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Utah Senator Orrin Hatch: A pit bull in defense of the supplement industry

Editor’s note: This weekend was truly NIH grant crunch time. I have to get my final version of my R01 to our university’s grants office by Tuesday, or it might not get uploaded by the July 5 deadline. (Funny how electronic submission, which was supposed to make applicants’ lives easier, seems to have made them harder.) Consequently, I decided to take a few minutes and spiff up a post I did not long ago for my other blog and use it here, mainly because it is particularly relevant to our usual SBM topics. I’ll be back next time with something new.

The weakness and ineffectiveness of the law in the U.S. regulating dietary supplements has been a frequent topic here on Science-Based Medicine, including the continued failure of efforts to address the serious shortcomings of current law and the illogic at its very heart. Indeed, over the last decade or so that I’ve paid attention to relevant issues regarding supplements continually amazed at how much supplement manufacturers can get away with and for how long. For example, one of the most recent atrocities against science occurred when Boyd Haley, disgraced chemistry professor at the University of Kentucky and prominent member of the mercury militia wing of the anti-vaccine movement, tried to sell an industrial chelator as a dietary supplement to treat autistic children. True, that was too much even for the underfunded, undermanned FDA to ignore, but it was amazing how long he got away with it. Apparently it takes someone trying to market a chemical compound that can’t by any stretch of the imagination be characterized as a “nutrient” or “food” to be so obviously against even the travesty of a mockery of a sham of a law regulating supplements (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, or the DSHEA) that the FDA could take action.

Of course, here at SBM, we’ve written numerous posts on the shortcomings of the DSHEA. Basically, this law created a new class of regulated entities known as dietary supplements and liberalized the sorts of information that supplement manufacturers could transmit to the public. The result has been this:

It [the DSHEA] also expanded the types of products that could be marketed as “supplements.” The most logical definition of “dietary supplement” would be something that supplies one or more essential nutrients missing from the diet. DSHEA went far beyond this to include vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; other dietary substances to supplement the diet by increasing dietary intake; and any concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any such ingredients. Although many such products (particularly herbs) are marketed for their alleged preventive or therapeutic effects, the 1994 law has made it difficult or impossible for the FDA to regulate them as drugs. Since its passage, even hormones, such as DHEA and melatonin, are being hawked as supplements.

One might wonder how such a bad law could survive for so long (seventeen years now), but it has its defenders. One man, in particular, defends the DSHEA against all regulatory threats, foreign and domestic. His name is Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and he was just the subject of a writeup in the New York Times last week referring to him as a “natural ally” of the supplement industry:

A drive along mountain-lined Interstate 15 here shows why Senator Orrin G. Hatch is considered a hero in this region nicknamed the Silicon Valley of the nutritional supplement industry.

In the town of Lehi is the sprawling headquarters of Xango, where company officials praised Mr. Hatch, a Utah Republican, late last year for helping their exotic fruit juice business “operate without excessive intrusion” from Washington.

Up in Sandy, Utah, is 4 Life Research, whose top executives donated to Mr. Hatch’s last re-election campaign after federal regulators charged the company with making exaggerated claims about pills that it says helps the immune system.

And nearby in West Salem, assembly-line workers at Neways fill thousands of bottles a day for a product line that includes Youthinol, a steroid-based hormone that professional sports leagues pushed to ban until Mr. Hatch blocked them.

And, as the article goes on to mention, Hatch was the principal author of the DSHEA. Fast forward seventeen years, and these days any time the Obama Administration tries to write rules to regulate supplements more strictly, Orrin Hatch is there to do his damnedest to block them. Because Hatch is a very senior (and therefore powerful) Senator, he nearly always succeeds. Indeed, as the NYT article points out, the relationship between Hatch and Utah’s massive supplement industry been a hugely mutually beneficial one, and the article also describes just how incestuous it has been as well. First of all, there’s an enormous amount of campaign contributions that Hatch garners every election cycle from supplement manufacturers, but the relationship goes so much more deeply than that:

His [Hatch's] family and friends have benefited, too, from links to the supplement industry. His son Scott Hatch, is a longtime industry lobbyist in Washington, as are at least five of the senator’s former aides. Mr. Hatch’s grandson and son-in-law increase revenue at their chiropractic clinic near here by selling herbal and nutritional treatments, including $35 “thyroid dysfunction” injections and a weight-loss product, “Slim and Sassy Metabolic Blend.” And Mr. Hatch’s former law partner owns Pharmics, a small nutritional supplement company in Salt Lake City.

But many public health experts argue that in his advocacy, Mr. Hatch has hindered regulators from preventing dangerous products from being put on the market, including supplements that are illegally spiked with steroids or other unapproved drugs. They also say he is the person in Washington most responsible for the proliferation of products that make exaggerated claims about health benefits.

Many are the times that I’ve complained about a different Senator, namely Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) for his advocacy of pseudoscience that led hm to foist the atrocity that is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) upon an unsuspecting nation. However, as bad as Tom Harkin is, he is nonetheless also widely appreciated as a staunch advocate of the National Institutes of Health and other funding for legitimate medical research. This has been true for decades, and he has been honored as such more than once. The problem is that, along with all that advocacy for the NIH, Harkin has a very hard time distinguishing worthwhile medical research from quackery. Even so, arguably he has supported enough good medical research that his unwavering support of NCCAM can almost be forgiven. Almost. Hatch, on the other hand, has no such redeeming quality to counterbalance his support for quackery and his defense of supplement manufacturers against any government law or regulation, no matter how reasonable, that might jeopardize their profits. Not surprisingly, he denies that this is true in the NYT article. He even has the gall to claim that he’s been a champion of regulating supplements, a claim that is so risible that it’s hard to believe he could make it with a straight face. I guess that’s why he’s a politician.

I am gratified, though, that the NYT didn’t forget to point out that there’s a new Republican quackery supporter in town, and he’s out to unseat Hatch by–you guessed it–sucking up to the supplement industry even more than Hatch does. His name is Jason Chaffetz, and he’s a former supplement company executive turned U.S. Representative and co-chair of the Dietary Supplement Caucus. (Yes, there really is such a thing.) I wrote about him not too long ago because of his support for what I then termed the “wonderfully Orwellian” Free Speech About Science Act of 2011 (FSAS). Boiled down to its essence, the FSAS would weaken even more the already desperately weak DSHEA. Basically, under the auspices of allowing “more free speech about food,” it would neuter the FDA with respect to claims about supplements, and it would do it through a very clever turnabout regarding the use of peer-reviewed research in that it places the burden of proof on the FDA to demonstrate that scientific studies used to bolster health claims for food and supplements are not good research. One can see the obvious problem with that. Supplement manufacturers could claim anything they wanted, as long as they could pull out a scientific paper or two, and it would be up to the FDA to have to refute them. Like the case for quacks, it wouldn’t be too difficult for supplement manufacturers to produce a constant stream of dubious research to point to, allowing the to make almost any claims they want to with impunity.

Fortunately, that law appears not to be going anywhere right now, and I hope it doesn’t. However, it was only a year ago that Hatch demonstrated why he is the master when it comes to protecting his supplement industry backers. That was when John McCain tried to pass legislation to tighten the regulation of supplements, Orrin Hatch and the supplement industry slapped him down in no uncertain terms. Basically, McCain ended up groveling before Orrin Hatch seeking absolution for his sins against the free market. The story is actually mentioned in the NYT article, as is Hatch’s attempts to intimidate the Obama Administration’s nominee for commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg.

So long standing and blatant has Hatch’s advocacy been that ten years ago Stephanie Mencimer wrote a devastating article for The Washington Monthly entitled Scorin’ with Orrin, an accurate description of Hatch’s activities then and now. To this day, Hatch remains in the pockets of the supplement manufacturers, and he has served them well, passing the DSHEA, a law that has been exploited by Utah companies like Xango:

But Xango’s record illustrates how companies eager to exploit the law can go too far.

