Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - Jan 21, 2023

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

I have mentioned in the past my original visit to China was to explore the use of herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Herbs were part of the curriculum at collage and I was co-writing articles with an Herbalist. It was the late 1980's and there were severe restrictions on providing information regarding herbal treatments to the general public. Language needed to be very specific to avoid consequences. Some physicians were being disciplined for using vitamin therapy in their practices. Remember a state of Washington physician's office raid by federal officers was attributed to giving injectable vitamin B shots to patients.

In 1994 a grassroots campaign for "health freedom" the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed. The alternative treatment industry growth exploded as more treatment modalities and information became available to the general public. Market abuses yes, harm to some individuals yes, but in my opinion outweighed by healthful trends in selfcare.

________

A comment by Janis B brought attention to another attempt by a Western country to reverse health freedoms. If tried in one country similar changes in laws and regulations will be tried in the other countries.

NZ Government Reaches for Total Medical Control via a Therapeutic Products Bill New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out With Science Jan 18, 2023

Reverse Patenting

If a Natural Health Product is found to benefit a serious illness (such as lemons which benefit scurvy), according to the Bill it should be classed as a medicine. Consequently, according to the letter of the new law, only doctors will be allowed to prescribe lemons. Joking apart, most foods benefit serious illness. You might think there is no need to pass a law classifying them as medicines, but according to the government you would be wrong.

80% of drugs are in fact derived from the properties of plants. For years pharmaceutical companies have been trying to patent medicinal plants and secure a monopoly of their supply and use. But this effort largely failed in the patent courts. The remedy for pharmaceutical companies is contained in the Bill being introduced by our Labour government. If a plant is used to make a medicine or the molecular structure of any of its compounds is mimicked by a medicine, then the use of the actual plant should be restricted.

For this reason, in 2016, a bevy of well-paid Ministry of Health experts (???) produced an idiotic list of common plants that they envisioned should be restricted. Natural products in this list included cinnamon, eggplant, almond, mustard, tea (yes you did read that correctly), coconut, and many many others. The present Bill (the third attempt over the years to get this past Parliament) sets up the same conditions that prompted the 2016 list of restricted plants.
...
This Bill represents an attempt to impose a modern medical/pharmaceutical straight jacket on the process of medical choice. A straight jacket that will no doubt be administered by people who are unfamiliar with and even opposed to natural medicine. The apparent intention is to drive people towards pharmaceutical-based medicine. It is worth noting that modern medical misadventure and misprescription is the third leading cause of death—hardly a direction that deserves a monopoly.
...
What the Bill Doesn’t Do

Gradually over the last few years, synthetic flavours and additives have been turning up in processed supermarket items. If you are buying vanilla ice cream, it is now usually labelled as containing natural vanilla flavour. This is not in fact made from natural vanilla beans, it is a synthetic flavour. The use of the term “natural” is intended to disguise this fact. In 2016 our Ministry of Health approved over 3,000 synthetic ingredients, many of them without safety testing.
...
Nor will the Bill encourage the distribution of information about natural approaches to health that studies show are very beneficial in controlling common serious health conditions. Advice for example about diet, exercise, and the curbing of unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, or ultra processed foods.

________

It appears leadership in The Philippines is working on reducing the risk of being a direct target if conflict breaks out between China and the US with it's Allies. Any country or island caught in the crosshairs will probably suffer damage to enviornment, property and population.

Philippine President Rules Out Reopening Former US Military Bases in Country Sputnick News Jan 20, 2023

Speaking with British media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Marcos said that reopening former US military bases is against the constitution of the Philippines, which forbids foreign bases on its territory.

________

Bradley Blankenship has a couple of interesting articles on Taiwan's methods of influence in the United States.

Meet Taiwan’s ‘unofficial Foreign Ministry’ – a US-based group pushing hard for its independence

US lawmakers’ support for Taiwan’s bid to become independent from mainland China would be non-existent without powerful lobbying and influence groups. One such group is the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington, DC, which I wrote about before. Another is the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), also a major non-profit in the States pushing for “Taiwan independence.”

Founded in San Francisco in 1982, FAPA lobbies for this cause directly on Capitol Hill. Its founder was Peng Ming-min, known as the “Godfather of Taiwan independence” and its first president was Chai Trong-rong, who returned to Taiwan to found Formosa TV and joined the DPP to be elected as a legislator for five terms.

