Book Reviews: Virus Introductory Reading

Reviews by Wm Olkowski, PhD

We read the following two books for both entertainment and as an effort to update ourselves on virology in general.  Getting older is a drag and virus caused mortality becomes more likely as our bodies no longer function as in our youth.  Influenza in an average year, for example, kills 36,000 people in the US, mostly oldsters.  So it was rewarding to get acquainted again with how the field has grown since I studied virology.

150 years ago the death rate for smallpox was about 50 million per year.  It was the biggest killer.  The current AIDS pandemic with estimated cases of 60 million per year – now kills about 30 million per year – mostly in Africa and Asia.  So it looks like we traded smallpox for AIDS.  I studied virology back in graduate school in the 1960s so I was stunned by the depth and breathe of new information, most easily reviewed by a search on Wikipedia.  But these books are easy to read compared to the encyclopedic collections as they humanize the discovery process.  There are lots of scientists working to unravel knowledge of this group.  Start washing your hands!!

A Planet of Viruses.  Carl Zimmer.  2011. Univ. Chicago Press, 109 pp.

Produced for the layperson this new book provides a brief overview of newest developments in virology.  It is divided into 3 sections with 10 chapters covering the following virus groups: rhinoviruses (common cold viruses), influenza virus, human papilomavirus (cervical cancer), bacteriophages, marine phages, endogenous retroviruses, human immunodeficiency virus, West Nile virus, Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola, and Smallpox.  The introduction covers the discovery of the first virus: tobacco mosaic virus.

The most startling thing I learned is that, although the number of known viruses (with names) now number about 2,000 this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Just how big the iceberg is may become startling after another decade or two.   Samples of marine phages alone indicate there are 10 to the 30th power of marine bacteriophages, 90% of which are unknown.  These attack only marine bacteria.  This number is so hard to visualize that Zimmer says that this group outnumbers all marine life by about 15 to one.  And if you could weigh this group it would weigh more than 75 million blue whales.

Plus these viruses are intimately intertwined with the biospheric bacterial so how they go has a lot to do with our oxygen supply, for example, since the photosynthesizing bacteria produce most of our oxygen.  None of this I knew before.

The next most startling thing was about jumping genes.  This refers to retroviruses, which insert themselves into our genome.  There appears to be a gradient with these viruses as some are inserted into the human genome (and other species) and stay there for millions of years being reproduced along with the other genes.  Others insert themselves, hide in the genome and are expressed by some trigger producing disease; avian leukosis virus is an example.  Others, when expressed produce cancers.  Retroviruses have been traced back to before multicellular life started.  It is estimated that there are 100,000 virus fragments encoded in our genome, comprising about 8% of total genes.  This information suggests that viruses are integral to our genetics, meaning we could not live without them, and that they may have had an important role in transferring genetic material between species and among individuals.  Certainly they played a part in our evolution.  But just what part remains to be elaborated as this is a frontier.

And there’s more.  The discovery of a very large virus in an amoeba called a mimivirus, with over 1,000 genes, has expanded the characterization of a virus, since most of the other viruses are vastly smaller, with 10 or slightly more genes.  And then came the discovery of a virus inside the mimivirus.  That means viruses could parasitize viruses, and suggests there may be many more viruses hidden in more mimiviruses.

But the information about influenza is most interesting because of how the virus mutates and produces its variations.  Flu is an RNA virus, which means it does not have DNA like we do, but has a much simpler genome (about 10 genes or so) and when it reproduces it does so rapidly that many mutations are produced.  DNA viruses like our KNA genome have error correcting mechanisms.  Thus DNA viruses are more stable.  There is no such error correcting process in RNA viruses.  So once inside a cell, the flu virus takes over the cells’ machinery and produces great numbers of new viruses many of which have mutations.  These mutations are then selected by the host.  For example, if an antiviral drug is used to interfere with virus attachment and or reproduction, mutations which can go around these substances then are selected for and the virus persists and continues to invade more and more cells, disabling its host.

Level 4, Virus Hunters of the CDC.  Joe McCormick and Susan Fisher-Hock.  1996.  Barnes and Noble Books.  397 pp.

This is a most stimulating book by two courageous doctors who travelled the earth to analyze new diseases and do what they could to stop them from becoming epidemics.  I doubt that most people know about the effort and risks involved.  The pathogen hunters believe in helping out less advantaged people.  Disease is not punishment from a vengeful god, as is commonly held by many religious people.

Level 4 is the level for the highest threat pathogens.  As one goes up the levels more and more protection is needed for the scientists.  The book is not for the faint hearted and these doctors with good hearts and minds risked their own lives in many threatening situations.  The tragedy is how bad the medical facilities and all other facilities are in many places where they had to work, mostly with no electricity, lots of filth, rats, deathly sick people, witchdoctors, corrupt government officials, non-existent transportation systems, and lots of poverty.  And even their own superiors in the US were problems (see below).

One of the biggest efforts by these doctors and their associates was made in the early stages when Lassa Fever, Ebola and AIDS first erupted.  The book starts off with their experiences in Zaire and southern Sudan in 1979, exploring what became to be known as the first outbreak of Ebola virus.  This story is really the prototype of their subsequent experiences in Africa and Asia.

They would fly great distances on short notice, somehow get to the remote location, find lots of sick people many already dead with no medical help, get blood samples, and then send the samples back to the CDC in Atlanta GA for identification.  They ran all the risks.  One episode that Joe McCormick reports is when he was stuck with a needle he had just taken out of a presumed Ebola patient.  Since it took 5 days for the disease to manifest he reports on having anxiety about his family, wondering how they would survive if he died.  And then the relief when the patient did not have Ebola!  I could feel his relief from the written page.

The two authors were not a couple but married later and together took positions in Pakistan, at a time when the government there was trying to upgrade the training of medical students.  Their stories in Karachi are just amazing.  For a real-life heroic story this beats any Hollywood fabrication with its super-heroes.

The horror of dying from these newly acquired viruses that have jumped from wild animals to humans is hard to believe.  Essentially people die from being drowned in their own blood.  Blood comes out of all body openings in the last stages of disease, including the eyes.  And if we in the developed world, do not pay attention and do what we can to detect and stop these pathogens they will arrive on our shores with their horrors.  Nowhere else is it so obvious that we are all interconnected, whether we like it not.