In 2006, federal regulators warned Xango that brochures improperly promoted mangosteen juice as a disease cure, not just a healthy option. Xango is among more than a dozen Utah companies cited by federal regulators over the last decade for apparent violations of the law.

Xango, whose executives are the single biggest Utah-based contributors to Mr. Hatch’s political campaigns and have drawn Mr. Hatch to its headquarters to down shot glasses of their juice, blamed a marketing company that had printed the brochures. The company also insisted that it was closely monitoring distributors to make sure they did not make inappropriate claims.

But in his talk at Xango in March, Dr. Johnson — who lectures across the country at other company events — used some of the same language the F.D.A. had cited in its 2006 warning letter, and he referred the sales agents to a nearby company that still sold brochures making the improper claims.

Amusingly, this NYT article also includes a truly mind-numbingly idiotic statement justifying the activities of certain supplement companies from Dr. Johnson, so much so that even our very own Steve Novella labeled it the “Dumb Statement of the Week.” I think it has a real shot of winning far more than that:

One night in March, Dr. Vaughn T. Johnson, a Xango distributor, delivered part pep talk, part medical seminar, in describing extraordinary powers attributed to mangosteen. Studies showed, Dr. Johnson said, it was “anti-tumor,” “anti-obesity,” “anti-aging,” “anti-fatigue,” “antiviral,” “antibiotic” and “antidepressant.”

“How do I know this isn’t just snake oil?” Dr. Johnson, an osteopathic physician, asked. “It’s a really simple answer. A company that is selling snake oil is not going to stay in business for almost 11 years and grow as fast as this company is growing.”

In other words, because his supplements sell well, they must work. Anyone familiar with evidence- and science-based medicine knows that this is utter nonsense on steroids (which adulterate quite a few supplements, by the way). Placebo effects, confirmation bias, expectancy effects, and a number of other nontherapeutic effects can lead to the success of a product. Before the FDA existed, there were countless useless patent medicine products sold in this country that were quite popular. Heck, homeopathy is still popular in some parts of the world, and it’s just water!

It is with great irony that, having read this NYT article, I note how advocates of unscientific modalities frequently love to bash big pharma and insinuate that legislators are in the pocket of the drug companies. While it is true that pharmaceutical companies are heavy contributors to a number of legislators and wield considerable influence, pro-CAM apologists frequently contrast what they paint as big, soulless, corporations with local, mom & pop “natural medicine” businesses that big pharma is supposedly trying to crush, all in a nefarious plot to protect its obscene profits. However, as Orrin Hatch demonstrates, in the wake of the DSHEA of 1994, in the U.S. supplement manufacturers have themselves become quite a force to be reckoned with themselves. In states like Utah, supplement manufacturers can become far more powerful than pharmaceutical companies. One reason is that there isn’t much in the way of a pharma presence, big or otherwise, in Utah. There are, however, lots and lots of supplement manufacturers pushing all manner of poorly supported health claims to sell their products. Because these supplement manufacturers are very profitable and have a lot of money to throw around, it’s not surprising that they now also have a very powerful patron, too, in Orrin Hatch. As long as Hatch is in office, you can be quite sure that the DSHEA will stand, and, if Hatch has his way, sooner or later its remaining tooth will be pulled.

The question then becomes: What will happen after Hatch retires? He is, after all, in his late 70s. Clearly, it’s likely (although not a lock) that Jason Chaffetz will succeed him. If that happens, he will be even more in the pocket of the supplement manufacturers than Hatch has been over the years. Chaffetz will, of course, not have the seniority and long years of having built up political power and capital that Hatch has right now; so at first he is unlikely to be nearly as effective a protector of the supplement industry as Hatch has been. Still, that might offer a window of opportunity. The only time supporters of more science-based regulations of supplements will have a chance to do away with the DSHEA will be in the immediate wake of Hatch’s retirement or death, before his successor can accumulate clout.

Even at that time, I’m not optimistic that the DSHEA will ever be repealed.

Posted in: Herbs & Supplements, Pharmaceuticals, Politics and Regulation

Leave a Comment (30) ↓

30 thoughts on “Utah Senator Orrin Hatch: A pit bull in defense of the supplement industry

  1. Jeff says:

    There were a few inaccuracies in the NYT piece about Hatch. For example:

    But many public health experts argue that in his advocacy, Mr. Hatch has hindered regulators from preventing dangerous products from being put on the market, including supplements that are illegally spiked with steroids or other unapproved drugs..

    In fact there are provisions in DSHEA making it a serious criminal offense to market products containing any kind of drug. Under DSHEA these are illegal products masquerading as dietary supplements. Senator Hatch has repeatedly urged the FDA to take stronger enforcement action against those companies selling adulterated products. To that end He and Tom Harkin introduced The Dietary Supplement Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2010.

    Then there was The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003, introduced by Hatch and Joseph Biden, which banned the sale of steroid precursors. This bill was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Bush in 2004.

    The percentage of Americans using supplements continues to rise gradually. I hope this means support for DSHEA will also grow.

  2. windriven says:

    @Jeff

    I wonder if you would be good enough to point us to the relevant language in the original bill itself that makes it “a serious criminal offense to market products containing any kind of drug?”

  3. windriven says:

    I have not been successful finding the full text of DSHEA or of S 784 (the bill before it went to conference) online. But here is a link to a summary prepared by the Congressional Research Service:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s103-784&tab=summary

    It this law contains new legal sanctions the non-partisan Congressional Research Service did not find them significant enough to include in their summary.

  4. cervantes says:

    The full text of the bill is here in case anybody has time to read it. I don’t, I’m afraid. But basically, what I think Jeff is talking about is the bill’s use of the term “adulterated,” which would seem arguably to cover steroids or other unapproved “drugs,” but only if said “drugs” are not something which occurs in anything called food, which presumably means that a history of any sort of herbal tea or shamanistic potion, anywhere in the world, gets you in the clear. What is most important, the government has no proactive enforcement authority. You can sell the stuff until somebody dies and then the government has the burden of proof to get it off the market. And indeed, there have been such instances.

  5. windriven says:

    Thanks cervantes! I don’t have the time right now but I’ll read it tonight.

    My experience with reading legislation is that the broad strokes often sound bold but then there are lines and lines of language that drain most of the important stuff away leaving nothing but a hollow monument to political expediency.

  6. Jeff says:

    @Windriven: DSHEA was written as a series of amendments to the Food, Drug,& Cosmetic Act. It defines a new class of substances to be regulated, dietary supplements. But it doesn’t change any of the FDCA’s strict penalties against selling approved drugs without a prescription, or unapproved or misbranded drugs, etc.. As these announcements on the FDA’s website clearly show, marketing unapproved or misbranded drugs as dietary supplements can result in product seizure, fines, and jail time:

    1. February 2, 2011: Three Indicted for Selling Mislabeled Steroids

    2. November 22, 2010: Co-conspirators Sentenced in $11.9 Million Dietary Supplement Fraud Scheme

    There are still many who claim, “You can market anything as long as you call it a supplement.” These people simply don’t know the law.

  7. FiveforFighting says:

    Well, Utah is the scam capital of America. And should anyone be surprised, really? Let’s not ignore the elephant in the living room, people: Anyone gullible enough to believe the Book of Mor(m)on (seer stones, Native Americans being descendants of Israelites, “and it came to pass . . . ” etc.) is easily gullible enough to believe the fantastic claims of these hucksters.

  8. redundant says:

    What I really object to is my sweet pit bull being unfairly compared to Orrin Hatch.

