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Nestlé’s Attempt To Completely Privatize (Steal) Water In Oregon Put To A Stop: “Our Water, Our Future”

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The average North American uses 100 gallons of water per day. It is practically impossible in today’s society to avoid using excessive amounts of water; behind each purchase you make there is a hidden cost, such as the 650 gallons of water required to produce a generic cotton t-shirt, or the 139 gallons to make a single 16-ounce cup of coffee (source). The production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil and 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and it takes three times the amount of water to make the bottle as it does to fill it (source). Bottled water sales continue to rise, despite the fact that production is terrible for the environment and North Americans can get the same quality of water for free from their taps (read more about this scam here). In 2014, Americans purchased $18.82 billion worth of bottled water and in 2015 sales increased by 7.9%. As we approach a global water crisis, which is inevitable as the population rises, more bottled water companies are upping their production. It seems that corporations are viewing this as an investment opportunity rather than a global issue. Then, as fresh water becomes scarcer or we hit ‘peak water,’ bottled water companies will be able to put a premium on water as demand rises.

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How Nestlé is monopolizing the bottled water industry

Nestlé has been increasing its acquisitions of water plants and upping its production of bottled water all over North America. The corporate giant extracts water from 50 springs throughout the United States. This has caused an increase in the amount of wild fires and droughts all over the nation. On top of this, Nestlé is doing so at an incredibly cheap cost. Nestlé extracts millions of litres of water per day from plants all over North America, some of which hit that daily target on their own. Not long ago, the former CEO of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck, stated rather clearly in an interview for a documentary called We Feed The World, that he believes water should not be a public right and that it should be something only the wealthy have access to. In 2007, Brabeck received a Black Planet Award, which is an award given to people who contribute to the destruction of the planet. Brabeck, through Nestlé, was accused of proliferating contaminated baby food, monopolizing water resources, and tolerating child labour. You can read more about that story in an article we wrote about it a few years ago, here.

How Oregon stopped Nestlé from practically stealing their water

Earlier this year, Nestlé planned to build another water bottling plant in Hood River County, 45 miles east of Portland, in hopes of extracting over 118 million gallons annually from Oxbow spring. Oregon is well-known for their progressive views, so many citizens inevitably protested against the $50 million project. Residents were concerned about water scarcity and how Nestlé’s operations would impact local farmers, fish, and Indigenous people. When citizens originally started opposing the project in 2015, the county was enduring extreme drought and water restrictions, which had a detrimental impact on the agricultural industry, the county’s main economic driver. Snowpack conditions in Oregon averaged less than 7% of normal levels that year, and state-wide average precipitation was less than 87% of normal conditions.

Because of the attention Nestlé was getting from locals, the company changed its tactics from requesting a gallon-for-gallon trade between the state and Cascade Locks city government, which would then sell the water to Nestlé, to pushing for the state to trade its legal right to some of the Oxbow water. Community members felt their questions were left unanswered and that they weren’t being heard by Nestlé or local and state leaders, so they resorted to calling a vote.

The opponents’ 14-55 campaign was entirely run by volunteers, whereas supporters of the project hired Rebecca Tweed, an infamous Portland political consultant and lobbyist, and received a generous donation of $105,000 from Nestlé. The company attempted to hide this contribution and was suspected of breaking Oregon’s campaign finance laws.

In the end, fancy flyers weren’t enough to sway the opposition. By the time they reached their mailbox, volunteers had already knocked on every door convincing voters not to support Nestlé’s proposed water bottling plant. In a small community with only approximately 12,300 registered voters, there were 8,235 ballots cast for 14-55, and 5,524 of those were against Nestlé. Not only did they stop Nestlé from privatizing their water, but they fuelled a movement to gain more awareness about the water crisis as news outlets from all over the world covered this small town’s story as well (source).

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Nestlé is pushing for water privatization

We’ve seen a similar situation pan out in British Columbia, whereby Nestlé was draining water at a cheap cost while a drought and wildfires ravaged the province. Nestlé recently proposed a 10-year extension to keep sucking the groundwater from Aberfoyle, Ontario for only $3.71 per million litres. In the last 4 years alone, Nestlé has depleted 33% of the water from the Aberfoyle well and the water level has dropped 1.5 metres. Now, Nestlé wants to renew its license to extract 3.6 million litres of water per day from this site alone. This is only one of the many examples of how Nestlé is gunning for water privatization all over North America. Nestlé has been sued multiple times for its acquisitions of private water reserves in Michigan, simply for the sheer volume of water it takes (read our article about it here). Corporations like this are allowed to take unethical actions without any resistance from government because corporations control and dictate government policy.

This story begs the question: is it morally incorrect for corporations to make a profit on water when it is a basic human need? I think everyone should have access to clean water, but I’ve learned that profitability often trumps humanity in the corporate world. However, the situation that took place in Oregon should be viewed as a valuable lesson: we, as human beings, can fuel positive change. Together, we can prevent the global water crisis from worsening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awareness

Bras Cause More than Breast Cancer: Preliminary Results of the International Bra-Free Study

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Written by Sydney Ross Singer, a pioneer of the field of Applied Medical Anthropology, author, & Director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease. Originally published at Greenmedinfo.com, it is shared here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it time to ditch the bra?