And further, poverty – physical and mental poverty – is what one fights in trying to contain these new diseases.  And the mental poverty is not just out there in Zaire, Sudan, or Pakistan, but right here in our own back yard.  An example from the early AIDS discoveries in Africa will suffice.  It involves how an official of the Regan Administration reacted to new information about AIDS: So word gets back to CDC about a deadly horrible series of deaths in deepest Africa and a team is dispatched.  The team works an exhausting series of days and weeks then reports back to CDC headquarters with some astounding findings.  AIDS cases in Africa indicate it is a heterosexual disease, which affects sexually active women.  These are women forced to service men for money in order for their survival and the survival of their children.  So when CDC hears the report they decide to call the Assistant Secretary of Health, then under the Regan Administration.

It’s a conference call and it takes awhile to present the information, and then they wait for a response.  There is a long silence and then Regan appointee, Dr. Edward Brandt says: “There must be another explanation, have you considered other vectors, like mosquitoes?”   Obviously he found it easier to talk about mosquitoes than sex. The evidence did not support his idea (re: AIDS was a homosexual disease) as children and old people were not affected.  If this problem was a mosquito transmitted arborvirus, the young and the old would be equally affected.  Mosquitoes bite anybody randomly and malaria occurs randomly, maybe the young are most heavily hit.

Brandt could not be moved even after a 20-minute dialogue.  And no help was forthcoming for a year or more.  He didn’t want to believe it was a heterosexual disease.  Ideology trumped science again.  Imagination beats reality.  Science is our best tool to understand reality – especially biology.  But AIDS was supposed to be a homosexual disease.  And good thing too as homosexuals were going against god’s will.

This is one of the main reasons to keep religion out of politics.  Government appointees should work for all the people not just the religious believers.

Book Review: The Hidden Story of Cancer by R. Scott Peskin and A. Habib

2009, 626 pp., Pinnacle Press

Review by Wm Olkowski, PhD

This is a proposed preventative program based on scientific papers in a relatively novel format that convinces me that “cancer” can be prevented, and if not too far along treated successfully outside conventional medicine.  I am already leaning that way so what’s new?  Well, this book presents some of the scientific background papers and their studied consequences that could convince you too.  And it shows that the war on cancer has failed.  This could be a prophetic argument one expects before a paradigm shift occurs.  I got my copy from Dr. Mathis our personal MD but I won’t give it back.  I must digest it further.

Causes of Cancer – Not Genetic, Not Toxicants, Not Microbes Peskin and Habib say the cause of cancer is low oxygen to the cells, which triggers cancerous growth.  It is not due to an invader, like a virus or other microbe, and not due to genetics, and not to toxins, although all of these could make things worse.  This low oxygen cause was discovered many decades ago and was forgotten, probably because it was written in German (by Dr. Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., a Nobel prize winner) and awaited translation in recent times.  Cancer is produced when the oxygen level of the cell drops by 35%.  Then the cell tries to survive by switching to a fermentation process compared to a respiration process to produce energy.  The cells that don’t die from this oxygen drop turn cancerous and depend upon a fermentation system to generate energy. These can exist on 20% of the normal cells’ oxygen and subsequent energy production. This later process is also called anaerobic glycolysis.  This is therefore a primitive defense mechanism to aid in cell survival.  The trouble is that these surviving cells have no way to differentiate into tissues, but remain an undifferentiated mass we call a tumor.

What causes low oxygen is not directly explained but one assumes it to be due to dietary factors – particularly faulty fats (hydrogenated, = transfats), and improper ratios between essential fats in the diet.

Once a cancer starts and the immune system fails to eliminate these cells we get tumors, but in each case there is an unknown lag time until detection, if ever.  Cancer is not due to the many secondary sources commonly indicated such as genetic or developmental mutations, microbes or toxicants (smoking, pesticides, air pollution, etc), but a physiological syndrome, which lowers the oxygen to the cells, a sort of starvation.  This does not mean these secondary causes have no influence, but to solve the cancer problem one must work on the cause and these authors say that is why the “War on Cancer” has failed.  There is no cure for cancer and even the purported life extension from traditional treatments does only add a few years at best.  Thus the choices are poor for someone diagnosed with a cancer that is growing and spreading.  The basic question is: Is it worthwhile to treat the cancer or tolerate it and what does the cost/benefit equation look like?  Costs for people who have medical insurance are really about what the treatments are like and whether they are tolerable.  These questions are not discussed.

Pesticides and Cancer? My own favorite cause was pesticide toxicants, but this is challenged by these authors.  Secondary sources do not help but they are not the cause.  They may stimulate a cancerous process already set in motion, however.  This physiological cause can be treated with the proper supplements (essential fatty acids and 6 minerals, and low carbohydrate, high protein diets).  This is not a cure but a preventative strategy.  Once a cell turns cancerous it must be killed, ideally by our immune system.  The following is their argument summarized: 1) medicine has a long history of denial, obfuscation, wrongness and obstinacy in the face of evidence, and this cancer story is another one; 2) There is no support for many of the cancer recommendations from the professional medical community and even for many of the cherished recommendations by national bodies, and certainly most physicians, and 3) the cause is known to be a lack of oxygen to cells which can be treated preventatively and curatively with supplements (depending upon the stage.  A late stage cancer is difficult at best to treat successfully enough to improve quality and quantity of life).

The cause was discovered years ago by a famous physiologist (a Nobel prize winner), who wrote in German.  Now his work has been translated into English.  At the time of his discovery there were no good ways to treat cancers, and even now there are no cures, nor easy and cheap ways to treat the maladies under the cancer label. The authors certainly make a convincing, strong case, but without clinical studies of their recommendation, their mostly-prevention strategy is easy to implement.

The War on Cancer How we love that term, “war”.  The war on cancer, now on-going for over 30 years, has been a colossal waste – in lives, money and materials.  [Add this war to the wars in Iraq and the war on drugs.]  All cancer rates are going up, costs of treatment are skyrocketing, no cures are evidenced, and early detection does not significantly extend life expectancies beyond what was observed in 1973.  Compared to 1900 we have now only increased life expectancy of adults moderately (5-10 years) overall.  The major change in life expectancy between 1900 and now is due to increasing the survival of the young, certainly not due to cancer treatments, where 2-5 yrs. at most are gained by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy – all with their problems and stresses.

