Sunday, April 29

Making profit out of cancer: American Cancer Society

There is no other word for profiting from diseases and making people sick by prescribing drugs which risks overweight the benefits: crime.
That's why omnipresence of the consortium that profits at the expenses of sickness always amazes me.
I have seen many times people defending them in discussions in social networks and blogs of people who raise awareness of the way medicine is being dictated by pharmaceutical industry.
The third cause of hospitalization in USA is iatrogenesis: disease caused by the treatment, mostly prescribed drugs.

When I joined Second Life I was advised that the pharmaceutical industry was there by a woman who was part of a sort of PETA's group.
I  joined a group that allegedly helps depressed people and another a kind of suicide hot line. 
When someone asked for help about Paxil/Seroxat withdrawal I answered and... I had the honor of having been banned from the group because I raised some issues about withdrawal and some facts that the pharmaceutical industry doesn't like to see discussed and try hard to keep covering up.
One can write numerous arguments but will be silenced not receiving answers but being labelled conspiracy theorist, scientologist, troublemaker and whatever suits. 

For the whole month this advertisement - click at the image to enlarge - were at the login page of Second Life. The money donated  is for one of the wealthiest non-profit institution: the American Cancer Society.
According to them: " Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society.  The Relay For Life of Second Life is the largest, most successful fundraising event in the virtual world, raising more than $1,200,000 since its first event in 2004." (emphasis added)

The famous institution, that at first glance advocates for cancer patients, has ties with the pharmaceutical industry and has received many critics being  Dr. Samuel S.Epstein*, M.D. one of the most active.
He explains at this link what the American Cancer Society really does.

The ACS's indifference to cancer prevention reflects major industry funding. ACS has received contributions in excess of $100,000 from a wide range of "Excalibur Donors," many of whom continue to manufacture carcinogenic products. These include:

•Petrochemical companies (DuPont; BP; and Pennzoil)
•Industrial waste companies (BFI Waste Systems)
•Junk food companies (Wendy's International; McDonalds's; Unilever/Best Foods; and Coca-Cola)
•Big Pharma (AstraZenceca; Bristol Myers Squibb; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck & Company; and Novartis)
•Biotech companies (Amgen; and Genentech)
•Cosmetic companies (Christian Dior; Avon; Revlon; Elizabeth Arden; and Estee Lauder)
•Auto companies (Nissan; General Motors)

 Cancer Prevention Coalition is the best place to search for guidance about cancer. 

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; The 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medalist for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention; and author of over 270 scientific articles and 20 books on the causes and prevention of cancer, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1979), Cancer-Gate: How To Win The Losing Cancer War (2005), and Toxic Beauty (2009, BenBella Books).

Friday, April 27

Picasso and Gjon Mili: drawing with light

In 1939 Mili began dissecting movement with rapid-sequence firing that showed multiple images on a single film frame. Gjon Mili, a technical genius and lighting innovator, visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949. Mili showed the artist some of his photographs of ice skaters with tiny lights affixed to their skates, jumping in the dark — and Picasso’s lively mind began to race. This series of photographs, since known as Picasso’s “light drawings,” were made with a small flashlight or “light pencil” in a dark room; the images vanished almost as soon as they were created. “Picasso gave Mili 15 minutes to try one experiment,” LIFE, the magazine Mili worked for, wrote in its January 30, 1950, issue in which the images shown here first appeared. He was so fascinated by the results that he posed for five sessions.” The series is a very beautiful collection of the work of the artist and the photographer encounter.

Wednesday, April 25

Cloudy mountain shot by Fresnay

Snowy mountain appearing through clouds
PS : this photograph was taken from the motorway, the car window open.
by Fresnay.
It's amazing how the relief of the mountain is so vivid and clear.

Tuesday, April 24

Guest post: Jason Weiss's Hat and Beard

Hat and Beard
by Jason Weiss

"I’m a guest here.  If I wore a hat, I would hang it over there on that hook.  At home, I prefer to take off my shoes, and when it’s hot, like today, I would rather wear shorts, so if you don’t mind.  Good, much better.  Ice?  Yes, please.