If you are a woman, then there is important information you need to know to keep healthy and avoid disease. This is information that you should be told by your doctor and other health professionals, but many of these professionals simply don’t have this information.

The issue pertains to the wearing of tight clothing. Studies, and common sense, tell us that wearing anything tight is bad for health. Tight clothing compresses our soft body tissues, impairing the function of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerves, and more. Research shows tight neckties, tight pants, girdles, corsets, bras, and other compression garments can cause serious harm.

The purpose of the International Bra-Free Study is to assess the changes a woman experiences once she stops using bras. The study began in 2018 and is still recruiting participants from around the world. Participants pledge to stop using bras and their progress is followed through open and closed-ended questions. The study is ongoing, but we have seen some amazing patterns in the experience of women who stop wearing bras. We believe it is extremely important to share these preliminary findings with the public at this time, hoping to warn as many women as possible about the effect of bra usage on health.

We started our study considering the effect of bras on breasts, and expected improvement in breast pain, cysts, and reduced cancer incidence in our group of bra-free women. What we discovered was that, in addition to the above, we also found that women recovered from many other bodily ailments that seemed completely unrelated to bra usage.

We are discovering the many ways tight bras harm health, including every part of the body. As you will see, bras cause more than breast disease.

Background

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Much of fashion is about altering the body to achieve a culturally-defined shape. When tight garments cause disease, the fashion industry opposes the research revealing the disease, and the medical industry gets caught in the middle. Medicine is a business that profits from the detection and treatment of disease, and makes money when people are sick, not well. This conflict of interest helps perpetuate harmful cultural practices, such as wearing tight clothing, since medicine, and the culture in general, are influenced more by industry and money than by health.

Bras have been shown in numerous studies to contribute to breast cancer incidence. While the link between breast cancer and bras has been recognized by doctors since bras became popular, in the early 20th Century, cultural acceptance1 of the bra and extensive promotion by the fashion and lingerie industries have eclipsed information that bras pose a significant threat to health.

When cultural influences from industry and social practices bias human behavior and cause disease, the resulting disease can be called “culturogenic”. Breast cancer is mostly a culturogenic disease, with a small (less than 10%) genetic component, and a large cultural-environmental component. These non-genetic causes of breast cancer include exposure to environmental carcinogens and x-rays(including mammograms), along with direct inhibition of the breast lymphatic system by tight bra usage.

How Bras Cause Breast Cancer

Impaired lymphatics is central to the etiology of breast cancer. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, and is responsible for the circulation of interstitial fluid. This fluid develops from the bloodstream, delivering nutrition and oxygen to the cells, along with toxins that are in the bloodstream as a result of contaminants in our air, water, and food. The lymphatic system consists of microscopic vessels with one-way valves that lead to lymph nodes. Lymph fluid passively passes into lymphatic vessels to be eliminated from the tissue, inspected by the lymph nodes, and returned to the bloodstream.

Waste products from cellular metabolism, along with toxins delivered to the cells from our petrochemically-polluted air, food, and water, are removed from the tissues by the lymphatic system. In addition, pathogens and cancer cells are also swept through the lymphatic, to the lymph nodes, where an immune response is elicited.

However, when the tiny, easily-compressed lymphatic vessels are constricted by tight bras, this fluid channel becomes restricted, causing a variety of problems. Most women who wear bras experience breast pain and cysts as a result of this lymphatic impairment. In addition, the resulting lymph-stasis and lymph congestion of the tissue results in reduced toxin elimination, causing the progressive toxification of the breasts. The local tissue environment becomes low in oxygen, reducing the body’s ability to process free radicals. The resulting accumulation of endogenous and exogenous toxins increases cancer risk significantly.

According to our 1991-93 US Bra and Breast Cancer Study, published in our book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, the bra-cancer link is the major cause of breast cancer. This study concluded that bra-free women have about the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn the higher the risk rises, to 125 times higher for a 24/7 bra user compared to a bra-free woman.

This was the world’s first study that looked directly at the bra-cancer link. A 1991 study from Harvard found pre-menopausal bra-free women had half the risk of breast cancer compared to bra users, but this finding was incidental to the main focus of the study, which was on breast size, handedness, and breast cancer incidence.

Since the release of Dressed to Kill in 1995, there have been dozens of other bra-cancer studies performed internationally that show a significant link. However, this issue is considered “controversial” due to its potential cultural and economic impact, similar to resistance to the tobacco-cancer link back in the mid-20th Century. Current opponents of the bra-cancer link include thought leaders such as the American Cancer Society2 and Susan G. Komen Foundation3, which have publicly called the link scientifically implausible.