To begin to support their argument the authors cite the following mistakes made by conventional medicine in the past (and even now). {This is a good starter list so I abstract it here with an addition or two.] Note also that corrections eventually occurred but with a variable lag time.

Conventional Medicine has Been Wrong Before – Repeatedly. Some Case Histories.

  1. Ulcers are caused by bacteria, easily and effectively treated.  Acidic secretions do not cause them.  The cause was found in 1983 but the information was rejected as being a preposterous hypothesis.  It took 19 years before Marshall and associates were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery and proof.  In the mean time a great deal of suffering and unsuccessful diet recommendations failed.
  2. Penicillin use was delayed for decades after discovery.  Discovered in 1928 it languished until WWII.  Alexander Fleming finally got the Nobel (with two others) in 1945, a delay of 27 years during which untold numbers died.
  3. Washing Hands before surgery.  Discovered in 1848 by the Dr. Sammelweise, a Vienna Physician who was fired from his Obstetrical clinic for going against the zeitgeist.  Doctors would go from autopsy to childbirth and give infections to healthy mothers who died from childbed fever.  Sammelweise was hounded out of the profession for his evidenced supported beliefs and practices.  It took another 25 years to get doctors to wash before surgery.  The delay costs are just hard to fathom. [For a dramatization of these types of experiences see the BBC series called Bramwell, and the movie Wives and Daughters, and the books by Ann Perry.]  There were neither anesthetics nor antiseptics in the 1800’s.  Morphine was available back in the 1800’s however.
  4. Vaccine delays.  Jenner’s first reports of the use of the smallpox vaccine he tested was rejected by the Royal Society of London, the US equivalent now is the National Academy of Sciences.  This delay caused unknown amount of pain and suffering.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are good for you and prevent cancer.  Right? No!! Maybe? There is no solid scientific evidence to support this recommendation.  In fact one of the basic medical texts (Basic Medical Biochemistry, by Marks and Marks 1995, states that many people don’t like vegetables and prefer fruit, but about 50% can’t use the fruit sugar (fructose) over 50 grams per serving.  That’s about 2 pieces of fruit or 16 grapes.  And note that high fructose corn syrup so evident in fruit juices is now being exposed as a metabolic poison.  Fruits have been selected for high sugar content so beware recommendations for too much fruit.
  6. Fiber prevents colon cancer.  NO!! Fiber turns out to be a fiction after 25 years of recommendations.  And further, it makes colon cancer worse by irritating the colon.  Those who eat the most fiber get the most cancer (see N. Eng. J. of Medicine 340, no. 3).
  7. Regular Mammograms are essential.  Wrong!  In addition to the many false positives it takes 8 years for a tumor to grow until it can be detected by a mammogram.  Taking the mammogram actually helps spread the cancerous tissue; this is known from 1928.  This is caused by the tight and sometimes painful compression of the breasts required to take the x-ray.  Although the fact that this ineffective procedure is a profit-driven technology posing risks compounded by unreliability, just never got to the popular press.  The authors go into greater details, which any women worried about breast cancer should read.  The detected cancers will remain quiescent until the patient dies from another cause.  Meanwhile the patient lives with the idea of cancer in their bodies.  Early detection may only raise the stress level.  And these cancers do not need to be treated, many of which have been discovered from the emphasis on early detection.
  8. Heart Attacks and Cholesterol.  75% of patients have normal levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol yet physicians continue to proscribe cholesterol-lowering medications, even in the face of evidence that these medications cause more problems then they help.  Statins are a good example.  My wife was forced to take statins (2 of them) after her stroke, which seems really stupid when one knows that muscle weakness is both a major consequence of stroke and that the major side effect of statin use is muscle weakness.  Statins are now the number one medicine proscribed in the world (26 million prescriptions is a lot of money).  If the majority of the patients who are proscribed a medicine to lower cholesterol don’t need it to prevent heart attacks why are they being used?  [See the book by Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories for a detailed well studied refutation of the low fat hypothesis.]
  9. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The use of biochemically foreign hormones has led to no benefit to post menopausal women but increases risks of heart problems, stroke, breast cancer, and thromboembolic events.  Large-scale studies show these problems but bioidentical hormones are different.  [This controversy is still on-going even though bioidentical hormones do not show this pattern, nor should they.  But studies of bioidentical hormones are not available, nor any comparisons.  One can only argue that since the bioidenticals mimic the natural hormones and they do not cause cancer, the compounded “naturals” should not compared to the synthetic hormones, the molecular structures of which have been changed for patent purposes.  So one should add to this list of failures t the use of patented sex hormones (not the bioidentical formulations). ] See the book Sex, Lies and Menopause.
  10. Hemoglobin has now been discovered to carry nitric oxide to the surprise of everyone concerned.  This was one of the most studied molecules in history.  The transport of nitric oxide was discovered in 1996.  This is an example of a new major discovery in a subfield where all seemed already resolved.   It is an example, both of how little we really know about the body and how science can increase awareness, sometimes in surprising ways, seldom anticipated.  A little humility can go along way to dispel the know it all attitude of many doctors.
  11. The discovery of Essential Fatty Acids having anticancer effects was known in 1929.  This is another example of forgotten science, rediscovered significantly adding to what is known.  The use of EFA’ is discussed further below.
  12. Older diuretics are superior to other modern blood pressure medicines.  To support this conclusion the authors cite an 8 years study of over 42,000 patients from 600 centers in the US showing that older diuretics are more effective in lowering BPs and heart attacks than the newer drugs (ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers).  The citation is not provided but I think it’s the ALLHAT study (see Houston, Handbook of Hypertension for an update on conventional treatments).
  13. Avoid Nitrates in Prepared Foods?  Nitrate is a preservative in hot dogs and many other prepared meats.  Nitrates have long believed to be linked to stomach cancer from mice and rat studies.  Human studies have never provided any causal link.  In contrast newer information indicates nitrates as being beneficial.
  14. Fish Oil is worthless or at worst dangerous.  The authors cite specific papers going back into the early 1990s showing no effect and even deleterious effects on the immune system, and brain.
  15. [The low fat hypothesis.  Eat low fat usually means eating high carbohydrates since protein is too costly and after reducing fats what is left is carbohydrates, which are the cheapest items in the diet. The authors do not directly mention this aspect but this is probably the worst case of current medical recommendations being false and dangerous.]  For a thorough exploration of this hypothesis see Taubes the investigative reporter who wrote the expose on the low fat hypothesis Good Calories, Bad Calories, see review on my blog).

