Manipulating public opinion and the debate about "natural" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Manipulating public opinion and the debate about "natural"

The many arguments about what constitutes a natural lifestyle on Mothering have gotten me wondering.

So two questions--how is public opinion manipulated to confuse people on what is safe or dangerous (say high fructose corn syrup versus honey) AND how is public opinion manipulated to make people feel insecure about making their own health and lifestyle decisions so they'll be more dependent on doctors and government and drug companies. Vaccines are, of course, a major health decision and the less confident people feel in their own knowledge and judgment, the more likely they are to bow down to authority.

Examples please.

And yes, this thread is heavily framed to fit what I think is going on, but I'm perfectly open for people who think that drug companies are nifty and Dr. Mercola is dangerous to chime in. Mostly because I expect that such chiming will eventually prove to support my position
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Last edited by Deborah; 04-10-2016 at 06:22 PM. Reason: forgot to put in a sentence about vaccination!
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#2 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 06:33 PM
 
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how its manipulated to confuse is through fear to the masses and to tell them what to be afraid of - for example, Gardasil -- "this will prevent cancer in your child later on, don't you want him/her protected? Why not protect if you can, it would be silly/stupid/dumb/foolish not to do so".

How public opinion is manipulated is through propaganda to push a particular product -- Think the 'One Less' commercial for Gardasil that used to be on, featuring young girls, claiming they wanted to be 'one less'.
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#3 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good examples @emmy526

The come-back from vaccine supporters would be that it isn't scaremongering when it is based on facts: HPV causes cancer, the vaccine prevents HPV infections, etc.

IMO there are facts and then there are facts.
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#4 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 06:57 PM
 
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another example would be the flu vaccine -- "it's dangerous for you to work in a hospital/medical setting unless you're vaccinated - you could kill someone"

Coercion by loss of job if refusal to comply to new mandate implemented all employees be vaccinated for flu. That is how the public is made to feel inadequate about their choices.

(same can be said for school mandates for attendance now)
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#5 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmy526 View Post
another example would be the flu vaccine -- "it's dangerous for you to work in a hospital/medical setting unless you're vaccinated - you could kill someone"

Coercion by loss of job if refusal to comply to new mandate implemented all employees be vaccinated for flu. That is how the public is made to feel inadequate about their choices.

(same can be said for school mandates for attendance now)
That goes way beyond the material I wanted to discuss in this thread. I must not have been clear. I'm thinking more of examples like this http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...l-sugars/?_r=0

Quote:
“I think consumers have been misled into thinking that high-fructose corn syrup is particularly harmful,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. “Chemically it’s essentially the same as sugar. The bottom line is we should be consuming a lot less of both sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.”
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-li...p/faq-20058201

Quote:
It is known, however, that too much added sugar of all kinds — not just high-fructose corn syrup — can contribute unwanted calories that are linked to health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels. All of these boost your risk of heart disease.
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org...se-corn-syrup/
Quote:
However, the question remains — is HFCS more of a health risk than other sweeteners? Many of the sources that demonize HFCS list alternative sweeteners — cane sugar, honey, agave syrup, etc. — that they claim are healthier than HFCS, but those claims usually rest primarily on the fact that these alternatives to HFCS are “natural” rather than any actual data showing that they are safer than HFCS.
On one level, everyone is telling it straight, but at the same time this is a heavily manipulated conversation, IMO.

What is being left out and why is it being left out?
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#6 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So this article leans hard on the other end http://brucebradley.com/food/high-fr...atural-really/, but does a good job of highlighting how public opinion can be manipulated to make something which is the ultimate in processed food look "natural" and "healthy."

Quote:
The truth is, if you look at all the research and different studies published, there is a decidedly MIXED opinion on HFCS–hardly the hands-down win the commercial would like you to believe. Furthermore, a large portion of the pro-HFCS has been funded by Big Food Companies. Yes, that’s another one of the processed food industry’s dirty secrets. If you’re curious about how it happens, check out the ABC News story entitled “Is ‘Big Food’s’ Big Money Influencing the Science of Nutrition?”
Well, gosh, that thing about pro materials being funded by the industry sure sounds familiar, doesn't it?

He ends the article by recommending "natural" sweeteners in very moderate amounts.

I'll weigh in here with my own thoughts about avoiding sugars of any sort. Basically, if you buy processed foods you are likely to be getting a lot more sugar than you realize and probably want. So if you want to manage your sugar consumption, as recommended in those articles I posted in an earlier post, eating "real" food and adding your own sugar, in whatever form, is probably your only hope of reducing sugar consumption.

