Monday, March 06, 2006

Doctors are the Third Leading Cause of Death

How about this for a claim. This site will give you a eye opening look at what the "health" industry in the US is doing to its own people. Sounds like we should change the name to the "death" industry. Americans aren't unusually unhealthy. It's just that the medical care they can afford is poor, and what they get is worse.
Doctors are the Third Leading Cause of Death

How Common Are Medical Mistakes? -

If you want to stay healthy, stay out of the hospital. That is the only conclusion you can draw from the statistics here. And if you want to stay out of the hospital, that means staying healthy. Unhealthy people go to the hospital and die by the 100,000's of thousands, not because of their diseases, but because of medical mistakes.
How Common Are Medical Mistakes? -

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beef inspection flawed

The US admits it. Its beef inspection is flawed.
"This is an unacceptable failure on our part."
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, at a press conference.

There are 2,000 kilos of beef waiting on docks to reach its expiration dates, because the inspection procedures in the US allowed one spine of one animal to be shipped, in violation of agreements between the US and Japan on resuming meat imports.

This should also set off some bells in meat-eaters' heads, because if the inspection practices, insuring that millions of dollars worth of beef will be consumed by Japanese people, are so lax as to scuttle the hugely valuable market again, what kind of failures are happening in the US with meat consumed there? Hey, I ain't feeding it to my family. You can bet the farm on that.

Bush's health plan makes it even more important for regular folk to stay healthy

Bush's new health plan, where he set up a new health savings plan that helps, who else, the very wealthy at the expense of us regular folk. This makes it even more vital for us regular people to stay healthy!

You can see Forbes' take on the new policy, but it is hugely flawed. It sets up tax-free savings plans for people to save for future health emergencies. The problem there is that only people with extra money to save can take advantage of these, and it also forces people who do save to buy insurance to cover catestrophic health emergencies. These insurance policies have very high deductables, which will make people LESS likely to pursue preventative medical strategies, and force America further into an unhealth-care system. What this also does is encourages people to leave traditional health care options that rely, in order to keep insurance costs down, on the theory that all people, healthy and ill, will be buying insurance. That way low-risk people will help support the high-risk folks in order to keep everyone's costs down. Health insurance costs are going to go up for everyone as a result.

This makes it even more imporant for you to protect your health yourself, and that is tough already, but it is something that no marketing agency in the US wants you to do. They are going to advertise every unhealthy alternative under the sun in order to get you to buy it. Every food producer is going to tell you to eat their stuff because it prevents something-or-other. Don't believe it. Eat what you know our bodies are built to use, whole foods, and if you can't stay away from the beer, meat, and other junk, then start by turning off the constant din of advertising that pushes this stuff on us.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Consumption and the benefits of soy

Seems the American Heart Association has found, after reviewing 22 randomized trials comparing soy protein and the soy component isoflavone to milk or other proteins, that soy led to an average decrease in LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels of just three per cent. It also found that it did little for reducing menopausal problems or raising "good" cholesterol levels or reducing blood pressure.

The idea that we could consume mass quantities of soy and that would cure all of our ills is so typical of the consumerist model of health. Consume tons of stuff that our bodies were never meant to be subject to, and then hope that if we consume more of some other material that we can reverse the damage. I'm sure the soy farmers were hoping that their genetically altered franken-food would be labeled by the AHA as the magic bullet.

Look, the only way to get better and stay that way is to eat more like our ancestors. Whole, locally grown, safe foods a little at a time, almost no meat, and lots of physical excursion. That's how we can remain healthy, not by consuming more of something else. Soy, like any other bean, is a gift from nature, and a great food. Look here for some of the benefits of eating soy.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Rights group reports on Japan's minorities

Just in case you thought minority rights in Japan might be getting better.
Crisscross - News - Rights group reports on Japan's minorities

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Impeach Bush, Impeach Bush, Impeach Bush

Say it often. Say it loud.

Why? Great article by Elizabeth Holtzman.

The problem could be that there is no opposition party in the US, since the Dems' policies are so close to the Republicans. Great article by Noam Chomsky.

Grow your own

I was talking to my son the other day and he asked if you can legally grow your own tobacco. I answered that I didn't think you could, but it turns out that I'm wrong. I found that both in the US and in Japan, people are growing their own.

