The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Curcumin found to have protective effects against renal fibrosis. Dairy products can increase the risk of cancer, but these plant-based diets can reduce it. Gut microbiome link to deadly lung disease. Review concludes antioxidant vitamins may improve cognitive function in Alzheimer disease. Everyday activities enhance personal well-being.
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world.
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Can drinking cocoa make you smarter? Oral administration of quercetin or its derivatives inhibit bone loss of osteoporosis. Psilocybin & migraine: First of its kind trial reports promising results. Universally available herbal teas based on sage and perilla elicit potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Green Mediterranean ('green Med') diet may be even better for health. Tryptophan intake found to be lower in study of older adults with mood disorders. Dr. Yeadon video - 32 mins
The Art of Profiteering from a Pandemic
Gary Null PhD and Richard Gale
Progressive Radio Network, November 24, 2020
As the number of reported Covid-19 cases increase, we are once again seeing a dramatic uptick in states’ efforts to mandate lockdowns and quarantines and to restrict transportation. Yet at the same time there is a growing number of voices within the medical and scientific communities criticizing these policies and providing evidence that the current lockdowns and flawed preventative measures are not working. In fact, they are contributing to more damage than good. There is also reliable evidence to conclude that the pandemic has been captured by special interest groups, especially the vaccine makers and the industries that profit off them. Consequently the fear of a deadly virus has been both politicized and weaponized to subvert populations into passive submission to authorities who control the media’s narrative.
Yet these regressive policies are being challenged aggressively. Many of the tens of thousands of medical critics come from the world’s most respected institutions such as Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and Yale medical schools. Over 47,000 epidemiologists and public health experts and 639,000 concerned citizens have now signed the Great Barrington Declaration to publicize the warning that the policies now being enacted are having a far more detrimental effect on public health and the economy than the virus itself.
None of these experts are suggesting that Covid-19 is not real nor are they questioning its virulence. Nor are they suggesting we should be cavalier and pretend the virus poses only minor risks. What is being challenged on the other hand are the political decisions based upon poor scientific evidence and the commercial conflicts of interest that guide these decisions.
First, we must acknowledge that the actual mortality rates in comparison to the rising number of so-called “positive” cases being reported is seriously flawed. Since the outbreak and reports of the first wave of deaths, federal health officials have conflated actual Covid-19 deaths with fatalities due to other preexisting comorbidities. Oddly, this peak in fatalities also occurred during the height of the influenza season. Reported deaths due to the flu and pneumonia for the first time in decades declined astronomically. There has been no coherent and rational explanation to account for this decrease. Rather, this death rate seems to have been incorporated into the Covid deaths that rose exponentially. This was also during a period when accurate diagnostic testing was poor, and this remains the case seven months later. Worse, without proper evaluation for the actual cause of these deaths, hospitals, clinics and mortuaries were being instructed to classify them as Covid-related. By and large these deaths were among the elderly and more so with older patients with compromised immune systems. If a person is young or under the age 60, there is very little chance of dying from Covid. The annual flu, on the other hand, kills young and old alike. In this manner, the pandemic provided the opportunity to enable state governments to begin lockdowns, close numerous businesses and places of work, and mandate masks and social distancing.
Stanford University’s distinguished professor of medicine, Dr. John Ioannidis accurately puts our current state of affairs in correct context,
“The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher…. Among normal, healthy people, the death rate is gradually falling to become about 0.1%, which is average for flu every year. We never locked down in the past.”
In most European countries we witnessed a peak in fatalities in late winter and early spring. Despite aggressive testing during the subsequent months, death rates have dropped and leveled off to nearly zero per day. On the other hand, official charts of US deaths present a pattern unlike any other nation. The pattern is jagged and shows peaks unlike any other country with fatalities again on the rise. After a low in early July, daily deaths rates have regularly fluctuated between 400 and 1,500 per day. Yet these figures do not agree with what the CDC has been reporting. In fact, confirmed Covid-19 deaths have been level since mid-June.
What can account for these bizarre patterns and contradictions in data? We would agree with Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a former Chairperson at the University of Mainz medical school in Germany that we are in fact caught in a pandemic of over-testing rather than in a pandemic caused by a pathogen. Moreover, the US is continuing to erroneously assign primary causes of death due to other comorbidities, such as heart failure, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and obesity, as Covid-19 related if a patient happens to test positive for the virus. There is already an official precedent for this fudging of numbers. For example, the CDC does not distinguish between deaths caused by flu virus or pneumonia. The two completely different pathogens are heaped together. Every year before the arrival of the flu season, we read in the press the same figures of more or less 34,000 deaths due to flu; however, the majority of these are in fact due to pneumonia in already ill patients. Nevertheless it serves as excellent propaganda every year to encourage people to get their flu vaccination.
The problem is further compounded with the US’s over-reliance on PCR testing to determine infection. Numerous medical professionals are now on record criticizing the use of PCR tests for clinical diagnosis. Even the world’s vaccine czar Bill Gates told Wire magazine in an interview that “the majority of all US tests are complete garbage, waste.” But their voices are unrecognized by federal and state health officials nor are state governors paying attention. In fact, an information sheet released by the British government recommends that the PCR test not be used as a standalone indicator for Covid-19 infection. Furthermore, over 90 percent of Covid deaths were in nursing homes, intensive care units with patients admitted for other illnesses, hospices, assisted living centers and security prisons with their horrendous medical care systems.
Dr. Michael Yeadon, a former chief scientific officer at Pfizer, provided evidence to the UK’s Corona Committee about the corruption within the nation’s Covid-19 testing program. Politicians and scientists are suppressing real science and replacing it with only the policies that maximize financial gain. The more that PCR is relied upon for monitoring infection rates, the higher the number of false positives. According to Dr. Yeadon, the entire diagnostic regimen is solely designed to game the system. There can be no other explanation for the blatant negligence of scientific facts unfavorable towards PCR’s reliability to diagnose any infectious virus.
If the medical establishment had conducted proper evaluation of the actual death rate, we may never have reached a pandemic level. An altogether different approach for protecting public health may have been mandated with public warnings, masks, frequent hand washing and common sense hygienic measures that are encouraged during any severe flu season and without lockdowns or shutting down the economy.
Now that thousands of physicians in clinical practice are having extraordinary success in treat early stage Covid-19 infections with low dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc, we must ask a simple question. Why are we not relying upon this protocol rather than awaiting for a vaccine? HCQ has been proven to be safe and effective and does not have the adverse risks of Gilead’s expensive remdesivir now being recommended by Anthony Fauci and the CDC. On November 20th, the WHO released a “conditional recommendation against the use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients, regardless of disease severity, as there is currently no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients.”
HCQ on the other hand can be safely used preventatively for front-line workers. And yet the medical bureaucracies at the federal and state levels have viciously attacked HCQ’s proponents and the drug itself with false claims that it is ineffective and even dangerous. But the evidence is the exact opposite. A review of 179 HCQ studies, 114 peer-reviewed, showed that almost 100 percent sowed positive effects for early treatment. This is just one example of how the political handling of the virus is not about saving lives. Rather it is all about vaccine and innovative drugs for profit.
A more scientifically valid and common sense effort could be made to educate the citizenry in nutritional responsibility to strengthen the immune system. As we have reported in the past, there is a large body of peer-reviewed evidence showing the efficacy of certain nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, selenium, zinc and melatonin to protect ourselves from Covid-19 or to at least prevent any severe condition in the event of an infection. Yet our conventional health system has never been a strong advocate for nutrition and healthy lifestyle as a preventative policy to fight disease or infections. Rather for the past century we have had a disease management system: we wait until a person becomes sick and then treat it with pharmaceutical drugs. As more presumed Covid cases mount, as the bureaucrats mandate lockdowns and increase penalties on those who fail to comply with draconian policies derived from junk science, as the media’s fear-mongering continues, and as the scandalous denial of more viable preventative measures because the norm, all hope is now placed on a vaccine reaching the market. Yet there is not an iota of empirical evidence to suggest any one of the several vaccines now ready for launch will truly protect recipients from the virus, whether they are truly safe, or whether a person can still be infected and shed the virus to others.
In fact our deepest worry is the frantic race and enormous momentum to launch a poorly studied Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible with the false promise that life will then gradually return to some resemblance of normalcy. Anthony Fauci now offers a carrot of hope that if enough people are vaccinated we can reach that elusive and hypothetical “herd immunity,” which has never been scientifically and consensually confirmed for any vaccine against any infectious disease in the past. We can only hope that the vaccine will be effective and safe. But there is no sound evidence to draw this conclusion. In fact, our research shows the potential risks far outweigh the evidence for its benefits.
