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Study Outlines Why Antidepressant Drugs Could Be Completely Useless & Harmful

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Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory. But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect. Some antidepressants increase serotonin levels, some decrease it, and some have no effect at all on serotonin. Nevertheless, they all show the same therapeutic benefit. Even the small statistical difference between antidepressants and placebos may be an enhanced placebo effect, due to the fact that most patients and doctors in clinical trials successfully break blind. The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.

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Irving Kirsch offered the above information in a publication obtained from the US National Library of Medicine. He is the Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Universities of Hull and Plymouth in the United Kingdom, and a few others in the United States.  Needless to say, he’s done a lot of research, and his revelations above should be read by anybody taking, or considering taking, antidepressant drugs.

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The Effectiveness of Anti-Depressant Drugs Compared To Placebo

In a 2002 study conducted by Kirsch and his team of researchers, published in The American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment, it was discovered that 80 percent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. The difference between the response of the drugs and the response of the placebo was less than two points on average on a clinical scale that goes from fifty to sixty points. This is a very small difference, and is, according Kirsch, clinically meaningless:

I assumed that antidepressants were effective. As a psychotherapist, I sometimes referred my severely depressed clients for prescriptions of antidepressant drugs. Sometimes the condition of my clients improved when they began taking antidepressants; sometimes it did not. When it did, I assumed it was the effect of the drug that was making them better. Given my long standing interest in the placebo effect, I should have known better, but back then I did not.

Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.  (source)

The response from critics was harsh, who emphasized that antidepressants have been evaluated in many trials and their effectiveness well documented.

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“Unpublished Data That That Were Hidden By Drug Companies”

The idea that scientific literature has firmly established the benefits of antidepressants has lost all credibility, thanks in large part to Kirsch and his team. They used the Freedom of Information Act to request that the Food and Drug  Administration (FDA) send data that pharmaceutical companies had sent to it for the process of obtaining approval for multiple antidepressants, which accounted for the bulk of antidepressant prescriptions at the time.  As a result, the researchers were able to obtain data on both published and unpublished trials:

 This turned out to be very important. Almost half of the clinical trials sponsored by the drug companies have not been published (Melander, Ahlqvist-Rastad, Meijer, & Beermann, 2003Turner, Matthews, Linardatos, Tell, & Rosenthal, 2008). The results of the unpublished trials were known only to the drug companies and the FDA, and most of them failed to find a significant benefit of drug over placebo. . . .  [T]he data in the FDA files were the basis upon which the medications were approved. In that sense they have a privileged status. If there is anything wrong with those trials, the medications should not have been approved in the first place. (source)

All in all, the data sent to the researchers by the FDA showed that only 43% of the trials showed a statistically significant  benefit of drug over placebo. The remaining 57% were failed or negative trials.

Many other studies have also demonstrated just how ineffective antidepressants are, as well as how often that fact is obscured by pharmaceutical companies. What’s worse, studies have since determined that anti-depressants can cause real harm to those who take them, and this information is often withheld, too. For example, a study published in The British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen revealed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported. These are the reports sent to major health authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Tamang Sharma, a PhD student at Cochrane and Lead Author of the study, noted that they “found that a lot of the appendices were often only available upon request to the authorities, and the authorities had never requested them,” revealing that she was “actually kind of scared about how bad the actual situation would be if [they] had the complete data.”

Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist and researcher at University College London, elaborates:

[This study] confirms that the full degree of harm of antidepressants is not reported. They are not reported in the published literature, we know that – and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and from the basis of decisions about licensing.

This is precisely why, as I have mentioned many times in previous articles, Dr. Richard Horton, the current Editor-In-Chief of one of the most reputable peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, boldly described most published scientific literature as untrue. (source)

Marcia Angell, a physician who spent two decades as the Editor-In-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, puts it equally as bluntly:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much o the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (source)

Unfortunately, it’s not just antidepressants. A few years ago, Lucia Tomljenovic, a PhD in biochemistry and a senior postdoctoral fellow in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, uncovered documents that reveal vaccine manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and health authorities have known about multiple dangers associated with vaccines but chose to withhold them from the public. The documents were obtained from the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), who advise the Secretaries of State for Health in the UK about diseases preventable through immunizations. The JCVI made “continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates.” (source)

Now, vaccines are a completely different topic, but the point to be made here is that pharmaceutical companies withhold critical data from physicians, researchers, and the general public. They are motivated by profit, and when pitted against consumer safety, profit always wins.