But some day you do something differently, and then it becomes a habit, so people see you differently, even just a little.  Like you start wearing a certain hat.  Or you grow a beard.  Excuse me.  I grow a beard.

Last October I started to grow a beard, and haven’t cut it since.  Can things really be that simple?

The beard has been an amusement, for a season or two.  And then, like all things external, it will go.

You look Byzantine, declared one friend who happens to be of Greek heritage.  Others said a rabbi, or a learned man, and one guy at the gym kept asking what new role had I been asked to play.  My daughter was horrified, visiting from college, but my son cheers me on and it’s always been for him somewhat; his own beard is still a year or four away.  My wife has never approved of facial hair, for me at least .  Early on, she was ashen with anguish and said she couldn’t look at me, poor thing.

It feels funny when I’m swimming laps.  I’m not sure I like the feeling.

Doubtful that I’d last too long with a hat either.  I’d forget it the first place I went, or decide it made my head itchy.  Would you mind, now that I’m here, if I finish that rabbit stew you left in the refrigerator?"

Sure, enjoy the stew Jason but would you mind if I smoke?

I just received this text and I still have that smile on my face when I finish reading something witty... not the exact word... never mind.
Jason Weiss was one of the gifts and one of the reason that makes me keep blogging.  One year ago I posted the excerpt of an interview he did with Julio Cortázar.
Last month he sent me an e-mail and we started exchanging some ideas. He is interested in literature, music and art and knows a lot of Brazilian musicians and some writers.
He has been working as a translator, writer did some reviews and is also an editor. and he has friends that are musicians, painters, writers in short, his universe is artistic.
Visit his site Itineraries of a Hummingbird and look at the authors he interviewed when he was in Paris:

E. M. Cioran, Julio Cortázar, Brion Gysin, Eugène Ionesco, Carlos Fuentes, Jean-Claude Carrière, Milan Kundera, Nathalie Sarraute, Edmond Jabès from the book "Writing at Risk".
Not enough?

Wait till next month for the book

"Always in Trouble":

Interviews with Bernard Stollman plus 40 others, including John Tchicai, Gunter Hampel, Gato Barbieri, Milford Graves, Roswell Rudd, Sirone, Sonny Simmons, Tom Rapp, Richard Alderson, Sunny Murray, Marion Brown, Alan Silva, Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber, Burton Greene, and Jacques Coursil.

There is more at his site and I was very touched that he did a review of a book of chronicles of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, an Ukrainian that came to Brazil as an infant because of the first war.

Thank you Jason.

Monday, April 23

Susan Lindauer's books, speeches and work: arrested under Patriot Act

Susan Lindauer is a journalist, antiwar activist, author, former CIA Asset and 9/11 Whistle blower who believes the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate the abuse of Assets– like herself– engaged in terrorism investigations, including the embezzlement of $13 million from the 9/11 investigation.
In 2005 she was arrested and charged with "acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government".

At this video she speaks about many issues. Go straight to 07:00 minutes when Susan starts to talk. If you don't know about her, please, search her name and you'll find many links to her work : Minute 41:15:

"I was locked up in prison on a military base for a year. I was held under indictment for five years. The government was so threatened by what I was going to say that ... they wanted to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan, and Prozac, which would have chemically lobotomized me. They could not identify anything wrong with me except that I argued that ... I had worked in antiterrorism for nine years and I warned about 9/11. They actually petitioned the court on the Patriot Act for the right to detain me up to 10 years in prison with no trial and no hearing. They wanted to lock me up and forcibly drug me at the same time."

 Most people spend too much time listening to those who are in power when the attention must be focused on those who are fighting them.

Friday, April 20

Missing you: Nataly singing I'll be seeing you

I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through

In the small cafe
The park across the way
The childrens carosel
The chestnut tree
The wishing well

I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day
In everything thats light and gay
I'll always think of you that way

I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But i'll be seeing you.

Thursday, April 19

Welcome to Fucking

Fucking, pronounced "Fooking", is an Austrian village 33 kilometres north of Salzburg  with a population of 104 people.