In his international best seller Corona False Alarm, Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi argues that a vaccine is only necessary “when an infection regularly leads to severe illness and/or serious sequelae in healthy individuals.” However, according to the author, a vaccine is not warranted for Covid-19. Since the virus has already been shown to mutate rapidly there is high risk of vaccine failure in the long-term. He is especially worried about the new mRNA-based vaccines that carry the potential danger of integrating the plasmid DNA into cell’s genome and may trigger “production of anti-DNA antibodies and autoimmune reactions.” And we must all be cautious because none of these vaccines have undergone rigorous review and evaluation to determine their safety profile. Instead, they are being fast-tracked under the naïve assumption they will bring an end to the pandemic. But at what cost to the public’s future health is completely unknown territory.
More recently, during an exclusive interview with Dr. John Martin, the former head of the FDA’s Viral Oncology Laboratory where he investigated vaccine contamination from cancer-causing viruses, he raised warnings about the potential interaction between the vaccines using either mRNA or the genetically modified adenovirus with stealth adapted viruses already present in the body. These stealth viruses largely present no health risks and do not trigger an immune response; however, they are highly reactive and can incorporate the vaccine’s mRNA, and then be converted into cellular DNA, or they can mutate into something more virulent and pathogenic. Although health officials are fully aware of stealth viruses, and have known about them since the early days of the polio vaccine, it is a risk completely being ignored and off the table when evaluating the new generation of Covid vaccines.
Behind all of the public fear, contradictory science, flawed statistics, and bureaucratic knee-jerk reactions, we are now witnessing the complete politicalization of a medical threat that should have been handled with consensual independent scientific data rather than through social control. Unfortunately, the pandemic and the means to either control it or bring it to an end is not being handled by competent scientists and administrators. As we look upon other nation’s such as Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and Taiwan as models for how to contain the virus, keep their economies open and limit the number of deaths well below a flu outbreak, the US and the UK have become the laughing stock of the developed world. Gates himself has been a sharp critic for how our government and federal health agencies have handled the crisis. Sadly, we cannot expect anything much better from president elect Biden. The US no longer has within its political DNA the capacity to respond to crises with common sense.
The Gary Null Show - More reasons to be worried about the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines — Stealth adapted viruses
Dr. John Martin is the Medical Director of the nonprofit public charity MI Hope in California. He holds a medical degree from the University of Sydney and a doctorate from the University of Melbourne and has specialized in immunopathology and medical microbiology. Earlier in his career Dr. Martin worked for the National Institutes of Health and later at the FDA where he headed the Viral Oncology Laboratory. His work at the FDA involved investigating possible contamination in vaccines with cancer causing viruses. For the past three decades, John has been conducting research into the detection of stealth adapted viruses that are not recognized by our body's immune system. Today Dr. Martin will share his research into these viruses and the role they may play in increasing the risks of the new generation of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines that will be launched shortly.
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Getting Healthy With Gary Null: Actor Fred Fischer , THIS is a Meeting Privately Recorded in EDMONTON Alberta Canada last week! Mediterranean diet helps reduce effects of stress in animal model, study shows. Nutrition can aid DNA repair during aging. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation associated with improved antioxidant status, glycemic control. Mindfulness interventions can change health behaviors -- integrated model helps to explain how they work. Certain CBD oils no better than pure CBD at inhibiting certain cancer cell lines.
Origins of covid virus and Fauci's connections with Chinese Wuhan Laboratory
Dr. Peter Breggin has been called the “conscience of psychiatry” during his outstanding career to reform the mental health field. Dr. Breggin is a Harvard trained psychiatrist and a former consultant for the National Institutes of Mental Health. He is one of our nation's most important critics of the current conventional psychotherapeutic approaches in treating mental disorders in both adults and children, particularly the epidemic use of psychoactive drugs. Along with his wife, he is the founder of the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, a non profit organization providing scientific-based information on dangers and adverse effects of psychiatric drugs. Dr. Breggin has written many important and award winning books. Especially notable are "Medication Madness" and his later “Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions” and "Talking Back to Prozac". Peter also hosts a radio broadcast -- “Dr. Peter Breggin Hour” -- every Wednesday at 4:00 pm eastern time on the Progressive Radio Network. His website is Breggin.com
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Carnitine supplementation associated with improvement of metabolic syndrome. Chemicals in your living room cause diabetes. How pomegranate extract alters breast cancer stem cell properties. Calcium supplementation may be needed in addition to vitamin D to lower fracture risk. Low levels of choline in pregnant Black American women associated with higher levels of stress. Chronic inflammation causes a reduction in NAD+. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract promotes skeletal muscle fiber transformation which supports increased fatigue resistance.
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment and all things political around the world. Go (over) easy on the eggs: 'Egg-cess' consumption linked to diabetes. Veganism: Vitamin B12 is well supplemented, iodine is a matter of concern. Resveratrol shows promise in reduction of stroke symptoms that can affect neuronal function. Vitamin D and Omega-3s bolster health in some active older people. One-third of people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicines. Are We Being Told the Truth About COVID-19? | Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi.
Vitamin C's effectiveness against COVID may hinge on vitamin's natural transporter levels
Medical College of Georgia Center for Healthy Aging, November 12, 2020
High doses of vitamin C under study for treating COVID-19 may benefit some populations, but investigators exploring its potential in aging say key factors in effectiveness include levels of the natural transporter needed to get the vitamin inside cells.
Age, race, gender, as well as expression levels and genetic variations of those vitamin C transporters that make them less efficient, all may be factors in the effectiveness of vitamin C therapy against COVID-19 and other maladies, investigators at the Medical College of Georgia Center for Healthy Aging report in a commentary in the journal Aging and Disease.
The investigators recommend that those factors be considered in the design and execution of clinical trials, and when trial results are analyzed, for COVID-19 as well as other conditions, says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, aging researcher and the article's corresponding author.
The novel nature and lack of immunity against the coronavirus has prompted a worldwide pursuit of effective treatments for COVID-19, they write. That includes repurposing drugs with known safety profiles, including Vitamin C, an established immune system booster and antioxidant, which made it a logical choice to explore in COVID-19. Both strategies are needed in response to infection with the novel coronavirus to ensure a strong immune response to stop the virus from replicating in the body, and to avoid the over-the-top, destructive immune response the virus itself can generate if it does.
There are at least 30 clinical trials underway in which vitamin C, alone or in combination with other treatments, is being evaluated against COVID-19, some with doses up to 10 times the recommended 65 to 90 milligrams daily of vitamin C.
Factors like whether or not vitamin C can get inside the cell, likely are an issue in the effectiveness the therapies ultimately show, says Dr. Carlos M. Isales, co-director of the MCG Center for Healthy Aging and chief of the MCG Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
In fact, without adequate transporters on a cell's surface to get the water-soluble vitamin past the lipid layer of cell membranes, particularly large doses may enable the vitamin to cluster around the outside of cells where it actually starts producing oxidants, like damaging reactive oxygen species, rather than helping eliminate them, says Isales, a study coauthor.
"We think it's important to look at transporter expression," Fulzele says.
They suspect low transporter expression is a factor in the mixed results from vitamin C's use in a variety of other conditions. Clinical trials in osteoarthritis, for example, an autoimmune disease where a misdirected immune system is attacking the joints, has gotten mixed results, Fulzele says. However its usage in other viral-induced problems, like potentially deadly sepsis, has shown benefit in reducing organ failure and improving lung function in acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is also a major cause of sickness and death with COVID-19.
At the time their Aging and Disease paper was published, there were not yet published studies of the efficacies of high-dose, intravenous vitamin studies underway for COVID-19.
Fulzele, who works on vitamin C in aging, and others have shown that some conditions, like osteoarthritis and even normal aging, are associated with significant downregulation of at least one subtype of vitamin C transporter.
In fact, part of the paradox and concern with COVID-19 is that those most at risk mostly have both lower levels of vitamin C before they get sick and fewer transporters to enable the vitamin to be of benefit if they get more, Fulzele says.
Many of those most at risk from COVID-19, including individuals who are older, Black, male and with chronic medical conditions like osteoarthritis, hypertension and diabetes, tend to have lower levels of vitamin C, another reason vitamin C therapy would be considered a reasonable treatment, Isales says. The investigators also note that patients may develop a vitamin C deficiency over the course of their COVID-19 illness since, during an active infection, vitamin C is consumed at a more rapid rate. Insufficient levels can augment the damage done by an overzealous immune response.
While not routinely done, transporter expression can be measured today using PCR technology, a method also used for novel coronavirus as well as influenza testing. While increasing transporter expression is not yet doable in humans, one of Fulzele's many research goals is to find a drug or other method to directly increase expression, which should improve the health of older individuals as well as those with other medical conditions that compromise those levels.
He notes that reduced transporter levels that occur naturally with age are a factor in the reduced immune function that also typically accompanies aging. That means that even when a 60-year-old and 20-year-old both have a healthy diet in which they consume similar, sufficient amounts of vitamin C, the vitamin is not as effective at boosting the older individual's immune response. Reduced immune function in older individuals is known to put them at increased risk for problems like cancer and COVID-19.