FAPA’s mission is 1) to promote international support for the right of the people of Taiwan to establish an independent and democratic country and to join the international community; 2) to promote relations and cooperation between Taiwan and the United States; 3) to protect the right of self-determination for the people of Taiwan; 4) to promote peace and security for Taiwan; and 5) to advance the rights and interests of Taiwanese communities throughout the world.
...
To get a sense of this organization’s significance, it has as many as 44 chapters throughout the US, covering every state and major city – and there are as many as 2,500 members. Its lobbyists are almost all US citizens, which helps them significantly in terms of legal burdens to perform their activities. This layout facilitates lobbying efforts by allowing FAPA members to influence more legislators in their district and even politicians at the local level.
...
It is also likely that FAPA was instrumental in creating the Taiwan Caucus in Congress. The Caucus was launched in 2002 by Congressman Steve Chabot and others and was the largest congressional member organization in the US Congress, with 229 members as of the last Congress. In addition, FAPA was involved in the passage of the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act, which allows high-level US officials to visit the region since as early as 2004.

Global Taiwan Institute (GTI) is a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.
https://www.rt.com/news/569067-influence-us-scholars-taiwan/ Russia Times Jan 7, 2023

That’s where the GTI comes into play. Just four months after Taiwan’s so-called President Tsai Ing-wen began her first term, the DPP and those in the diaspora community in the US launched the GTI in Washington, D.C., which is both the capital of the US federal government and the main forum for the country’s think tanks. The GTI reportedly has access to more than $20 million in funds and has a ritzy $3 million office in Washington’s Dupont Circle.

GTI is one of about 390 think tanks in the capital but is the only one dedicated solely to Taiwan issues.
...
The GTI’s normal operations are based on three main pillars: Biweekly Global Taiwan Briefs, public seminars, annual academic conferences, and annual reports, in order to achieve the institution’s mission of providing a voice for Taiwan and strengthening bilateral relations between the US and Taiwan. In addition, the institute supports the academic development of the younger generation of U. scholars by providing scholarships and research positions in order to cultivate a new generation of ‘Taiwan-literate’ scholars.

________

I wonder how many hidden doors are in our Southern border wall. It took significant time for these doors to become public knowledge.

Ancient Hidden Doors Found in Great Wall of China Sputnik News Jan 16, 2023

Researchers studying China’s largest and probably most famous landmark - the Great Wall - have discovered the remains of over 130 concealed doors dotting this monumental fortification.
These passages were apparently designed for scouts sent on missions beyond the wall, even though they could have also been used for other purposes.
Records from the time of the Ming Dynasty, which reigned in China from 1368 to 1644, suggest that nomadic tribes were sometimes allowed to use these entrances to move their cattle to areas suitable for grazing, according to Chinese media.

________

What is on your mind today?

Share
up
14 users have voted.

Comments

the idea of pharma corps listing natural remedies as 'controlled' not so much.

Looking to re-instate Medicare part B, which I cancelled last year due to the cost /
benefit ratio (too much $$ for too little coverage), the spouse convinced me to
re-up. In the process of speaking with a volunteer, found a strange discrepancy.
He did the work-up for the cost of the prescription meds (I take minimal pills) and
his database supplied by the Medicare website showed about $10k/year. I also
dropped the part D last year and spent about $600 -without insurance. He could not
explain the discrepencies, but I think it was part of a push for the Medicare Advantage
scam -- see how much you will save! I smell a rat. Would rather stick with the part A,
but spouse says will pay for the part B. It comes directly out of my social security - no
choice. Bleah

Thanks for the potluck soe!

up
10 users have voted.

@QMS
for those in reasonably good health and with minimal (or low cost) prescription drug need. ‘Advantage’ plans may be a reasonable choice for those with high overhead medical issues and chronic conditions. Typically they add an administrative layer (I.e. pre-authorizations) and more limited network of physicians (PPO or network).

I agree with you that Advantage plans seem designed to create profits for insurers and to reduce the number of Traditional Medicare subscribers. The long term goal appears to be throttle Traditional Medicare and put as many Medicare dollars in the hands of insurers and providers. What could go wrong with this sort of arrangement?

up
11 users have voted.

“The vaccine was not brought in for COVID. COVID was brought in for the vaccine. Once you realize that, everything else makes sense.” ~ Dr. Reiner Fuellmich

enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

the prohibition on Medicare negotiating prices. The guy doing your comps used medicare price table which is list. Nobody else pays list except maybe small town non-chain pharmacy, everybody else will get some discount. Example - I'm with Kaiser, an HMO, as is damn near everybody else in the whole Bay Area. You can be damn sure that they get some sort of discount, especially on anything off-patent or stuff where there are competing highly similar products to choose from. Some of the meds I used to get, upon inspection, said things like "product A for (chemical name of product B)".

be well and have a good one.

up
8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

My scripts are filled at the local apothecary. Have known them for many years.
Somehow they pull a magic rabbit out of the hat and the cost of meds are the
same as they ever were (within about 2%). I don't ask, they don't tell. So I assume
they are using whatever billing component in my favor. Good people there.