A Perspective on the Scientific Process The authors build their case about cancer prevention and treatment by carefully and interestingly providing scientific documents along with their interpretation.  This is a very useful format for presenting science-based protocols for treatment and prevention.  A few of the quotes they use I have collected below, high lighting the authors comments are so useful in understanding where these authors are coming from.

“We are suffering from a wealth of information, but a poverty of understanding what that information means.” B. Peskin.

This refers to the long discussions these authors provide about the extensive current research, which supports their statements.  Clearly doctors are behind in accessing the research, sometimes many decades.  The general physician has little time to read the literature, even if they could sort through the maze of statistics and conclusions.  And why read up on recent work when the drug companies send reps to educate the doctors.  Also, a lack of critical thinking skills is widespread in the industry.  And the use of elaborate statistical procedures adds to the confusion, as do the interpretations of combining studies in “meta-analyses” with different time periods and treatment protocols.  And then there are the insurance companies, which add or remove drugs from their lists without much input from patients and their doctors.

“The definition of madness is to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.”     Einstein.

This refers to the war on cancer, which is a dismal failure, yet continues sucking up great amounts of money, time and equipment.  And the madness continues.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought”  Szent-Gyorgyi (discoverer of vitamin C).

This refers to the discoverer of the cause of cancer, by Dr. Otto Warburg, who discovered the cause, but because he was so far ahead of his time, nobody paid attention.  And then there would be a fight to introduce something new, which seems to always be resisted.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponent eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”  Max Plank (Nobel Prize winner in physics)

This last quote is particularly relevant to this book as the common knowledge that eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a minimum of red meat and fat is today’s unsupported zeitgeist.  There is no scientific support for this regime.  [A case in point: today we are waiting for the low-fat people to die.]  See the book reviews by Taubes and Bernstein (in my blog archive, WO).

The Treatment Program The program recommended by these authors has three parts, 1) Use of a proper ratio of parental Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), 2) supplementation with chelated minerals, and 3) a high protein, high fat low carbohydrate diet.

2) Supplementation with Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) from parent sources, not from derivatives.

Use of EFA’s (The word “essential” means the body cannot make them, and must get them in the diet):  The two EFA’s needed by the body are linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).  The main sources are meats, seeds, but less so from seafood. Although these parent EFA’s are widely distributed in plant oils, the amounts are so small that one needs to eat an impossible number of plants to get an adequate amount. The human body has a limited ability to convert ALA into the longer-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can also be obtained from fish, (but in low levels).  (From Wikipedia, essential fatty acids, 6/2011).

Further, buying supplements that are labeled as DHA or EPA commonly means they are not “parent” sources, being somewhat processed (labels can be confusing).  The best source is parent, but if the best is not possible, take the derivative supplements but these need to be in the proper proportion and not too old.  The optimal ratio between the two EFA’s is within the range of 1 to 1 (expressed as 1:1) up to 2:1 parent Omega-6 to parent Omega 3.  A deficiency in these two EFA’s is what produces the oxygen shortage and cancers.  Store these oils in the frig and be sure to buy the smallest bottles which are opaque to exclude sunlight which degrades oils.

Biochemistry Background These fatty acids (AL, ALA) form the bulk of the fat portion of the cell wall, which is about half fat and half protein.  The body is composed if about 100 trillion cells.  This is the main membrane across which all nutrients in the body must pass to get into the cell where the energy and structural molecules are made.  This membrane has no carbohydrate structural components.  The fat component is divided into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.  [Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also called PUFA’s].  The saturated fat protects the highly reactive unsaturated fats in the membrane.  The PUFA’s in the proper ratio absorb oxygen from the blood stream like a magnet.  Low oxygen causes cancerous reproduction of the cell. The gas (O2) diffuses readily thru the hydrophobic (fat) membrane portion, but not through a transfat or saturated fat part.  Inside the cell these fats are also incorporated into the mitochondrial membrane, which also becomes dysfunctional.  The mitochondria are the energy producers of the cell, which is the basic source for the body’s energy.  Membrane dysfunction leads to oxygen depletion, which leads to cancer, which kills you slowly and miserably.  Gross fatigue is a major symptom of cancer.

Avoid any derivatives but get these EFAs from foods unless you cannot get adequate amounts on a daily basis.  With the right ratio of EFA’s 1:1 to 2:1 omega 6 to omega 3 EFAs. Food sources of EFA’s are primarily meats, less so from seeds and even less so in seafood.

1) Supplementation with chelated minerals (Cu, Fe, Se, Mg, Mn, Zn)(chelation means being attached to an amino acid which aids in absorption), and

2) High protein low carbohydrate diets (and no processed foods) with the proper ratio between parent EFAs.

Some Final Thoughts I continue to look into this book for further clarifications and I have started the regime they describe, as it is very close to what we were already doing with some minor changes. We already eat only grass fed meats (beef, buffalo, and lamb).

I went to the health food stores and studied their oils and found that there are only two oils I could use to meet the proper ratios: hemp oil and flax oil.  So I bought both and alternate them one day using hemp oil, the next day flax oil in our coffee and sour cream mixtures (as of 7-10-11).  This store is very busy so the restocking rates are favorable.  Both oils come in opaque containers, one in glass, which minimizes foreign substance ingestions.  The best foods come in glass, avoid plastics whenever possible so as to not take in the plasticizers.

Next I searched for a good supplement or more to get a steady supply of chelated minerals, but there was no single product at the local health food stores and chelated sources were not obvious, except for magnesium (Mg).  So now this regime hangs up temporarily until I find such sources for the reminder of the minerals.  Meanwhile I am added a mineral mix to our drinking water, and using a liquid multivitamin mix in our coffee and sour cream mixes.  I have ordered a product via the web called Mineral 650 from “pure encapsulations” which has a good range of minerals, but in low doses more like what one can get from a good multivitamin.  And we frequently use nuts in our munchie diet while watching loads of absorbing movies (see blog for recent list).

