Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Has America Become a Nation of Psychotics? You'd Certainly Think So, Based on the Medications We're Taking


By James Ridgeway July 15, 2011

Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.

It is anything but a coincidence that the explosion in antipsychotic use coincides with the pharmaceutical industry's development of a new class of medications known as "atypical antipsychotics." Beginning with Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel in the 1990s, followed by Abilify in the early 2000s, these drugs were touted as being more effective than older antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine. More importantly, they lacked the most noxious side effects of the older drugs - in particular, the tremors and other motor control problems.

The atypical anti-psychotics were the bright new stars in the pharmaceutical industry's roster of psychotropic drugs - costly, patented medications that made people feel and behave better without any shaking or drooling. Sales grew steadily, until by 2009 Seroquel and Abilify numbered fifth and sixth in annual drug sales, and prescriptions written for the top three atypical antipsychotics totaled more than 20 million.  Suddenly, antipsychotics weren't just for psychotics any more.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clean air: You'll know it when you see it

The Smirking Chimp

by Jane Stillwater | July 15, 2011 - 3:18pm

According to recent articles that have been published in such various sources as Counterpunch, NucNews, the Huffington Post and Fox News, there's been a 35% spike in infant mortality in the Pacific northwest since the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima began last March. Not only that but there are approximately 600 coal-fired power plants now operating in America that are pumping out pollution that is slowly but surely destroying a whole lot of people's lungs. Plus we still have to deal with old-fashioned vehicle-produced smog. Clean air is getting harder and harder to find!
But I found some.
I happened to stumble across a very small pocket of clean air while visiting the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis recently, over in Wirth Park. I had gone to Minneapolis in order to attend the 2011 Netroots Nation convention for progressive bloggers, and one of the convention's features was a "Day of Service" which involved getting conference participants away from their keyboards and actually luring us out into the local wildflower garden to pull weeds. I want to pull weeds! I'll try anything once.
Well, the garden turned out to be more than just a garden. It was also a forest, a wetland, a bog and a bird sanctuary. "Look!" cried one bird-watching blogger. "There's an Indigo Bunting!" A what?
And as we walked deeper into the woodland, that's where I found it -- actual, real, honest-to-goodness clean air. Not even manufactured or bottled. This was the real stuff. Trust me. You will know it when you see it. It smelled wonderful. I was in awe.
Suddenly, I wanted this stuff! I want MORE of this magical stuff. I lusted after more of this wonderful stuff. I wanted to own it, to love it, to take it home with me in my suitcase. Clean air is amazing, better than fine wine or drugs.

The Smirking Chimp

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bankster Wars

The Ultimate Goal of the Bankster-led Political-economic Warfare Being Waged Against Us Is . . . ?

opednews.com July 14, 2011

by Richard Clark
As economist Michael Hudson points out, the European debt crisis is really the product of financial warfare instigated by big banks.   Yes, these banks are engaged in warfare against the rest of society.   What's going on in Greece is exactly what's going to happen in America very shortly.   Why?   Because in every industrialized country, the big banks are in the process of offloading their bad debts onto governments.   They are then forcing these governments to sell off national assets so that the bankers can be paid what they consider to be their due.   (For more about this, see the linked video at this web site, about Greece being a dress rehearsal for the US.)
In a nutshell, what it says is that the world is being prepared for the kind of "neo-feudalism" that these banksters (intent on ever more completely becoming our masters and lords) intend to implement.   And so it is that America is in the early stages of being subjected to the same type of plundering as Greece and Ireland.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push Genetically Engineered Crops on Africa

Global Research July 12, 2011

by Mike Ludwig

Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site [5] is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation's fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a "Trojan horse" to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program [6] was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warren Buffet [7] and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafety [8] claims WEMA is threatening Africa's food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world's growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered [9] the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.

Water shortages in parts of Africa and beyond have created a market for "climate ready" crops worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Leading biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are currently racing to develop crops that will grow in drought conditions caused by climate change, and by participating in the WEMA program, Monsanto is gaining a leg up by establishing new markets and regulatory approvals for its patented transgenes in five Sub-Saharan African countries, according to the Centre's report.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Universal Health Care: Can We Afford Anything Less?

Truthout Tuesday 5 July 2011
by: Gerald Friedman, Dollars & Sense

Why only a single-payer system can solve America’s health-care mess.

America’s broken health-care system suffers from what appear to be two separate problems. From the right, a chorus warns of the dangers of rising costs; we on the left focus on the growing number of people going without health care because they lack adequate insurance. This division of labor allows the right to dismiss attempts to extend coverage while crying crocodile tears for the 40 million uninsured. But the division between problem of cost and the problem of coverage is misguided. It is founded on the assumption, common among neoclassical economists, that the current market system is efficient. Instead, however, the current system is inherently inefficient; it is the very source of the rising cost pressures. In fact, the only way we can control health-care costs and avoid fiscal and economic catastrophe is to establish a single-payer system with universal coverage.

The rising cost of health care threatens the U.S. economy. For decades, the cost of health insurance has been rising at over twice the general rate of inflation; the share of American income going to pay for health care has more than doubled since 1970 from 7% to 17%. By driving up costs for employees, retirees, the needy, the young, and the old, rising health-care costs have become a major problem for governments at every level. Health costs are squeezing public spending needed for education and infrastructure. Rising costs threaten all Americans by squeezing the income available for other activities. Indeed, if current trends continued, the entire economy would be absorbed by health care by the 2050's.

Read article at Truthout