  9. windriven says:

    @ Jeff

    What you first said was:
    “In fact there are provisions in DSHEA making it a serious criminal offense to market products containing any kind of drug. Under DSHEA these are illegal products masquerading as dietary supplements.”

    That is rather different from:
    “[It] doesn’t change any of the FDCA’s (sic) strict penalties against selling approved drugs without a prescription, or unapproved or misbranded drugs, etc..”

    DSHEA did not make any serious criminal offenses, did it? It did nothing except exempt a group of products from the normal regulatory process saying, in effect, that a class of products marketed as ‘medicines – but not really (wink, wink)’ shouldn’t be treated by FDA like any other medicine and forced to submit proof of efficacy and safety.

    I’m all for freedom of choice. I would personally prefer a simple but prominent label warning for products like these stating something like: THIS PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN SUBMITTED TO FDA FOR REGULATORY REVIEW OF ITS SAFETY OR EFFICACY. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW TO SELL OR ADMINISTER THIS PRODUCT TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21.

  10. windriven says:

    @FiveforFighting

    I would argue that the Book of Mormon is not alone among scriptures requiring a lethal dose of gullibility. Besides, everybody knows that god is a Buddhist:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/152284/gods-a-buddhist

  11. emesbe says:

    Good Lord. I’m ashamed to be a Utahn.

  12. Jann Bellamy says:

    @ Jeff, quoting the NYT article:

    “But many public health experts argue that in his advocacy, Mr. Hatch has hindered regulators from preventing dangerous products from being put on the market, including supplements that are illegally spiked with steroids or other unapproved drugs..”

    This statement is “inacccurate” only if many public health experts are not arguing that Mr. Hatch is hindering regulators in the manner described. In fact, “many public health experts” do indeed argue Mr. Hatch is hindering regulators, so the statement is not “inaccurate.”

    It appears from the link you cited that some supplement industry trade groups are indeed concerned with “spiked” supplements and are in favor of stricter regulation to stop this practice. This, of course, has the salutory PR effect of making the industry appear to support the FDA and public safety. I suspect the real reason has more to do with wanting to deflect public scrutiny of the industry these “spiked” supplement stories cause, which can turn unwanted attention to the much larger problem with dietary supplements — they are, in fact, virtually unregulated drugs sold to the public without the ususal safeguards required of other types of drugs, such as those sold by prescription.

  13. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS

    So said Mr Bumble to his wife’s Barrister in Charles Dickens ‘Oliver Twist’ when Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, is told in court that “The law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”

    Before I progress with the relevancies, I wish to make clear that the ass being referred to here is the English colloquial name for a donkey – implying STUBBORNESS and STUPIDITY – and not the American definition of ‘ass’, which is something altogether different and has no relevance here.

    The relevance to the REMARK relate to the laws of COVERTURE – who owns WHAT in a marriage. A PRIVY EXAMINATION was an American legal practice in which a married woman who wished to sell her property had to be examined by a judge outside of the presence of her husband, to determine if her husband was asserting any form of PRESSURE (pressurising) to motivate her into signing a legal document that could cause her HARM – HARM and the LAW being the CRUX of the matter under discussion in this thread.

    Coverture was seen as a means to protect married women’s property from overbearing husbands. In Mr Bumble’s case, he was making the point that it is his WIFE who dominates HIM – not the other way round – and – because his wife’s Barristor had seen the wife’s behaviour towards Mr Bumble first-hand, if his wife’s Barristor thought OTHERWISE then he was an ass – stupid, stubborn, and SILLY.

    Before I submit my viewpoint to broaden this debate as to whether the law really IS an ass (donkey), I wish to state that to satisfy the need to be able to ‘follow a thread’ – a term which here means ‘follow a PERTINENT line of thought’, henceforth, I adopt the practice of giving each of my Bloggs a THEMETIC TITLE to both elucidate the THEME of the thread so that we do not intentionally wonder ‘off topic’, and also to provide a ‘ready reference’ to a SPECIFIC PART of any contribution, as it intertwines around the contributions of others like a double-helix or a triple-weave thread, and would welcome correspondents to do likewise to improve clarity and specificity. I also suggest the ‘Thematic title’ approach should be incorporated into the website’s ‘Best Practice’.

    A SHORT ANECDOTE

    As some may already know, and those who don’t are about to discover – and therefore WILL know, following the death of their mother, three sons challenged the directions contained in her Will. They challenged it on the SUPPOSITION – a word of law which here means ‘suggestion’ – that she was MAD.

    The reason?

    Their mother left ALL of her vast fortune to her pet WEASEL – a term here which means a furry carnivorous, keystone mammal, native to Europe and North America.

    They LOST the case on the GROUNDS – a word of law which here means ‘underpinning philosophical argument’ – that their mother had NOT been ‘”certified” as mad’ – a term here which means that there was NO evidence to SUBSTANTIATE – a word of law which here means prove beyond all reasonable doubt – their CLAIM – a word of law which here means ASSERTION or ALLEGATION.

    Eventually, the weasel died and the siblings again challenged for the fortune.

    The siblings LOST their case on the GROUNDS that although the weasel was in RIGHTFUL possession of a substantial fortune, the weasel had NOT made a WILL, and HENCE, it had not made any provisions for the siblings who had meticulously looked after its health and welfare, ensuring it had every just and fair attention, food and treatment, and wanted for nothing – right up to the moment of death. It was even given a formal funeral! How many other weasels attended the funeral is not recorded – so much for lasting friendships.

    As no one person could LEGALY LAY CLAIM to the fortune – a term here which means ‘prove the RIGHT to hold POSSESSION’ – the fortune went to the STATE and the brothers moved to Berlin – which was an odd thing to do – because they were French and neither of them spoke any German. Perhaps they were making a point!

    This tale provides us with two MAXIMS – viz:

    Maxim 1: Proving the RIGHT to hold POSSESSION is NINE TENTHS of the LAW.
    Maxim 2: DEFINITION is ALL.

    Although it didn’t come to pass in the case just presented; know this – the outcome of any PREVIOUS event CAN affect the outcome of any FUTURE event.

    To illustrate: If I INSIST on driving around on bald tires then it is HIGHLY LIKELY that I will have an unfortunate incident. If I insist on BELIEVING EVERYTHING I am told, or hear, or read, particularly when it comes to CRACKPOT ARTICLES and QUACK ‘CURE-ALLS’, sooner or later I am going to cause HARM to myself or others.

    This is called DISASTER INCUBATION!

    When an unfortunate incident occurs we must ALSO examine the INCIDENT CHAIN that led up to that event.

    Break ANY link in the INCIDENT CHAIN and the EVENT will not HAPPEN. Lockerbie, Zeebrugger, and Nine-eleven are ‘lessons learnt’. The court cases continue to this day.

    Human ERRORS OF JUDGEMENT can (and do) lead to ABSURDITIES – a word here which means FOOLISH and SILLY.

    It is ABSURD that a temperature scale should start at some ARBITRARY point – as both the Dutch instrument maker Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit decided in 1717, and the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius ALSO decided in 1742.

    Both men’s FLAWED PREMISE – a philosophical and LEGAL term that here means ‘false assertion’ – is centered on the notion of something being ‘warmer’ or ‘colder’ – warmer or colder than WHAT exactly?

    When Celsius defined his ‘temperature gradation scale’ in 1742 he not only made THIS error, he made a CRACKING blooper that has had the scientific world laughing ever since – viz:

    Celsius initially made the FREEZING point of water = 100 degrees, and the BOILING point of water = ZERO degrees – the HOTTER a body got – the LOWER its TEMPERATURE became! How does THAT work?