We eat little fruit because of the sugars they contain as we eat very little carbos (=sugar) in all forms and no food that quickly converts to sugars (like grains, pastas. bread, etc).  This is because of preventing type II diabetes (see Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetic Solution, reviewed on my blog).  So this new regime is no discomfort, little change and these authors confirms again my belief that sugars and bad fats are at the basis of reduced and painful death processes.

If these authors are wrong, I risk little since shifting to parent EFA’s from my previous EPA-DHA supplements in pill form is not risky.  Besides I like the idea of using hemp and flax oils, and they are easy to mix at low doses even though the taste is strange to our palettes.

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

by Bill Olkowski, PhD

So since I am not painting I think why not learn about some classical Great Paintings.  Since I get a catalogue of courses in the mail I check them over regularly.  These catalogues alone are valuable, especially if one has to design classes, as these catalogues provide lots of class outlines.  Then, if one has to design a class or series of lectures these outlines are especially useful.  For example, with them one could select lectures to create your own mixture for self-education.

The Great Courses Corporate (A Teaching Company) headquarters is in Chantilly, VA, (the location should have warned me), this company has a course called The World’s Greatest Paintings (3 discs by Professor Kloss of the Smithsonian Associates, (= Smithsonian Institution).  Kloss speaks clearly in full sentences without extra hesitant sounds and enunciates clearly and paces the classes perfectly.  His use of computer graphics to examine his selections and point out compositional features, comments about the painter, and of course the narratives told by the work of art are great.

This set of discs is on-sale now so I should not complain, right? Some of their courses cost hundreds!  That’s too much for me and I do not want to use the money that way now.  Plus I do not see what practical advantage I would have in learning about many of the subjects.  But the title of this one got me right at the time I was feeling like painting again.  But I am going to have to become more of a studio painter, which I am working toward.  Meantime I can learn a thing or two, right? Always!

What’s to Learn?

What’s the Cost in Time, Money and Potential Usefulness?

I see there are 24 lectures and I buy the course.  I took a chance and still have the discs.  So maybe I will learn how some people view art, especially painting, and it seems I could tolerate the selection and the lecturer seems competent — it’s starting to look good.  But along in the first lecture he assures me that it is his personal selection of paintings he is going to talk about.  It is his subjective and personal choices.  All art is subjective so this is reasonable.   This seems by way of an apology due to time constraints.  So I am warned.  I get thru the first few lecturers and then it hits me.

Back in the 14th and 15th Century

All these early paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries and a bit later are by Italian painters.  These guys (no women) were hired by the priests of the Catholic Church to portray the myths upon which their religion is based.  Now consider that most people could not read 2,011 years ago and earlier, so paintings had a special place in community education.  And these alter pieces, these great billboards, were placed in cathedrals and palaces.  I just got tired of it all.

Adam and Eve

My turning point came with the portrayal of Adam and Eve being forced out of the Garden of Eden (why should my spelling checker capitalize these words?).  Adam and Eve look unhappy and the lecturer gives you the details about how the painter uses his skill to portray the myth (composition, color, and narrative).  So last night I stopped looking at the rest of the lectures out of disgust.  I was dismayed by his initial selections, for the stories passed by without any discussion about the purpose of the painting (i.e., religious propaganda).  I got disgusted for the humanity that I am part of.  I was stupid about this whole religion subject, but I used to have my parents to blame, mostly my super catholic mother.  Now they are gone, I am coming out of the closet.

And besides why look at unhappiness?  Why portray a belief system by presenting unhappiness.  Do all the people who frequent churches of all sorts understand their mythology?  Or better, what role has their mythology in creating unhappiness.  What causes unhappiness?  To answer could take lifetimes to explain in psychological, nutritional, educational, and biological terms.  But wouldn’t it be better to explore how to produce happiness?  Now there’s a book or two.

More on Adam and Eve

Here is a terrible story with unhappy people and a vengeful god pointing the way out of Eden, whatever, wherever that could be.  Is Eden heaven?  Wow, so we were all in heaven at one time.  That’s nice to know!  All this bullshit is done with skill and special technology, and at great cost sustained by a gullible ignorant public.  Could it happen today?  Right! It’s still going on, and it’s not even a majority, but it may be a conspiracy.

Why do people assume the past was “golden”, presumably full of food and happiness?  We must be deranged.  Even when we were hunter-gatherers lifetimes seldom went beyond age 30.  We had to dodge saber toothed tigers and other monsters while searching for food by killing large and small animals.  And then there were diseases.  All sorts of insects, worms, bacteria, viruses, and others worked to keep the old from getting older.   Starvation was common.  And there were other primates and other people, always dangerous.  Where could this Eden be?  When life is terrible some solace may be obtained from an illusion or series of illusions.  Is that the basis for religious belief?  The tragedy is that these myths of Christianity lasted so long, and now, they are back, with lots of money.  And money speaks!  Or at least it’s got the public airways.

Back to the Loss of Eden

Now get this.  These two naked people were forced out into the wilderness, that is: without clothes to make their way because they ate the fruit of knowledge (that should be capitalized), (and the fruit was probably an apple?).  This most elementary and extraordinary story says if you obtain knowledge it will lead to unhappiness, stress and overall badness; probably what we have now, right?  In fact, as Christians we are supposed to have been born with original sin, whatever that is.  I suspect it has something to do with sex.  Sex is bad, right? Or is knowledge bad.  And getting knowledge pisses god off.  And the Catholic Church has persisted with this idea now for over 2,000 years!!

How Could This Be?  Animalism to Monotheism:

Well, in the old days – BC (also 2011 years before the present – BP) there were all sorts of gods around as we were usually within cultures dominated by belief in spirits.  This is called animalism, or in a shorter form “animism”.  My wife says there is no animalism, so I must have made it up.  I like the idea of animalism because it generates respect for the animals around us.  I have never heard of plantism, which should be more powerful as without plants there will be no life for animals, including us.  Eco-ism anybody? Survival may follow belief? Or is it that belief leads to survival and maybe thrival?  Maybe it’s better to make up your own belief system.