What I'm wondering is whether that message about HFCS that was being delivered by the first three articles was designed to confuse consumers and get them to keep eating processed foods that are full of HFCS? And also why these three mainstream sources were allowing themselves to be "used" by the food manufacturers to deliver a confusing message that won't actually help people reduce sugar consumption?

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#7 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From that ABC article linked in the previous post
Quote:
Critics say Allison is part of a concerted effort by big food to co-opt scientists not only by funding their research but by offering them lucrative speaking and consulting deals, in an effort to confuse U.S. families about the health effects of popular food products.
Ouch!

All of this sounds extremely familiar from the pharma and vaccine wars.
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#8 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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CHOP took $10 million from the food industry for obesity research... (from the same article, now two posts up)

Gotta love CHOP. Such high standards.

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#9 of 55 Old 04-10-2016, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One more article discussing the dangers of HFCS http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mar..._b_861913.html

Quote:
The last reason to avoid products that contain HFCS is that they are a marker for poor-quality, nutritionally depleted, processed industrial food full of empty calories and artificial ingredients. If you find “high fructose corn syrup” on the label, you can be sure it is not a whole, real, fresh food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Stay away if you want to stay healthy. We still must reduce our overall consumption of sugar, but with this one simple dietary change you can radically reduce your health risks and improve your health.

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#10 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 06:03 AM
 
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I hear the word "natural" on these forums and I roll my eyes.

Person A throws the word "natural" into a sentence on why they don't vaccinate and person B comes along and says "yeah, well, you are on computer, so obviously you are not natural." The argument never varies. There is rarely context, nuances or degrees discussed. Sigh.

As per this thread...Deborah, I am not quite sure where you are going here.

I think the use of the word natural is one of the most over-used and likely false words in marketing and it generally pertains to things you put in or on your body.
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#11 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I hear the word "natural" on these forums and I roll my eyes.

Person A throws the word "natural" into a sentence on why they don't vaccinate and person B comes along and says "yeah, well, you are on computer, so obviously you are not natural." The argument never varies. There is rarely context, nuances or degrees discussed. Sigh.

As per this thread...Deborah, I am not quite sure where you are going here.

I think the use of the word natural is one of the most over-used and likely false words in marketing and it generally pertains to things you put in or on your body.
Well, I've started by giving some clear examples of subtle and not so subtle manipulation of public opinion on HFCS. Which is called, my goodness, "natural" by the manipulation team.

So, I've been wondering how much of the material presented by members here is the result of similar manipulation around vitamins, drugs, vaccines, childbirth, etc. Who is trying to manipulate us and why? Where do those photos of mansions come from that are used to attack certain alternative doctors, for example. Obviously, the person putting up the picture didn't do the flyover themselves

I thought it might be thought-provoking to do some research on the sources for some of the second-hand ideas shared in this forum.
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#12 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 06:36 AM
 
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I have to go to work so will play later - but that is a little clearer, thanks.
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#13 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 06:55 AM
 
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I'm nit exactly seeing the framing, in this instance.

HFCS is commonly associated with junky foods. Those are bad for you. Check.

HFCS is part of a generally high in sugar diet. Yep, got that.

HFCS may be contaminated by pesticides, or produced by GMO crops. Still on board.

I think the science question is, where does the risk originate?

If you had HFCS that was organically grown and used it sparingly, like maple syrup, would it be worse for you than agave nectar, or sorghum, or any other such substances? I don't know. Other than the omnipresence of corn in our diets.

I think the folks quoted are saying that. They're saying, 'Let's not quibble about what kind of sugar...eat less sugar!"

We cut back on HFCS, around here. Some days it probably makes a difference, and some days it just means we have a junky diet with no HFCS. I'm not sure those days are, in themselves, significant.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
CHOP took $10 million from the food industry for obesity research... (from the same article, now two posts up)

Gotta love CHOP. Such high standards.
You and I live in a nation whose government would rather fund a military industrial complex than academic knowledge, (Fall of Rome, anybody?) So the bulk of funding for research is inevitably going to come from the private sector. I get that. But this status quo needs to be handled with meticulous caution and not the callous sloppiness that we're seeing today, (e.g. undisclosed COIs, ghost-writers, P-hacking, well-spun press releases, and labeling COI critics as "conspiracy theorists.")