    We had to wait for William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) to straighten out all of this mess. Kelvin give us the ABSOLUTE ZERO scale (measured in KELVINS (‘K’) and the LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS that led to the development of: the external combustion engine, the internal combustion engine, the jet engine, the scram jet (now used in a popular make of car – and BOY does it GO), the rocket, the refrigerator, the freezer, the air-conditioning unit, the … (sorry – dozed off – there are so many).

    And so to VITAMINS …

    Vitamins (over here anyway) are defined as “a substance that CANNOT BE SYNTHESIZED BY THE BODY that is essential to ensure the VITALITY of a CREATURE”, and are LEGALLY CLASSIFIED as ‘ANY organic compound essential for normal growth and nutrition that is REQUIRED in small quantities in the diet,’

    It is the LEGAL DEFINITION of a VITAMIN that is at FAULT – NOT the law upon which the grounds of ‘Quack’ offerings are tested or refuted.

    Lobby to have the LEGAL DEFINITION changed, submit a ‘Test case’ and you, and everyone else in your wake will WIN!

    WHAT DO WE DO IF THE LAWMEN REFUSE TO BUDGE AND THE DEFINITION REMAINS THE SAME?

    Today in Britain (28th June 2011), travel companies have been ORDERED to END the use of HIDDEN SURCHARGES for passengers paying by transactional cards.

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has ordered the travel companies to make all debit or credit card charges clear WITH EMEDIATE EFFECT.

    The COMPLAINTS COMMISSION heard EVIDENCE that the OFT provided, showing travellers spent £300 MILLION on card surcharges in the airline industry alone in 2010 and the OFT wants the law CHANGED to abolish altogether charges for using debit cards.

    The OFT warned that if travel firms did NOT immediately comply, whilst lobbying took place to have the law changed or new legislation introduced through Parliament, it would take action against ALL offenders, using the CURRENT ‘CONSUMER PROTECTION’ laws.

    THAT is the beauty of living in an AUTOCRATIC regime ruled by a benevolent Monarch – and not living in a DEMOCRACY where rulers are ELECTED for a SHORT term, inherit the MESS left behind by the previous tenants, and, despite paving the road to Hell with good intention, are unable to bring any WORTHWHILE change that leads to a LASTING legacy.

    Maxim 3: Seek ANOTHER way to win!
    Maxim 3: Use CURRENT LEGISLATION to attack the HARM on UNEXPECTED GROUNDS!
    Maxim 5: The PEN is MIGHTIER than the SWORD!

    TILIS

  14. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Jeff on 27 Jun 2011 at 11:35 am

    There were a few inaccuracies in the NYT piece about Hatch. For example:

    “But many public health experts argue that…”

    They may be guilty of vaguerancy (I think I just made up a word), but it isn’t an inaccuracy to report others’ opinions, even if the opinions are wrong. I’m not sure those opinions even are wrong…

    In fact there are provisions in DSHEA making it a serious criminal offense to market products containing any kind of drug.

    But the DSHEA is a legal detour around the “drug” definition, which is the whole problem. These products ARE “drugs” in the scientific sense, and can still be dangerous.

    Also, the quote specifically notes that the complaints include that already-illegal things are difficult to enforce, so it is not a logical response to say that they are illegal. Obviously they are talking about something else.

    Senator Hatch [....] and Tom Harkin introduced The Dietary Supplement Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2010.

    It provides $20 million to allow the FDA to test how many hundreds or thousands of “supplements” which are ALREADY ON THE MARKET? Recall that you quoted a passage in which the complaint was not that enforcement was impossible, but that it was difficult to keep such things from reaching the market.

    Decades late, and billions of dollars short.

    Then there was The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003, introduced by Hatch and Joseph Biden, which banned the sale of steroid precursors. This bill was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Bush in 2004.

    The quoted complaint was that it was difficult to deal with STEROIDS, which were already illegal. This ban on steroid PRECURSORS only adds to the list of things which are dangerous and difficult to regulate.

    The main problem remains the same. DSHEA still exempts so-called “supplement” manufacturers from having to prove that their products are safe and useful. None of Hatch’s actions fixes that, and that is why the 2010 “enforcement act” is so inadequate.

    The percentage of Americans using supplements continues to rise gradually. I hope this means support for DSHEA will also grow.

    The more people use supplements, the more important it is that we require the mountebanks to provide evidence for their claims. DSHEA is in no way friendly to customers. It is anti-scientific and anti-honesty.

  15. SloFox says:

    The claims made by a significant portion of the ‘supplement’ industry are clearly fraudulent independent of whether their products’ toxicity. At a minimum I would imagine that this would fall under the jurisdiction of the FTC. The FTC has obviously not been effective at policing the false advertising within the industry. Drugs undergo additional scrutiny by the FDA. All DSHEA seems to do is ensure the FDA CANNOT regulate supplements. Instead of health fraud the supplements industry can only be found guilty of false advertising.

    DSHEA is mechanism for protecting the supplement industry from the FDA and probably nothing more. I mean, really, what else does it do?

  16. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS (2)

    PREAMBLE

    In October 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was signed into law by President William (Bill) Clinton. Before this time, dietary supplements were subject to the same regulatory requirements as were other foods. This law, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, created a new regulatory framework for the safety and labelling of dietary supplements.

    Congress defined the term ‘dietary supplement’ in the DSHEA 1994 Act as follows: ‘A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to supplement the diet. Thanks for that – someone somewhere has a Diploma in ‘Stating the obvious’.

    THE SLUMBERING GIANT

    In my last post which was actually my first post on this topic (now there’s irony for you), I suggested human ERRORS OF JUDGEMENT can (and do) lead to ABSURDITIES.

    Here are a few such absurdities:

    Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act 1994 (DSHEA), the MANUFACTURER of ‘dietary supplement products’ is ‘responsible for ensuring’ (a term here which means can be TRUSTED) that a product they INTEND to market is SAFE before they are marketed.

    Unlike DRUG products that MUST be PROVEN ‘safe and effective for their intended use’ BEFORE PERMISSION TO MARKET IS GRANTED, there are NO provisions in the law for FDA to ‘approve’ dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness BEFORE they reach the consumer. In other words, manufacturers DO NOT NEED TO REGISTER THEIR PRODUCTS with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling ‘dietary supplements’ – irrespective of what these ‘dietary supplements’ may contain.

    This is ABSURD!

    Except in the case of a new dietary ingredient, where pre-market review for safety data and other information is required by law, a firm does NOT have to provide FDA with any EVIDENCE it relies on to substantiate safety or effectiveness before or after it markets its products

    This is ABSURD!

    Under DSHEA, once the product IS marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is ‘unsafe’ before it can take action to restrict the product’s use or ban it from the marketplace. In other words, the ONUS to prove FAILURE rests on the shoulders of the FDA. Oh boy – have the FDA got THEIR work cut out – I trust they have a good recruitment drive in place to hire sufficient policemen capable of carrying out all of this!

    This is ABSURD!

    All of this is putting the cart before the horse.

    This is called DISASTER INCUBATION!

    The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements have a ‘responsibility’ to record, investigate and forward to FDA any reports they receive of serious adverse events associated with the use of their products. Is this before or AFTER the trial and appeals?

    This is ABSURD!

    We are now creating an INCIDENT CHAIN that could culminate in DISASTER – and the product is STILL ON THE MARKET!

    THE SLUMBERING GIANT AWAKENS

    In my first post, I presented five maxims to bring justice to your favour. These are:

    Maxim 1: Proving the RIGHT to hold POSSESSION is NINE TENTHS of the LAW.
    Maxim 2: DEFINITION is ALL.
    Maxim 3: Seek ANOTHER way to win!
    Maxim 4: Use CURRENT LEGISLATION to attack the HARM on UNEXPECTED GROUNDS!
    Maxim 5: The PEN is MIGHTIER than the SWORD!