Maybe animalism mutated into a personified god who behaved much like humans, being vengeful, lustful and in general humanoid.  Lots of these god stories were and are also stupid, but explainable.  Kindness, compassion, and altruism did not seem to be godly.  Is or was there a god of kindness? Or any god of really good things? How about the god of Love, Apollo, where is Apollo when we need Him now.

Well anim-ism is different from animal-ism.  Animists believe in spirits not animals.  Belief in spirits is crazy, dangerous and stupid.  Belief in animals means you serve the interests of that animal or animals.  I like to think of serving the interests of humanity in general.

Entomological Philosopher Speaks

For example, I do what I can to help out ants.  I taught people to tolerate the argentine ant, for example, and if nuisanced by their presence, seal them out of your homes. They kill termites, so why kill them?  Don’t go introducing a toxicant into the house, either.  And there are about 9,000 species of ants, maybe more if we look harder.  The ants are our closest relatives considering social evolutionary trends.

I was forced to read the stories about Roman and Greek gods in high school as part of my English classes.  I thank my lucky stars that perspective was provided in my public school curriculum, because what I got in church was mostly very, very mysterious.  So I got the idea that before there was one god there were many gods, and god or gods are really sort of superhumans.  And one god was a big deal.  Why people gave up the old gods I don’t know but I have a suspicion it was done by force of arms, terror and lots of deaths.

I used to wonder why there were so many statues in our church, and then I learned that the Catholics just superimposed their belief system over whatever the local existing belief system was to convert the old stories into modern stories.  This was a common way one culture took over another.  First the military, then the priests.  And sometimes vice versa.  And this was cultural warfare on a big scale.  Is this my legacy?  Is this what those who came before left me?  What a mess.  Is this really what is going on?

How Could Christianity Survive So Long?

It is mysterious to me how Christianity arose and made it the first 1,000 years or so.  Before Christ, (BC) is even more mysterious.  One cannot rely on church (catholic) documents for precise facts, or can you? The bible is not a history book either so I must rely on other sources for before Christ (year zero, or 2011 BP).  Year zero?  There was no time before Christ???  So do you start counting backwards to what negative time?  Negative is bad, right? Anyway, on-ward.

One clue about the long-term survival of Christianity comes from some recent books about the Inquisition, which lasted from 1229 when the Pope at that Time (Pope Merciful the first or whatever), decided to do something about how poor the priests and the people were behaving. Note that he does nothing about his priests, but to create a sort of moral police, the Dominicans (also called the dogs of god) were created.

So he sets up a police state whereby those who are pointed out as unbelievers, witches and bad people are rounded up and tortured until they confess, then are murdered, most burned alive (or at least until the smoke suffocates them).  And get this, all the property of the unbelievers goes to the guys who did the burning.  Just how many suffered this fate is unknown, but it must have been in the hundred thousands. Do you note any parallels to today’s terror campaign called the war on drugs.

Will It Be Survival over Thrival Again?

The Christian (Catholic) terror campaign lasted over 600 years (about 20 generations) from the Pope’s announcement until the last known person, a schoolteacher in Mexico, is garroted in 1818? I think he killed because he was trying to teach “Darwinism”.  And what a way to go, too.  All, unfortunately for an approximate theory adopted by various political bodies to enforce more terror and enslave people called Darwinism.  There is no Darwinism.  I share with Darwin a section of a scientific belief system called Evolution; I also share many other scientific belief systems called chemistry, physiology, bacteriology, virology, entomology, parasitology, etc.  You get the idea: lots of biological sciences.  Each subcategory contributes to my survival and ability to thrive.  At least I learn how to avoid being killed or maimed by pathogens.

When I think what killing off 20 generations of unbelievers has done to the world I understand how these crazy ideas survived.  There are reports from small German towns during the 600 inquisition years that had no older women.  Wow, that’s a lot of witches.  What a great institution!!  And this all done to continue the belief that our one god is merciful?  Gads!!

Where are the Rationalists?

I would not go on like this if there were more rational people in the world.  And you would think that in the US, with its near universal literacy the old myths would not be so dominant.  But just a short ride into Arizona, for example, one passes by whole colleges devoted to one or another Christian sect.  The US is considered one of the most religious nations.  At least it seems the Europeans learned from their history.

My lowest point came during the last Bush administration with its lifting of birth control, start of an unnecessary costly and brutal war – which now costs $1 Billion per week, hiring of government people with tests for Christian religiosity, and use of government funds to finance religious activities (really recruitment programs).  For some sort of religious belief they refused to help a paralyzed comma patient die.  How weird is that?  If you believe in an after life why not let the person die.  No, they want to prolong the suffering, is that it?  Anyway the poor half alive person could probably not know what was going on, but maybe she knew?  What a horror.

And it looks like Obama is doing similar things with prayer breakfasts and sponsorship of religious education.  Tell me I am wrong, please.  All the last 2,000 years of history is forgotten, with its incessant wars between sects of Christianity, not to forget the wars with the Arabs (i.e., the Crusades).  And now in recent times we continue the wars, with all sorts of people.  Now I think World War II was entirely justified as we were attacked.  To fight an attack I want my military arm to fight back, I would do it myself if someone attacked me.  Better to prevent wars, right?  So why not beef up the UN’s peacekeeping forces?  Well, WWII is over and gone, isn’t it?

Where’s the Enemy?

But where is the enemy?  OK, Bin Laden was a very bad man, especially because he was so RICH.  Excessive wealth is dangerous.  So we invade Iraq.  Hussein was a bad guy who protected Bin Laden, or did he?  Now Bin Laden shows up in Pakistan, where he probably was the whole time.  So why not invade Pakistan and kill a few 100,000 more?  After all they are Arabs?

And finally, what’s art?

Enough Already.


10 Myths About Evolution

This document from the Skeptic email newsletter (citation above) is one of the simplest explanations for debunking the religious oriented criticism of Evolution and the demonized Charles Darwin and all who believe in evolution vs God inspired and interventioned human and earth creation, so called creationism.

1 If Humans Came From Apes, Why Aren’t Apes Evolving Into Humans?

Humans, apes, and monkeys are only distant evolutionary “cousins.” We come not from apes but from a common ancestor that was neither ape nor human that lived millions of years in the past.