“The Serotonin Theory is as Close as Any Theory in the History of Science to Having Been Proved Wrong.”

I have written about this many times before, and it’s only fitting that I do so now as well. Is the chemical imbalance theory of depression really true, or is it just a tool used to push more drugs onto the market? After all, antidepressant drugs are the most commonly prescribed drugs in North America. Pharmaceutical companies are bringing in billions of dollars every single year from the sale of antidepressant drugs alone, and they also spend billions of dollars marketing and advertising their products.

Joseph Coyle, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, sums it up best, writing that “chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It’s much more complicated than that.” And it’s true; depression is much more complicated than that, at least compared to the commonly accepted belief that depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. This idea was posed in the late 1950s and has since taken hold in everyone’s minds. It’s the general idea that a deficiency of select neurotransmitters exists (chemical messengers) at critical points, like synapses. One of these neurotransmitters, for example, is serotonin; others include norepinephrine and dopamine.

As Scientific American reports, “much of the general public seems to have accepted the chemical imbalance hypothesis uncritically,” and that “it is very likely that depression stems from influences other than neurotransmitter abnormalities.” (source)

Harvard Medical School put out a press release a few years ago stating that it’s “often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is.”  (source)

Of course, there are brain events and biochemical reactions occurring when someone feels depressed, as there are all the time, but no research has ever established that a particular brain state causes, or even correlates with, depression. . . . In all cases studies yield inconsistent results, and none have been shown to be specific to depression, let alone causal. 

The fact that more than 50 years of intense research efforts have failed to identify depression in the brain may indicate that we simply lack the right technology, or it may suggest we have been barking up the wrong tree!

Dr. Joanna Moncrieff,  British Psychiatrist, Author (source)

The most commonly cited evidence to support the chemical imbalance theory is simply that some drugs have been shown to increase and decrease mood in human and animal models, and yes — many antidepressants increase the amounts of serotonin and other neurotransmitters at synapses, but what we fail to realize today is, just because mood can be artificially manipulated with drugs, does not mean the chemical imbalance theory is true. Just because these antidepressants do increase and decrease certain chemical levels in the brain does not prove the chemical imbalance theory of depression.

We simply can’t currently determine if a human being has a chemical imbalance (to whatever extent) or say what neurotransmitters are involved, which is why the chemical imbalance theory of depression remains a theory. It’s not like chemical levels in the brain can accurately be measured or ‘looked at,’ either.

Yet much of the general public still accepts the chemical imbalance theory. Indeed, a survey conducted in 2007 of 262 undergraduates at Cleveland State University found that more than 80 percent of the participants found it “likely” that chemical imbalances cause depression.

“At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models for natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioral changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness.” (source)

Keep in mind, as Harvard Medical School points out, there are probably many chemicals involved, working both inside and outside of our nerve cells: “There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.”

“The cause of mental disorders such as depression remains unknown. However, the idea that neurotransmitter imbalances cause depression is vigorously promoted by pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric profession at large.” (source)

Again, theories like the low serotonin one came into existence because scientists were able to observe the effects of drugs on the brain. It was a hypothesis that attempted to explain how drugs could be fixing something, yet whether or not depressed people actually had lower serotonin levels actually remains to be proven. You can read more about the science here.

“The serotonin theory is simply not a scientific statement. It’s a botched theory – a hypothesis that was proven incorrect.” – Dr. Joseph Mercola (source)

Not only is there no solid scientific proof to back up the chemical imbalance theory, many depressed people are not even helped by taking antidepressants like SSRIs. For example, a review done by the University of California in 2009 found that one third of people treated with antidepressants do not improve, and a significant portion of these people remain depressed. As Scientific American observes, “if antidepressants correct a chemical imbalance that underlies depression, all or most depressed people should get better after taking them.”