Figures Don’t Lie, but Liars Figure

Critics of the bra-cancer link refer to a 2014 study that was commissioned by the National Cancer Institute, which has been denying any possibility of a bra-cancer link since the release of Dressed to Kill. Due to public acceptance of the link, NCI felt it necessary to counter the studies showing a link by funding a study to oppose the link. This study was done at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which raises money for breast cancer research through promoting “Bra Dash” events4. The study was done on post-menopausal women only, and none of the women were bra-free, so there was no control group. The author of the study, who is a female graduate student who also wore bras, unsurprisingly found no bra-cancer link in her selected group of bra users.

This single, un-reproduced, flawed study has been used by the ACS and Komen Foundation, and others who follow them, as final proof of no bra-cancer link. While conflicting studies are typical of scientific research, this one study has been considered the first and last word on this issue by the cancer “experts” who deny the bra-cancer link. This study clearly serves the interests of the cancer detection and treatment industry, as well as the lingerie industry which fears class action lawsuits for the harms caused by bras.

Nevertheless, since that attempt to stop interest in the bra-cancer link in 2014, there have been many newer studies that show the link. And a recent trend5 in breast cancer research is asking about bra usage as a standard question, just like asking about family history. In fact, a recent study from Iran shows bra usage is a bigger factor in causing breast cancer than family history.6

Culturally, bra usage has been questioned as a result of the #MeToo movement that has been challenging sexism and abuse in the workplace. Many women are now opting for being comfortable and bra-free at work, as well as in their everyday lives. Girls in high school are objecting to dress codes that require bras. And the general legal consensus is that women at work cannot be forced to wear sexualizing clothing, including high heels, short skirts, and bras.7 These trends are making it easier for the culture to accept the fact that bras are causing disease.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to this potentially lifesaving information is the resistance from the medical field, such as the ACS and others who follow their lead. We discuss in the 2018, updated, second edition of Dressed to Kill why we believe there is this resistance to this information, instead of a call for further research. Regardless of the reason, this unscientific, biased opposition to the bra-cancer link is a public health threat.

It is to combat this threat to health that we began the International Bra-Free Study in 2018. This study, which is free to join, is designed to create a cohort of bra-free women in order to see what happens to their breast health over time. While the study accepts women who have been bra-free for years, most of our participants have been bra users, allowing us to see what changes happen to their breasts and overall health once they stop using bras.

While this study is expected to help women avoid breast cancer and other breast disease associated with bra usage, the women in our study could also be available for other breast studies which require bra-free women. One big flaw in breast cancer and other breast disease research is that bra usage has been ignored as a factor. This is as scientifically flawed as ignoring smoking when doing lung disease research, which was the case prior to the acceptance of the tobacco-cancer link.

The 2014 Hutchinson study did not include any bra-free women as a control group, which that study admits is a flaw. They rationalize that flaw by saying that it was nearly impossible to find bra-free women for their study. Of course, you cannot do a valid breast cancer study looking at the bra-cancer link without including a control group of bra-free women for comparison. So instead of conducting poor breast cancer research without control groups, we hope to offer our study participants for possible inclusion in their future studies.

The response from the medical industry was swift after we announced our International Bra-Free Study. The American Council on Science and Health, a public relations firm that aims to dismiss and discredit all those who challenge the interests of the drug industry, published a hit piece against me and the study. Ironically, they claimed8 the study is flawed by not including a control group of bra users.

Nevertheless, despite the resistance by the medical industry over the years, many women have heard about the bra-cancer link and have stopped wearing bras. Many have joined the International Bra-Free Study. We expect that this group of women will have a lower incidence of breast cancer than the general public, which is our control group.

However, we have discovered something unexpected in the study. There have been some definite health changes following the elimination of bra usage, and while the study is ongoing, we felt it important to report these surprising findings.

Bras Constrict More Than the Lymphatics

First, we must explain that tight bras compress more than just the lymphatics. They also compress nerves and muscles. In fact, research has shown that wearing tight bras impairs the autonomic nervous system, leading to a host of problems.

For example, researchers have found that tight bras essentially create a full-body stress response. According to one study9, “The main results can be summarized as follows: (1) urinary excretion of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol was facilitated, and the amounts of urinary excretion were significantly higher when TC (tight clothing) were worn. Heart rate was significantly higher in the TC group; (2) nocturnal urinary melatonin excretion was significantly greater in the TC group. These results are discussed in terms of an enhancement of diurnal sympathetic nervous system activity caused by pressure on the skin produced by tight clothing.”

Another study of tight bras found that constipation is a result10, presumably due to suppression of the parasympathetic nervous system and intestinal mobility.

Another study11 found that women who were bra-free had shorter menstrual cycles, averaging 30 days, compared to bra users, whose menstrual cycle averaged 45 days.

A study also found that tight clothing hampers breathing12, reducing lung expansion, inhalation volume, and deep breathing.

Research has also shown that breasts lift and tone once the bra is no longer worn.13 The study author concluded, “Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.” While this scientific finding stands in contrast to bra-industry propaganda claiming that bras prevent droop, the science behind the bra-causes-droop effect is that reliance on the bra results in weakened suspensory ligaments and more droop. Once the bra is no longer worn, the ligaments strengthen and the breasts lift and tone. In addition. bras make the breasts heavy with excess fluid due to lymphatic impairment, resulting in more pendulous breasts.

