Monthly Archives: August 2016

The DEA Is At War With Chronically Ill Patients – Again

An article on Forbes.com, written by David Kroll, caught my attention.

kratom plant

The Kratom Plant

First, it was and still is, Cannabis.  Now, it’s another plant.  A natural medicine – not artificially-produced, addictive, pain killers and human killers, known as “opioids,” by Big Pharma.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has filed a notice of intent (PDF) to place the southeast Asian plant called kratom to the most restrictive classification of the Controlled Substances Act. The plant, Mitragyna speciosa, and its two primary constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, will be temporarily placed onto Schedule I on September 30, according to a filing by the DEA today.

Mr. Kroll also states:

Various forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.

Research has shown why kratom might be a useful and safer alternative to prescription opioids:  its inherent alkaloids, metabolite and an oxidation product in the plant, minimize the opioid receptors in the body.  If the opioid receptors in the body’s cells were not reduced by not consuming kratom, you would have normal body’s “tolerance and dose escalation commonly seen with prescription opioids.”

Thank the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability) for “protecting public health” in this case; (as in the case of Cannabis – Marijuana) as well.

Last month, the CDC came out with a report that kratom “can be abused and that poison control centers have received over 660 calls between 2010 and 2015 regarding kratom intoxication.”  The report stated the plant kratom, had a “stimulant effect” and was “an opioid substitute.”  Opioids are suppressants.  How can kratom be an “opioid substitute” when it has a “stimulant effect”?  How can a plant be an opioid substitute when it actually lessens the effect of an opioid?  The plant lessens the dependency on opioids.

No scientific testing was done.  The DEA has acted only on CDC’s reports of use of kratom which showed:

  • Medical outcomes associated with kratom exposure were reported as: minor (minimal signs or symptoms, which resolved rapidly with no residual disability) for 162 (24.5%) exposures;
  • Moderate (non-life threatening, with no residual disability, but requiring some form of treatment) for 275 (41.7%) exposures; and
  • Major (life-threatening signs or symptoms, with some residual disability) for 49 (7.4%) exposures;
  • For 173 (26.2%) exposure calls, no effects were reported, or poison center staff members were unable to follow up again regarding effects.
  • One death was reported in a person who was exposed to the medications paroxetine (an antidepressant) and lamotrigine (an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer) in addition to kratom.

The Drug Enforcement Administration includes kratom on its Drugs of Concern list (substances that are not currently regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, but that pose risks to persons who abuse them), and the National Institute of Drug Abuse has identified kratom as an emerging drug of abuse.

Among calls reporting use of kratom in combination with other substances (multiple exposures), the most commonly reported other substances were ethanol, other botanicals, benzodiazepines, narcotics, and acetaminophen.

Aspirin is a drug that could be abused; Tylenol (acetaminophen), Naproxen and Ibuprofen are drugs that could be abused.  Anything taken in huge doses, which are now “safe drugs” could turn into abusive drugs.  If a person’s intent is to inflict harm, it can be accomplished.

The last sentences of the CDC report are:

Kratom use appears to be increasing in the United States, and the reported medical outcomes and health effects suggest an emerging public health threat. Members of the public and health care providers should be aware that the use of kratom can lead to severe adverse effects, especially when consumed in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

The CDC report was based on 660 reports between 2010 and 2015 across the 50 states; more than half of which showed no harm or very little harm to those who consumed kratom.  I believe this is going “a little” overboard.

It is plain to me that the DEA and CDC are doing everything they can, to protect Big Pharma, even when it makes sense to only the DEA and CDC, for which we, with our tax dollars, are paying through the nose.  Again.  Yet.  Still.

Source:  Article by Forbes contributor, David Kroll

[Image of Kratom plant from Forbes.com]

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On Gene Wilder, Family, Comedy, Melancholy and Prayer

I believe Gene Wilder touched his fans in a way that was special and individual to each one. A great character.

