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The 40 Hour Work Week & More: How Culture Has Made Us “Hungry Ghosts”

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Consumerism is Heavily Nurtured by Corporations

Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be frivolous with its spending, and in the documentary “The Corporation,” a marketing psychologist shows just how easy it is to increase sales by targeting nagging children, and the effect that nagging has on the parents’ spending.

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“You can manipulate consumers into wanting, and therefore buying your products. It’s a game,” says Lucy Hughes, co-creator of “The Nag Factor.”

This is only one small example of something prevalent in our culture, that companies don’t make sales by promoting the virtues of their products, but by creating a culture of hundreds of millions of people that buy pointless stuff to chase away dissatisfaction. This is reminiscent of the analogy of culture as “hungry ghosts”; a culture of people who constantly want and need, but are never satisfied.

We buy stuff to cheer ourselves up, to keep up with the Joneses, to fulfill our childhood vision of what our adulthood would be like, to broadcast our status to the world, and for a lot of other psychological reasons that have very little to do with how useful the product really is. How much stuff is in your basement or garage that you haven’t used in the past year?

The 40 Hour Working Week

The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour work week as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.

The last thing people want to do after a hard day at work is exercise, improve themselves, delve into their passion, or question the way things are. Relief and gratification are usually the first and foremost things the public will be looking for. The eight-hour workday developed during the industrial revolution in Britain in the 19th century, as a respite for factory workers who were being exploited with 14- or 16-hour workdays.

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As technologies and methods advanced, workers in all industries became able to produce much more value in a shorter amount of time… You’d think this would lead to shorter workdays. But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours, but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief we can buy. It keeps us watching television, and its commercials. It keeps us unambitious outside of work and for the most part, apathetic.

We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.

An Economy Based on Frivolous Addictions and Gratification

Western economies have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom. Can you imagine what would happen if all of the Western world stopped buying so much unnecessary crap that doesn’t add a lot of lasting value to our lives? The economy would collapse and never recover.

All of our well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution, and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy. For the economy to be “healthy,” this world has to remain unhealthy. Healthy, happy people don’t feel like they need much they don’t already have, and that means they don’t buy a lot of junk, don’t need to be entertained as much, and they don’t end up watching a lot of commercials.

The culture of the eight-hour workday is big business’ most powerful tool for keeping people in this same dissatisfied state where the answer to every problem is to buy something.

You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law? It is often used in reference to time usage: the more time you’ve been given to do something, the more time it will take you to do it. It’s amazing how much you can get done in twenty minutes if twenty minutes is all you have. But if you have all afternoon, it would probably take way longer.

Most of us treat our money this way. The more we make, the more we spend. It’s not that we suddenly need to buy more just because we make more, only that we can, so we do. In fact, it’s quite difficult for us to avoid increasing our standard of living (or at least our rate of spending) every time we get a raise.

Do We Need to Live in the Sticks to Escape This?

I don’t think it’s necessary to shun this whole ugly system and go live in the bush, but we could certainly do well to understand who big commerce really wants us to be. They’ve been working for decades to create millions of ideal consumers, and they have succeeded. Unless you’re a real anomaly, your lifestyle has already been designed.

The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, somehow just getting by, and completely oblivious to the way their life has been manufactured, and will actively defend these prison walls.

Is this you? Maybe it’s time to free yourself?

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Awareness

Long-Term Consequences of Mumps Vaccination: Many Unanswered Questions

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This is Part II of a two-part series on mumps. Part I discussed how mumps vaccination and the flawed mumps component of Merck’s MMR vaccine are fostering dangerous mumps outbreaks in adolescents and young adults.

It has been about five decades since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s first mumps vaccine. The company began launching combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines in the 1970s. Coincidentally—or not—an infertility crisis has been brewing over roughly the same time period, with dramatic declines in sperm counts and record-lowfertility levels. However, few investigators seem interested in assessing whether mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations of teens and young adults could be having long-termeffects on fertility or other health indicators.

As described in Part I, childhood MMR vaccination has been an unmitigated disaster where mumps is concerned, deferring mumps infection to older ages and leaving adolescents and young adults vulnerable to serious reproductive complications. Public health reports show that the vast majority of mumps cases and outbreaks occur in youth who have been fully vaccinatedwith the prescribed two-dose MMR series, supporting a hypothesis of “waning immunity after the second dose.” FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials even admitthat mumps outbreaks in the post-vaccination era “typically involve young adults,” and that vaccination is failing to protect those who are college-age and above.