Low vitamin C levels also have been correlated with higher mortality in older individuals from causes like cardiovascular disease. High oxidative stress, a major factor in conditions like cardiovascular disease as well as aging and now COVID-19, also is associated with significantly reduced expression of the vitamin C transporter.
Isales and Fulzele doubt that taking a lot of vitamin C is a good preventive strategy against COVID-19, except in those individuals with a known deficiency.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means people have to consume it in their food or supplements. Foods naturally high in vitamin C include oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The vitamin's diverse roles in the body also include formation of blood vessels, collagen and cartilage.
Emerging role of vitamin C in prevention and treatment of novel respiratory virus
University of Otago (New Zealand), November 11, 2020
According to news reporting out of Christchurch, New Zealand, research stated, “Investigation into the role of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia and sepsis has been underway for many decades. This research has laid a strong foundation for translation of these findings into patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”
Our news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from University of Otago: “Research has indicated that patients with pneumonia and sepsis have low vitamin C status and elevated oxidative stress. Administration of vitamin C to patients with pneumonia can decrease the severity and duration of the disease. Critically ill patients with sepsis require intravenous administration of gram amounts of the vitamin to normalize plasma levels, an intervention that some studies suggest reduces mortality. The vitamin has pleiotropic physiological functions, many of which are relevant to COVID-19. These include its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and immuno-modulatory functions. Preliminary observational studies indicate low vitamin C status in critically ill patients with COVID-19. There are currently a number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) registered globally that are assessing intravenous vitamin C monotherapy in patients with COVID-19. Since hypovitaminosis C and deficiency are common in low-middle-income settings, and many of the risk factors for vitamin C deficiency overlap with COVID-19 risk factors, it is possible that trials carried out in populations with chronic hypovitaminosis C may show greater efficacy. This is particularly relevant for the global research effort since COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting low-middle-income countries and low-income groups globally. One small trial from China has finished early and the findings are currently under peer review. There was significantly decreased mortality in the more severely ill patients who received vitamin C intervention. The upcoming findings from the larger RCTs currently underway will provide more definitive evidence.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Optimization of the intervention protocols in future trials, e.g., earlier and sustained administration, is warranted to potentially improve its efficacy. Due to the excellent safety profile, low cost, and potential for rapid upscaling of production, administration of vitamin C to patients with hypovitaminosis C and severe respiratory infections, e.g., COVID-19, appears warranted.”
Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting: an update on mechanism, and the role of circadian rhythm and gut microbiota
Sun Yat-sen University (China), November 11, 2020
According to news originating from Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Importance: There is accumulating evidence that intermittent fasting (IF) is connected to improved health condition and longevity time-restricted feeding (TRF) is the most recognized and extensively studied model of IF. To investigate the underlying mechanism of pleiotropic benefits of IF and hint the most advantageous feeding pattern for humans.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Sun Yat-sen University, “Evidence review: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar by 2020 April for publications on IF or TRF and their mechanisms. Studies include animal models and human cohorts. One important mechanism is that IF allows certain period of fasting time, in which our bodies activate pathways of repair and rejuvenation. Moreover, the advantages of IF, especially TRF over total caloric restriction (CR) provided bases for various animal and human studies which suggested that the feeding-fasting rhythm stimulates the fluctuation of our gut microbiota and a series of subsequent molecular alterations, which in turn restored a healthier circadian clock that resembled our inherent clock formed throughout millions of years of homo sapiens history.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Conclusions and Relevance for Reviews: Complete understanding of the mechanism leading to the beneficial effects of IF paves the way for tailored dietary regimen to combat a wide range of diseases and ill health conditions.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Valerian Quality, Storage Issues May Affect Sleep Outcomes
Chiba and Nagasaki universities (Japan), November 1, 2020
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) may be a safe and effective herbal sleep aid; however quality control issues may affect outcomes, according to the findings of a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis.
While valerian is considered a popular herbal supplement for managing sleep disorders, study outcomes related to its effectiveness have been inconsistent. This review, which included a total of 60 studies (n=6894), aimed to determine the reason for this inconsistency as well as to provide an overview of the role of valerian for other disorders associated with sleep problems.
Meta-analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of valerian on improving subjective sleep quality (10 studies, n=1065), as well as to evaluate its role in reducing anxiety (8 studies, n=535). “Repeated treatments with the whole root/rhizome consistently promoted sleep quality at 450-1410mg per day for 4-8 weeks, whereas valerian extracts 300-600mg per day for 5 days-4 weeks resulted in inconsistent outcomes,” the study authors reported.
In their review, the authors found that the variability in the quality of valerian extracts was dependent on the extraction solvents utilized during the study. Additionally, findings revealed limited information on storage conditions, such as temperature and storage duration, used during each study. “The absence of such information limits the discussion as to why some extracts were ineffective while others exhibited effectiveness in those clinical trials,” the authors noted.
As for safety, findings revealed no severe adverse events with valerian intake in patients 7 to 80 years old. Valerian was also not observed to have a significant impact on cytochrome (CYP) P1A2, 2D6, 2E1, or 3A4/5.
Based on their findings, the authors concluded that revisions to quality control processes for valerian were needed; however, for the time being, “the usage of whole herbal substances (root/rhizome), rather than extracts, may be the way to obtain optimal efficacy.”
Oh my aching back: Do yoga, tai chi or qigong help?
Florida Atlantic University, November 6, 2020
It's a pain. About 80 percent of adults in the United States will experience lower back pain at some point. Treating back pain typically involves medication, including opioids, surgery, therapy and self-care options. Efforts to reduce opioid use and increase physically based therapies to reduce pain and increase physical function and safety are crucial.
Patients are often advised to use non-pharmacological treatments to manage lower back pain such as exercise and mind-body interventions. But, do they really help? In a review published in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice, researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College for Design and Social Inquiry and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing evaluated the evidence of effects of three movement-based mind-body interventions on chronic low back pain. They examined yoga, tai chi, which combines gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness, and qigong, a traditional Chinese meditative movement therapy focused on body awareness and attention during slow, relaxed, and fluid repetitive body movements. Little is known about the effects of movement-based mind-body intervention, in particular qigong and tai chi.
Researchers compared and contrasted yoga, tai chi and qigong by examining frequency and duration of these interventions; primary and secondary outcomes; attrition rates and possible adverse events; and results. Findings from their review provide empirical evidence regarding the benefits of yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which have been recommended by health care providers for patients with lower back pain.
"Back pain is a major public health issue often contributing to emotional distress such as depression and anxiety, as well as sleep issues and even social isolation," said Juyoung Park, Ph.D., corresponding author and an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry. "We reviewed data to determine the effects of movement-based mind-body interventions on chronic back pain, psychological factors, coping strategies, and quality of life in people suffering with back pain. Our goal was to provide a comprehensive assessment of the effects of these interventions to be able to offer information across disciplines to implement evidence-based interventions to reduce such pain."
Of the 625 peer-reviewed articles the researchers identified, 32 met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Results found that the majority of these articles showed movement-based mind-body interventions to be effective for treatment of low back pain, reporting positive outcomes such as reduction in pain or psychological distress such as depression and anxiety, reduction in pain-related disability, and improved functional ability. Among the key findings, researchers discovered that longer duration and high-dose yoga intervention showed reductions in back pain while tai chi reduced acute lower back pain in males in their 20s. Tai chi also was more effective than stretching for lower back pain in young males. In the general community, tai chi showed greater reductions in pain intensity, bothersomeness of pain symptoms, and pain-related disability than the control intervention. Because there are only three qigong studies to date, it was unclear to the researchers whether this intervention is useful in treating chronic lower back pain. Existing research suggests positive benefits of yoga, however, tai chi and qigong for lower back pain are still under-investigated.
"Two of the studies we examined in our review were focused on the effects of movement modality, specifically yoga, in veterans. Many military veterans and active duty military personnel experience chronic low back pain and are affected by this pain more than the general population," said Cheryl Krause-Parello, Ph.D., co-author, a professor and director of Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.) within FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and a faculty fellow of FAU's Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH). "Our review provides emerging evidence that movement-based mind-body interventions could benefit veterans and others experiencing chronic low back pain."
The review included both randomized and nonrandomized studies with a total of 3,484 subjects ages 33 to 73 years old. Study sample sizes ranged from 25 to 320 subjects. The majority of articles reported on yoga (25), followed by tai chi (four), and qigong (three). Most of the yoga studies were conducted in India, followed by the U.S., while other studies were conducted in Australia (tai chi) and Germany (qigong).
People with chronic low back pain are at increased risk of functional limitations, job-related disability, and potential long-term disability. Moreover, the economic burden of chronic low back pain is high due to the cost of medications such as opioids, procedures, hospitalization, surgical treatment, and absence from work.
"Yoga, tai chi and qigong could be used as effective treatment alternatives to pain medications, surgery, or injection-based treatments such as nerve blocks, which are associated with high incidence of adverse effects in treating lower back pain," said Park. "We need more clinical trials and empirical evidence so that clinicians can prescribe these types of interventions with more confidence for managing lower back pain in their patients."
