in response to an inquiry from the U.S. House Committee on Science, EPA Assistant Administrator Charles Fox admitted “there are no water quality criteria for fluoride either for the protection of aquatic life or for the protection of human health.”

The EPA earlier confirmed that water fluoridation puts “at risk” 52 million older Americans with calcium, magnesium and vitamin C deficiencies. People with cardiovascular and kidney disorders also may experience severe “dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis” from excessive exposure to fluorides.

The health threat from using fluorosilicates to fluoridate drinking water goes beyond bathing and drinking the treated water. The substances in the fluorosilicates do not magically vanish. All the pollution released from washing clothes and household items, evaporation from clothes dryers and dishwashers remains in the home. Water fluoridated with phosphate scrubber liquor becomes a vehicle to carry hazardous air pollutants directly into your home.

While this secondary contamination of children from fluoridated water is significant, it has never been investigated by the EPA or the U.S. Public Health Service — although both agencies are aware that pollution scrubber liquor is being used to fluoridate municipal water supplies.

Because children spend their days close to floors, carpets, lawns, and soils, and frequently pick up objects and put them in their mouths, they may be exposed to higher levels of chemicals in and around the home.

Physicians for Social Responsibility has warned: “Small amounts of air or water pollution that may have little or no impact on a healthy adult, can make children, especially newborns, seriously ill.” PSR notes that children’s longer lives also make them “more vulnerable to slow-acting hazards, like pesticides and dioxins.”

The EPA admits that “there are no federal safety standards which are applicable to additives, including those for use in fluoridating drinking water.” Although the reality of children’s vulnerability to environmental toxicants has been acknowledged, little is being done to address the threat. Children don’t vote and parents are uninformed. Only a few voices have expressed concern, but those voices are quickly smothered by the sound of money changing hands.

Printed Originally in the  Earth Island Journal
June 5, 2001

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