Surprising Results of the International Bra-Free Study

I must admit that before we started the International Bra-Free Study in 2018, we thought we already knew what to expect when women stopped wearing bras. Since we first announced the results of our research in 1995, women have stopped wearing bras and have reported to us that their breast pain and cysts disappeared. In fact, this surprising recovery was rapid, within a month of no longer wearing bras. Many times, women felt a big improvement in pain and cysts within days of ending the bra-caused constriction of their breasts. Indeed, this tangible self-demonstration of the harm caused by bras has kept this issue alive despite denials of any ill effects from bras by the cancer industry.

But we had no idea how many other problems would improve by not wearing bras, until we started the International Bra-Free Study. While the study is ongoing, we feel that it is imperative that women learn how bras can interfere with their health, to take proper precautionary measures.

From the hundreds of women who are part of this study, with more joining daily, it has become clear that bras cause more than breast disease.

Everyone has reported reduction of breast pain and cysts, if they had them before starting the study. In no case has breast pain or cysts worsened.

Most report that their breasts are less saggy, and are rounder. Some report that their nipples now have more feeling than when they wore bras.

Every woman reports that she breathes easier without a bra.

Most women report that their digestion has improved.

Women who had shoulder pain with a bra report loss of that pain once being bra-free.

Many women report loss of headaches since being bra-free.

Most women report having more confidence in public without a bra, and a greater sense of confidence and empowerment.

Women in the study report they have no problem being bra-free at work, and appreciate the comfort.

Most women report that they like their breasts more since being bra-free.

Most report friends and family supporting their decision to be bra-free.

Surprisingly, being bra-free does not seem to alter these women’s sex lives.

Some women reported that their menstrual cycles became shorter and normalized after being bra-free.

Importantly, not one participant has experienced any negative effects of being bra-free.

We also found that once women freed themselves from bras, they began to free themselves from other oppressive aspects of their lives. As one participant explained, “I am more confident, I like my breasts now, and I want to advocate for girls and women to understand the link between bras and cancer and how easy, rewarding and healthful it can be to feel this comfortable. I am more empowered now, too.”

To Be Continued…

It should be clear that when you use a garment that compresses and constricts the lymphatic system and the autonomic nervous system, you are potentially altering the physiology of the breasts and of the entire body. Breast cancer may be the end disease for the breasts, but there will also be other disease conditions caused by tight bras, and other tight clothing, that can lead to nervous, hormonal, and circulatory problems.

When we first researched the bra-cancer link, we were surprised at how little research there was on the subject. Many people assume there can’t be a bra-cancer link, or they would have heard about it. People assume that the American Cancer Society would be warning women about bras if there was research that linked bra usage to cancer, just like the ACS finally got to warning people about smoking (after taking decades to finally accept the link.) But we are not just dealing with smoking. When we talk about bras, we are talking about breasts. And in our breast-obsessed culture, breasts are sexualized, objectified, molded, squeezed, sucked, compressed, constricted, pushed-up, tattooed, pierced, implanted, cut off, and framed in a lacy bra. It’s a cultural package that interferes with science and common sense. And even as doctors smoked cigarettes in the 1950s and promoted their use, doctors today wear bras and promote their use, oblivious to the obvious.

We are all victims of a bra-using culture. As a result, there is an epidemic of breast pain and cysts than affects more than half of women who use bras. Most of this is caused by the bra and improves rapidly once bra usage ends.

Some women will develop breast cancer as a result of a bra-constricted lymphatic system and exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, which consequently become concentrated in their breasts.

Radiation damage and other harmful impacts, such as trauma, to the breasts cannot be as effectively repaired when the lymphatics are constricted by bras. And the immune system cannot as effectively fight developing cancer cells without good lymphatic circulation.

Through the International Bra-Free Study, we have also seen confirmation of other research into the effects of tight clothing, including bras, on various bodily functions, due to impacts on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This means that women are suffering from constipation, shallow breathing, increased stress, menstrual abnormalities, and other possible problems because of their bras.

How tight is tight? If it leaves a mark in the skin, then it is too tight.

While the impact of bras on the autonomic nervous system has been known for decades, it has been largely ignored, along with research showing the other health hazards of bras. When a carcinogen is part of the fabric of the culture, it takes ripping the culture apart to remove it.

Denial is a much easier and profitable strategy for the industries that sell bras, and sell disease detection and treatment services.

We encourage women everywhere to join the International Bra-Free Study and see for themselves, on themselves, how chronic health problems that plagued them for years could be related to the cultural practice of wearing tight bras and other tight clothing. You have nothing to lose but your discomfort and chronic health problems, and this almost certainly will help you prevent breast cancer.

Join the International Bra-Free Study at https://brafreestudy.com.