Go (over) easy on the eggs: 'Egg-cess' consumption linked to diabetes
University of South Australia, China Medical University, Qatar University, November 15, 2020
Scrambled, poached or boiled, eggs are a popular breakfast food the world over. Yet the health benefits of the humble egg might not be all they're cracked up to be as new research from the University of South Australia shows that excess egg consumption can increase your risk of diabetes.
Conducted in partnership with the China Medical University, and Qatar University, the longitudinal study (1991 to 2009) is the first to assess egg consumption in a large sample of Chinese adults.
It found that people who regularly consumed one or more eggs per day (equivalent to 50 grams) increased their risk of diabetes by 60 per cent.
With the prevalence of diabetes in China now exceeding 11 per cent - above that of the global average of 8.5 per cent - diabetes has become a serious public health concern.
The economic impact of diabetes is also significant, accounting for 10 per cent of global health expenditure (USD $760 billion). In China, diabetes-related costs have exceeded USD $109 billion.
Epidemiologist and public health expert, UniSA's Dr Ming Li, says the rise of diabetes is a growing concern, especially in China where changes to the traditional Chinese diet are impacting health.
"Diet is a known and modifiable factor that contributes to the onset Type 2 diabetes, so understanding the range of dietary factors that might impact the growing prevalence of the disease is important," Dr Li says.
"Over the past few decades China has undergone a substantial nutritional transition that's seen many people move away from a traditional diet comprising grains and vegetables, to a more processed diet that includes greater amounts of meat, snacks and energy-dense food.
"At the same time, egg consumption has also been steadily increasing; from 1991 to 2009, the number of people eating eggs in China nearly doubled*.
"While the association between eating eggs and diabetes is often debated, this study has aimed to assess people's long-term egg consumption of eggs and their risk of developing diabetes, as determined by fasting blood glucose.
"What we discovered was that higher long-term egg consumption (greater than 38 grams per day) increased the risk of diabetes among Chinese adults by approximately 25 per cent.
"Furthermore, adults who regularly ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or equivalent to one egg, per day) had an increased risk of diabetes by 60 per cent."
The effect was also more pronounced in women than in men.
Dr Li says that while these results suggest that higher egg consumption is positively associated with the risk of diabetes in Chinese adults, more research is needed to explore causal relationships.
"To beat diabetes, a multi-faceted approach is needed that not only encompasses research, but also a clear set of guidelines to help inform and guide the public. This study is one step towards that long-term goal."
Veganism: Vitamin B12 is well supplemented, iodine is a matter of concern
A study shows differences between vegan and mixed diets
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, November 9, 2020
There was no significant difference with regard to vitamin B12, which was present in approximately the same amount in the blood of both groups. Since vitamin B12 is taken up almost exclusively by animal food, the supply of participants following a vegan diet could be due to the intake via dietary supplements. "This study makes it possible to compare a vegan diet with a mixed diet with regard to a variety vitamins and trace elements," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Both diets investigated revealed a lack of iodine. However, the shortage is clearly more distinct in the vegan variant."
n the RBVD study, the BfR research team analysed blood and urine samples and evaluated lifestyle questionnaires and dietary protocols. Of those participating (18 women and men respectively per group aged 30-60 years), almost all those following a vegan diet and one third following a mixed diet took different food supplements.
The study results were particularly noteworthy with regard to the trace element iodine. Iodine excretion measured in urine samples provides information on how well the body is supplied with the trace element. The majority of the participants had a deficiency. The deficiency was significantly more pronounced among vegans - in one third of them, the level was below 20 micrograms per litre (μg/L), the limit defined by the World Health Organization (WHO); anything below this represents a serious shortage. A vegan diet has, however, also shown health benefits, such as a higher fibre intake and lower cholesterol levels. For both diets, about 10% of participants had an iron deficiency.
One-third of people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicines
A stunning one-third of people with a cancer diagnosis use complementary and alternative medicines such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supplements.
UT Southwestern Medical Center's Dr. Nina Sanford made the discovery that's now drawing renewed attention to habits she said cancer patients must disclose during treatment. Dr. Sanford is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology who specializes in and treats cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Herbal supplements were the most common alternative medicine and chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulation, was the second most common, according to Dr. Sanford's analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey. Her findings were published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
"Younger patients are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicines and women were more likely to, but I would have thought more people would tell their doctors," Dr. Sanford said, referring to the finding that 29 percent of people who use complementary and alternative medicine did not tell their physicians. Many survey respondents said they did not say anything because their doctors did not ask, or they did not think their doctors needed to know.
Dr. Sanford and other cancer specialists agree this is concerning, especially in the case of herbal supplements.
"You don't know what's in them," Dr. Sanford said. "Some of these supplements are kind of a mishmash of different things. Unless we know what's in them, I would recommend patients avoid using them during radiation because there's likely not data on certain supplements, which could interfere with treatment. With radiation specifically, there is concern that very high levels of antioxidants could make radiation less effective."
Dr. David Gerber, a lung cancer specialist and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Population and Data Sciences at UTSW, said physicians need to know if their patients use herbal supplements because they can completely throw off traditional cancer treatments.
"They may interact with the medicines we're giving them, and through that interaction it could alter the level of the medicine in the patient," he said. "If the levels get too high, then toxicities increase, and if the levels get too low, the efficacy would drop."
Nancy Myers wanted to use supplements during her 2015-2017 cancer treatments, but she ran it by her doctors first.
"I would ask the physician, 'Could I?' and everyone said, 'No, we don't know how that interacts with your conventional medicine,' so I respected that," the 47-year-old mother of four said. Only after treatment did she start taking turmeric, omega-3, vitamin D, and vitamin B6.
"I have plenty of friends in this cancer journey who I've met who take supplements. A lady I met recently takes 75 supplements a day. It takes her two hours to package her supplements every week," she said.
Ms. Myers said every person in her cancer support group uses some kind of alternative medicine. In addition to supplements, she practices meditation and yoga with guidance from a smartphone app.
"It's what we can control. We can't control the whole cancer," she said. "It helps because it takes your mind off just thinking about it."
She said she knows of some people with cancer who use only alternative medicine - and no traditional medical treatments. Dr. Sanford said this is a dangerous approach that could be fatal. The most famous case of this was Apple founder Steve Jobs, who reportedly used special diets, acupuncture, and other alternatives after receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He turned to traditional medicine late in his battle with cancer and died in 2011.
While doctors are highly cautious about the use of herbs and other supplements during treatment, they are much more open to meditation and yoga as practices that can help patients cope with the shock of a cancer diagnosis and the stress of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
"We strongly advise patients to stay active and engage in exercise during treatment," Dr. Sanford said. "A common side effect of radiation is fatigue. I let the patients know that the patients who feel the most fatigue are the ones who are the most sedentary and that those who are doing exercise are the ones who frequently have the most energy."
Belindy Sarembock, 53, of Dallas, said she practiced yoga during her treatments for breast cancer. She started the classes with skepticism and quickly became convinced of the benefits.
"I was one who would have laughed at yoga before breast cancer, but now it just helps me so much," she said. "It's just so relaxing, I just feel so good after I leave. It's just so peaceful. For your body, I can't think of anything better than that."
She said she had neuropathy or nerve damage from chemotherapy, and yoga almost immediately took the pain away.
"I couldn't get onto my toes. After the second time of going to yoga, I was able to go onto my toes," she said. "I wish I would have known about the yoga earlier. It was just such a benefit and helped me so much. I highly recommend it to anyone."
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
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Dr. Brian Hooker is an Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University in California, and a senior consultant for ARES Corporation, specializing in environmental restoration design. His analysis of the CDCs data about the Measle-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. For years he has been investigating the scientific evidence for a vaccine-autism connection and the flaws in vaccine safety. Brian also has a son with autism and has been active in autism community for increasing public awareness about this epidemic. Over the years Brian has filed many FOIAs with federal health agencies and was in receipt of 1000s of pages of documents from a CDC informant, Dr. William Thompson questioning the efficacy and safety of vaccination. He has been a point independent researcher in the recent whistleblower case with Dr. Thompson from the CDC regarding vaccine dangers. For more information, go to ChildrensHealthDefense.org
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. Diet and lifestyle during pregnancy linked to modifications in infants' DNA. Study finds cannabis flavonoids help fight pancreatic cancer. Eye health and poor nutrition: A high-fat diet may be linked to vision problems later in life, warn scientists. Climate change will give rise to more cancers. Study finds consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function. Studies show: Licorice is a proven breast cancer fighter. What Are the Benefits of Moringa Oleifera?