Myopically, many vaccine experts have called for a third MMR dose—or even “booster dosing throughout adulthood”—even though the FDA’s and CDC’s own research shows that MMR boosters in college-age youth barely last one year. As alleged in whistleblower lawsuits wending their way through the courts over the past eight years, Merck presented the FDA with a “falsely inflated efficacy rate” for the MMR’s mumps component, using animal antibodies and other fraudulent tactics to fool FDA—and the public—into believing that the vaccine was effective.

When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs.

Mumps after puberty is no laughing matter

Around the time that the first mumps vaccine came on the market, the 1967 children’s classic The Great Brain humorously depicted mumps infection in childhood as a mere nuisance. The book’s young protagonist goes out of his way to intentionally infect himself with mumps so that he can beat his two brothers to the recovery finish line—and he experiences no adverse consequences other than his siblings’ annoyance.

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When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs. About one in three postpubertal men with mumps develops orchitis(inflammation of the testes), which can damage sperm, affect testosterone production and contribute to subfertility and infertility. During a mumps outbreak in England in the mid-2000s, mumps orchitis accounted for 42% of all hospitalized mumps cases; the researchers attributed this outcome—which was the most common reason for hospitalization—to “the high attack rates in adolescents and young adults” that occurred “despite high coverage with two-dose MMR.” An analysis of a 2006 mumps outbreak in the U.S. reported that male patients were over three times more likely than female patients to experience complications, “due primarily to orchitis.”

An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.

Mumps infections are often asymptomatic or produce nonspecific symptoms such as fever, while cases of orchitis may present with no other mumps symptoms. Nonetheless, public health officials advise clinicians that orchitis is an instant cue to test for mumps virus, and testing often reveals elevated mumps antibodies. In a case report of MMR failure, British clinicians isolated a novel genetic strain of mumps virus from the patient’s semen two weeks after the onset of orchitis and found mumps RNA in the semen 40 days later; they also noted “the appearance of anti-sperm antibodies,” with “potential long-term adverse effects on the patient’s fertility.”

In 2017, researchers who reviewed 185 studies conducted in Western nations found that sperm counts had plummeted by 50% to 60% between 1973 and 2011—an average decrease of 1.4% annually. Commenting on this work, one analyst estimated that 20% to 30% of young men in Europe and North America have sperm concentrations associated with a reduced ability to father a child. Given estimates that as much as 40% of reproductive problems have to do with the male partner, there is agreement on the importance of “finding and eliminating [the] hidden culprits in the environment” that most researchers believe are to blame.

An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.

MMR’s and MMRV’s potential to impair fertility never studied

Merck has not evaluated either of its two MMR vaccines—the MMR-II and the MMR-plus-varicella (MMRV) vaccine—for their potential to impair fertility. Whether such testing would unearth direct effects on fertility (as appears to be possible with HPV vaccination in women) is thus unknown. However, mumps vaccination undeniably increases reproductive-age individuals’ risk of mumps infection and, in the process, increases the risk of fertility-altering complications. These facts alone should be attracting far more attention.

Unfortunately, because clinicians already tend to underdiagnose mumps infection and underestimate mumps complications, it is likely that they are failing to recognize possible vaccine-induced reproductive health consequences of mumps infection in their adolescent and young adult patients. In one university outbreak, “most physicians…did not suspect mumps,” and even when they became aware of the outbreak, “diagnosing mumps was not always straightforward.” Moreover, although differentiating between vaccine strains of mumps virus and wild types could provide valuable information, few clinicians have the capacity or inclination to perform testing of this type. A Japanese study of cerebrospinal fluid and saliva from patients with mumps complications found vaccine strain in nearly all of the samples and noted the information’s importance in helping determine whether the complications were vaccine-related.

Those who have sought to understand mumps vaccines’ poor performance point to a mixture of explanatory factors. These include waning immunity, the high population density and close quarters encountered in settings such as college campuses, incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus as well as viral evolution such that “the vaccine triggers a less potent reaction against today’s mumps viruses than those of 50 years ago.” However, some also quietly admit that individuals with “mild vaccine-modified disease” could be perpetuating the chain of transmission. This latter point ought to be raising questions about the logic and wisdom of administering further rounds of MMR boosters during outbreaks while ignoring the problems created by the doses already given.

… some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.

Most scientists appear to be either resigned to ongoing mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations or actually accept periodic outbreaks as the cost of doing business. Publications by FDA and CDC researchers reveal these agencies’ awareness that some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and that vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, “irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.” Considering the effects on fertility, the generally abysmal track record of mumps vaccination and Merck’s fraudulent claims about efficacy, it is hard to fathom medical and public health experts’ complacency about current mumps vaccines and vaccine policies.