SOME STUDIES THAT SUPPORT THE BRA-CANCER LINK14

• 1991 Harvard study (CC Hsieh, D Trichopoulos (1991). Breast size, handedness and breast cancer risk. European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology 27(2):131-135.). This study found that, “Premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users…”

• 1991-93 U.S. Bra and Breast Cancer Study by Singer and Grismaijer, published in Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras (Second Edition, Square One Publishers, 2018). Found that bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men. 24/7 bra wearing increases incidence over 100 times that of a brafree woman.

• Singer and Grismaijer did a follow-up study in Fiji, published in Get It Off! (ISCD Press, 2000). Found 24 case histories of breast cancer in a culture where half the women are bra-free. The women getting breast cancer were all wearing bras. Given women with the same genetics and diet and living in the same village, the ones getting breast disease were the ones wearing bras for work.

• A 2009 Chinese study (Zhang AQ, Xia JH, Wang Q, Li WP, Xu J, Chen ZY, Yang JM (2009). [Risk factors of breast cancer in women in Guangdong and the countermeasures]. In Chinese. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Jul;29(7):1451-3.) found that NOT sleeping in a bra was protective against breast cancer, lowering the risk 60%.

• 2011 a study was published, in Spanish, confirming that bras are causing breast disease and cancer. It found that underwired and push-up bras are the most harmful, but any bra that leaves red marks or indentations may cause disease.

• 2015 Comparative study of breast cancer risk factors at Kenyatta National Hospital and the Nairobi Hospital J. Afr. Cancer (2015) 7:41-46. This study found a significant bracancer link in pre-and post-menopausal women.

• 2016 Wearing a Tight Bra for Many Hours a Day is Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer Adv Oncol Res Treat 1: 105. This is the first epidemiological study to look at bra tightness and time worn, and found a significant bra-cancer link.

• 2016 Brassiere wearing and breast cancer risk: A systematic review and metaanalysis World J Meta-Anal. Aug 26, 2015; 3(4): 193-205 This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the association between 8 areas of brassiere-wearing practices and the risk of breast cancer. Twelve case-control studies met inclusion criteria for review. The meta-analysis shows statistically significant findings to support the association between brassiere wearing during sleep and breast cancer risk.

• 2018 Lymph stasis promotes tumor growth Journal of Dermatological Science “(t)hese findings come as no surprise to us who for a long time have been aware that alterations in regional lymphatic flow may produce dysregulation in skin immune function and consequent oncogenesis. In fact, since 2002, our team has held the view that lymphedematous areas are immunologically vulnerable sites for the development of neoplasms as well as infections and immune-mediated diseases. In recent years, increasing evidence has confirmed this assumption.”


References

1 For example, Dr. John Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, wrote in the article “Susceptibility to Cancer” in the 1931 Annals of Surgery, that “Cancer of the breast occurs largely among civilized women. In those countries where breasts are allowed to be exposed, that is, are not compressed or irritated by clothing, it is rare.” A bra patent in 1950 stated, “Even in the proper breast size, most brassieres envelop or bind the breast in such a fashion that normal circulation and freedom of movement is constricted. Many cases of breast cancer have been attributed to such breast constriction as caused by improperly fitted brassieres.” (Taken from the 2018 edition of Dressed to Kill.)

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/disproven-or-controversialbreast-cancer-risk-factors.html

https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FactorsThatDoNotIncreaseRisk.html

https://www.maplevalleyreporter.com/news/search-for-answers-at-heart-of-bra-dash-5k/

https://www.academia.edu/36287546/HOW_BRAS_CAUSE_LYMPH_STASIS_AND_BREAST_CANCER

https://www.academia.edu/38566926/Should_Bra_Usage_Become_a_Standard_Question_in_Breast_Cancer_Research_New_Study_From_Iran_Says_Yes

https://www.academia.edu/38702156/Bra-Free_at_Work_Ending_Sexist_and_Illegal_Dress_Codes

https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/03/29/bra-free-activist-seeks-free-boobing-women-shambreast-cancer-study-12776

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00484-002-0145-z

10 https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11037693

11 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1076/brhm.33.3.279.8255

12 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Erik_Peper/publication/ 21224253_The_effect_of_clothing_on_inhalation_volume/links/ 53d2e4650cf228d363e96c78.pdf

13 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259073.php

14 https://brasandbreastcancer.org/supportive-references


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Health

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 5: The Sculptor)

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Illustration by Adan Ye

The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

5. The Sculptor

In the middle of the night a thunderstorm came over the island of Allandon, and a lightning bolt struck down the exquisite statue that stood in the very center of the village square. A crowd of villagers gathered around in the morning, and sent word to the sculptor that his defining work had been destroyed.

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When the sculptor arrived he fell upon the pile of rubble and cried out, “Oh the suffering! The anguish! My legacy has been ruined!”

Many of those gathered around tried to console him. Meanwhile, an old woman whose job it was to keep the village square clean started picking up the rubble and tossing the pieces unceremoniously into her cart.

“Old woman,” said the sculptor, “have you no reverence? This was my work of art!”

“Then why are you here?” asked the old woman. “You should be off making a new statue.”

The crowd began to laugh. Fearing that he was losing their sympathy, the sculptor said, “Pay her no heed, she is a simple woman. She knows nothing of the suffering of an artist.”