English visitors used to steal traffic signs but in 2005 they were modified and now are set in concrete making it impossible to be removed.

Police chief Kommandant Schmidtberger said: "We will not stand for the Fucking signs being removed,"
"It may be very amusing for you British, but Fucking is simply Fucking to us. What is this big Fucking joke? It is puerile."

Local tourist guide Andreas Behmueller said it was only the British that had a fixation with Fucking.

"The Germans all want to see the Mozart house in Salzburg," he explained. "Every American seems to care only about 'The Sound of Music' (the 1965 film shot around Salzburg.) The occasional Japanese wants to see Hilter's birthplace in Braunau."

I searched for photos of the village that might be beautiful but found nothing but the signs. Only at this site I found some pictures.

Top imageCopyright All rights reserved by Flickr

Sunday, April 15

Erin Brockovich: the bad employee

"I was working in the compressor.
The supervisor calls me up to the office and says:
"We'll give you a shredder...
...and send you to the warehouse to shred the documents we stored."
He say why?
Nope. And I didn't ask.
Did you look at the stuff you destroyed?
It was a lot of dull vacation schedules and stuff.
Then there were memos about the holding ponds, the water in them.
And readings from the test wells, stuff like that.

"You were told to destroy those?

That's right.
Course, as it turns out...
...l wasn't a very good employee."

This is Charles Embry the employee that provided the incriminating documents that was used as proof that PG&E had previous knowledge that the water was contaminated.
The corporation payed $333 million settlement to the victims, the largest direct action lawsuit in U.S. history.
Let's not forget that the woman who gathered all the information was not a lawyer.

Erin Brokovich, the movie is based on a true story, keeps working and surely needs some bad employees because her cases are not welcome by corporations who pay a lot of money to put her work in discredit.

Saturday, April 14

Disease Awareness Campaign: do they really target your health?

From time to time there are campaigns about a certain disease and there is a bombardment of information usually emphasizing that the number of people that are not diagnosed is very high.
Do these campaigns care about people's health?
Everything is done in such a way that "yes" has to be the answer. There are charitable organizations, patients, family members and many smiling faces making it all so beautiful and clear. Take a moment to inform yourself about your health or the health of your family members.

This is what the 2005 review of the English Parliament "The Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry" reports:

74. Education for patients is provided in a variety of ways, including disease awareness campaigns, which are discussed in detail in Part 8.
Such campaigns are designed to increase awareness among the general public of particular conditions that may be under-reported  or under-diagnosed and to encourage people to seek treatment. Often, such campaigns are sponsored by a drug company and may bear a company’s logo; they may be also endorsed by a charity or patient organisation and/or supported by a celebrity. p 25 (emphasis added)

248. Witnesses argued that the use of disease awareness campaigns, which in the past have involved conditions including depression, anxiety and obesity, play a major part in the “medicalisation” of our society; in short:, “where disease awareness campaigns end and disease mongering begin is a very indistinct line”.208
Dr Des Spence, representing the group ‘No Free Lunch’, asserted that the bombardment of the general public and patients served,
to undermine our collective sense of well being”.209
[That campaign] led to us being told that a third of people were depressed, that we should screen for it, that we should start using antidepressants early, and we did. If I think back five or ten years ago, we were diagnosing large numbers of people with depression, and we were prescribing many antidepressants. As time has gone on, I have certainly begun to realise that in some ways yes, there are many people who do have depression, but lots of people are just unhappy and that is a part of life. So there is a whole generation of people coming up who almost feel that being unhappy is an abnormal state, which, of course, it is not. 210 p. 70* (emphasis added)
250. According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), disease awareness campaigns may hide potentially adverse consequences. Those seeking screening, diagnosis or treatment might, for instance, receive a false-positive result that leads to the individual undergoing an unnecessary procedure.
The guidelines state that the risks associated with treatment and the fact that treatments are not always suitable or effective for every individual should be made clear but, we are told, the industry does not always adhere to these recommendations. p. 70 (emphasis added)