    What we have here is that the LEGAL DEFINITION is at FAULT. Lobby to have the LEGAL DEFINITION changed so that the ONUS is on the MANUFACTURER to PROVE ‘DUE DILIGENCE’ by showing efficacy and safety of a given product PRIOR to release of the said product.

    MEANWHILE

    If you are GENUINE about this AND you TRULY want to bring REFORM, and you have satisfied ALL of the criteria I presented in my first post – and present below – that is:

    You have good GROUNDS – a legal word which here means IREFUTABLE EVIDENCE that a particular product is causing HARM
    You have PROOF that SUBSTANTIATES YOUR ALLEGATION – a phrase of law which here means you can prove BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT that THAT product IS the CAUSE of the attested HARM
    You can LEGALY LAY CLAIM to your request to have the Law changed – a legal term here which means ‘prove the RIGHT to hold POSSESSION’ – i.e. – you BELIEVE you will WIN!

    THEN – and ONLY then:

    Use MAXIM 4 and INVOKE The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act) – which includes the FDA’S New FOOD TERRORISM REGULATION!

    Under THIS regulation, if a GENUINE ALARM is raised (God help you if what you do is FALSE) then this directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take IMMEDIATE steps so as to protect the public from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply. This not only includes determining the location and source of the event throughout the ENTIRE food-chain, it permits the agency to notify quickly facilities that may be affected and TAKE SWIFT AND EFFECTIVE ACTION!

    God help you if you do this for a PRANK! Kiss goodbye to your life outside buddy.

    TAKE HEED

    America’s battle to win the ‘war on drugs’ has cost the American TAXPAYER $1 TRILLION.

    FORTUNES that could have been put to much better use in substance abuse education and rehabilitation, has been spent capturing, putting behind bars, and maintaining hundreds of thousands of people behind bars since President Nixon declared the fight 40 years ago. Liberals have long criticised the futility of the war and conservatives in the US are ALSO questioning whether the fight is worth the salt.

    The Global Commission on Drug Policy report calls for the legalisation of some drugs, and an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

    The panel includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, and the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

    TILIS

  17. GLaDOS says:

    I smell tl;dr copypasta spam. It is dull and non conversational.

  18. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS (3)

    … the percolator, the toaster, the cooker, … OH – GOOD MORNING AMERICA!

    In my last blog I explicated on many things pertaining to law, including the CRITERIA one must satisfy to WIN; and I also demonstrated a STRATEGY that can be deployed to catch the adversary unawares and, if done right, go on to WIN.

    I also EMPHASISED, and do so again HERE, that in Law DEFINITION IS ALL!

    NINETY PERCENT of cases are LOST because of lack of due care and attention to this one simple maxim.

    In Britain, the DEFINITION AT LAW (a legal term which means the DEFINITION the LAWYER will use in court) of a vitamin is “ANY organic compound essential for normal growth and nutrition that is required in small quantities in the diet.”

    In America, the DEFINITION AT LAW of a ‘dietary supplement’ is “A product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to supplement the diet.” (DSHEA 1994 Act)

    SCRUTINY (a term which here means close inspection, comparison, and evaluation against a FORMAL MODEL based upon LOGIC) of BOTH definitions reveals a GLARING ERROR in a particular DEFINITION AT LAW.

    Can you see which one and WHY?

    You can’t?

    Then please read on.

    Each definition contains phrases that in LAW are classified as CLAUSES OF INTENT.

    Now this is a BIG thing to elucidate here (no – much bigger than that) so to keep it simple, the expression ‘clause of intent’ is what is MEANT in the WORDING – or – put another way, do the WORDS convey WHAT THE SPEAKER INTENDED?

    This is important because, as I have stated in this CURRENT post – which in proper DEFINITION is actually a PREVIOUS post – DEFINITION IS ALL!

    The requirements MUST be OVERT – a legal word which here means EVIDENT (as in EVIDENCE) and SATISFIED – a legal word that means IN COMPLIANCE. ANY party that does NOT meet the stipulated criteria is BREAKING THE LAW.

    THE BRITISH CLAUSES OF INTENT

    ESSENTIAL for normal growth and nutrition
    REQUIRED in the diet.

    In the British definition it is OVERT that ANY party that hawks a product that contains ANY INGREDIENT that is NOT ‘ESSENTIAL for normal growth and nutrition’ AND ‘REQUIRED in the diet’ is BREAKING THE LAW.

    In other words, my product can ONLY contain ingredients that are BENEFICIAL TO HEALTH AND that are REQUIRED in the diet.

    Note the distinction – not DESIRED – REQUIRED!

    THE AMERICAN CLAUSES OF INTENT

    A product taken by MOUTH
    CONTAINS a ‘dietary ingredient’

    In the American definition it is OVERT that ANY party that hawks a product that contains ANY product that CANNOT be ‘taken by mouth’ (perhaps due to the inability to break the product into a physical size that can willingly be persuaded to slide down the gullet – a conjecture that applies to ‘bars’ of things – such as a bar of chocolate) AND does NOT contain a ‘dietary ingredient’ is BREAKING THE LAW.

    In other words – I can sell a pill that contains strychnine PROVIDING the pill is SWALLOWABLE and ALSO contains a ‘dietary ingredient’.

    Now I trust you see WHY I EMPHASISED, and do so again HERE, that in Law DEFINITION IS ALL!

    What you do about getting the DEFINITION changed is entirely up to you.

    IF (and having evaluated the worthiness of the majority of comments this is a VERY big IF) you GENUINELLY wish to bring LASTING REFORM then may I suggest TWO movies to SHOW YOU THE WAY FORWARD. These are:

    ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’

    If all you want to do is simply SPOUT – a term which here means SPEW OUT VERBAGE, then may I suggest that you write a book and attempt to get it published.

    TILIS

  19. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS (4)

    … the barbeque grill, the ice-cream maker, the solar panel, … OH – HELLO AMERICA!

    A PLEA

    GOOD PEOPLE, what I have taken the time to painstakingly construct and submit HERE is VERY relevant to the discussion. More than you CURRENTLY realise – unless you have already read and DIGESTED my dissertation.

    Should you read this post in its ENTIRETY; what you will learn is SO DARK AND SINISTER I can barely bring myself to write about it. BUT as a Non-conformist Christian, I am DRIVEN to DO so in the HOPE that SOMEONE reading this – YOU perhaps? Will not KNOWINGLY use the VILE TECHNIQUE I am about to describe AGAINST an opponent – but will use it AGAINST the OBSCENE CORPORATIONS WHO MAKE FORTUNES ON THE BACKS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE BY DEPLOYING LEGAL CHEATING!

    Please bear with me – and I shall do ALL I can to inject HUMOUR as we go along.

    THE PRIOR

    Humans are DEVIOUS creatures by nature (no dip-stick – NATURE – not Nietzsche. Doh! Friedrich Wilhelm would spin in his grave if he heard THAT).

    In June 2011 the British COMPLAINTS COMMISSION heard EVIDENCE that the OFFICE of FAIR TRADING (OFT) provided, showing travellers spent £300 MILLION on card surcharges in the airline industry alone in 2010.

    In America over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS (and rising) has been spent on Nixon’s ‘War on drugs’.

    DISERTATION

    Ho now! How many of you have heard of the American ECONOMIST John Forbes Nash?

    And of those – how many of you have heard of ‘The Nash Equilibrium’?

    And of those – how many know what it is?

    And of those – how many COMPREHEND it?