Schlemiel Theory

14195389_1791401984476951_8973232125453760027_oGene Wilder’s (Jerome Silberman) passing has given me so much to think about.  Ever since I was a little kid, I (like millions of other children) was fascinated with Gene Wilder’s rendition of Willie Wonka.  After seeing the film, I wanted to see every film he acted in.  I felt as if he was a member of my Jewish American family and that, like a teacher, he wanted to help me – through his acting – to let go and turn my actions into a vehicle for a comical kind of transcendence or for establishing a creative and yet humble relationship with people and the world.   I would literally try out some of his gestures (with my head, my eyes, or even my posture) with my own family members and then take note of whether or not I made them smile.  In the midst of this, I would check in…

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The Election Isn’t The Only Thing On My Mind

 

At the top of my priority list is my daughter.

It was about 25 years ago, that she started noticing symptoms of loss of stamina, unusual tiredness, lots of pain, and seemed to be fighting low-grade flu-like symptoms every so often.  They were the types of feelings that we all just dismiss (was I really feeling so bad?) and go on with our lives, hoping those body signals of something “just not right” will go away.  And, to a point, they did, and no more thought was given.

But, every so often, they were there again.  Most times, they were almost unnoticed; other times, enough to force her to go about her daily activities of caring for her children, working full time, being a thoughtful, responsible person, by “pushing through” those symptoms, and then just falling into bed, exhausted.

This went on for so many years until about 15 years ago, when she was already living close by in Florida.  She came over for dinner one Sunday, with her then husband and her two daughters.  They arrived in late afternoon, before dinner time, and she told me she needed to lie down.  She was completely exhausted and just had to go to bed.  It was like an emergency, and I hurriedly prepared the guest room bed for her, and she practically fell into it as I closed the blinds.  She couldn’t move; and slept very soundly for hours.  When she got up, she didn’t feel refreshed, but she was able to dine with us and then they went home right afterwards.  It was from that point, that the symptoms would become more frequent and noticeable.

Going to work was and is not an option as of this past January 2016.  She really should have stopped work at least a year before.  Looking back, she kept up her pace with great difficulty because she was a single mom and her younger daughter was totally dependent on her, and she worried about finances.  She was living a physical, mental, stressful nightmare.

My daughter suffers with the disease that is the reason for the letter below which is circulating in the House of Representatives on behalf of MillionsMissing (a global movement for health equality) and is addressed to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.

Francis Collins, Director
National Institutes of Health
1 Center Drive, Room B1-126
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0001

Dear Dr. Collins:

We write to thank you for your attention to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), and encourage you to continue to strengthen the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) efforts in ME/CFS biomedical research.

As you know, ME/CFS is a complex, debilitating, and chronic disease afflicting 1 to 2.5 million Americans. It costs individuals, the U.S. health care system, and our economy an estimated $17-$24 billion annually. Yet, as the Institute of Medicine noted in its report, “Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness,” there has been “remarkably little research funding” to date to discover its cause or possible treatments.

A number of us sent you a letter in March of 2014 to express support for ME/CFS research and are heartened by your commitment to advance diagnosis, treatment, and a cure for ME/CFS through a reinvigorated Trans-NIH ME/CFS Working Group (Working Group) housed within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and new intramural and extramural research programs that will bring new investigators into the field.

We encourage the Working Group to consider in a timely manner the input received through its recent Request for Information (RFI) regarding emerging needs, opportunities, and strategies for ME/CFS research and research training. We also ask that you provide us with the current status of this planning effort and the specific intramural and extramural activities planned for the rest of FY 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Thank you for your attention to these critical issues. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Zoe Lofgren                           Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress           Member of Congress

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently circulating the letter asking the NIH to strengthen ME/CFS biomedical research efforts. NOW, is the time to contact your representative to ask him or her to sign the letter.  Representatives have only until Wed., Aug. 31 to agree to sign the letter so action must be fast.

Here is a “Prevalence of Well-Known Diseases” comparison chart by state, which compares the number of people in each state that suffers from ME, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s (PD), and Multiple Sclerosis MS).  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is quite short-changed as far as NIH funding, research and timeliness is concerned.