“The suffering of an artist? Or a man who fancies himself special?” she asked the crowd. “After all, are we not all artists?”

A few nodded in agreement.

“And do artists not know that in our impermanent world everything that is created is ultimately destroyed?” she added.

“Yes,” said one.

“Perhaps he has forgotten,” said another.

“Then for this reminder he should be grateful,” the old woman said as she turned to the sculptor. “Now off with you to do your work. We can only hope that you won’t identify yourself so much with the next piece you create.”

Who we think we are really dictates how we experience life. When we look through the lens of the Ego Self, we appear to ourselves as small, separate, and vulnerable beings in a vast and daunting world. Our Ego Self encourages us to ‘keep it together’ by building a fixed and stable identity, one that we can rely on and feel secure with. Of course the Ego Self has its own agenda: the more solid and permanent our identity is, the more it ensures its own survival.

As the Ego Self is focused on the physical world of sense perception, we are soon directed to see ourselves as walking, talking bodies apart from one another. We know it has been this way ever since our first breath of life when we were physically separated from our mother. “This is me,” we might say, tapping ourselves solidly on the chest. And it does seems natural to see ourselves primarily as physical bodies that can somehow think.

Next we may look at our gender or race as important attributes, or extend our identity to involve our family history, our social class, our culture, our language, or our religion. We could also look at some of the many roles we take on: we could identify with the fact that we are a parent or a child, a boss or a subordinate, a small business owner or a doctor or a writer.

Then of course there is what we call our personality, which for many of us is the central core of who we think we are—our values, habits, tendencies, our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes. With simple statements like “I’m not good with instructions,” “I value honesty above all else,” or “I don’t like roller coasters and I never will,” we constantly reinforce who we think we are. And for aspects of our personality that are hidden from us, there are a growing number of psychological processes and personality type indicators that can help us to define ourselves more precisely and thereby get to know ourselves better.

Now I am all in favor of us getting to know ourselves better. In fact I would go so far as to say that gaining self-awareness is what we are really here on the planet to do. The more we come to know who we are, the more we are able to bring our unique perspective and creative vision to the world. However! There is a treacherous trap that each and every one of us has to be very careful about when it comes to the business of who we are. That trap is the tendency to identify exclusively with our identity as unique individuals, and believe there is nothing more to us. This is what happens when our Ego Self is given full reign. We end up working to reinforce and validate the identity we have created. Our sense of self-worth becomes dependant on maintaining our identity, making us resistant to the changes that life will inevitably throw at us.

For example, if our identity is founded in our body, it is likely that we will struggle with growing old, and will do anything to try to preserve a youthful look. We will naturally fear our physical death, because it means our total extinction. The only way we can escape the niggling dread of mortality is to avoid thinking about death altogether and act as though we will live in the world forever.

The problem with trying to maintain a stable identity vested in our body is obvious: our body changes over time. And I don’t just mean that it doesn’t last. I mean that we are literally a different physical being in every moment. With every breath, we take in ten billion trillion new atoms that become part of our body and breathe out ten billion trillion atoms that are removed from every organ, tissue and bone that we have. Over the course of a year almost every atom that was once our physical makeup has been released into the universe. In reality our body is one of the least permanent things about us.

Now if we identify too strongly with one of the roles we have taken on in life, we restrict much of what is possible in our lives. We move more in the direction of what we think we are supposed to do, what is expected of us, while ignoring an inner voice that may be trying to bring us in a different direction. We neglect to notice that these roles do not even touch our inner being. If we are what we do, for example, that would mean that when we don’t, we aren’t!

And no matter how enduring we think our personalities are, it might serve us to be open to the idea that they too can change over time. Otherwise we may get trapped into limiting our freedom to act. “That’s just the way I am,” we might say, diminishing our responsibility and the possibilities for our lives in the process. We can get so protective of our identity that we will unconsciously struggle to conform to it rather than flowing with our lives as they are unfolding.

For example, let’s say I consider myself a reliable person—which I do. You could say that it’s part of the way I define myself. I keep my word, I’m on time for my appointments, if I say I will be there then I will be there. A few years ago I was running a bit late on my way to an appointment with a client. As I got on the highway I  figured I would simply need to speed down the fast lane the whole way to get there on time. When I saw the traffic on the highway was a little heavy, I could already feel some frustration building. As the traffic got heavier I began to grip the wheel tighter, cutting in front of people here and there trying to inch my way forward a bit faster. Why this traffic now? I asked myself. Eventually it became obvious that I was not going to get to the meeting on time. Not even close.

I chastised myself for not having left home earlier. I started thinking up excuses to explain to my client how I could possibly be late—me, a person who prides himself on always being on time. My mind was going back and forth from excuses to regret, denial to rationalizing, all while weaving in and out of traffic recklessly, silently cursing the cars that stood in my way. Finally I had to give up, and could not prevent a certain repulsive thought from surfacing, one that I had pushed down several times before: maybe I was not such a reliable person. Maybe I was not always on time. I had to admit that this was not the first time this had happened.