    OK – data gathering session over – read on –

    The Nash Equilibrium forms the backbone to GAME THEORY (Wow! Did I just write GAME theory – that’s rich – playing GAMES with the ECONOMY – and HOW)

    Simply put – a first party entity (person, syndicate, company, etc.) COMPETING with ANOTHER entity is in ‘EQUILIBRIUM’ if changing their CURRENT strategy would cause a LOSS to occur to the FIRST party. PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH AGAIN!

    Oh crikey – I DO apologise for the way that I have worded that last paragraph – the philosophers and logicians amongst us are now stuck in a logical cleft-stick loop.

    YO! (it’s no good – they won’t HEAR me – I WROTE that. I also wrote YO)

    BE AWARE AND BEWARE – a word which here means be WARY – be on your GUARD! The Nash Equilibrium is very very DEVIOUS good people!

    So HOW devious?

    Nope – even more devious than that – and that IS devious!

    Try again.

    And YOU call THAT devious! Not even CLOSE!

    Let me inform all of you good brethren that the Nash Equilibrium has DESTROYED LIVES and DESIMATED the American ECONOMY it was meant to SERVE!

    Now THAT is DEVIOUS!

    I cited TWO examples at the top of this post – and I shall return to those presently – depending on how quickly you read – or scroll down and miss the GOOD bit – your choice!

    THE GOOD BIT

    You want to see the Nash Equilibrium in ACTION?

    You DO?

    Are you SURE?

    Then should you decide to read on – PLEASE promise that you won’t come to ME crying.

    Are you sitting comfortably?

    Do you have some tissues on standby?

    No?

    THEN GO AND GET SOME!

    Let’s try again shall we.

    Are you sitting comfortably?

    Do you have some tissues on standby?

    Yes?

    Then I will begin.

    Most GAMES, such as tennis, mining, ‘Call of duty’, monopoly, farming, pool, manufacturing, trade, export, etc. are considered ‘fair’ because the winner can only defeat his opponents in a FAIR and JUST MANNER.

    We have seen how Apple inc have moved away from statistical analysis and all of the ‘Six Sigma’ nonsense, which has NOT served the West well, and applied ‘Bayes Theorem’ instead; and in making the brave step to do so, have all but DESTROYED NOKIA and brought Sony-Eriksson to it’s knees. This, I would suggest, is defeating your opponents in a FAIR and JUST manner.

    The ‘Nash Equilibrium’ is NOT like that! It is based upon DARK DEVIOUSNESS that is contained within the GAME of POKER – yes – you read it right – POKER!

    Just HOW dark?

    Put the light on and you will be able to read better.

    The game of Poker has ONE LEGAL DECEPTION that makes the game SERIOUSLY UNFAIR – and it is THIS – players may ‘BLUFF’ a word which here means PRETEND to hold a high-rank hand WHEN THEY DO NOT DO SO.

    THIS is THE NASH EQUILIBRIUM!

    This gives the player who STARTS WITH THE MOST STAKE MONEY a SERIOUS advantage over EVERY OTHER PLAYER. BUT – it can be BROKEN – and I will show you HOW in this post!

    It is IMPERATIVE to appreciate this very simple but EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE principle good people so I shall repeat it!

    In ALL TRADING GAMES the player who STARTS WITH THE MOST STAKE MONEY has a SERIOUS advantage over EVERY OTHER PLAYER!

    Have we THOROUGHLY DIGESTED that or should I repeat it again so that you genuinely GET THE POINT?

    Good.

    Here is why it is SO.

    The probability P(E) of one player RUINING another player = players bankroll divided by TOTAL AMOUNT in the BANK – not THEIR bank – THE BANK!

    To illustrate; suppose we have two players – player Y (you) with 10 units, and player R (Mr Rich-man) with 100 units.

    The probability P(E) of player Y (You) ruining player R and spoiling their day, is:

    YOUR money DIVIDED BY the TOTAL amount in the BANK

    In YOUR case, YOUR probability of WINNING equates to Y/(Y + R) = 10/(10 + 100) = 1/11 = 9%

    The probability P(E) of player R RUINING player Y (YOU my friend) is R/(R + Y) = 100/(100+10) = 10/11 = 91%

    The RUINATION ADVANTAGE = LARGEST POT DIVIDED BY ‘MY’ POT

    This equates to R/Y = 100/10 = 10

    Player R (the Richman) has an advantage of 10 to 1 of RUINING HIS OPPONENT.

    NAH – THAT CANT BE TRUE – I’M A POKER PLAYER SO I KNOW (yeah right)

    To illustrate, let’s play ‘Omaha’ – the poker game James Bond favours when he plays cards for money to stimulate his intellect – and in so doing – sharpen his mind – and the game where he DESTROYS his opponent ‘Le Chiffre’ at the casino ‘Casino Royale’ in Montenegro – with the backing of THE AMERICAN BANK – courtesy of his soon to be friend-for-life Felix Leiter.

    At this point, to consolidate what I am explaining, I encourage you to obtain and watch the film ‘Casino Royale’ (starring the British actor Daniel Craig) – but do not watch it whilst reading, marking, and inwardly digesting what I have submitted here. The one will detract from the other and you will lose your place – both here – AND in the film. That would never do.

    THE GAME

    Omaha is played in casinos throughout the world, and the ‘James Bond’ version, called ‘Texas Hold-em’, is seen on television shows like ‘World Poker Tour’ and ‘World Series of Poker’.

    In summary, in Omaha, each player is SEQUENTIALLY dealt 2 ‘hole’ cards (a gambling term which here means cards that your OPPONENTS are NOT privy to see) from a card-shoe containing a MINIMUM of FIVE thoroughly mixed decks of cards.

    Once everyone has their requisite number of ‘hole’ cards, 5 ‘Community’ cards are then dealt face-down to the centre from the SAME card-shoe.

    The game is played in ROUNDS, whereby the centre cards are revealed one-by-one – with a BETTING INTERVAL between each round.

    Each player makes a five-card hand from HIS cards PLUS the five community cards in the centre.

    Should you continue to read this post, and not get distracted by the amazing action sequences in the film, you will discover that the ‘community cards’ are aptly named because they represent the general public, AND you will comprehend WHY.

    Please take all the time you require to CONSOLIDATE this GAME section before you continue!

    THE STRATEGY

    OK – its YOU pitted against R

    Just answer YEP or NOPE to the questions coming up.

    Ready?

    Sure?

    Changed your mind? (nearly had you on a ‘yes’ then – stay focused)

    Then – let’s go!

    ROUND ONE – Ding ding – oops – sorry – that’s boxing – or was it wrestling?

    On the first betting round lets say Player R goes first and bids one Unit (1 ‘R’ Unit staked)

    You match his bid (1 Unit) and raise him one Unit (2 ‘Y’ Units staked)

    ROUND TWO
    On round 2, he matches your bid (1 Unit) and he raises you two Units (4 ‘R’ Units staked)
    You match his bid (2 Units) and raise him two Units (6 ‘Y’ Units staked)

    ROUND THREE
    On round 3, he matches your bid (2 Units) and raises you two Units (8 ‘R’ Units staked)
    You match his bid (2 Units) and raise him two Units (10 ‘Y’ Units staked – you are now BUST)

    ROUND FOUR
    On the FINAL round, he matches your bid (2 Units) and raises you 2 Units (12 ‘R’ Units staked)

    PLEASE ABSORB THIS – if you CANNOT match his BET – Mr RICH-MAN wins ALL of YOUR money – even if he holds a hand of lower rank to yours – and IT DOES NOT COST Mr RICH-MAN A PENNY!

    THIS is what caused James Bond to LOSE to Le Shiffe in the earlier part of the contest!

    PLEASE TAKE ON BOARD – it was NOT James Bond’s ability to BEAT his opponent’s HAND – it was his OPPONENTS ability to BLUFF until Bond was BROKE!