Depression has one focus, brain chemistry, even though it is a multifaceted issue involving many concerns and many chemicals. Focusing on this one chemical imbalance theory, and then dishing out drugs that actually alter brain chemistry, is shortsighted and dangerous.

“In spite of the enormous amount of money and time that has been spent on the quest to confirm the chemical imbalance theory, direct proof has never materialized.”  (source)

The irony of this situation is hopefully not lost on everyone. The only imbalances we know for sure to exist in the brains of ‘mentally ill’ people are the ones inflicted on them by psychiatric drugs. We are making a false claim that they have biochemical imbalances and then actually giving them biochemical imbalances based on that claim.

For some natural ways to combat depression. You can read THIS article. 

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Awareness

“Wearing A Mask…Offers Little, If Any, Protection From Infection” – Harvard Doctors

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in the New England Medical Journal outlines how it's already known that masks provide little to zero benefit when it comes to protection a public setting.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we have the freedom to wear masks? Why are so many things we are doing right now contrary to data and evidence? Are these measures helping us thrive, or are they totalitarian type measures?

What Happened: Is this fake news? No, it’s a quote directly from a paper published a couple of months ago in the New England Journal of Medicine by, Michael Klompas, M.D., M.P.H., Charles A. Morris, M.D., M.P.H., Julia Sinclair, M.B.A., Madelyn Pearson, D.N.P., R.N., and Erica S. Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D. Whether or not it’s may be up for debate, but one thing is for sure, the conversation shouldn’t be censored. According to the paper:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

The calculus may be different, however, in health care settings. First and foremost, a mask is a core component of the personal protective equipment (PPE) clinicians need when caring for symptomatic patients with respiratory viral infections, in conjunction with gown, gloves, and eye protection. Masking in this context is already part of routine operations for most hospitals. What is less clear is whether a mask offers any further protection in health care settings in which the wearer has no direct interactions with symptomatic patients.

The study goes on to examine whether a mask alone is even an effective health-care measure, and discusses its capability alone devoid of other, what seem to be more important practices, like washing your hands. The point is, outside of a healthcare setting, where their usefulness is still questionable, they provide no clear protection from Covid-19, so why are they being mandated like they are? Instead of a mandate, should the citizenry simply be encouraged to wear masks, with the government explaining the science and still giving people a choice?  Why are they saying it’s to protect other people when there is no evidence that it actually does that?

What’s interesting about this particular study is that it’s one of multiple that mention how masks are more of a symbolic representation. As mentioned above, the paper states that “in many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.” Again, the study is an examination of the validity of masks in a health care setting (which is also questionable) with regards to the new coronavirus, and clearly states that it’s already known that they offer almost zero protection in a public setting.

It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19.

The study provides other justifications for masks, but the prevention of Covid-19 is not one of them.

Below is a quote from a very interesting paper published in 2016, titled “The Surgical Mask Is A Bad Fit For Risk Reduction.”

As represented by our cinema and other media, Western society expects too much of masks. In the public’s mind, the still-legitimate use of masks for source control has gone off-label; masks are thought to prevent infection. From here, another problem arises: because surgical masks are thought to protect against infection in the community setting, people wearing masks for legitimate purposes (those who have a cough in a hospital, say) form part of the larger misperception and act to reinforce it. Even this proper use of surgical masks is incorporated into a larger improper use in the era of pandemic fear, especially in Asia, where such fear is high. The widespread misconception about the use of surgical masks — that wearing a mask protects against the transmission of virus — is a problem of the kind theorized by German sociologist Ulrich Beck.