In fact, during the last seven million years many human-like species have evolved; some examples include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis. All of these went extinct at different times, leaving just us to share the planet with a handful of other primates.

2 There Are Too Many Gaps in the Fossil Record for Evolution to Be True

In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils. Archaeopteryx, for example, is one of the earliest known fossil birds with a reptilian skeleton and feathers. There is now evidence that some dinosaurs had hair and feathers. Therapsids are the intermediates between reptiles and mammals, Tiktaalik is an extinct lobe-finned fish intermediate to amphibians, there are now at least six intermediate fossil stages in the evolution of whales, and in human evolution there are at least a dozen intermediate fossil stages since hominids branched off from the great apes six million years ago. Considering the exceptionally low probability that a dead plant or animal will fossilize it is remarkable we have as many fossils as we do. First the dead animal has to escape the jaws of scavengers.  Then it has to be buried under the rare circumstances that will cause it to fossilize instead of decay. Then geological forces have to somehow bring the fossil back to the surface to be discovered millions of years later by the handful of paleontologists looking for them.  © 2010 Skeptics Society

3 If Evolution Happened Gradually Over Millions of Years Why Doesn’t the Fossil Record Show Gradual Change?

Sudden changes in the fossil record are not missing evidence of gradualism; they are extant evidence of punctuation. Species are stable over long periods of time and so they leave plenty of fossils in the strata while in their stable state. The change from one species to another, however, happens relatively quickly (on a geological time scale) in a process called punctuated equilibrium.

One species can give rise to a new species when a small “founder” group breaks away and becomes isolated from the ancestral group. This new founder group, as long as it remains small and detached, may experience relatively rapid change (large populations are genetically stable). The speciational change happens so rapidly that few fossils are left to record it. But once changed into a new species, the individuals will retain their phenotype for a long time, leaving behind many well-preserved fossils. Millions of years later this process results in a fossil record that records mostly stability. The punctuation is there in between the equilibrium.

4  No One Has Ever Seen Evolution Happen

Evolution is a historical science confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to this single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, embryology, population genetics, genome sequencing, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life evolved. Creationists demand “just one fossil transitional form” that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils, along with a convergence of genetic comparisons between species, and a convergence of anatomical and physiological comparisons between species, and many other lines of inquiry. (In fact we can see evolution happen—especially among organisms with short reproductive cycles that are subject to extreme environmental pressures. Knowledge of the evolution of viruses and bacteria is vital to medical science.)

5 Science Claims That Evolution Happens by Random Chance

Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance.” Natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes. To illustrate this, imagine a monkey at a typewriter. In order for the monkey to type the first 13 letters of Hamlet’s soliloquy by chance, it would take 2613 number of trials for success. This is 16 times as great as the total number of seconds that have elapsed in the lifetime of the solar system. But if each correct letter is preserved and each incorrect letter eradicated, the phrase “to be or not to be” can be “selected for” in only 335 trials, or just seconds in a computer program. Richard Dawkins defines evolution as “random mutation plus nonrandom cumulative selection.” It is the cumulative selection that drives evolution. The eye evolved from a single, light sensitive spot in a cell into the complex eye of today not by chance, but through thousands of intermediate steps, each preserved because they made a better eye. Many of these steps still exist in nature in simpler organisms. © 2010 Skeptics Society

6 Only an Intelligent Designer Could Have Made Something as Complex as an Eye

The anatomy of the human eye shows that it is anything but “intelligently designed.” It is built upside down and backwards, with photons of light having to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells, before reaching the light sensitive rods and cones that convert the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards? This “design” only makes sense if natural selection built eyes from available materials, and in the particular configuration of the ancestral organism’s pre-existing organic structures.  The eye shows the pathways of evolutionary history, not intelligent design.

7 Evolution is Only A Theory

All branches of science are based on theories, which are grounded in testable hypothesis and explain a large and diverse body of facts about the world. A theory is considered robust if it consistently predicts new phenomena that are subsequently observed. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are explanatory ideas about those data. Constructs and other nontestable statements are not a part of science. The theory of evolution meets all the criteria of good science, as determined by Judge William Overton in the Arkansas creationism trial:

• It is guided by natural law.

• It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law.

• It is testable against the empirical world.

• Its conclusions are tentative.

• It is testable and falsifiable.

If you can find fossil mammals in the same geological strata as trilobites then evolution would be falsified. No one has ever found such contradictory data.

8 Evidence for Human Evolution Has Turned Out to Be Fake, Frauds, or Fanciful

Eager to discredit evolution, creationists ignore hominid fossil discoveries and cherry pick examples of hoaxes and mistakes in the belief that mistakes in science are a sign of weakness. This is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of science, which constantly advances by using both its mistakes and the successes. Its ability to build cumulatively on the past is how science progresses. The self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most powerful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man, Calaveras Man, and Hespero-pithecus, are, in time, corrected. In fact, it wasn’t creationists who exposed these errors, it was scientists who did so. Creationists simply read about the scientific exposé of these errors, and then duplicitously claimed them as their own.

9 The Second Law of Thermodynamics Proves That Evolution is Impossible

The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to closed, isolated systems. Since the Earth receives a constant input of energy from the sun—it is an open-dissipative system—entropy may decrease and order increase (though the sun itself is running down in the process). Thus, the Earth is not strictly a closed system and life may evolve without violating natural law. As long as the sun is burning, life may continue thriving and evolving, just like automobiles may be prevented from rusting, burgers can be heated in ovens, and all manner of things in apparent violation of Second Law entropy may continue. But as soon as the sun burns out, entropy will take its course and life on Earth will cease. © 2010 Skeptics Society

10 Evolution Can’t Account For Morality

As a social primate species we evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity and cooperation, and to attenuate and punish excessive selfishness and free riding. As well, evolution created the moral emotions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity, and respect for property.  It would not be possible for a social primate species to survive without some moral sense. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies.