This came out of a discussion of the silly things that we rely on others to make for us. One problem here in Japan is finding shoes that fit. I have size 10.5 feet, which in the US isn't that big a deal, but here it is nearly impossible to find shoes that I would wear that fit. (Not only that but the prices are outrageous. There are tarifs here protecting leather shoe manufacturers. I don't get it. I have never met a cobbler since I've been here, and there are precious few raw materials available here.) We talked about Blackspot shoes a little, and about cars. I mean we rely on automobile manufacturers to build cars that waste huge amounts of gasoline with engines that move them a such dangerous speeds that we need straps to keep us from being brutalized on the inside of the thing in an impact, airbags to prevent same, and thick steel plating around us to protect us from the elements. Why not just put a small engine on a kind of cart that moves at bicycle-like speeds. Everyone in the family could pile in and tool around without the pollution and the risk to human life. Nothing in Japan is that far away. Everything transported on trucks could just as easily be hauled by rail and be transported with similar vehicles.

American towns and cities are so incredibly dependent on cars now that there is hardly any way to wean them off the things. J. H. Kunstler has some great ideas, but otherwise America is far too lazy.

Anyway we started to talk about food and then started on tobacco. I guess we could grow and smoke our own tobacco. Here are two resources, one in English and another in Japanese. The Japanese site is actually a blog where he/she blogs about growing tobacco and says that he bought his seeds online from an American source. I did see one site which showed an older couple who grew their plants from sprouts that they bought at a store.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

America, how do you live with yourselves?

James Kinlow, father, husband, friend, son. The two-thousanth American casualty. African American, Georgia National Guard. He never should have been there.

America, how do you live with yourselves? God, on days like this I feel powerless, absolutely.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dusting off the documents: The Whitehouse lies

I am restraining myself. In the runup to the invasion of Iraq, I debated with friends that this war was based on neocon greed and not on real issues that involve American military might. But they claimed there was evidence that Iraq possessed WMD's, and that was enough. I argued that there was no evidence of that at all. I won't argue the other points, just look back at what was being said in 2003.

Rice asks in a column, Why We Know Iraq is Lying,

"Has Saddam Hussein finally decided to voluntarily disarm?" Unfortunately, the answer is a clear and resounding no.
It was the old, have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife gag, wasn't it? He didn't have anything other than a ragtag group of foot soldiers left. America made short work of them. America was sold a bill of goods and now it is becoming obvious.

My anger at those of you who were deceived by the lies is great. You allowed America's post-9/11 good faith be squandered. You allowed this group of murderers to grab the American flag to wrap their greedy schemes in. You allow American soldiers to die in the thousands. You allow tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis to die in your name. I'm not talking about people with guns and bombs. I'm talking about men, women, and children who were trying to eke out a life in a bad situation. You have brought incalculable suffering and sadness to these people.

Why did you believe statements like,

Unlike other nations that have voluntarily disarmed and in defiance of Resolution 1441 Iraq is not allowing inspectors "immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted access" to facilities and people involved in its weapons program.

Hans Blix was telling the truth, wasn't he? Why did you believe her and not him? Did he and his handlers have something in it for them? Was he going to get rich by saying that there were no WMD's? Bush, Cheney and a lot of other people sure are after you bought their lies. Why did you believe her when she said,

For example, the declaration fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad,

and not Joseph C. Wilson IV, when he said that the yellowcake uranium was Bush "exaggerating the Iraqi threat" in order to justify a war?

And it was a belief issue. It came right down to what you believed. In my discussions with friends, it became clear that we weren't debating facts after a certain point. It was belief. I believed one thing, and they believed another. I chose to expect evidence that showed, unmistakably, that Saddam was lying. There wasn't any, because he wasn't. "But were we supposed to believe Saddam Hussein," you might ask. But you believed G. W. Bush, didn't you. What's the difference? Hussein is on trial for killing his countrymen. Bush will probably never be in court for the deaths that he is responsible for. "Oh, Hussein killed lots more people," you might say.

Under Saddam's regime many hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of his actions - the vast majority of them Muslims.

That is what the White House says in its fact sheet. We could just as easily say, "Under Bush's regime, many tens of thousands of people have died as a result of his actions - the vast majority of them Muslims." Will he and the others on the deck of cards that feature him as the Ace of Spades and his minions as the other cast of characters ever face a jury of their peers for their crimes? I doubt it, and it makes me sad.