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

Hit send before I got to the big finish....    (01)

Eric Armstrong wrote:    (02)

> Do I want to see people make a profit? You bet! It's the number
> one social mechanism in the world for getting what we need,
> when we need it, at the lowest possible cost, in the highest
> possible volume.    (03)

BUT...    (04)

That profit has to be based on providing real value. When a
manufacturer sells a swing set that breaks and harms children,
we take away their profits. When an automobile manufacturer
sells a defective product that kills people, they are forced to
pay damages and issue recalls. (I'm always astonished, a few
weeks later, to see the ads telling us how much they care about
us, after dragging their feet for years in court and in the legislature.)    (05)

In short, we make sure darn near everyone *except* food
producers and drug manufacturers have our best interests at
heart. It's time we enforced the same rules on them.    (06)

And it's not because we don't want to (most of the time). It's
just that science moves a lot more rapidly than our laws can
keep up with.    (07)

For example, early last century, the only test for anemia was
ineffective if a person was taking folic acid supplements.
(Folic acid, or folacin, is a B-vitamin that controls the
adsorption of other B vitamins.) The FDA's response was
to limit the amount of folic acid you could put into a supplement.    (08)

Result? When you take a B-vitamin supplement, you really
are creating "expensive urine", because the B-vitamins are
synergistic. You can only take in and use as much as you
have of the least one. So if you are taking a 50 mg B supplement,
and it only has 400 or 800 micrograms of folacin, the other
49.2 mg goes down the drain!    (09)

The impact? Vitamins get an undeserved bad rap in general ,
B-vitamin supplements are useless in general (so take brewer's
yeast, instead), and public health suffers.    (010)

But guess what? There have been better tests for anemia for
the last 50 years!! (More like 60, now.) No one even *uses*
that old test anymore.    (011)

So why hasn't the FDA changed its rules? You tell me. Or better
yet, let's get a discovery motion and FIND OUT why.    (012)

Pardon my intensity, please. But I've been trying to figure out how
to improve public health for a very long time. It is frustrating to
have learned so much, and yet know that anyone who does not
invest the same amount of time and effort is a doomed victim of
a system that feeds them great tasing, poisonous junk in a shiny
wrapper with lots of feel-good advertising. (And even with what
I know, I get victimized by what I don't know, and by the fact
that the junk is so readily available.)    (013)

I'll continue to do what I can to educate. This diatribe (for any
who get this far) has been one step in that direction. But it is
a very small step.    (014)

I've considered running for office. But that's a narrow platform
to run on, and there is a huge collection of entrenched interests
in the way.    (015)

Executive decree from the surgeon general would be great. But
where somehow Surgeon General Koop was able to get the
public's attention and make a difference, the warnings given by
Clinton's surgeon general (I can't even remember his name!) on
the subject of partial hyrdrogenation went almost totally unnoticed.    (016)

That leaves the judicial system. I am fortunate to have observed
Rusty Day fighting in Superior Court for the right of the Java
platform to remain unadulterated by Redmond's machinations.
I was expecting an intellectual struggle, with interesting arguments on
both sides. What I saw instead was a knight, devoted to bring out
the truth, and defending the truth. I saw a lot of maneuvering and
sophistic ploys on the other side, which helped turn what I expected
to be an even match into a white knight/black knight contest, but I
was totally taken with the image of a knight standing up to do battle
for those unable to defend themselves.    (017)

But it takes a *really* strong knight. It's no place for the faint of
heart. If logic were a requirement, the matter would have been
decided in a couple of hours. There was a tenuous thread of logic
on the one side (not totally obvious, I grant, but it was there). On
the other side, there was argument ad hominum, argument by
derision, argument by reinterpreting what was said and knowing
down that straw man, attempts to change the subject, and any
other form of verbal chicanery, I suspect, that the practioners
thought they could get away with. I waited for a counter to
the real argument that had been laid at their doorstep, but I waited
in vain -- it never came.    (018)

And that was only a few days! Cases like those I'm suggesting could
go on for years. It takes a really intelligent lawyer, with great a
collection of experts, superb preparation, and a remarkable ability
to think on their feet. In other words, it takes someone who can make
one hell of a living at anything they should choose to do.    (019)

But if we can someone of that caliber to focus on the public good,
we make an enormous difference in our public welfare, by providing
the one MAJOR "check and balance" that our system is missing --
one that allows people to make a profit by killing people and siphoning
their money slowly, by degrees, rather than all at once like an honest
crook.    (020)