Ron Paul, Barney Frank join forces to end the insanity

by Bill Olkowski, PhD

In an effort to end the insanity, Rep. Ron Paul has joined forces with Rep. Barney Frank to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana in America. President Obama, you may recall, promised voters on the campaign trail that he would do this, too, but it seems he’s been too busy bombing Libya and using the U.S. Constitution as a floor mat to bother keeping any actual promises. (GITMO is still open for business, too, in case you haven’t noticed…)

Of course, the War on Drugs is a very effective tool of tyranny to be used against the American people. It empowers the DEA and the federal government to conduct surprise searches of any home or business for any reason whatsoever (even without a warrant), it keeps the prison industry overflowing with endless cheap human labor, and it grants the big drug companies a monopoly over all those recreational drugs that are now sold as pharmaceuticals.

“Speed,” for example, is now sold as an ADHD treatment for children. Big Pharma is also going after THC chemicals in marijuana and hopes to sell them as prescription drugs. By keeping the War on Drugs in place, Big Pharma is assured a monopoly that even the drug lords haven’t been able to accomplish.

An issue that crosses political boundaries

One thing that’s especially interesting about the so-called War on Drugs is how the best-informed people on both the left and the right now see it all as a complete fraud. Perhaps that’s why Rep. Ron Paul (Republican) and Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat) are the perfect sponsors of this bill. Each has staked out positions on the opposite ends of the political spectrum for some issues, yet they both agree that it’s time to end the failed Nixon-era policies that have only brought this nation suffering and injustice.

Ending the failed War on Drugs is not a conservative idea nor a liberal idea; it’s a principle of liberty whose time has come in America.

Because in observing the War on Drugs, the prison crowding, the drug underground economy and all the other unintended consequence of marijuana prohibition, we must ask the question: Is society served in any way by criminalizing marijuana smokers? How does taking a medical addict and throwing them behind bars accomplish anything at all?

The prohibition against marijuana accomplishes nothing for society

For starters, it halts the contributions of a tax paying citizen. Most pot smokers actually have jobs and pay taxes. They are functioning citizens — lawyers, accountants, musicians, administrators and more. By throwing them in prison, you’re destroying their own ability to participate in the economy while actually placing a new cost burden on the rest of society.

Secondly, from a moral perspective, pot smokers need medical support, not criminal indictment. If someone is suffering from a substance addiction, how does throwing them in prison and surrounding them with other addicts and hardened criminals serve any positive purpose whatsoever? Today, U.S. prisons actually function more like criminal training camps where people come out as far more violent criminals than when they went in. So the justice system actually ends up capturing people who are relatively peaceful, tax-paying citizens and then turning them into hardened criminals who are eventually released onto the streets.

How insane is that?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow them to continue to function in society but help them with their drug addiction through a medical / health perspective? Addicts need support, not incarceration. And today’s justice system does absolutely nothing to rehabilitate prisoners. It only makes them far worse criminals.

And finally, from an economic perspective alone, can any U.S. state really afford to continue incarcerating people for non-violent crimes that have no victims? Who is harmed with a guy down the street lights up a joint? No one. There are no victims. There is no crime, either, other than the fictional crime the State fabricates to incarcerate people.

A “real” crime is a crime that has a victim: A rape, a burglary, a mugging, or a murder. Those crimes deserve proper consideration by the justice system, and people who commit such crimes are precisely the kind of people society can justifiably put behind bars. But carrying a few ounces of marijuana in your pocket — or even lighting up a smoke — violates no person or property. Nor does it violate any moral or ethical principle. It is, in every way, an act that is improperly and unjustifiably criminalized through legal fictions engineered by the state.

The solution to marijuana prohibition is finally at hand

It is time to end those legal fictions and end the War on Drugs in America. The solution is to:

#1) LEGALIZE marijuana across the country.

#2) REGULATE marijuana and allow it to be sold through licensed retailers.

#3) TAX marijuana sales and use the tax proceeds to fund addiction support programs for those small percentage of users who end up addicted.

The results of these actions will be:

#1) A COLLAPSE of the drug gangs. If marijuana is suddenly legal, who would bother buying it from a street dealer?

#2) A COLLAPSE of drug profits. If it’s legal, the price goes down. Suddenly there’s no more money in trafficking the drug, either, so the drug gangs are instantly out of business.

#3) A HUGE INCREASE in revenues to the states from collecting taxes on the legal sale of marijuana.

#4) A REDUCTION in young people trying the drug. What teenager wants to try something if it’s LEGAL? Legalizing pot takes all the “fun” out of it for many young people. It’s no longer cool. Kinda boring, actually. And it makes you cough.

#5) A SAVINGS of billions of dollars off all the money states are right now spending arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for possessing marijuana. This money could be used to build schools, roads, job re-education programs and more. And don’t court judges have better things to do than sentence pot smokers?

#6) AN END to prison overcrowding. End the sentences for those incarcerated merely for marijuana possession. Set them free and end the prison crowding. Save the prisons for the real criminals such as murderers, child molesters and Wall Street bankers.

#7) A FREER, more just society that respects human dignity. If you treat addicts like criminals, you take away their dignity, and your entire society suffers a net loss. By recognizing the humanity behind the addiction, we can restore human dignity to the entire process of how we deal with drug addicts in society today.

Action item: Call your Congressman to support this bill!

Here’s what you can do right now to help support this bill: Call your Congressman in Washington D.C. and tell them you want to support the bill to end the federal ban on marijuana.

The switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

If you live in the U.S. or are a U.S. citizen, call this number now, ask to be connected to your Congressperson, and verbally express your support for the bill to legalize marijuana across America.

It is time to end the failed War on Drugs, stop the useless incarceration of millions of innocent people, and halt the tyranny of the DEA and other federal agencies that waste billions of dollars every year stalking and assaulting people who merely want to smoke a weed.

I don’t smoke weed, by the way, but as a person who believes in the principles of freedom and liberty, I fully support the rights of others to smoke marijuana if they so choose. Similarly, I don’t drink alcohol, but I support the rights of other to drink alcohol if that’s their decision. As a nation, we tried prohibition with alcohol and it was a disaster. Now we’re living through the era of marijuana prohibition, and it is a disastrous failure as well. Isn’t it time we grew up as a nation and allowed people to take responsibility for their own actions as long as they aren’t harming anyone else in the process?

Smoke all you want, folks! I’m gonna have a superfood smoothie instead.

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