251. No witness suggested that all disease awareness campaigns were cynical attempts to increase drug sales, but many doubted that they were simply aimed at improving the lives of those with unmet medical needs. It is not acceptable for such campaigns to be veiled advertising for branded prescription-only medicines.  p 70 (emphasis added)

* There are more data about the Depression Awareness Campaign and you can read it at the review "The Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry". I think that everybody should take a look at this review since health is an issue that affects each one of us.
Information about how medicine is being practiced is very important because in a pill there is not only relief as we often are inclined to believe. Medicines are sold at "drugstores" and many are at the market causing more harm than benefits.
There is another great book available online in .pdf by the criminologist John Braithwaite "Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry".
Or you can read at this link and embed it at you site if you want.
Braithwaite John - Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry

There is a review about this book at EnCognitive and other articles, not very long, that can help you understand what is happening. Remember: It's about your health, your body, mind and soul.
In the corporation era we have to be alert whenever they are around because the cost can be very high.
Inform yourself, search.

Wednesday, April 11

Oben Abright's glass people

Oben Albright was exposed to art very soon and used to paint, draw and sculpt with clay at his parent's studio.
In 2004 he received his BFA in glass from California College of Arts and Crafts. His work has been shown with Habatat Gallery Chicago, now Echt Gallery, and maintains a studio in Oakland, Ca.
This is what he says about his work:

“Human emotion is a subject of infinite artistic value. My work portrays the faces and experiences of people around me. As a sculptor working in clay I wanted to show more internal imagery behind the still face of a figure. This desire to reveal the interior has led me to pursue the transparency of glass. A glass figure conveys fragility and communicates through light better then one in any other medium.”
Oben Abright

He uses other materials but blowing glass is at the core of most of his work. I would love the technique used to mold the glass.

In 2008, Albright went to Burma and visited the war zone. He had an accident:

Antonio Graceffo wrote about it:

"On a recent fact finding mission into the war zone in Burma, San Francisco glass sculptor, Oben Abright, became the latest casualty of the world’s longest running conflict. Oben’s hand was crushed in a motorcycle accident near a military checkpoint. It took seven hours to evacuate Oben from the conflict zone to a hospital in the city, where he lay on an operating table for another three and half hours before surgeons could finally begin a procedure to install six metal pins, connecting his shattered bones. Two weeks after the accident, Oben flew back to the United States for outpatient care. Over the next two months, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Having read about the conflict in Burma and the genocide being perpetrated on the Shan and other minority peoples, Oben had the idea of using his art to raise awareness of one of the world’s least reported wars. "

“Sculpture is the most powerful medium of art.” Explained Oben. “Sculpture occupies a three dimensional space.” He went on to say that when people buy a sculpture for thousands of dollars, they put it in a prominent position in their house. They like to know the story behind the sculpture. And they like to tell their friends about it.

People in the west have become immune to the countless sad images on TV of exotic people suffering in some remote corner of the world where we have never been, and where we will never go. How can television and media reporting create awareness and empathy when they have simply become so much background noise?

Unlike print media, sculpture cannot be ignored.

The accident occurred on Oben’s second trip into the war zone. During his first visit at the Shan State rebel Army (SSA) headquarters, Oben lived in a community of several thousand displaced Shan people, and heard their stories first hand.

After photographing orphans, widows, amputees, soldiers, and civilians inside of the conflict zone, Oben Abright plans to feature the Shan people of Burma in an upcoming sculpture series.

Below is the full story of the incident. When the story originally appeared, Oben’s name had to be changed. He was originally called “Unten.” Now that he is safely out of the conflict zone, the story can be released with his real name. keep reading.

Monday, April 9

Eadweard Muybridge and the integrity in science

Today Google's doodle is about Eadweard Muybridge's 1892 experiment for the former governor of California Leland Stanford a businessman and race-horse owner.

Muybridge, an English photographer who lived in America, received $25,000 to perform an experiment to prove  that a horse has all his hoovers off the floor for a very brief moment when trotting.
It was a subject of controversy in horse-racing circles.