I would like to see more rigorous standards of transparency regarding the funders, research methodology, etc. I would also love to see journals require that each published study's strengths and weaknesses be included in the abstract, which is often all that we commoners get to see.
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Originally Posted by SchoolmarmDE View Post

I think the folks quoted are saying that. They're saying, 'Let's not quibble about what kind of sugar...eat less sugar!"

We cut back on HFCS, around here. Some days it probably makes a difference, and some days it just means we have a junky diet with no HFCS. I'm not sure those days are, in themselves, significant.
Part of the objection is that it's a genetically engineered ingredient, which opens a whole new controversial can of worms. The other part is that having the food industry tell us to cut back on sugar is about as amusing as Big Tobacco telling people to quit smoking, when they both know damn well that sugar and tobacco are heinously addictive substances.

Back when it was a slightly better news outlet, NPR ran an interesting story about how sweeteners of all sorts are used to get buyers addicted and ensure a continuing market. McDonald's caved to public demand and started serving apple wedges . . . . . . with a caramel sauce containing 3+ different natural and synthetic sweeteners. I quit going to Starbucks because, (among so many other reasons), their default for iced coffee is to make it sweetened; you don't request sugar, but you actually have to instruct them to omit it.

The worst of all is Walgreen, a store that pushes flu shots and candy with equal fervor! I don't know if they still do this because I quit going, but there was a big basket of candy at check-out. A sign on it said that the employee had to make a sales pitch for you to buy it or else it would be free.

Forget the hackneyed marketing term, "natural." For any product, whether it involves a sugar addiction, those #$%# HP printer ribbons running out of ink, or Lifetime of Vaccines, creating a lifelong consumer base is a profitable business model.
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#16 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 08:12 AM
 
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Part of the objection is that it's a genetically engineered ingredient, which opens a whole new controversial can of worms. The other part is that having the food industry tell us to cut back on sugar is about as amusing as Big Tobacco telling people to quit smoking, when they both know damn well that sugar and tobacco are heinously addictive substances.

Back when it was a slightly better news outlet, NPR ran an interesting story about how sweeteners of all sorts are used to get buyers addicted and ensure a continuing market. McDonald's caved to public demand and started serving apple wedges . . . . . . with a caramel sauce containing 3+ different natural and synthetic sweeteners. I quit going to Starbucks because, (among so many other reasons), their default for iced coffee is to make it sweetened; you don't request sugar, but you actually have to instruct them to omit it.

The worst of all is Walgreen, a store that pushes flu shots and candy with equal fervor! I don't know if they still do this because I quit going, but there was a big basket of candy at check-out. A sign on it said that the employee had to make a sales pitch for you to buy it or else it would be free.

Forget the hackneyed marketing term, "natural." For any product, whether it involves a sugar addiction, those #$%# HP printer ribbons running out of ink, or Lifetime of Vaccines, creating a lifelong consumer base is a profitable business model.
I don't really class CSPI as an arm of pharma.

So, in my theoretical model, HFCS a which was not the result of GMO change would presumably have similar characteristics to regular corn syrup,. As such, it probably hasn't been exhaustively tested.

Testing GMOS HFCS ! Regular organic corn syrup, non organic corn syrup, and organic GMO HFCS a might help us narrow down potential differences.

Be an interesting study.
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#17 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SchoolmarmDE View Post
I don't really class CSPI as an arm of pharma.

So, in my theoretical model, HFCS a which was not the result of GMO change would presumably have similar characteristics to regular corn syrup,. As such, it probably hasn't been exhaustively tested.

Testing GMOS HFCS ! Regular organic corn syrup, non organic corn syrup, and organic GMO HFCS a might help us narrow down potential differences.

Be an interesting study.
The process of manufacture of HFCS is quite something. Not "organic".
Quote:
Although fructose is found naturally in fruit and in honey, these are not the source of fructose that is added to glucose in producing HFCS. It’s actually more chemistry: Fructose is a structural isomer of glucose – they are both molecules with the same number of atoms for carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, but they are arranged a bit differently. Using a specific enzyme called Xylose Isomerase, the glucose in corn syrup is converted into fructose. The conversion is stopped when the correct proportion is reached – HFCS42 or HFCS55.
http://blog.fooducate.com/2012/10/09...se-corn-syrup/

Not even remotely natural. A great example of extremely processed food.
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#18 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As I dig through the HFCS story I'm spotting several similarities with the vaccine issues. I guess these guys use the same playbook.