The following websites will be helpful if you had or will contact your U.S. Representatives:

http://www.meaction.net/wp-con tent/uploads/2016/08/Script- and-How-To-1.pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/ d/0B8cZyk4UDCJkQkhfWHJRbU1BZlU /view?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/forms/ d/e/1FAIpQLSd3mTxetR874PxJjDA1 AwLDPna9fSNcaKoIx- YnldwGxEerCA/viewform?c=0&w=1

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Here’s the 2016 presidential debate schedule between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The Debate Schedule May Be Debatable.

Maine Republic Email Alert

Here's the 2016 presidential debate schedule between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The first of three primetime presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York.

The other two debates are scheduled for Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, and Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. All three debates will take place from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern. 

But whether the debates will actually happen remains to be seen.

Trump, who skipped a debate in January during the Republican primaries and instead held a rally for veterans that he said raised $6 million, has again threatened to boycott the debates.

“I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions,” Trump told Time earlier this month, although the debate schedule was set almost a year ago.

“I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they…

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MY OPINION: Letter To Senators Requesting Opposition To The GMO Labeling Bill

gmo1

I’m writing to tell you that I strongly oppose the Roberts-Stabenow compromise language on the GMO labeling bill.

I ask that YOU also oppose it.  This legislation would overrule Vermont’s consumer-friendly GMO labeling law, and prevent states from passing similar laws, and would create a confusing, misleading and unenforceable national standard for labeling GMOs.

Instead of a uniform labeling standard like Vermont’s law, the language allows text, symbols, or an electronic code to be used. This is intentionally confusing to consumers, and the information may be entirely inaccessible if the consumer does not have access to the internet.

Perhaps most shockingly, this bill imposes no penalties whatsoever for violating the labeling requirement, making the law essentially meaningless. Thus, this is a weak bill, full of loopholes, without any requirement to comply.

A law is meaningless and harmful if there are no penalties for not adhering to its requirements.

Are our Senators and Representatives so weak, that they are willing to have themselves and their families and children and friends eat food that may not be safe, in order to submit to the BIG CORPORATION LOBBYISTS?

The overwhelming majority of Americans favor GMO labeling. People have a right to know what is in the food they eat. The Senate shouldn’t stop states from passing laws that let that happen. Please oppose the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill.

HERE AGAIN, WE HAVE LAWS PASSED WITHOUT REPRESENTATION OF THE MAJORITY.  Remember the Boston Tea Party?  Why did the patriots dump the tea into Boston Harbor?  Because we were being taxed without representation in Britain.

The Congress passes too many bills into law without the majority of the citizens’ desires in mind.  The seats that Congress occupies on Capitol Hill can be filled with other individuals who are more willing to vote in favor of what the citizenry wishes.

This is a time of political upheaval.  More voters will be voting in this upcoming presidential and congressional election than in any other election.  There are a greater number of registered voters who have left the two major parties or registered Independent or are just totally confused as to which candidate for whom to vote.

 

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CNN Town Hall For Green Party Video

For those who missed the Green Party Town Hall on CNN on Wednesday… Dandelion Salad America today news on Aug 17, 2016 CNN hosts Green Party town hall on Wednesday night with the Green Party’s nominee Jill Stein and presumptive running mate Ajamu Baraka. Source: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka: CNN Town Hall

via Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka: CNN Town Hall — Rcooley123’s Blog

 

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Letter To President Obama Dated November 2009

I decided to clean out my unnecessary WORD documents today, and as always, I read them before deleting.   I was surprised at finding the following:

MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT:  Subject:  Afghanistan

November 6, 2009

This is the first time I am writing to you.

I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to be wrestling with the Afghan dilemma, but I am sure you must be suffering greatly under the burden of making a decision that will affect every American citizen all around the world for years to come.

I would like to give you my thoughts on the subject:

I am suffering also.  About the lives lost, the lives maimed and lives laid barren with the loss of loved ones.  It tears my heart and many times I am close to crying for every one of them.  And for what?  Shades of Viet Nam shadow my horizon of the future.  Details of that are not necessary to outline in this letter.  That is in the past.  So, let’s leave it there.

General  McChrystal is probably right in his assessment of the military requirements to heighten the effects of intervention on behalf of the Afghan people.  In the 8 years that troops have been deployed there, how much has been accomplished?  To me, that is the bottom line, and this question posed has, in my opinion, only one answer:  Accomplishment has been in the negative. 