Then the counselors told me that CVS and whatever can lower my script costs
using a medicare advantage network to way-way above what I am now paying.
So the $10K cost would go down to $6K. But I only pay $600.
Something fishy going on here methinks.

It is understood that Medicare Advantage plans have a bad track record of fraud.
And they advertise all kinds of benefits - ears, eyes, ambulance, hospice and
what-all. But if they are lying that badly about drugs, I don't want to know about
the rest. In-system only, only covered care, etc. Doesn't sound like such a good
deal to me.

up
8 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

but I do know of at least one exception.

be well and have a good one

up
6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Shahryar's picture

@enhydra lutris

no HMO for us, no Parts C and/or D. We certainly don't want any big pharma drugs.

up
5 users have voted.

@Shahryar
it becomes easier to make reasonable choices. Sometimes more is, in fact, less and less is actually more. I find your perspective refreshingly sane. Death is not optional and immortality is not on the menu.

A life well lived and a death well met sounds good to me.

up
4 users have voted.

“The vaccine was not brought in for COVID. COVID was brought in for the vaccine. Once you realize that, everything else makes sense.” ~ Dr. Reiner Fuellmich

Lookout's picture

Trade day was thin, but it is only 30F. Saw some buddies and had a nice stroll anyway.

NZ and CA have gone off the rails ... just let doctors be doctors and quit legislating personal health choices.

I wish the US would pursue peace with the same vigor they use to promote war.

Thanks for the OT!

up
13 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

...over US access to Philippine military bases. Obviously, he's trying to triangulate, and the idea of a permanent US military base structure is problematic for domestic and international reasons. So it's all about permissive use, infrastructure changes, storage facilities and the like on Philippine bases for US use.

Philippines may allow U.S. military access during Taiwan crisis
RYO NAKAMURA and YUICHI SHIGA, Nikkei staff writers
September 5, 2022

...Romualdez said Manila is in talks with Washington to increase the number of Philippine military bases that American forces can use. The bilateral Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement concluded in 2014 lets the U.S. maintain a rotating military presence at five Philippine bases.

"Our military and the military of the United States are all looking into what are the possible areas," Romualdez said. Additional bases may include a naval base, he said.

U.S. forces maintain ammunition, fuel and medical supplies at the bases and are ready to respond to natural disasters. Under the 2014 agreement, the construction and upgrade of storage facilities and other infrastructure was planned, but only limited progress was made during Duterte's presidency.

Asked about the time frame for implementing the plans, Romualdez said "hopefully, in the next three years, that we can have all of these areas that we have identified already."

A Pentagon spokesperson said the U.S. and the Philippines "hold regular discussions on deepening our enduring security alliance under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty and multiple other agreements, including the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement...

Duterte had pretty much put the EDCA on hold to improve his position vis a vis China after diplomatic and military disputes over the South China Sea. I saw a Marcos interview on CGTN recently, and he is much subtler than say an obsequious clod like South Korea's President/dictator Yoon Seok-yeol.

As the Yoon crackdown on political opposition, and labor unions, spreads, discussion of the emerging nature of his authoritarian administration is being discussed more openly by opposition politicians. This acknowledgement of the threat to South Korean "democracy" was previously limited to online independent media.

Here's a discussion that appeared in the Hankyoreh which is center left:

Leaders of Korea’s democratization call for emergency convention to address issues posed by Yoon
Jan 20

...“Since Yoon Suk-yeol became president, the public livelihood has been degraded by a pro-chaebol, anti-labor policy; democracy has been backsliding because of the high-handed antics of the despotic prosecution service; and the threat of war has been growing on the Korean Peninsula,” these respected members of society said in a statement calling for a national convention around March 1, the anniversary of the 1919 pro-independence movement.

Veterans of Korea’s democratization movement who are currently out of politics held a press conference at the Christian Building in the Jongno District of Seoul on Thursday morning and proposed holding an “emergency convention to stop labor repression, prosecutorial despotism and South Korea-US nuclear weapon drills.” The figures in attendance included Catholic Rev. Ham Se-ung, protestant Pastors Kim Sang-geun and Ahn Jae-ung, and Lee Bu-yeong, the chairman of the board of the Free Press Practice Foundation.

“Under the banner of the rule of law, the Yoon administration is seeking to stigmatize civic groups and other opponents as being corrupt North Korean sympathizers,” the figures in attendance said while calling for Yoon to halt what they called “repressive measures.”