    This overwhelming advantage to the player with the LARGER CAPITAL is based upon a DECEITFUL game.

    The player with the largest capital will ALWAYS win – because they can ‘bluff’!

    This effectively pushes every punter with less money at the start of play into an inevitable loss making situation. This also applies at any point DURING the game! The game is not over until the fat cat sings.

    The moment a player accumulates more money than you hold – you are sunk! When you encounter this situation the best way to win is to walk away! The SHOW may be over but the MALLADY lingers on!

    Now at this juncture I could give you some tips to maximise your enjoyment of the game, so as I CAN, I WILL.

    Yes its RELEVENT – shut the F**k UP and stop butting in when I am interrupting!

    TEN TIPS TO ENJOY POKER

    1 In Omaha, the two cards YOU hold are the ONLY cards that set you apart from the other players (companies) and give you the chance to win. All of the COMMUNITY cards (the general public) are shared by you AND EVERY OTHER COMPETITOR in your game (sector of the market). It’s vital that you focus on what THOSE cards could mean to SOMEONE ELSE at least as much as you focus on what they mean to you. In particular, keep your eyes open for your opponents’ straight and flush possibilities. THIS is what sunk NOKIA – they were so locked into their OWN offerings the FAILED to see a) what the PUBLIC wanted, and b) what their OPPONENTS were offering (and all they had to do to KNOW was walk into a high-street outlet and buy their competitors offerings. Maybe the water in Sweden affects how you reason.

    2 Play as often as possible – EXPERIENCE is the best teacher.

    3 EVERYONE has a ‘TELL’ a word which here means subconscious body language that reveals emotions when under stress – e.g. I can TELL when she is lying. When you look at your cards, be careful NOT to reveal anything with YOUR reactions – facial or otherwise. Taking a sharp breath, no matter how softly you do it, can TELL a wily opponent all they need to know to have an advantage over you. Keyword: EMOTIONLESS.

    4 Try to sit with your back to the wall so as to prevent SPECTATORS from seeing your hand. Many good hands are unintentionally ‘tipped-off’ by onlookers who do NOT keep ‘poker faces’.

    5 Treat every round of betting as though it was the FIRST. Remember THIS – each event is INDEPENDENT to all of the others – in games of CHANCE the outcome of any PREVIOUS event has no effect on the outcome of any FUTURE event! Know this too: The lower the number of sought outcomes in proportion to the total number of outcomes, the lower the probability of the event taking place. As the number of PLAYERS goes DOWN, the potential of a strong hand ALSO goes down. When you hold a good hand – wait until the LAST round to raise, bet your hand to the hilt, and make every player PAY to see your hand.

    6 DO NOT TRY TO BEAT THE BLUFFERS AT THEIR OWN GAME! You will BANKRUPT yourself AND take away YOUR enjoyment and deprive OTHERS of THEIRS.

    7 Don’t try to beat other players – let THEM try to beat YOU.

    8 Always insist the cards are CUT following a shuffle (this applies to ALL card games).

    9 FOLD A DUD HAND AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! TIP: You should seriously consider folding before the flop if you have two non-pair cards – both of which are less than TEN.

    10 TRUST NO ONE! If you want to play a good game you must forget friendship, give the game all you’ve got and bet your hand for all it is worth – or get out!

    My tips are your BIBLE for ensuring a lucrative profit from the game of Poker.

    THE DARK SIDE

    Hmmmph Hmmmmmmph And when did you last see your father?

    Get out Darth – this is NOT Star Wars – its ‘The war on drugs’.

    Earlier I cited TWO examples that I promised I would return to. I now keep my promise.

    Oh no – not YOU again – I said PROMISE not PREMISE – go and play in the traffic on the freeway.

    As stated earlier: Travellers spent £300 MILLION on card surcharges in the airline industry in 2010.

    NASH EQUILIBRIUM – I will continue to impose these CONTEMPTIBLE surcharges because the £300 MILLION I get FOR DOING SO is a MUCH BIGGER amount than I would LOSE in fines and court costs.

    This is why many newspapers print SCANDAL – the REWARD in SALES is larger than the LOSS in litigation – PLUS – the person on the RECEIVING end of such VILE practices have their careers DESTROYED and their BANK BALANCES depleted = MORE SCANDAL!

    ONE TRILLION DOLLARS (and rising) has been spent on Nixon’s ‘War on drugs’. This LOSS has made a HUGE dint in the American economy – so much so, the Federal Bank lacks RESERVES and is therefore struggling to bail its country out of a RECESSION.

    I shan’t discuss Enron et al, or mention how Coca Cola bottling plants cause drought, nor shall I mention how DEBT is used as a lever to make MASSIVE amounts of money. Instead, I will bring a little sunshine.

    Henry Ford was an entrepreneur – he was ALSO a PHILANTHROPIST – a word which here means a HUMANITARIAN. This ‘gene’ seems to be in ALL of the Ford family to this present day.

    Henry Ford gave the masses the machine that changed the world – the automobile.

    He gave the world the ‘production line’.

    He single-handedly introduced garages so that you could obtain fuel AND have your vehicle repaired if it required it.

    He believed a person should be able to own a vehicle OUTRIGHT on just FOUR MONTHS wages – and he paid his workers enough so that they COULD; as well as providing credit from his own PERSONAL bank account to aid those who might struggle to have the freedom the automobile avails.

    Ford factories have provided extremely good life-styles for MILLIONS.

    Their products are some of the most well-equipped and SAFEST cars IN THE WORLD.

    And to raise countries out of the poverty traps – so that they do NOT have to trade in DRUGS, the Ford Motor company deliberately puts its plants in ‘third-world’ countries – and the difference this makes to these people’s economic life-style is a joy to behold.

    What can YOU do about the MALPRACTICES?

    For those of you that might be motivated to assist victims that may not live long enough to see justice be done, I have made a small contribution by showning you the TACTICS (see THE LAW IS AN ASS 1 – 3) above, AND in this post I have given you POINTERS on how you can improve drug legislation by having the DEFINITION changed. The rest is up to YOU.

    (Sound of police helicopter overhead)

    YOU LADDIE – YES – YOU – stand STILL!!!!!!!!! (Waters – ‘The Wall’)

    And ALWAYS remember good people …

    THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD!

    Regards

    TILIS

  20. Jeff says:

    @TILIS: You might be interested in this article by The Alliance for Natural Health (Europe), an organization based in London:

    The EU is Planning to Dumb Down Our Food Supplements–Imminently!

    Its members seem to think DSHEA should be a model for governments worldwide. To them it’s a good thing that American consumers have access to a wide range of high-potency dietary supplements.

  21. qetzal says:

    TILIS writes:

    If all you want to do is simply SPOUT – a term which here means SPEW OUT VERBAGE, then may I suggest that you write a book and attempt to get it published.

    I suggest you desperately need to follow your own advice. On this tread alone you have posted 4 comments averaging almost 1500 words a piece! In total, those comments are 2.5 times larger than Dr. Gorski’s entire post! Talk about SPEWING OUT VERBAGE.

  22. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS (5)

    @ Quetzel First, THANK YOU for responding. I hope you saw my reply to your last post (DOND) and apologise for the slight delay – I was awaiting the data I have posted and trust you will enjoy it if you have not already done so.

    With regards to the length of some of my comments, for that I can only apologise and thank you for your observation.

    On web-sites that have a predominant American audience, as I continually discover, there is often a language barrier that can and does cause INTENT to be misconstrued, so to reduce the opportunity for error and in an ATTEMPT to bring CLARITY I have adopted two approaches.