By Chris Hedges
ScheerPost, November 5, 2020
Well, it’s over. Not the election. The capitalist democracy. However biased it was towards the interests of the rich and however hostile it was to the poor and minorities, the capitalist democracy at least offered the possibility of incremental and piecemeal reform. Now it is a corpse. The iconography and rhetoric remain the same. But it is an elaborate and empty reality show funded by the ruling oligarchs — $1.51 billion for the Biden campaign and $1.57 billion for the Trump campaign — to make us think there are choices. There are not. The empty jousting between a bloviating Trump and a verbally impaired Joe Biden is designed to mask the truth. The oligarchs always win. The people always lose. It does not matter who sits in the White House. America is a failed state.
“The American Dream has run out of gas,” wrote the novelist J.G. Ballard. “The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now.”
There were many actors that killed America’s open society. The corporate oligarchs who bought the electoral process, the courts and the media, and whose lobbyists write the legislation to impoverish us and allow them to accumulate obscene amounts of wealth and unchecked power. The militarists and war industry that drained the national treasury to mount futile and endless wars that have squandered some $7 trillion and turned us into an international pariah. The CEOs, raking in bonuses and compensation packages in the tens of millions of dollars, that shipped jobs overseas and left our cities in ruins and our workers in misery and despair without a sustainable income or hope for the future. The fossil fuel industry that made war on science and chose profits over the looming extinction of the human species. The press that turned news into mindless entertainment and partisan cheerleading. The intellectuals who retreated into the universities to preach the moral absolutism of identity politics and multiculturalism while turning their backs on the economic warfare being waged on the working class and the unrelenting assault on civil liberties. And, of course, the feckless and hypocritical liberal class that does nothing but talk, talk, talk.
If there is one group that deserves our deepest contempt it is the liberal elites, those who posture as the moral arbiters of society while abandoning every value they purportedly hold the moment they become inconvenient. The liberal class, once again, served as pathetic cheerleaders and censors for a candidate and a political party that in Europe would be considered on the far-right. Even while liberals were being ridiculed and dismissed by Biden and by the Democratic Party hierarchy, which bizarrely invested its political energy in appealing to Republican neocons, liberals were busy marginalizing journalists, including Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, who called out Biden and the Democrats. The liberals, whether at The Intercept or The New York Times, ignored or discredited information that could hurt the Democratic Party, including the revelations on Hunter Biden’s laptop. It was a stunning display of craven careerism and self-loathing.
Biden’s campaign was utterly bereft of ideas and policy issues, as if he and the Democrats could sweep the elections by promising to save the soul of America.
The Democrats and their liberal apologists are, the election has illustrated, oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country. They stand for nothing. They fight for nothing. Restoring the rule of law, universal health care, banning fracking, a Green New Deal, the protection of civil liberties, the building of unions, the preservation and expansion of social welfare programs, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, the forgiveness of student debt, stiff environmental controls, a government jobs program and guaranteed income, financial regulation, opposition to endless war and military adventurism were once again forgotten. Championing these issues would have resulted in a Democratic Party landslide. But since the Democratic Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate donors, promoting any policy that might foster the common good, diminish corporate profits and restore democracy, including imposing campaign finance laws, was impossible. Biden’s campaign was utterly bereft of ideas and policy issues, as if he and the Democrats could sweep the elections by promising to save the soul of America. At least the neofascists have the courage of their demented convictions.
The liberal class functions in a traditional democracy as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It ameliorates the worst excesses of capitalism. It proposes gradual steps towards greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with supposed virtues. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements. The liberal class is a vital component within the power elite. In short, it offers hope and the possibility, or at least the illusion, of change.
The surrender of the liberal elite to despotism creates a power vacuum that speculators, war profiteers, gangsters and killers, often led by charismatic demagogues, fill. It opens the door to fascist movements that rise to prominence by ridiculing and taunting the absurdities of the liberal class and the values they purport to defend. The promises of the fascists are fantastic and unrealistic, but their critiques of the liberal class are grounded in truth. Once the liberal class ceases to function, it opens a Pandora’s box of evils that are impossible to contain.
The disease of Trumpism, with or without Trump, is, as the election illustrated, deeply embedded in the body politic. It is an expression among huge segments of the population, taunted by liberal elites as “deplorables,” of a legitimate alienation and rage that the Republicans and the Democrats orchestrated and now refuse to address. This Trumpism is also, as the election showed, not limited to white men, whose support for Trump actually declined.
Fyodor Dostoevsky saw the behavior of Russia’s useless liberal class, which he satirized and excoriated at the end of the 19th century, as presaging a period of blood and terror. The failure of liberals to defend the ideals they espoused inevitably led, he wrote, to an age of moral nihilism. In Notes From Underground, he portrayed the sterile, defeated dreamers of the liberal class, those who hold up high ideals but do nothing to defend them. The main character in Notes From Underground carries the bankrupt ideas of liberalism to their logical extreme. He eschews passion and moral purpose. He is rational. He accommodates a corrupt and dying power structure in the name of liberal ideals. The hypocrisy of the Underground Man dooms Russia as it now dooms the United States. It is the fatal disconnect between belief and action.
“I never even managed to become anything: neither wicked nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect,” the Underground Man wrote. “And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something. Yes, sir, an intelligent man of the nineteenth century must be and is morally obliged to be primarily a characterless being; and a man of character, an active figure – primarily a limited being.”
The refusal of the liberal class to acknowledge that power has been wrested from the hands of citizens by corporations, that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty have been revoked by judicial fiat, that elections are nothing more than empty spectacles staged by the ruling elites, that we are on the losing end of the class war, has left it speaking and acting in ways that no longer correspond to reality.
The “idea of the intellectual vocation,” as Irving Howe pointed out in his 1954 essay This Age of Conformity, “the idea of a life dedicated to values that cannot possibly be realized by a commercial civilization — has gradually lost its allure. And, it is this, rather than the abandonment of a particular program, which constitutes our rout.” The belief that capitalism is the unassailable engine of human progress, Howe wrote, “is trumpeted through every medium of communication: official propaganda, institutional advertising and scholarly writings of people who, until a few years ago, were its major opponents.”
“The truly powerless people are those intellectuals — the new realists — who attach themselves to the seats of power, where they surrender their freedom of expression without gaining any significance as political figures,” Howe wrote. “For it is crucial to the history of the American intellectuals in the past few decades — as well as to the relationship between ‘wealth’ and ‘intellect’ — that whenever they become absorbed into the accredited institutions of society they not only lose their traditional rebelliousness but to one extent or another they cease to function as intellectuals.”
Populations can endure the repression of tyrants, as long as these rulers continue to effectively manage and wield power. But human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. This was true in Weimar Germany. It was true in the former Yugoslavia, a conflict I covered for The New York Times.
The historian Fritz Stern in The Politics of Cultural Despair, his book on the rise of fascism in Germany, wrote of the consequences of the collapse of liberalism. Stern argued that the spiritually and politically alienated, those cast aside by the society, are prime recruits for a politics centered around violence, cultural hatreds and personal resentments. Much of this rage, justifiably, is directed at a liberal elite that, while speaking the “I-feel-your-pain” language of traditional liberalism, sells us out.
“They attacked liberalism,” Stern writes of the fascists emerging at the time in Germany, “because it seemed to them the principal premise of modern society; everything they dreaded seemed to spring from it; the bourgeois life, Manchesterism, materialism, parliament and the parties, the lack of political leadership. Even more, they sense in liberalism the source of all their inner sufferings. Theirs was a resentment of loneliness; their one desire was for a new faith, a new community of believers, a world with fixed standards and no doubts, a new national religion that would bind all Germans together. All this, liberalism denied. Hence, they hated liberalism, blamed it for making outcasts of them, for uprooting them from their imaginary past, and from their faith.”
We are in for it. The for-profit health care system, designed to make money — not take care of the sick — is unequipped to handle a national health crisis. The health care corporations have spent the last few decades merging and closing hospitals, and cutting access to health care in communities across the nation to increase revenue — this, as nearly half of all front-line workers remain ineligible for sick pay and some 43 million Americans have lost their employee-sponsored health insurance. The pandemic, without universal health care, which Biden and the Democrats have no intention of establishing, will continue to rage out of control. Three hundred thousand Americans dead by December. Four hundred thousand by January. And by the time the pandemic burns out or a vaccine becomes safely available, hundreds of thousands, maybe a few million, will have died.
The inevitable social unrest will see the state, no matter who is in the White House, use its three principle instruments of social control — wholesale surveillance, the prisons and militarized police — buttressed by a legal system that routinely revokes habeas corpus and due process, to ruthlessly crush dissent.
The economic fallout from the pandemic, the chronic underemployment and unemployment — close to 20 percent when those who have stopped looking for work, those furloughed with no prospect of being rehired and those who work part-time but are still below the poverty line are included in the official statistics — will mean a depression unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s. Hunger in US households has already tripled since last year. The proportion of US children who are not getting enough to eat is 14 times higher than last year. Food banks are overrun. The moratorium on foreclosures and evictions has been lifted while over 30 million destitute Americans face the prospect of being thrown into the street.