It was necessary to capture the images slowly because human eyes cannot see where the legs are.
Muybridge took  numerous pictures in the experiment called The Horse in Motion.

This experiment was used by some artists later like Marcel Duchamp.

I want to stress this aspect of the whole story: Wikipedia:

"Muybridge and Stanford had a major falling-out concerning his research on equine locomotion. Stanford asked his friend and horseman Dr. J. B. D. Stillman to write a book analyzing The Horse in Motion, which was published in 1882.[15] Stillman used Muybridge's photos as the basis for his 100 illustrations and the photographer's research for the analysis, but he gave Muybridge no prominent credit. The historian Phillip Prodger suggested that Stanford considered Muybridge as just one of his employees and not deserving of special credit.[16] As a result of Muybridge not being credited in the book, the Royal Society withdrew an offer to fund his stop-motion studies in photography. Muybridge filed a lawsuit against Stanford to gain credit, but it was dismissed out of court."

This is the way scientists have been working. They receive money from corporations and their work is driven according to the corporations needs.
Scientists research what the corporations tell them to research and the results of their work that is published defend what the corporations need usually with no consideration to those who will use the products. The aim is profit.

This is the way science is being done and this is why there are scientists fighting for integrity in science.
Leland Stanford was the founder of the Stanford University. He considered Muybridge as one of his employees.

Sunday, April 8

Ted Gunderson Former FBI Chief: 9/11 and most terrorist attacks committed by CIA and FBI

This is a must-see. Take 8 minutes to listen what you'll never do at the corporate media.

"The CIA has done in this country, what they've done to us is unbelievable. Look at the terrorists acts that occurred: the CIA behind most if not of all of them."

"Our government was involved in some of those. I can't say in all of them because I don't know but I do have documentations that there was government implications in some of these."

"The people out there: Did you know that the World Trade Center, when it was bombed internally that it was put together by an organization, called the FBI?

"... and that would mean that Bush had prior knowledge and that would implicate him, in reality if we've wondered to face this thing as it really is: murder at first degree."

"If justice was done the FBI agents would be not only in jail but also executed for murder in the first degree."

"These explosions, these terrorists acts were an excuse to pass anti-terrorism legislation." - (aiming taking citizens civil liberties - watch the video)

Here are 40 experts, including the Chairman, 9/11 Commission, Thomas H. Kean, Former Governor of New Jersey and Vice Chairman, 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Homeland Security Advisory Council ~ sounding off in short quotes about their misgivings with the 9/11 commission and the questions that are still smoldering. keep reading.

Still these are not enough evidence to make some people understand who are the terrorists.

Saturday, April 7

Conspiracy theorist: the titles for those who dissent and the Patriot Act

The most extreme way to get rid of those who are fighting for freedom and justice is jail or killing those who dare to speak up. Susan Lindauer has been in prison. Patriot Act was used.

Another way is the labeling and using expressions to stop the debate:
"This is conspiracy theory. " End of discussion.

“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy enough. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Herman Goering, Nazi leader

America is always on the verge of a terrorist attack. Sounds familiar?

Wednesday, April 4

Pensioner commits suicide at Greek Parliament refusing to "search for food in the garbage"

I'm shocked and suicide is not a taboo issue for me and I'm planning a post about it but this is new for me and I don't know what to think.
Hi name is Dimitris Christoulas, a 77-year-old retired Greek pharmacist and he left this suicide note:

"The Tsolakoglou* occupation government literally deprived me of any chance of survival that relied on a decent pension, which I alone had to pay for (without any government aid) over the course of 35 years.

Since my age prevents me from substantially resisting this fate on my own (that said I would not rule out the possibility of following the example of any Greek that took up a kalashnikov), I see no other option to a dignified end, before having to resort to scavenging through the garbage for my food.

I believe that the youth with no future will one day take up arms and hang the national traitors upside down at Syntagma square, as the Italians did in 1945 with Mussolini (Piazzale Loreto of Milan)"

[*Georgios Tsolakoglou was a Greek military officer who became the first Prime Minister of the Greek collaborationist government during the Axis Occupation in 1941-1942.]