The birth of the mask came from the realization that surgical wounds need protection from the droplets released in the breath of surgeons. The technology was applied outside the operating room in an effort to control the spread of infectious epidemics. In the 1919 influenza pandemic, masks were available and were dispensed to populations, but they had no impact on the epidemic curve. At the time, it was unknown that the influenza organism is nanoscopic and can theoretically penetrate the surgical mask barrier. As recently as 2010, the US National Academy of Sciences declared that, in the community setting, “face masks are not designed or certified to protect the wearer from exposure to respiratory hazards.” A number of studies have shown the inefficacy of the surgical mask in household settings to prevent transmission of the influenza virus…

A study published in 2015 found that cloth masks can increase healthcare workers risk of infection. It also called into question the efficacy of medical masks. You can read more about that and access it here.

The physiological effects of breathing elevated inhaled CO2 may include changes in visual performance, modified exercise endurance, headaches and dyspnea. The psychological effects include decreased reasoning and alertness, increased irritability, severe dyspnea, headache, dizziness, perspiration, and short-term memory loss. (source)

There are studies out there that also suggest that wearing masks can indeed help prevent Covid-19, especially in an acute care setting, it’s just that we are hearing so much of it that we forget to examine the science on the other side of the coin.

The list goes on, these are just a few examples.

Manufactured Panic?

The next important question to ask ourselves is, are health authorities making this pandemic out to be more serious than it actually is? Many scientists and epidemiologists from around the world have expressed this belief, and many of them, as a result, have been censored by social media platforms. Why is there an authoritarian “fact-checker” going around censoring information, evidence, and opinions being presented by some of the worlds leading scientists in this area simply because it opposes the narrative given to us by organizations like The World Health Organization? (WHO)

Are masks being used to prolong fear and hysteria?

John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University has said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old. Why are we taking such measures for a respiratory infection when tens of millions of people get infected and die from respiratory viruses every single year?

Why is there so much controversy surrounding the deaths? For example, in Toronto Canada, “Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.” (source)

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recently stated that, even if it’s clear one died of an alternative cause, their death will still be marked as a COVID death.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths amid complaints that it inflated numbers. This has been a common theme throughout the US as well as the World.

Vittorio Sgarbi, Italian politician Mayor of Sutri gave an emotional speech at a hearing on the 24th of April where he emphasized that the number of deaths in Italy due to COVID-19 are completely false and that the people are being lied to.

This isn’t even the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to manufactured deaths.

What’s really going on here? Is this actually about the pandemic, or was Edward Snowden right? That governments are using the new coronavirus to impose more authoritarian measures on the population, measures that will stick around long after the virus is gone? You can read more about his comments here.

Was Dr. Ron Paul correct when he said that this virus is less dangerous than it’s being made out to be? And that people will profit both politically and financially from this in the form of more of our basic rights being taken away? Is this simply being used like the justification for mass surveillance was used? To protect the population, or is it for, as NSA whistle-blower William Binney says, “total population control?” You can read more about his comments here.

The Takeaway

It’s quite clear that a large portion of the population doesn’t agree with various medical mandates, and wearing masks is one of those mandates. The reason is justified, and that’s simply because there is no evidence that they can protect the general public, and depending on the material, in some cases it can be harmful. I find it hard to believe that someone would have an issue with someone else not wanting to breathe in their own carbon monoxide, but I also understand that many peoples perception with regards to this pandemic has been severely manipulated.

On the flip side, due to so many instances where things don’t make sense, this pandemic is contributing to another large amount of people questioning what we are being told and being forced to do by our government, this is causing a deep awakening of the masses. Perhaps this is the larger reason it’s playing out from a collective consciousness perspective.

At the end of the day, more measures are continually pushed upon the population without their consent. We don’t have to continue to obey, continue to elect, and help maintain a system that is clearly not serving us to thrive.

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Awareness

The Physicians For Informed Consent Ask If The MMR Vaccine Is More Dangerous Than The Measles

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What Happened: The Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) are a group of doctors and scientists from around the world who have come together to support informed consent when it comes to mandatory vaccine measures. Their information is based on science. Their mission is to deliver data on infectious diseases and vaccines, and to unite doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and families who support voluntary vaccinations. Their vision is that doctors and the public are able to evaluate the data on infectious diseases and vaccines objectively and voluntarily engage in informed decision-making about vaccination. 