There is no check left on corporate power. The inevitable social unrest will see the state, no matter who is in the White House, use its three principle instruments of social control — wholesale surveillance, the prisons and militarized police — buttressed by a legal system that routinely revokes habeas corpus and due process, to ruthlessly crush dissent. People of color, immigrants and Muslims will be blamed and targeted by our native fascists for the nation’s decline. The few who continue in defiance of the Democratic Party to call out the crimes of the corporate state and the empire will be silenced. The sterility of the liberal class, serving the interests of a Democratic Party that disdains and ignores them, fuels the widespread feelings of betrayal that saw nearly half the voters support one of the most vulgar, racist, inept and corrupt presidents in American history. An American tyranny, dressed up with the ideological veneer of a Christianized fascism, will, it appears, define the empire’s epochal descent into irrelevance.
Beyond Postmodern: The Neoliberal Roots of Woke Cancel Culture
A number of writers on the left and center-left have recently expressed alarm at cancel culture. In some respects, their concerns match those of conservatives who’ve railed against campus deplatforming, compelled speech, censorship, trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions and victimhood culture. These malignancies of student coddling, reflecting years of helicopter parenting and depression-induced cognitive distortions, serve many on the right as prima facie evidence that political correctness run amok is threatening the cherished liberal values of free inquiry and the tolerance of dissent. Some critics see cancel culture as the predictable outcome of the postmodern takeover of the universities that began mandating diversity and inclusion in the 1980s and now seeks to impose campus culture on wider society. Some opponents trace the rise of postmodernism to Neo-Marxism or Marxism itself. Some even accuse the US Democratic Party of staffing postmodern Marxist indoctrination campuses.
There are elements of truth within all these accusations. As George Packer has recently argued, “certain commissars with large followings patrol the precincts of social media and punish thought criminals, but most progressives assent without difficulty to the stifling consensus of the moment and the intolerance it breeds—not out of fear, but because they want to be counted on the side of justice.” As we adapt to a pandemic without foreseeable end, these cultural questions matter even more than they do in normal times—as the effects of decisions made during historical crises tend to persist for generations.
For many on the left, neoliberalism is the root cause of economic inequality, the rise of demagogues, persisting racial disparities and our unfolding climate catastrophe. Some on the right share their concerns about our prevailing economic regime. Neoliberalism may also have helped create the conditions for cancel culture, Social Justice Warriors, the postmodern Neo-Marxists and the so-called radical left who, some claim, have taken over not only the Democratic Party but mainstream media and the Internet.
The term neoliberalism has become fraught. Some regard it as a pejorative hurled by those opposed to globalized capitalism, while others simply use it as John H. McWhorter does here. But, whatever we call it, we’ve all been immersed in deregulation, privatization, free trade, deficit-driven austerity and globalized financialization. As Luke Savage observes, since the 1980s, neoliberalism has become “a feature of our collective existence, so indelible many now seem unable to recall a time before it existed, let alone conceive a future that goes beyond it.”
Universities Were Already Wounded Before Postmodernism
Though the university has traditionally been a modernist project, guided by the values of the Enlightenment, it’s striking how readily post-structuralist and post-modernist perspectives came to predominate, particularly in the faculties of literature, education, social sciences and law. Gary Aylesworth defines postmodernism as: “a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employing concepts such as difference, repetition, the trace, the simulacrum and hyperreality to destabilize other concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty and the univocity of meaning.” One needn’t be a conspiracy theorist or suggest apocalyptic implications to acknowledge that a philosophical/ideological shift has occurred within some academic fields and that this is reflected in the general language and culture of universities.
Since most university professors consider themselves leftists, and postmodernist writers condemn institutional domination over the marginalized, many have assumed that this explains academia’s embrace of both politically correct censorship and the prioritizing of group-level equity and inclusion over traditional academic discipline. The extent of postmodern academia’s influence on the culture wars is debatable, however, and evidence that professors are drawn to postmodernism’s supposed neo-Marxism seems equivocal at best. In practice, most postmodern-ish faculty merely strike radical poses, while the few actual Marxists left warn of the damage wrought by postmodernism to the entire academic enterprise. While some campus radicals of the 1960s went to graduate school and joined the academy, many more did not. So it fell to their more compliant, savvier, younger siblings to become the professors at elite institutions who saw theory and ideals as their path to tenure. Thus, tagging postmodernists as neo-Marxist obscures their far greater influence over mainstream progressives, who came of age during a new world order, when liberals began to settle for gestures and symbols in lieu of material outcomes and for social instead of income equality.
The role of liberal academics in the adoption of the inclusive administrative policies of the 1990s was probably far less consequential than has usually been assumed. To suggest that university administrations are motivated by fealty to their professors’ political ideology, let alone to their intellectual commitments, one must ignore forty years of the steady neutering of faculty power over institutional policies and priorities. Like employees everywhere, many—perhaps most—professors complain of their administrators’ preoccupation with bottom line realities. The funding of public universities prior to the 1970s was comparatively generous, but that business model was dismantled decades ago. The rollbacks of government support for education began during Ronald Reagan’s governorship when he famously argued that “the state should not fund intellectual curiosity.” Soon after Reagan’s 1981 inauguration, New Right think tanks advocated slashing federal education funding by more than 90%. The Democratic Party limited the bloodletting to about 50 percent, but this forever monetized the culture of US educational institutions.
The more relevant relationship since has thus not been between college administrators and their “cost centers” (aka faculty) but between universities as businesses and their primary revenue streams: extra-mural grants and contracts, corporate and individual donors and tuition-paying students. The ideal of the university as a community of scholars free enough from worldly concerns to devote themselves to the development of knowledge was effectively dashed as students were transformed into debt-burdened consumers of education as a product for sale.
Postmodernism Will Serve You Now
The universities’ need to fund themselves required steady tuition and fee hikes as well as ballooning student loan debt. However sympathetic most professors may have been to postmodernism, only a few of those who espoused such a view were well positioned to appeal to the biases, preferences and demands of student consumers. The postmodern approach, which celebrates difference, naturally blossomed in the post-1960s and spread easily within the humanities by the mid-1980s. These perspectives initially sought to inform area studies programs, but eventually came to dictate degree requirements, diversity mandates, speech codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings, de-platforming, callings-out and now cancellings. Students had to shoulder an ever larger share of university budgets and, as a result, understandably expected to be flattered, catered to and even coddled.
Sensing an opportunity, a coterie of 1980-90s faculty used postmodernist posturing to help them acquire positions in a dwindling academic marketplace. Sociologist Michèle Lamont argues that Jacques Derrida, for example, achieved prominence “by targeting his work to a large cultural public rather than to a shrinking group of academic philosophers,” while “in America, professional institutions and journals played a central role” in the diffusion of postmodernism. Christopher Lord has recently shown how Derrida’s signature incomprehensibility allowed nascent area studies departments to camouflage bold, unchallengeable assertions in “poetic nonsense,” thus obviating the need for traditional scholarship. As Lord reminds us, the primary enthusiasm for postmodernism was not found within philosophy departments, but in the safe spaces of Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature, freed from the confines of classical disciplines and exempted from dead white male standards. This gambit was called out at the time by Camille Paglia, who saw the importation of obscure French postmodernist thought as mere pretentious gloss to mark out people’s resumes. Noam Chomsky later criticized the cult-like insularity of the postmodernists, their irrelevance to lived experience and their abandonment of the oppressed to demagogues, even while they are, according to Chomsky, “quick to tell us that they are far more radical than thou.” Meanwhile, the careerism that Paglia and Chomsky derided had become a necessity, especially within the humanities and social sciences, due to prevailing economic realities.
There’s a cruel irony in the fact that classical liberals are now accusing postmodern socialists of single-handedly destroying the liberal values of the academy, years after the economic deconstruction of the Reagan revolution (and similar movements outside the US) turned the marketplace of ideas into a literal marketplace, where nakedly ambitious and savvy ideologues thrive, and a precarious “gig academy,” in which temporary staff, without job security, do most of the teaching and research. As in the corporations they now emulate and cater to, nearly everyone holding up the academic pyramid is micromanaged, overworked and undermined by an ever-expanding number of administrators, chosen for their business school knowledge, rather than their academic degrees. To miss the neoliberal productivity paradigm underlying academia is to be a fish unaware of the surrounding water.
From a wider perspective, then, the upheavals within modern universities are forgotten casualties of neoliberalism. Educational institutions on both sides of the pond suffered irreversible consequences from fiscal policies that upended previous social democratic traditions. Public education may have been one of the first beasts to be starved, but the neoliberal revolution was just getting started.
The Shift to Progressive Neoliberalism
Neoliberal economics—which began in the early twentieth century as the renewal and refinement of classical liberalism associated with Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and gained prestige following the First World War, was marginalized in the wake of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s triumphant social liberalism and Keynesian welfare capitalism. The neoliberals agitated against every supposedly socialist program from the New Deal to Medicare in vain, until the early 1970s, when they returned to center stage in with the neoclassical monetarism of Hayek and Milton Friedman. Decades before postmodernists began exploiting gutted university budgets, the new monetarist neoliberals of the right (who would incite that gutting) sold themselves to governments as counter-revolutionary slayers of stagflation.