“The Yoon administration is mobilizing politicized prosecutors to destroy democracy and impose inequality and polarization that are driving ordinary citizens to the brink. Since Yoon took office, the Korean people have been left defenseless before prosecutorial despotism, a catastrophic economic crisis and the creeping threat of nuclear war,” they said.

https://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/1076547.html

The group also went on to criticize the Yoon administration's attack on free speech. This subject matter is virtually never addressed in western media.

Another interesting article over at the Diplomat concerning Taiwan:

TSMC’s US Investments Spark Political Controversy in Taiwan
Plans for new chip plants in the U.S. have sparked concerns about Taiwan’s “silicon shield” – and whether Washington has Taipei’s best interests at heart.

https://thediplomat.com/2023/01/tsmcs-us-investments-spark-political-con...

South Korea shares Taiwan's problem. Thanks for the articles on Taiwan SOE. Browsing through associated links, I came across the Ractopamine treated pork issue. I didn't even know what it was.

up
8 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@soryang

was unaware of. Another case, I notice, where the US is using the WTO as a club against everybody trying to protect their people using a variant of the precautionary principle (safe dose can't be determined, ergo disallow) in favor of the anything goes standard (Can't be conclusively proven to be seriously harmful/lethal, ergo must allow). The people, globe wide, need to get rid of the WTO and prohibit the recurrence of anything vaguely similar, IMHO.

be well and have a good one

up
7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

ice in standing water, etc. Tres mucho cold at the farmers' market today and not too busy because of same. They've been trying to play that game with herbals here for a while now. The law says they have to ok sale and consumption of stuff that's been in use for ages in indigenous populations (or delevloped ones) but they wouldn't approve stevia for ages, holding out until somebody could prouce and patent an extract of an/the active ingredient. That kind of shit has to be stopped somehow, maybe massive black markets or something.

be well and have a good one

up
7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

earthling1's picture

@enhydra lutris
goes way, way beyond Military control.
Every facet of our lives must be controlled for efficient rent extractraction of the global human population.
IMHO
Good comment, EL
Thanks for THE OT, SOE.

up
8 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

enjoyed a spurt of huge improvement in his cancer for a 6 month period after visiting a clinic in Mexico. BioMedical Cancer Clinic. The regimen was diet and vitamins, various supplements. Hell, he was up out of bed, able to drive. Then, he had a serious bladder infection, had to be hospitalized, and since we had no prescriptions, had no labels with pill content, the hospital would not allow him to take them. 2 months later, he requested to be released, died at home after 2 more months.
The whole idea of that clinic was that the only effective killer of a cancer cell is one's immune system. Chemo doesn't limit cell destruction to cancer cells. It kills most everything. Nothing about that seems radical or idiotic. To this day, 25 years later, I still include the recommended vegetables from the clinic's list, in my own diet.
My big issue with Medicare Advantage is remaining in network. Bankruptcy awaits you if you get sick in the wrong location. I travel regularly and want the ambulance to take me to the nearest er without regard to a system. I want to see the dr. I choose. I don't want to waste time seeing a primary dr. to get a referral to a specialist of the network's choosing.
All of us are subservient to some fucking insurance company anyway. Why give them more control?
I have not had a medical condition in 40 years that warranted medication, above and beyond an infection or injury. My drs. run me through the mill to find something--anything--that would warrant daily meds. Only 1 dr. has said he didn't want me to get on any daily, for life medication.
There a few drs. in the Houston area that practice their traditional herbal protocols. They have good reputations. edit: Chinese drs. Oopsies.

up
7 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Shahryar's picture

@on the cusp

they'll kill you if you give them half a chance. "try this, it's experimental". Next thing you know, you're looking down at the room from above, on your way to the light.

up
4 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

Somehow my union has removed me from Medicare and enrolled me in an Aetna plan and sprung it on me near the end of the open enrollment period this last November.
They gave me less than two weeks to cancel the change, giving me the ultimatum I would lose my union retiree secondary insurance along with dental coverage if I rejected the Advantage plan.
Right off the bat I had to cancel two Dr.
appointments because they are not "in" network. Two other specialists are also eliminated from coverage.
Am looking for a advocate to get me back into Medicare proper with the minimum fuss.
I think Washington state has an ombudsman of sorts that helps people thru the system.
Other than that, it's snowing here in Vancouver/Portland metro area. Bought another 4 ft. grow light to double my seedling production next month.
Hope we don't have snow in mid April like last year.
Have a good weekend everybody.

up
9 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

@earthling1 Shit like this turns workers off of unions.
I hope you get help and can undo this extraordinary control over your health and well being.

up
6 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

How will the Ukrainian cheerleaders in the MSM report it?

Previously this did not turn out as planned.

up
7 users have voted.