You can check out their directors, advisors, and founding members here.

The organization itself is much bigger than the founding members, and includes a coalition of organizations, doctors and scientists.

On their website, they’ve put out some excellent downloadable PDF’s with regards to the MMR vaccine. There are four of them that all present different points.

  1. MEASLES: What Parents Need To Know
  2. MMR VACCINE: Is It Safer Than Measles? 
  3. Waning Immunity & The MMR Vaccine 
  4. FAQ’s: The MMR Vaccine versus the Measles

One of them deals with “what parents need to know about the measles vaccine” and another one presents the information that has them questioning if the MMR vaccine is safer than the measles. They point out that the chances of dying from measles and make many comparisons to the vaccine.

According to a MedAlerts search of the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, as of 2/5/19, the cumulative raw count of adverse events from measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines alone was: 93,929 adverse events, 1,810 disabilities, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 463 deaths. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine-injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

The PDF’s are well-sourced and laid out in an easy to read and understand type of manner, and quite detailed. Their arguments are quite compelling, and it would be interesting to present this information to a physician on the opposite end of the spectrum in order to hear or read their rebuttal. So feel free to take a look at them if interested!

Why This Is Important: When it comes to both our individual and collective health, all of us simply want what’s best. Nobody can really deny that, especially for our children. The issue is, many people have been made to believe that vaccines are for the greater good of everybody. We are made to believe that children, for example, who are not vaccinated are actually a danger to the vaccinated children.

The Physicians for Informed Consent are well aware of this argument, and they present a lot of information on why that’s not true. At the end of the day, in order to produce “herd immunity” from vaccines, the vaccines must be 100 percent effective for everybody, all of the time. We already know that that’s not the case and that a large majority are susceptible to vaccine injury. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury act alone is enough to argue against mandatory vaccination and the idea that the unvaccinated are a risk to the vaccinated. In fact, vaccines have been known to spread diseases. This has happened with polio as well as the measles.

For example, during the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccinees. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences. The media (Pharma-owned) generated high public anxiety. This fear-mongering led to the demonization of unvaccinated children, who were perceived as the spreaders of this disease. Rebecca J. McNall, a co-author of the published report, is a CDC official in the Division of Viral Diseases who had the data proving that the measles outbreak was in part caused by the vaccine. It is evidence of the vaccine’s failure to provide immunity. (source)

There are actually decades of examples when it comes to the measles.

The Takeaway

Vaccinations are quite a controversial topic, and vaccine hesitancy continues to increase among not only the global citizenry, but among doctors and physicians as well, which was also expressed at the recent World Health Organization vaccine summit. You can read more about that here.

In today’s day and age, it’s important to ask ourselves if measures taken under the guise of goodwill are really necessary and good for us. Take terrorism, for example, the idea that those who fund the problem, arm the problem, and in some cases create the problem then propose the solution of foreign infiltration, again, under the guise of goodwill.

So what were the real intentions, to stop the terrorists or to take over the country for natural resources and economic power and control?

Are people capitalizing off of the coronavirus? Not just for profit but for control, like Edward Snowden mentioned?

It’s also important to note that pharmaceutical companies hold tremendous lobbying power, even more so than big oil. (source)

Ask yourself, should we not have the right to decide for ourselves what goes into our body? Especially when there is a tremendous amount of flawed logic with the idea of mass vaccinations? Should we not have access to appropriate double blind placebo controlled safety studies? How come there are none for vaccines?

Why are there massive ridicule campaigns against organizations, professionals and people who create awareness about vaccine safety? Is vaccine safety not in the best interests of everybody? Should we not be analyzing and questioning instead of simply believing?

We must ask ourselves if we want to continue to give our consciousness and perceptions about certain medications over to these global and federal health authorities or, is it time to start asking more questions and pointing out facts that don’t really resonate? Why is discussion being discouraged, censored and even punished?

Why is Julian Assange in Jail? Why do we jail those who expose crimes and identify with those who commit them?

