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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] A Need for Lawyers

Eric.    (01)

I am not going to say that we don't need more lawyers, because I really
don't know. What I see happening, though, is that all the extra costs that
corparations incur (lawyers, advertising, etc.) simply taxes consumers. For
them, it is just the cost of doing business. So we end up paying for the
lawyers working both sides of each case.    (02)

There is an organization for investigative journalism: nternational
Consortium of Investigative Journalists: http://www.icij.org  See also
http://www.public-i.org    (03)

Round organizations such as these out with a way of improved public insight
into how and where to get info that is reliable. Public computency would be
a route to take.    (04)

Henry    (05)

Eric Armstrong wrote:    (06)

> You know, it just came to me the other day that we
> NEED (some) lawyers. We need them in a really
> big way, and we need an organization that has the
> mandate to acquire funds and use them to pay top
> lawyers some really big bucks. Done right, it could
> have the biggest single impact on producing the
> quality of life that our industrialized society threatens to
> take away.
> This line of reasoning was prompted the other day,
> when I heard about a breast cancer conference which
> turned out to be fairly disappointing, because no one
> at the conference was able to expalin where it came
> from, or why we have such high rates of it.
> Now to me, that comment was astonishing. The science
> is clear, and it stems from the same cause that has given
> rise to unprecedented levels of obesity. The mechanism, for
> the dietarily-aware is primarily due to the high levels of
> trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils.
> We know that partially hydrogenated oils contain high levels
> of trans fats. We know that the trans fats screw up the operation
> of the cell membranes. They're like bad security guards who
> don't let the good folks through, but let the bad ones pass
> easily. So toxins in the diet are absorbed through the gut
> when they should be rejected. Then they are passed into the
> cells. And since the female breast is 90-some percent fatty
> tissue, it makes a lot of sense that the problems would
> manifest there, first and foremost.
> But that was just one trend. I was thinking about how how
> the companies make such a huge profit by selling stuff with
> partially hydrogenated oil. (They use it because it gives a similar
> texture and flavor as butter, only a lot more cheaply. If you
> start reading labels, you'll find it everywhere. And french fries
> are generally fried in huge vats of the stuff.)
> So they make the money, and the victims, I mean, "customers",
> pay the cost. How fair is that?
> Then I started thinking about water. I mean, I PAY to have good
> drinking water. I buy in bottles, because the stuff coming out of
> the tap tastes so foul, anymore. Not to mention all the stuff that's
> dumped into it.
> So they make money dumping their crap, and I pay to buy water.
> How fair is that?
> But in one area, at least, we've started to redress the balance. I
> speak, of course, of cancer. We now have tobacco companies
> footing a lot of the bill for cancer patients, and that's only right.
> But the important principle in that success is that the people who
> CAUSE the problem are the people who should pay the COST.
> They *should* shoulder the burden. It's only fair.
>    Note:
>    To take it to the next level, it will be necessary to tease out that
>    principle so that it stands on its own. Success in the tobaccoo
>    lawsuits also relied heavily on the fact that tobacoo is addictive.
>    However, while that is an important consideration, I think the
>    really important principle, well founded in law, is that an
>    individual (personal or corporate) is responsible for the harm they
>    cause.
> So, how will we get rid of the toxins, carcinogins, poisons and
> hormones that infect our foods? How will be eliminate the trans
> fats and airborne pollutants from our environment?
> The answer, I think, is class action lawsuits.
> Granted, this is something the Surgeon General's office and the FDA
> should be doing for us. But the corporations that profit from these
> things can employ full time lobbying staffs and eloquent marketing
> campaigns. Until the money interests are dislodged from their firm
> entrenchment in the halls of legislature, that is going to be an
> extremely
> difficult battle to start, much less to win.
> But the halls of justice present a more level playing field. There,
> even an extremely well-funded effort adversary has a difficult time
> making its case, in the absence of truth. Admitedly, it still requires
> a well-funded effort to present a convincing case, and to tear down
> the facade erected by corporations that are more interested in profit
> than in human health. But it can be done.
> And if a private foundation were to start (shades of Nader!), then
> several interesting things begin to happen:
>   * The discovery motions begin to uncover what the corporation's
>      scientists have been telling them all along. And to any corporate
>      official with a modicum of sense, that proposition is downright
>      scary. That impact by itself will cause some number of "food"
>      purveyors to clean up their act.
>    * The publicity that results from such trials will begin to put more
>       information into the public consciousness.
>   * As people become more informed, more aware, and more alert,
>      the pressure on government to act grows stronger.
> All of these things would have a major impact on the quality of life
> in this country. Other interesting possibilities exist, as well,
> including:
>    * Lawsuits against medical schools that fail to
>       disease prevention through nutrition (and, in the case of
>       osteoporisis, through lifetime resistance-training exercise).
>    * Lawsuits against the AMA for failing to council doctors to
>       recommend safe nutritional supplements instead of drugs with
>       harmful side-effects, in the many cases where the latter is no
>       more effective than the former.
>    * Possible lawsuits against the FDA, for failing to take into
>       account the public interest in cases where it fails to pass a
>       nutritional supplement for lack of extensive, expensive testing,
>       and yet passes a manufacturer's drug for the same condition
>       on little more than the manufacturer's say so.
>       Note:
>       In general, I think the FDA is well meaning and principled.
>       But they could use a little watch-dogging to help them keep
>       their priorities straight.
> Them there's my thoughts for the day.
> Makes me wish I *had* gone to law school, as I
> had thought about, once upon a time, when I was interested
> in constitutional issues...    (07)