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Alternative News

Investigation Shows The MMR Vaccine Was Approved Based On Small Studies Showing Disturbing Results

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A FOIA request by Del Bigtree reveals that the 8 studies supporting the release of the MMR vaccine were only 6 weeks long, used only 800 children, and led to damaging respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to many of the children.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we ready to collectively deal with the implications of ongoing revelations of industry malfeasance with regards to vaccines that for some may require a shift in long-held beliefs?

Amidst a rash of efforts to bring forward mandatory vaccination in pockets of the United States is the recent move in New York City to declare a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak and order mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order to address what he said was a measles “crisis” in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in the neighborhood. The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.

Challenging Assumptions

This kind of invasive move gives rise to several serious questions, including challenging many of the assumptions that are necessarily made to justify such a move.

Assumption #1: People who may have been infected with the measles should get vaccinated immediately. De Blasio wants people who may have been infected with the measles to get vaccinated. The assumption here is that the vaccine would actually help someone who has the virus by preventing them from getting the measles or preventing them from spreading it to others. But this just doesn’t stand to reason. If someone is already infected, getting a measles vaccine will not prevent the outbreak. That’s not what a vaccine is designed for. And while the person is going through the 2-week period it takes for the vaccine to take hold, it’s quite possible that this will weaken the immune response to the actual measles infection the person has. Quarantining people suspected of being infected would be the sensible response, not vaccinating. If they happen to have the measles, no problem. Once they recover they will then be immune for life.

Assumption #2: The MMR Vaccine Can Create Herd Immunity. There is an article in the Huffington post entitled ‘I’m No Anti-Vaxxer, But the Measles Vaccine Can’t Prevent Outbreaks,’ in which Dr. Gregory Poland, who strongly advocates for vaccines, notes that outbreaks are often initiated and spread by people who have been fully vaccinated against the measles–over 50% in the case of a 2011 outbreak in Quebec. How is this possible? While this Quebec outbreak happened within a community that supposedly had achieved herd-immunity status of over 95% vaccinated, the facts are, as the article notes, that “9 per cent of children having two doses of the vaccine, as public health authorities now recommend, will have lost their immunity after just seven and a half years. As more time passes, more lose their immunity.” Therefore, herd immunity for measles is simply impossible to achieve with this vaccine.

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Assumption #3: The MMR Vaccine, in de Blasio’s words, is ‘safe, effective, and life-saving.’ The claim that the MMR vaccine is ‘life-saving’ does not stand up to simple statistics, as we detail in our article ‘Statistics Show The MMR Vaccine Kills More People Than The Measles Does.’ Whether it is effective, we have already seen that it is incapable of creating herd immunity, wanes over time, does not work at all for some people, and in some of the latest outbreaks the majority of people infected were fully vaccinated. Is it safe? This is the important question we cover in the next section.

The Studies That Stand Behind The Approval Of the MMR Vaccine

The pharmaceutical industry, as well as governmental regulatory bodies like the CDC and the FDA, assure the public that they take the safety of vaccines seriously, and that there is irrefutable science behind the notion that vaccines are safe in terms of the studies that their approval is based on.

However, a Freedom of Information Act request by Del Bigtree has revealed absolutely startling information about the studies that supported the approval of the MMR vaccines that have been injected into our children. To begin with, only 8 studies were conducted and the total combined number of children participating in the studies was only a little over 800! Furthermore, the studies only recorded symptoms for the first 6 weeks after the vaccines were given, unlike many other drug studies that follow symptoms for 5 years or more. And finally, the study revealed serious side-effects in those receiving the vaccine, including a highly significant number of participants who suffered upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, which has been linked to autism.

In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe, Arjun and I discussed New York’s mandatory vaccination order as well as Del Bigtree’s analysis of the MMR studies he received and the reason that Big Pharma not only does not want to do proper, large-scale studies on the safety of vaccines, but they also want to try to prevent other researchers like Dr. Christopher Exley from doing so as well.

You can watch the full episode of The Collective Evolution Show where we talk about this subject in more detail here.

You can go here to see the full episode of ‘The Highwire’ where Del Bigtree breaks down the MMR studies in question.

The Takeaway

The veils of illusion that have been masking the truth are lifting as our consciousness awakens. Transparency is coming, though how long it takes will depend on our continued efforts to dig for and spread the truth far and wide.

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Alternative News

Merck’s Julie Gerberding Wins Industry ‘Woman Of The Year’ Award For Putting Profits Ahead Of Human Health

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Julie Gerberding, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association 'Woman of the Year,' is a prime example of someone who has gone through the revolving door between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they are supposed to be regulating.