For example:
The HFCS defenders keep saying "No Link Between High Fructose Corn Syrup and Obesity"

The vaccine defenders keep saying "No link between vaccines and autism"

There are two points here: in both cases the emphasis on one area eliminates discussion of other problems and, secondarily, this eliminates discussion of the more complex factors by which HFCS might contribute to obesity or vaccines to autism.

It is all about KISS (keep it simple, stupid) rather than a real discussion of what happens when you slide sugar into just about everything that people eat which is processed in some way. Or a real discussion of what happens when you add more and more vaccines and give them to an unscreened population.

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#19 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 12:48 PM
 
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The process of manufacture of HFCS is quite something. Not "organic". http://blog.fooducate.com/2012/10/09...se-corn-syrup/

Not even remotely natural. A great example of extremely processed food.
Using an enzyme to convert sugars isn't an "unnatural" process, any more than using an enzyme to convert milk into cheese is. Or using yeast to make beer, bread, or wine, when it comes to that.

Now I'm sure this is done in a big building with shiny metal tanks. But not everything that is food drops off a tree.

That's why I say that it would be interesting to study whether these sources of dietary sugar actually differed in their effects on humans.
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#20 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Using an enzyme to convert sugars isn't an "unnatural" process, any more than using an enzyme to convert milk into cheese is. Or using yeast to make beer, bread, or wine, when it comes to that.

Now I'm sure this is done in a big building with shiny metal tanks. But not everything that is food drops off a tree.

That's why I say that it would be interesting to study whether these sources of dietary sugar actually differed in their effects on humans.
Well, I'm a bit doubtful, given that this isn't a process that could possibly done at home, even with a lot of fancy equipment.

I'll put it this way:
I know people who make cheese at home. And people who make cheese on a small scale for commercial use. I know people who make bread at home and people who make bread on a small scale for commercial use. I even know people who make beer and wine at home or who make these products on a small scale to sell. In fact the area where I live is a hot point for craft brewers and people drive hundreds of miles to come and buy these beers.

It is totally impossible to produce HFCS on anything but an industrial scale. It is food "manufacturing" and food manufacturing on an industrial scale.
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#21 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SchoolmarmDE View Post
Using an enzyme to convert sugars isn't an "unnatural" process, any more than using an enzyme to convert milk into cheese is. Or using yeast to make beer, bread, or wine, when it comes to that.

Now I'm sure this is done in a big building with shiny metal tanks. But not everything that is food drops off a tree.

That's why I say that it would be interesting to study whether these sources of dietary sugar actually differed in their effects on humans.
Focusing narrowly is just what these manipulators do best. Put in some of the product and test blood sugar or whatever and then say, "see, no difference." Then quickly end the discussion.

The real conversation has to be on how the whole thing works in context.

For example, what does cheap, sweet food do to the human body and mind? About 50% of the story of HFCS is that it is a very inexpensive way to make lots and lots of food very sweet. So it may not do dramatically different things in most bodies, but if it makes it really easy to insert a high volume of sugar into millions of bodies how does that play out?
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#22 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 01:39 PM
 
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Well, I'm a bit doubtful, given that this isn't a process that could possibly done at home, even with a lot of fancy equipment.

I'll put it this way:
I know people who make cheese at home. And people who make cheese on a small scale for commercial use. I know people who make bread at home and people who make bread on a small scale for commercial use. I even know people who make beer and wine at home or who make these products on a small scale to sell. In fact the area where I live is a hot point for craft brewers and people drive hundreds of miles to come and buy these beers.

It is totally impossible to produce HFCS on anything but an industrial scale. It is food "manufacturing" and food manufacturing on an industrial scale.
This woman apparently figured out how to do it at home:
http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/art...maya-weinstein

I'm not a huge defender of HFCS; just pointing out that the line between natural and unnatural is not easy to draw.
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#23 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This woman apparently figured out how to do it at home:
http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/art...maya-weinstein

I'm not a huge defender of HFCS; just pointing out that the line between natural and unnatural is not easy to draw.
Really?
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And these catalysts are the reason that Weinstein can’t add “organic” to the “small-batch artisanal” tag on her project: even if you used organic corn, most of the catalysts are genetically modified in a lab (the glucose isomerase, for instance, was made from the Streptomyces rubignosus bacterium).
On the other hand, I know people who capture their sour-dough starter from the air. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make...e-kitchn-47337

I think that generally the line isn't super difficult with most things.