Over the next few moments, to my surprise, I suddenly felt a huge shift in the way I was feeling, like a pressure-filled balloon that was losing air. With only a change of perspective, peace came over me. The traffic jam was no longer a problem. I was able to be with the traffic jam. I saw that it was just a collection of cars on a road moving slowly. It was neither good nor bad. I even admitted to myself that the traffic was not unusual for that time of day—it was just my excuse. The traffic clearly wasn’t the real cause of my suffering. And neither was my client—I knew she would be OK with me being late. All my suffering came from clinging so tightly to how I had defined myself. My repulsive thought turned out to be an epiphany. How I was to experience the car ride on the way to meet my client was all up to me. I didn’t owe it to anyone to feel guilty. I didn’t have to suffer through it. And so I didn’t—I actually enjoyed the ride.

When we see that our whole life is like one big car ride, we realize that we can make the choice to let go of whatever we’re hanging on to any time there’s traffic. We will always get to where we’re going, so it really makes no sense to struggle with ourselves along the way.

You’d think this would become more obvious to us as we get older. Yet despite mounting evidence that our identity is like a soft lump of clay that can always be shaped and molded by our ongoing experiences, we tend to increasingly see our identity as a statue, hardened in time and space. Perhaps it is because our bodies become ever more rigid and inflexible that we feel compelled to follow suit. Or maybe we become weary and tired of not knowing and feel we deserve the security of having a clear compass to tell us which way to act. The problem is that when we do this, we become less capable of dealing with situations that challenge the fixed position we have taken up. We lose our sense of adventure and our ability to be spontaneous. Things will annoy us more, we will judge our world to be wrong, and real peace of mind will elude us at every twist and turn.

Fortunately, we have in our world a cure for what ails us. It is each other. It can be a rather simple affair to rise out of the throes of rigidity when another person is given the authorization to step in and challenge us. In The Art of Possibilities, Ben Zander shares the following parable:

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again, the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so g—damn seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

When we are taking ourselves too seriously, there is usually a defiant arrogance within us that we are probably not aware of. It tries to protect our identity from the threat of a change of perspective, when all along the change of perspective is what we need the most. Taking ourselves too seriously is the surest way to a life of suffering. Our smallest problems are magnified into tragedies of epic proportions as the gateway to a life of fun gets shut and padlocked. This is why my greatest ambition is to take myself, and my life, less seriously. I know that when I get filled with self-importance, I isolate myself from the people and things that are around me. And what’s worse, I usually can’t see that I’m doing it.

But while it is difficult for me to see what I’m doing in those moments, it is not at all difficult for others to spot it. In the space of  trust that is created in the new conversation, it becomes possible for us to remind each other of how we’re being, just like the prime minister does with such eloquent brevity. The friends of mine who engage with me in conversation have been put on alert to bring it to my attention when they see me taking who I think I am too seriously.

Now true, to a certain extent we need to carry a rough working definition of ourselves as individuals in order to function in the world. However, we are always at choice as to how much importance we give to this identity. We have to be careful that it doesn’t rule our lives. Otherwise we might spend our every breath and ounce of energy proving that we are exactly as we’ve defined ourselves. The more we operate this way, the more we dry up the well of life’s very essence: exploration and discovery.

In life, the question ‘Who am I?’ endures because it never fully gets answered. All of life can be seen as a process of slowly becoming aware of who we are. We see glimpses now and then through our thoughts and actions, small pieces of an enormous puzzle. To think that we get to complete this puzzle during our lifetime is to misunderstand life. There will always be another dark and mysterious piece of ourselves for us to try to shed some light on.

I  believe that in the depths of our hearts none of us want a life that is stilted and predictable. I think we really want to keep our idea of who we are open, so that we can be spontaneous and move beyond any limitations we may have placed on ourselves. We want to experience peace in the middle of our traffic jams. We want to flow with change. Most of all, I think we want life to be fun. All this becomes possible when we start to look past our Ego Self and into the true depth of our being.

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Awareness

Is Doctors’ Cash Incentive Sidelining the Hippocratic Oath?

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California likes to brag about its “outsized influence” on the rest of the United States and its vaunted tendency to “experience the future earlier than other parts of the country.” However, having just passed the most draconian vaccine law in the nation—one that decimates the doctor-patient relationship and tells medically fragile children that they have no right to bodily integrity—it would appear that the state’s lawmakers and the medical trade groups that were only too happy to co-sponsor the legislation think it is trend-setting to model medical tyranny and the overthrow of the Nuremberg Code.

Within hours of the California Assembly’s 48-19 passage of SB 276, California Senators followed with their approval (28-11)—with all “ayes” in both chambers being Democrats—and the Democratic governor signed it along with last-minute companion bill SB 714. Illustrating the arrogant attitude prevailing among officialdom, the state health director (who recently resigned) casually dismissed the thousands who showed up to oppose the bill as “flat-earthers” and “booger-eaters.”