Above the suicide note.

This is all I have for the moment.

Tuesday, April 3

Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman: the high price of Integrity

I remember when I first heard Al Pacino at this scene as many other scenes in the movie Scent of a Woman, a great movie and one of Pacino's great performance.
This is the part I like the most:

Slade: "I'm not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: he won't sell anybody out to buy his future!! And that, my friends, is called integrity!
That's called courage! Now that's the stuff leaders should be made of.

Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? 
It was too damn hard. Now here's Charlie. He's come to the crossroads. He has chosen a path. It's the right path. It's a path made of principle -- that leads to character. Let him continue on his journey."

Sculptures in paper: Jeff Nishinaka and Paperfetish

Leftt: Writer by Jeff Nishinaka
Right: Kaneda by paperfetish

I just found these two artists that work with paper.
Enchantment is the word that most describe my feeling when I look at these pieces.
Visit the site of the artists to see what they have to say.
I'll stay here watching these two.
Isn't it amazing the way they do the shadows? The lights from the right one...

Monday, April 2

Craving tomatoes

Now you'll know how I felt at the post below. Wanting to eat tomatoes?

images by Cinemagraph for Gilt Taste - food styling by Molly Shuster found at  Astrid Bartel's profile.

Fake French Cheese Président sold in Brazil: Fromage Président falsifié

I think that it could be the beginning of a diplomatic crisis some decades ago.
I bought a Camembert in a shop and a Brie at the online supermarket I usually shop.
The brie cheese is fake.  Fake/ Faux/ Falso
Oui, cher monsieurs.
J'ai acheté de fromage brie Président falsifié, faux, à Rio de Janeiro, Brésil.

The Horror!
C'est dégolasse mais ça n'est pas une question sérieuse pour ce qui sont en France.
I want to talk to the CEO of Président in France parce que le Président de la France s'en fiche, and my ambassador don't give a damn.
Consumer's right in Brazil is a joke. I believe it is the same everywhere nowadays but this is a tradition that Brazil  is proud to have started decades ago.

I'll not through away the cheese and the fake pack and logo. I'll have it as a proof forever.
Maybe I'll carry it with me after death: "Look, this is what they do in the place I was."
Now I'm craving Camembert that is my favorite cheese.

I want my cheese! This is outrageous.
Sarkozy!!!!! Bernard Henri-Levy et tout les autres: c'est a cause de vous que le monde...
Mon Dieux!
Fake philosopher, fake president, fake cheese Président... France is not the same anymore and their cheese no longer represent their culture.

The representative of the Brazilian Président just called me on the phone and I explained everything. They'll give a solution tomorrow.

Update April, 3

I've just received an e-mail from AlFood the Brazilian representative of the Président cheese and they said that the cheese is not fake. So the cheese is NOT FAKE.
The problem is that the agroindustry is being responsible for a lowering quality of the products and causing other hams as well.
The group Lactalis is the responsible for distributing not only the Président cheeses over 150 countries but also for other brands. It is amazing how this group is being capable of selling 20 Président products every minute in the world as they claim at their site.
The cheese tastes and smells fake, for those who know the real brie's taste and smell. since it has to be made to be distributed in 150 countries and Lactalis also is responsible for numerous other brands.
I started doing a research about cheeses after this experience. But you must have already noticed that you don't need to have the butter at the refrigerator anymore because it will not get rancid.
Globalization is not only making people poorer but it is also making food worse. We can grow tomatoes but it will be hard to have a cow in an apartment.

Sunday, April 1

Italy's Manarola tiny village

This is picture was shot by Paul Hogie who sent it to National Geographic.

"A scene of the tiny village of Manarola on the Cinque Terre coast of Italy. I camped on this spot for some time waiting for the right balance of light as the sun set. I was rewarded with many great shots of the late afternoon and even in moonlight. This long exposure captures the essence of the village with the locals all joining for a party near the boat ramp." Paul Hogie

Photo Tip: The best building shots balance light from three different sources: skylight, streetlights, and lights from within the building

Quite an inspiration to start the month.