As a result of much reading about the situation, I believe the following: 

  • (1) The Afghan people don’t want us there – it’s the politicians who want us there to plump up their egos and their personal pockets;
  • (2) The War Lords will always be in power, controlling the large illiterate population;
  • (3) The growing of poppies for drug trafficking will continue no matter who tries to stop it;
  • (4) The Taliban is too strongly entrenched and no matter who attempts to stop them and by what means, they will always be poised to gain control over the majority of the populace;
  • (5) The other nations are only too glad to let us keep sending our beautiful young people over there and not have theirs doing the fighting;and
  • (6) All the US Dollars that have been spent during the Bush years and this year just ending of the Obama years, could have been used to prop up our own economy which needs so much help.  Must we keep spending more to see it go for naught, in my opinion?

If I took more time right now, to think further, I’m sure I could come up with more reasons for us not being in Afghanistan.  The Russians found plenty of reasons for leaving.

I hope you will take my few thoughts to heart and mind, while you continue to mull over the Afghanistan problem.  My “bottom line” is: Leave!

I would say that if I sent this letter today, it would still be current.  What say you?

 

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Another Sultry Morning In South Florida

 

I always look out the bedroom window to see what kind of a day it is and perhaps a sign of what kind of a day it will turn out to be.

This morning, my view was of stillness.  Not a minuscule of palm fronds shifted.  The lake was quiet – not a hint of a breeze kissed it.

morning

 

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Will Private Prisons Become A Thing Of The Past? What Will The Companies’ Future Hold?

 

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

This announcement is welcomed to both inmates and private citizens; as a private citizen, I have been suspicious about private prison operators running the prisons – even though only 12 percent (13 facilities) of our prisons are being run by “for profit” companies.  I’m sure most would agree.

The Washington Post article by Matt Zapotosky covers the “mechanics” of how and when the private prisons will be phased out.  It has taken a long time for the federal Bureau of Prisons to figure out that it is not a good situation when you have profit-oriented contractors controlling some of the huge prison populations we have in the United States.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical report concluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report.

Another Washington Post article by Michael Cohen, published on April 28, 2015, covers the subject of how for-profit prisons had developed a very strong lobby in Congress: a subject which is not widely known about by John Q. Public.

In the 2015 article, Mr. Cohen stated:

Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffington Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds.

As of June 2012, there were 130 private prisons, half owned by Corrections Corporation of America, and the other half, by The GEO Group, Inc.  Evidently, there has been a whittling down of the numbers – big time – and the Justice Department has seen fit now, to end them altogether.

President Obama has made a slight dent into the inmate population by pardoning hundreds who have been given sentences that far outweigh the size of the crime.  But, when the private prison industry is gone, I hope our sentenced offenders, still serving time, will get better, safer treatment under the watch of the federal government and not under the scrutiny of money-hungry and influence-peddling businesses.

“The Justice Policy Institute identified the private-prison industry’s three-pronged approach to increase profits through political influence: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships and networks.”

The private prison industry is fighting back. Take a look at this page on the Justice Policy Institute’s web site.  Halfway houses, electronic monitoring, and health care.  It is possible to have inmates committed into hospitals where they could stay for life, when prison terms are completed.  This is an outrageous theory, but these companies are thinking of all the ways they can stuff their pockets at the expense of others.

There is no stopping the foaming-at-the-mouth intensity for more money of these for-profit companies who are very willing to prey upon the unlucky and down-and-out of our society.

 

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Great White Egret And The Wind

 

It was a windy day, a few months ago (probably March – even in South Florida, we get lots of wind during that month), and I caught up with that elegant bird via camera.

great white egret

To enlarge the photos, click on them.

Normally, when the egret is standing still or walking slowly in his relaxed gait, you cannot see the exquisite special feathers lurking among the others.  The breeze moves them and we are given some eye candy:  hidden feathers caught up by that stirred wind.

great white egret 2

great white egret 3

The breeze was getting stronger, and you can easily see the forward movement of the littoral grasses.

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