Less than a decade later in the US (and similarly in the UK and other social democracies), progressives on the left, alarmed by the rise of Reagan and his effective discrediting of the term liberal, began to adopt the previously right-leaning neoliberal label and much of the neoliberal philosophy, to distinguish themselves from bleeding heart profligates. Their goal was to signal acceptance of political reality, while maintaining a responsible social conscience. As McWhorter recalls, Charles Peters “helped usher in the new flavor of the word, as well as its reception from the left, with his aggressive ‘manifesto.’” Seemingly skeptical of the harsher laissez-faire of classical liberalism and trickledown economics, Peters’ Washington Monthly captured the zeitgeist’s growing distrust of unions and adulation of entrepreneurs, while also providing some of the most astute progressive opposition to Reaganism: his was a socially conscious but responsible liberalism, which took critics of the welfare state seriously. This viewpoint was eventually adopted as the guiding philosophy of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and later provided both the strategy and priorities of the Bill Clinton presidency. Initially, the Democrats pointed out the growing federal deficit as a political cudgel to attack Reaganomics. They then proclaimed their prudent preoccupation with deficits and debt, making common cause with Pete Peterson cultists on the right, insisting that buying guns on credit is fine, but butter must be paid for. Influenced by the five-millennia-old deficit myth, the neoliberals prioritized monetary discipline: from Barack Obama’s grand bargain and EU troika austerity to Nancy Pelosi’s pay-go. As David Graeber explains in Debt: The First Five Thousand Years, “it is only in the current era … that we … see the creation of the first effective planetary administrative system largely in order to protect the interests of creditors.”
The DLC quickly pivoted from Peters’ noblesse oblige vision of neoliberal progressivism to an austerity focused, meritocracy-fetishizing corporatism, while dog-whistling to Reagan Democrats. The vaunted triangulations assumed to have insured Clinton’s political success were presented as the only way to protect liberal values—effectively rebranded as anti-discrimination and support for abortion rights—at the necessary cost of embracing conservative economics. By that time, as Gregg Easterbrook has noted, DC was firmly in the grip of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Heritage and Cato think-tanks who, together, “routed a generation of assumptions about government” as an “intellectual competitor for the university system,” which rendered it “dependent on not offending corporate patrons.” Just five years after Reagan’s election, Easterbrook was bemoaning the fact that “conservative thinking has not only claimed the presidency; it has spread throughout our political and intellectual life and stands poised to become the dominant strain in American public policy.” He did not yet anticipate the long term consequences of bipartisan policies that would guide American-style capitalism and the end of history, both of which were enabled by the great moderation.
This new Democratic Party approach was also a reaction to an earlier electoral upheaval. Democratic social liberals of the previous era who had taken up the principled fight for black civil rights had done so at the cost of the votes of their historical white working class base. Following the 1968 presidential election, avowed segregationist George Wallace siphoned off a sizable proportion of former Democrat voters to form the basis of the Republican Southern strategy. The Democrats were thus left with a far more meager economics-oriented base of support. By McGovern’s 1972 rout, the Democrats all but owned the issue of minority rights. To unite their supporters, both parties began to foreground cultural, gender, ethnic and sexual rights and value signaling. By the mid-1980s, centrists from both parties from Gary Hart to Joe Biden seemed eager to bury Keynes and let Hayek and Friedman prevail. A bipartisan economic consensus thus coalesced to reduce the welfare state, globalize and deregulate capital economic policies, and facilitate monopolistic rent seeking. This process was initiated by Jimmy Carter in the late 70s and championed under Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 80s, but it took Bill Clinton to both end welfare as we know it and finally repeal Depression-era financial constraints in the 90s. As Nancy Fraser observes, the marriage of neoliberalism and identity politics begat the “oxymoronic” progressive neoliberalism of the New Democrats and the “less coherent” reactionary neoliberalism of the Republican Party (who have now mostly acquiesced to Trump’s reactionary populism). Fraser’s quadripartite distinctions between right and left neoliberals and left and right populists clarify this process.
Rights over Resources
Under neoliberalism, the wealth generated by the productivity gains of the post-World War II era began to shift sharply towards the very top of society, leaving the previously stabilizing middle and working classes of the west behind and bloating the investor sector. This was the result of government policies that encouraged the off-shoring of jobs and profits while shrinking manufacturing employment, and provoked resentment from those who felt they had lost both economic security and dignity. The gradual shift in liberal focus from labor rights to civil and immigrant rights mollified the professional-managerial class, but it also suggested misplaced priorities to many of those who were treading water economically. While US defenders of neoliberal politics label proposals such as universal health care “ponies” we “can’t afford,” reactionary populists like Trump exploit working class grievances by proclaiming solidarity with the working class against a rights-obsessed liberal class for whom rights seem actionable in ways that economic policies have ceased to be. The broadly felt chronic inability to effect actual political or economic change invited ideological and moral battles to fill the void.
For nearly thirty years, progressive neoliberals have evinced a rhetorically compassionate yet fiscally inexpensive identity-centric political correctness that lets us eat diversity, as group-based rights are mainly realized by modifying civil codes and administrative policies through legislation and litigation. Put simply, liberals have been increasing people’s rights rather than their resources. This practice can increase political polarization. By 2016, voter disappointment in Obama’s tepid challenge to the economic status quo had increased and the Democratic Party seemed once again to be offering empty rhetoric instead of fiscal support for middle and working class voters—all while highlighting the needs of the marginalized. Wage earners rightly feel economically vulnerable. Liberals who focus on social and identity rights are often at a rhetorical disadvantage, since rights are viewed as acutely personal and this inspires those who feel that their own rights are being neglected to counterattack.
Deregulated and Consolidated Media
Social media has been widely blamed for exacerbating the resulting polarization. The Internet has plainly devolved into a miasmic forum where good faith arguments are routinely buried in 24/7 avalanches of weaponized mimetic franca. Yet legacy media have also been mining cultural conflict all along. Originally, broadcast TV and radio offered curated, broadly centrist and consensual, public interest focused news and opinion with the occasional heated debate over contentious issues—though fringe conservative talk radio was also available. Soon after Reagan’s 1987 FCC repeal of the nearly 40-year-old fairness doctrine, polarization could be explicitly marketed via a newly unshackled medium. Rush Limbaugh’s approach to commentary was an early example of narrow-casting. Clinton’s deregulation of all media in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 further warped the tenuous lines between the dominant networks’ news and entertainment divisions and led to greater media consolidation. As universities were forced to adapt to austerity budgets by succumbing to corporate prerogatives, nightly news executives began to sell news as just another commodity. And, as journalist Matt Taibbi argues in Hate, Inc., the end of the Cold War removed the central conflict upon which mainstream news had been focused, making deliberate widening of the fissures of American identity necessary to keep viewers glued to their screens. By the end of the 1990s—well before social media, click-bait and memes—ideological possession was presented as cable TV’s freedom of choice. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh on the one hand and Jon Stewart and MSNBC on the other soon became the two highly lucrative echo chambers that later evolved into the silos of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The deregulated infotainment of the early 2000s yielded incentivized market-segment positioning, manufactured outrage over peripheral issues, nuance-free straw-manning and tribal-themed reality TV shows. Goaded by the media that stood to profit from these conflicts, being politically correct came to characterize left-wing identity, and being anti-liberal came to characterize right-wing identity. Almost all mainstream politicians adopted the same categories.
Cost-Free Identity and the Woke Currency of Cancellation
And so, as liberal and conservative politicians stopped substantively engaging in economic questions, group identity, group rights and value signaling became the primary bases of outreach and ideological loyalty for politicians and media alike. This bunkering escalated in social media with its attention economy, which instigated tribalism—as we saw during the cynical 2016 election campaign. Both the right and the left politics now pander to the rage of easily triggered voters, leaving fundamental economic policies mostly unchallenged and even unarticulated.
By 2018, after the corporate titans who’d been monetizing identity for generations were caught with their pants down, they quickly rehabilitated themselves by marketing woke capital. As writer Russ Douthat has observed,
corporate activism on social issues isn’t in tension with corporate self-interest on tax policy and corporate stinginess in paychecks. Rather [it] … increasingly exists to protect the self-interest and the stinginess—to justify the ways of CEOs to cultural power brokers, so that those same power brokers will leave them alone (and forgive their support for Trump’s economic agenda) in realms that matter more to the corporate bottom line.
Heralding both the arrival and true beneficiaries of cancel culture, he saw that “corporate interests themselves stand to lose little from these polarizing trends. Their wokeness buys them cover when liberalism is in power, and any backlash only helps prop up a GOP that has their back when it comes time to write our tax laws.” Substitute corporate interests for progressive neoliberals and it’s easy to see why progressive populists worry that the eventual victims of cancel culture may be the roughly 80% of us who’ve been harmed by neoliberalism’s Pareto-distributed world.