The editor of the independent news website California Globe called attention to the unseemly haste with which antidemocratic lawmakers “jammed through” legislation that essentially eliminates vaccine medical exemptions, quoting one dissenting Republican Senator as saying, “This Legislature is even scaring our medical community.” Is the Senator right? Just what doCalifornia doctors think about the unprecedented legislation that disses their sacrosanct relationship with patients and allows state bureaucrats to “illegally practice medicine over the top of the doctors”?

Some physicians were clearly concerned, turning out to testify against SB 276 or writing letters to ask the governor to veto the legislation. One physician wrote that the two bills “have created a climate of fear and anxiety,” leaving practicing physicians “afraid to speak up for fear of retribution, of being targeted by the state, for public censure and loss of professional respect.” Another doctor agreed that the legislation imposes “tremendous risk and liability—personally, professionally and financially”—on physicians who write valid medical exemptions, yet physicians bear “NO liability for giving contraindicated vaccinations, even if they cause foreseeable yet preventable harm.”

The climate of intimidation is one consideration. However, vaccination also offers doctors numerous financial incentives to toe the line. In fact, the majority of physicians appear to be willing participants in the U.S. vaccine program, no matter how many vaccines the CDC tells them to administer and no matter the evidence of vaccine damage that may be playing out before their eyes. Why not, when—as a private-practice physician affiliated with the CDC wrote a few years ago—nationally recommended vaccinations not only furnish “steady revenue” but can also improve a practice’s “financial viability.”

Follow the money

In 2015, the physician then serving as liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) wrote an article reminding fellow AAFP members that “minimizing costs and maximizing reimbursement can make immunizations profitable.” In addition to offering tips on how to be a “savvy vaccine shopper” and obtain manufacturer discounts for ordering multiple vaccines, the doctor discusses how physicians can make money on administration fees for pediatric vaccines by “properly coding for the service.”

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Every two-year old is worth $400 if they meet the “Combination 10 Criteria” (View full size graph.)

As he explains, “proper coding” involves not just billing for the vaccine itself (and including a diagnostic code that “reminds the insurance company that this is part of the routine immunization schedule”), but also billing for the fee that “is supposed to cover the time, energy, and supplies required to administer the vaccine as well as the overhead associated with managing the vaccines.”

The good doctor then goes on to describe the pediatric vaccine administration codes that he considers the “most important” from a “financial point of view”:

These codes, which include a counseling component…can be used only for patients 18 years old or younger. The reason these codes are so valuable is that they pay per vaccine component. For example, if you administer an MMR vaccine, you may bill for three components (measles, mumps, and rubella). If you administer a DTaP/IPV vaccine (Kinrix) you may bill for four components (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio).

He notes that the codes were new as of 2011; prior to that year, combination vaccines actually resulted in lower rather than higher physician reimbursement.

Giving a “real life” example and again emphasizing that “the results are most dramatic for vaccines with multiple components,” the AAFP member describes billing for a two-month well-child visit at which the baby receives a five-component combination vaccine (DtaP/IPV/HepB) as well as three other vaccines—Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal conjugate (PSV13) and rotavirus.

Without any vaccine counseling, the practice would only be able to bill for $125 total, but with additional billing codes for “brief counseling,” the total reimbursement (as of 2015) would shoot up to $300—an extra $175 for a few minutes’ effort. Noting that the counseling codes do not cover counseling provided by nurses, he adds that he can also make the extra $175 by providing “a short vaccine-counseling visit” himself, when possible, in lieu of scheduling a nurse visit. Proudly, he notes that vaccine reimbursement often exceeds reimbursement for the rest of the visit.

When it comes to the number of vaccines, the sky’s the limit

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a leading vaccine front group that receives significant funding from both vaccine manufacturers and the CDC and lobbies for the removal of vaccine exemptions. On its “Ask the Experts” webpage, the IAC tells physicians, “There is no upper limitfor the number of vaccines that can be administered during one visit.” Even though researchers have never tested this assertion—with zero studies on the safety of the full vaccine schedule or the effects of so many simultaneous and cumulative vaccines—the AAFP rep’s description of the financial benefits accruing from “proper” coding provides one reason why so many physicians may be willing to pile the vaccines on without question.

At a time when Medical Boards are going after doctors who overprescribe opioids, one might expect doctors to have concerns about inflicting vaccine injuries through over-administration of vaccines. Not to worry, says the IAC, which reassures doctors (on the same “no upper limit” webpage) that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program confers medical professionals with liability protection for “all vaccines that are routinely administered to children.”

Bolstered by the Hippocratic oath, patients generally “trust that the physician will act in their interest, or at least will do no harm.” The first principle of the Nuremberg Code emphasizes voluntary consent and interventions free of “any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion.” As Children’s Health Defense General Counsel Mary Holland writes, “SB 276 is a clear example of government overreach.” However, while doctors who support compulsory vaccination and the revocation of vaccine exemptions are on the wrong side of history where the Nuremberg Code and their Hippocratic oath are concerned—clearly the case for the physician-author of SB 276 who has never acknowledged vaccine-injured children—for many, the absence of liability and the financial payoffs appear to be acceptable tradeoffs.


Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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