The question, of course, is whether food made in a lab is still good food? Might be, I suppose.
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#24 of 55 Old 04-11-2016, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And then there are GMOs, which are particularly relevant to vaccines as more and more vaccines are being made with the help of GMO processes.

One of the arguments I've heard from GMO supporters is that it is just like plant and animal breeding and people have been doing that forever.

Here is an article that walks through the methods of plant breeding from the most basic to GMOs. http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/gene...ding/7926.html

Here is a brief and positive take on the processes involved http://www.europabio.org/what-differ...ional-breeding

An area where GMOs are falling short http://civileats.com/2014/10/10/plan...limate-change/

An article about genetic engineering in a non-corporate context. Very interesting! http://grist.org/food/genetic-engine...he-difference/

And here is a harder-line argument for GMOs. https://richarddawkins.net/2014/07/c...aims-debunked/

I'm out of time. Anyone have some mainstream news articles which do something similar to the HFCS or vaccine stories where they smooth over what are, actually, quite reasonable concerns about GMOs?
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#25 of 55 Old 04-12-2016, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is a mainstream news article that does just what I've been focusing on--manipulating public opinion and trying hard to muddy the waters. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed...412-story.html

Quote:
What could be wrong with empowering consumers with knowledge about their food?
Plenty.
And the author goes on and on and on about it.

And here is some meanies blackening the name of the author of the LA Times article. http://usrtk.org/hall-of-shame/why-y...*****-on-gmos/

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In an article in Forbes, ****** defended the use of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA), which is banned in Europe and Canada for use in baby bottles.[13]
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#26 of 55 Old 04-12-2016, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, the links above won't work because they contain the name of Henry ****** and for some reason he is always censored by the Internet. Weird!

http://usrtk.org/gmo/seedy-business/

Another interesting look at media manipulation around GMOs. This sure sounds familiar, doesn't it?
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#12: GMO science is for sale. Science can be swayed, bought or biased by the agrichemical industry in many ways, such as suppressing adverse findings, harming the careers of scientists who produce such findings, controlling the funding that shapes what research is conducted, the lack of independent U.S.-based testing of health and environmental risks of GMOs, and tainting scientific reviews of GMOs by conflicts of interest.
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What about products such as Ensure being pushed on the dying and treated as a healthy, nutritious food when it is NEITHER? Pushed at hospitals everywhere?!?
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#28 of 55 Old 04-12-2016, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What about products such as Ensure being pushed on the dying and treated as a healthy, nutritious food when it is NEITHER? Pushed at hospitals everywhere?!?
Have some whistleblowers raised concerns? When concerns were raised was there a cover-up of some sort? I'm looking specifically for situations where people are concerned (GMO labels) and there are news stories being planted to try to move people from concerned to comfy. A lot like the vaccine games.
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#29 of 55 Old 04-20-2016, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My current reading, Drugs for Life evaluates how clinical trials and marketing work together to redefine who "needs" drugs, what constitutes risk, and put together a system of reality where people are literally stuck with taking drugs until they die. To the point that even when a drug is causing serious side-effects, the solution is just to add another drug to control the side-effects.

It is all in the definitions. Consider, for example, a relatively new condition called metabolic syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-c...e/ovc-20197517 Drugs for Life describes in detail how this syndrome was created, how doctors were educated and how treatment protocols were developed. One of the challenges was figuring out how to turn something which is essentially a lifestyle problem into something that needs drug treatment. But the problem was solved!

And, guess what?
Quote:
If aggressive lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise aren't enough, your doctor might suggest medications to help control your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose.
Millions more people now need drugs...for life!
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I do not know if it was for the better or not, but I do recall hypertension being re-defined in the 1960s to a lower reading on the sphygmometer where the systolic was a lower reading. This meant that more people were prescribed drugs for hypertension. Drugs are constantly being changed, but I recall the class of drugs used were beta-blockers?

I cared for my grandparent who was insulin dependent. I recall that a fasting glucose level 120+ was considered high enough to advise the patient to control the blood sugar with diet and exercise. Now there are drugs being prescribed to patients when a fasting blood sugar level is 100. I also understand that the a1c is being used to get an average of the glucose levels for the previous 10-12 weeks, but there has been controversy over how exactly the a1c translates to the fasting blood sugar levels.

In the meantime, drugs are being prescribed whether a patient may need them or not need them.
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