  • Reflect On:

    It is becoming clear that our authorities in government and business alike are making decisions purely for their own interests, in utter disregard for human safety and well-being. How does this realization play a role in our awakening?

If you are not already clear about how the Corporatocracy that we live in is able to consistently serve their own power and wealth interests at the expense of our heath, well-being and prosperity, then the case of Julie Gerberding should provide some excellent insight. Her career path makes her the poster child for people who want to succeed in the world by embracing the corrupt, deceitful system that is currently in place.

Here is the blueprint: first, become an expert in a very specific area through a good old fashioned Western education. Use the talent and intelligence you have been blessed with to move up the ranks in your chosen industry to gain a position of power within the highest government agency in your field. Work in close collaboration with the corporations you are supposed to be the watchdogs for, and display a particular talent to get away with murder, not only deflecting obvious conflicts of interest and preventing them from materializing into lawsuits, but also demonstrating a highly developed ability–and willingness–to garner public trust around the safety and effectiveness of the products being pushed by the corporations you are colluding with.

Julie Gerberding

Julie Gerberding completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at UCSF, where she also served as Chief Medical Resident before completing her fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases. She earned an M.P.H. degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.

Before becoming CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator, Gerberding was Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She joined CDC in 1998 as Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, NCID, where she developed CDC’s patient safety initiatives and other programs to prevent infections, antimicrobial resistance, and medical errors in healthcare settings.

But it is perhaps her talent in knowing how to speak with quiet authority, and a persona that people felt they could trust, that not only helped her rise up in the ranks of the government’s regulatory bodies, but also made giants of the corporatocracy take notice and treat her as one of their own. Knowing how to appeal to people emotionally, with eloquence and persuasion, is something you cannot force, nor can you teach it. Some people just have that power. What they decide to do with it is another matter.

Less than a year after she resigned from her CDC post in in January 2009, she was hired as president of Merck’s vaccine division. Now we can look at the low-hanging fruit and remark that during her tenure at the CDC, Merck became the manufacturer of 14 of the 17 vaccines ‘recommended’ for children by the CDC, and 9 of the 10 vaccines ‘recommended’ for adults by the CDC. The conflict of interest here is beyond obvious, and one would be reasonable to assume that this appointment, which garnered over $5 million in stock options alone, amounted to payback for favors done to Merck while head of the CDC.

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But I believe Merck saw genuine value in the type of leadership Gerberding brought to the table: a cold and calculating devotion to the bottom line, covered over by a veneer of compassion-like-symptoms and a trustworthy tone of authority. In the pharmaceutical industry, these qualities are gold.

CNN Interview

During our bi-weekly broadcast on CETV, Joe Martino and I had a discussion about the ‘revolving door’ between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they serve. We look at statistics that would literally make your head spin about the hordes of people who have enjoyed the freedom to move from working on one side of the aisle to the other. Typically this pattern serves those willing to ‘play ball’ with corporate powers in their capacity as government regulators, to then be rewarded by the wealthy corporations with cushy jobs and board appointments.

In the case of Julie Gerberding, we dove deep into a CNN interview Gerberding did with Sanjay Gupta while she was at the CDC around the time that the Hannah Poling case was making headlines and getting widespread public attention. (Hannah Poling was the first child to receive money from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for her vaccine injury; in essence, the government conceded that vaccines caused Hannah Poling’s autism). Big Pharma seemed to be in need of a reassuring voice directed at the public to prevent a massive exodus of parents from the growing vaccine schedules being lined up for their children.

Joe and I talked about the various techniques Gerberding uses to deftly move the conversation from a very vague ‘admission’ of what the government had conceded to assurances that all caring parents should continue to have their children vaccinated.

By some accounts, Julie Gerberding had a significant impact at this time in preventing a complete loss in confidence in vaccine safety, which would have been a major disaster for the pharmaceutical industry. Makes you wonder why she didn’t win the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association ‘Woman of the Year’ award sooner.

The Takeaway

As difficult as it is for some of us to accept, the belief that those in authority have humanity’s best interests at heart has long run its course. It is an important part of our collective evolution that we realize we cannot count on our elected officials, corporate leaders, bureaucrats or other authority figures to make decisions that are in our best interests, because by and large we are seeing that they are only making decisions in their own interests, for the expansion and consolidation of their power. As individuals we must seek to become sovereigns, and as sovereigns to link together and awaken to our collective power to consciously create the type of world we really want to live in.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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