At the end of the day, vaccines are not a one size fits all product, and that’s quite clear. There are risks associated with vaccines, and evidence suggests that they are nowhere near as rare as they’re made out to be.

If we can come together as billions and shut down for the coronavirus, imagine what we could do if we come together to oppose measures that we as a citizenry, and as an entire collective, do not desire.

 

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Alternative News

Soft Drink Companies Caught Using Big Tobacco’s Playbook To Lure Young Children

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Documents obtained by researchers clearly outline the unethical and immoral actions Tobacco companies used to 'hook' kids onto sugary drinks. They use the same tactics they did for smoking.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do and have our federal health regulatory agencies allow such products to be approved as safe for consumption when they are clearly linked to a variety of diseases, like cancer?

Many moves made by multiple big corporations are extremely unethical, immoral, and downright shocking. These corporations have completely compromised our federal health regulatory agencies, and it’s quite clear that they do not care about the health of the human race and will do anything when it comes to the success of the products they manufacture, including taking illegal and/or immoral actions.

One of the more recent examples comes from the tobacco industry. Companies within the industry used colors, flavors, and marketing techniques to lure and entice children as potential future smokers. They actually used and applied these same strategies to sweetened beverages starting as early as 1963, according to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

As the Sugar Scientists point out:

The study, which draws from a cache of previously secret documents from the tobacco industry that is part of the UCSF Industry Documents Library tracked the acquisition and subsequent marketing campaigns of sweetened drink brands by two leading tobacco companies: R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris. It found that as tobacco was facing increased scrutiny from health authorities, its executives transferred the same products and tactics to peddle soft drinks. The study was published in the March 2019 issue of BMJ.

“Executives in the two largest U.S.-based tobacco companies had developed colors and flavors as additives for cigarettes and used them to build major children’s beverage product lines, including Hawaiian Punch, Kool-Aid, Tang and Capri Sun,” said senior author Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, of the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Even after the tobacco companies sold these brands to food and beverage corporations, many of the product lines and marketing techniques designed to attract kids are still in use today.” (source)

The new papers, which are available in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, a subset of the UCSF Industry Documents Library, reveal the close and tight knit relationships between the big tobacco and big food industries. In fact, in the 60s and 70s, these companies conducted taste tests with mothers and their children to evaluate sweetness, colors and flavors for Hawaiian Punch product line extensions. The children’s preferences were prioritized.

Kool-Aid Joins Marlboro

Meanwhile, tobacco competitor Philip Morris had acquired Kool-Aid, via General Foods, in 1985. The company flipped its marketing audience from families to children, created its “Kool-Aid Man” mascot, and launched collaborations with branded toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. It also developed a children’s Kool-Aid loyalty program described as “our version of the Marlboro Country Store,” a cigarette incentives program. (source)

“The Wacky Wild Kool-Aid style campaign had tremendous reach and impact,” said first author Kim Nguyen, ScD, MPH, who is also with the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Lots of kids in the ’80s dreamed of getting swag from the Wacky Warehouse. What is really ‘wacky’ is that the Kool-Aid kid program was modeled after a tobacco marketing strategy designed to build allegiance with smokers.”

The tobacco giant also acquired Capri Sun and Tang, and used similar child-focused integrated marketing strategies to drive those sales.

“The industry claims that these tobacco-inspired marketing strategies are not actually targeting children and should be excluded from these industry-led agreements,” said Schmidt. “But the evidence cited in our research shows that these product lines and marketing techniques were specifically designed for and tested on children.” (source)

The UCSF Industry Documents Library was launched in 2002 as a digital portal for tobacco documents. Today, the library includes close to 15 million internal tobacco, drug, chemical and food industry documents used by scientists, policymakers, journalists and community members in their efforts to improve and protect the health of the public.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that government health authorities and the corporations we buy our food from, among other things, really don’t care about us. This has become extremely evident, as they are responsible for the sharp rise in numerous diseases. It’s not uncommon to see parents buy their children products similar to the ones listed above, and that’s due to mass brainwashing and the fact that we’ve been made to feel that these products are actually safe. This is why awareness is so critical.

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