Even as postmodern historicism washes over the US, our economic context—miserly federal support during the worst economic conditions since the 1930s—has been ignored. Predictably, just as we’re told that bread is too costly, the identity-shaming circus arrives, channeling the quarantined energy of powerlessness, economic precarity and social isolation into sideshows of cancellation. Rather than support the millions of households facing sustained financial crisis, our political leaders’ clear priority has been to help the financial and corporate sectors. Now that those morally irresponsible sectors have received their financial backing, Congress remains deadlocked—no one any of the politicians personally know will be impacted by the loss of already barely sufficient supports. In the meantime, their patrons, blinded by quarterly-report myopia, persist in selling a dangerously false dichotomy between an economy that must supposedly be reopened and a virus whose spread is shrinking most markets.
Last spring’s Democratic Party panic at the electoral success of democratic socialists (who channel Roosevelt more than Marx) led them to bring their primary season to an abrupt conclusion so that, as Joe Biden put it “nothing will fundamentally change” and neoliberalism will remain the status quo. Having defeated the most credible progressive populist threat to neoliberalism in generations, the Democratic Party may once again use the touchstones of identity, race and gender to dismiss calls for serious economic debate as reductionist and insufficiently woke. If neoliberalism’s central role in the market-driven evolution of cancel culture were more widely recognized, its censorious morality could be seen as just another a tool to stoke pathological division among the economically disenfranchised and politically addicted. Until we begin to change the framework that divides the few haves from the many who have barely enough, the ersatz politics of identity will remain an effective diversion.
Uprooting Cancel Culture
Encouragingly, there is some common ground between non-ideologues on both right and left regarding the dangers of self-righteous identitarianism, the importance of democratic and pluralist principles and the economic needs of the broader majority. When Mark Fisher voiced his despair at the counterproductive call-out culture of left-wing Twitter in 2013, he was denounced by his colleagues. Now similar views have been expressed by the late Michael Brooks and by several otherwriters on the left.
Those who deny that cancel culture exists may be motivated by a wish to discredit its right-wing critics, but they fail to consider who benefits from the discord they sow. Yet, centrist liberals who ally themselves with conservatives in order to argue that totalitarian excess is a problem unique to the left may potentially further a century-old reactionary right-wing agenda. And, at the same time, a well-meaning but iatrogenic postmodernism is informing the worldviews of both neoliberal and populist progressives. To save the baby from this toxic bathwater we should recognize the validity of a variety of viewpoints, as Ken Wilber, Robert Wright and other integral thinkers have been attempting to do.
To solve this problem will require an honest and self-aware politics that advocates for material objectives while acknowledging differences of opinion and negotiating between different values. If those within mainstream institutions can recognize the negative outcomes of the neoliberal project, the political left should be humble enough to join forces with them. Now more than ever, we need empathetic and spirited conversation that prioritizes shared purposes and commitments and is characterized by comity and nuance, in order to lower the rhetorical heat within all our political silos.
Zach Vorhies is a former Google engineer who worked with the Silicon Valley giant for over 8 years. Much of that time was spent in Google's YouTube division before he discovered Google's artificial intelligence program known as "Machine Learning Fairness." After investigating this program through internal Google documents in his possession, Zach turned whistleblower and delivered 950 pages of company documents to the Department of Justice and released the same to the public. Having departed from Google, Zach is now devoted to helping raise awareness about Google's covert activities. This includes the likelihood of meddling in the forthcoming elections and collaborating with China by giving that country access to it's "Manhattan" project known as Deep Mind.
The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. Researchers investigate green tea compounds that may help resolve antibiotic resistance. EPA plus DHA, together with ginger compound, positively modulate hyperlipidemia-induced brain dysfunction. Vitamin D levels during pregnancy linked with child IQ. Beetroot peptide's potential for treating diseases. How is red meat linked to cancer? Quercetin helps to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Spearmint can significantly improve memory, concentration, and brain function. Beyond Postmodern: The Neoliberal Roots of Woke Cancel Culture. America After the Election: A Few Hard Truths About the Things that Won’t Change.
5G’s Crime Against Humanity
Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, November 3, 2020
For those who may have watched last Sunday’s NFL games, they would have noticed a preponderance of advertisements hearkening the wonderful promises that the large variety of 5G technologies will bring into our lives. The ads tout the interconnectivity of all things and the technological miracle underway. For the casual viewer, it would seem as if life can never be the same without it. It is the new, essential and life-enhancing technology.
However, there are urgent facts solely missing from the networks’ commercials. Fiber optic technology to increase Internet speed has been with us for over a decade. Therefore, speed is not the primary issue on the table. People could have high connectivity and yet not be exposed to 5G’s high EMF levels. Nor would thousands of satellites orbiting the earth be required. No, there is a far more nefarious agenda behind 5G in order to usher in the international globalists’ Fourth Industrial Revolution. The World Economic Forum’s slide presentation, “Why is 5G Important for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” outlines the multi-trillion dollar impact advanced connectivity will have on manufacturing, wholesale and resale, smart cities and homes, public services, transportation, real time banking, finance and insurance, agriculture and forestry, real estate, education, mining, health and medicine.
Sadly, 5G is destined to be a permanent fixture across the nation. At present, there is barely a chance to prevent it. The thousands of medical and environmental studies warning of high EMF’s dangers and the thousands of international scientists signing petitions to halt its deployment are unequivocally ignored or worse ostracized and cancelled. Despite the pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing have not hindered 5G’s progress to connect every American into its spider’s web. Last December, T-Mobile reached its goal of nationwide coverage of over 1.3 million square miles (34 percent of the US) for its 5G network and AT&T reached its milestone in July, which reaches 179 million people. Nor will tribal lands and federal parks and historic sites be exempt. Trump’s FCC czar and ALEC insider Ajit Pai has pathologized the agency to assure 5G infrastructure build-outs will be expedited in these vulnerable areas.
There are no fundamental differences between Biden and Trump for accelerating the 5G roll out. Both argue that the global race to establish the Internet of Everything is critical for the US to maintain its leadership in the world. Both are also committed to funding and expanding 5G’s high speed broadband into rural areas. Last year, the Trump administration awarded over $744 million “to support more than 80 broadband projects benefiting more than 430,000 rural residents in 34 states.”
In 2016, while running in the shadow of becoming the American Legislative Exchange Council’s president, Trump’s campaign, as expected, won the financial support of the primary 5G players: AT&T, Verizon, Charter Communications, Comcast, Intel and Qualcomm. However, this year the tides tipped enormously toward Biden, who has received $97 million from the Communications/Tech sector versus Trump’s $18 million. Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, AT&T and Comcast overwhelmingly contributed to Biden’s war chest.
Amidst all of the hype and endless advertisements to woo Americans into the 5G dream of electronic comforts and efficiencies, the results thus far are rather dismal. There may be more hype than fact. US Today reported that although the telecomm companies are rapidly deploying transmission “lanes,” they must use lower frequencies, which means that speeds are little different than 4G. To gain access to 5G’s speed capabilities requires users to have a technology called mmWave that permits data to be transmitted at higher frequencies. The caveat is that mmWave signals don’t travel far and are highly sensitive to multiple interferences, including walls and windows. You would have to be outside, standing still and in the absence of moving people and vehicles, the article states, to even benefit from it. Verizon relies solely upon mmWave, which are only functional for short distances such as dense urban cities and require more installations; however, measurements seem to indicate that people were only accessing real 5G service 0.4 percent of the time. Furthermore, 5G phones “haven’t been any better than 4G phones.” Or course, in order to undermine these apparent flaws, articles advocating 5G's benefits are quick to note that the technology is still being developed.
The only major difference is that users are being exposed to more dangerous electromagnetic frequency radiation.
No discussion, no open dialogue and no debate is permitted to conscientiously evaluate this Orwellian phenomenon. Criticisms are censored across the left-right spectrum in network and cable news. Yet for the older generations they have witnessed this charade before. During the first half of the 20th century medical journals and associations advertised tobacco’s benefits. Whether physicians’ preferences were Chesterfield or Lucky Strike did not matter. The message was that smoking was good for us. However, neither a federal agency or the nation’s Surgeon General exposed this lie; rather it was from a whistleblower within the tobacco industry. All of the corporate executives knowingly lied under oath before Congress. Only after this scandal became public did a light bulb switch on about the decades illness and death these lies had perpetuated. Best estimate may be 10 million preventable deaths.
Everyone will be affected by 5G’s radiation. But it will not require three decades to observe its injurious effects. Unlike cigarettes, nobody has a choice whether she or he wishes to be exposed to 5G or not. It is all-pervasive.
This is a consequence of what happens when an entire nation is trapped into carelessly trusting a media empire ruled by serial liars and masters of disinformation campaigns for private corporate interests.
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