    In respect of having the opportunity to have my small voice heard on a public forum, and to show that I appreciate the responses I am fortunate to receive, my first respect is to give a FULL and CONSIDERED reply, and not just dash off a few ramblings that do not add CREDENCE or VALUE, which, to NOT do so I perceive to be DISRESPECTFUL.

    My second is to give DEFINITION to words or phrases so as to prevent any misunderstandings of SENSE and INTENT – particularly if one is discussing complex technical or legal issues. Sadly, this does put up the word-count.

    It is self-evident many other contributors ALSO experience the same difficulty when discussing complex issues. That said, in future, I shall make every valiant attempt to use brevity, however, if it comes to pass that brevity leads to fog, then regrettably, I shall have to retort to longer answers.

    I don’t’ believe the reason for lack of comprehension to be ENTIRELY the ‘divided by a common tongue’ LINGUISTIC issue (donkey – ass, and my play on ‘folk’ and a profanity to inject humour into the dryness and VILENESS of what I was attempting to illustrate being valid examples); I ALSO believe that it is partly to do with the syntax of the language itself being inadequate, and, despite my best efforts to write in a clear manner, I must partly shoulder the blame for (unintentionally) ‘ taking for granted’ that maxims, idioms, and English phraseology may ALSO confuse the American readership.

    It’s a difficult one – and one that my verbose penultimate ‘DOND’ reply was attempting to address as I felt that I had not made my points clear – and reading your response to it, I STILL feel that way – but I have reached out to you and called a truce – a word which here means sought solidarity and camaraderie to encourage fellowship.

    I trust my response to you plus THIS reply have brought some enlightenment.

    Sorry Quetzel, PLEASE forgive me – I can’t resist a humourous response to your latest comment, and I trust that you too will see the humour in your remark.

    Are you ready?

    Are your chuckle muscles well oiled?

    Should I take heed of your notion to talk about spewing out verbiage?

    Best wishes

    TILLIS

  23. Tell it like it is says:

    THE LAW IS AN ASS (6)

    @Jeff First A HUGE THANK YOU to you Jeff for the info – TOP NOTCH!

    Making different health choices CAN change the world and I fully support in both word and deed, the philosophy ‘Take responsibility for your own health, foster awareness and lead by example, act local, think global, focus on the ‘next generation’ and work with kids’.

    In my outreach programmes to the schools, as well as developing self awareness in the children, I also encourage them to be responsible for themselves and the GLOBAL environment in which we all live and share with every plant, insect, and creature on our planet.

    I am encouraged that the ANH-Intl has submitted detailed submissions to European Commission, EFSA and the UK Food Standards Agency, drawing attention to some of the limitations of the proposed methodologies and suggesting alternatives that are based on rational science and not the wall-eyed, crack-pot risk-based assessments.

    Evaluation of chronic effects is, sadly, down to EXPERIENCE – and that takes TIME.

    SLUMBERING GIANTS

    The European Commission is a bureaucratic behemoth that has a SERIOUS flaw inherent within it – and that is, when it comes to voting on something, each country has its OWN agenda to fulfil (overt or hidden), and as a result, that, together with the ‘short-terminism’ of the elected European Parliament, results in very little getting done.

    As the article you cited says: “Just imagine what would happen if we all just followed the 10 simple behaviours” WOW!

    Just imagine if the World Health Organisation (WHO – who indeed?) was not a dog with no teeth. WOW! It can’t bite – but it will give you a nasty suck.

    Maybe we should be discussing familial hypercholesterolaemia?

    As I attempted to illustrate, all the time we have at best, woolly, and at worst, misleading definitions, illogical policing of policy, illogical routes through the law, and scenarios where the Nash Equilibrium DRIVES transgressions, then drug peddlers will continue to hawk their wares onto the gullible public.

    The pong is ended but the malady lingers on.

    Kindest regards

    TILLIS

  24. won4all says:

    re Gorski: “I do love science, which is one reason why I get so agitated when I see it abused. Since I also love medicine, it agitates me even more to see both science and medicine abused”

    I respect this statement as science and medicine should be well-evidenced, and I applaud your efforts to critically look at those who deviate from scientific principles. Your sentiments are well-echoed by Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine and vice dean of education at the University of California, Davis: “We don’t like to acknowledge the uncertainty of medicine, either to ourselves or to our patients…But patients deserve to know when their doctor’s recommendation is backed up with good evidence and when it isn’t.”

    I do, however, find it interesting that you, Dr. Gorski, come from the medical specialty where “NOWHERE IN MEDICINE IS THIS MORE OF A PROBLEM THAN IN SURGERY. Even essential surgery may pose risk of infection, medical error, or a bad reaction to anesthesia. But risks are compounded because many common surgical techniques are not as effective as physicians believe or are simply performed on the wrong patients, says Guy Clifton, a neurosurgeon at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and author at Flatlined: Resuscitating American Medicine.

    In 1989, as part of an effort to improve carotid surgery, vascular surgeons began employing a technique called stenting to prop open clogged carotid arteries with metal mesh tubes. Stenting is less invasive, but that does not necessarily mean it is safer. One study, conducted in France
    and published in 2006 in the New England Journal of Medicine, had to be stopped because stenting was killing patients. Another large study, out this year, found that 4.7 percent of endarterectomy patients had a stroke or died within four years after surgery, compared with 6.4 percent of those receiving stents. Rothwell is not optimistic that even this evidence will dampen surgeons’ enthusiasm for stents. “One issue is how these fashions arise in medicine—why do doctors accept a new technique and begin using it widely?” he says. “Innovation in medicine is not synonymous with progress.”

    YET NO COUNTRY HAS SET UP A SYSTEMATIC PROGRAM FOR EVALUATING NEW SURGERIES.

    So it’s odd that you critically attack other modalities for a lack of supporting evidence while your own profession is equally guilty of the same inconsistencies. Where is your agitation for this grand abuse? Seems the pot is most certainly calling the kettle black.

    I look forward to your response.

  25. David Gorski says:

    Actually, you’ve got it all wrong. Of all the surgical specialties, I come from one that is arguably the most strongly rooted in science: breast surgery. Indeed, breast surgeons pioneered the randomized clinical trial as applied to breast cancer surgery. From it we got numerous NSABP trials that taught us that lumpectomy plus radiation therapy could produce the same survival as mastectomy, that radical mastectomy is not necessary, that chemotherapy after surgery prolongs survival, that we don’t have to take all the lymph nodes under the arm out, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on.

    And if you think I go easy on surgery, type the word “vertebroplasty” into the search box above.

    Seriously, you really don’t know what you’re talking about; I already do hold all medicine up to the same standard.

    Oh, and your comment is off-topic for this post; so I will not be answering you any more here, lest I allow the thread to by hijacked.

  26. Tell it like it is says:

    @David Gorsky BRILLIANT! On EVERY front.

    A very dear friend of mine recently had a mastectomy. Call me naïve, but may I ask:

    Is the beautiful information you have stated (regarding the efficaciousness of lumpectomy plus radiation therapy could produce the same survival as mastectomy, that radical mastectomy is not necessary, that chemotherapy after surgery prolongs survival, that we don’t have to take all the lymph nodes under the arm out, etc., etc., etc.) widely known?

    Are you an ambassador for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is the body aware of these vital facts?

    Best regards

    TILIS

  27. won4all says:

    Dr. Gorski,

    Thanks for your reply. It’s commendable that breast surgery is purportedly the most scientifically grounded surgical speciality and that you’ve written critically about vertebroplasty in the name of good science and medicine.

    As you state that you “do love science, which is one reason why I get so agitated when I see it abused,” it’s puzzling that you’ve only tackled a specific surgical speciality (vertebroplasty) rather than surgery as a whole when the FDA regulates drugs, devices, and many tests, but does not control how doctors use them and the FDA HAS NO CONTROL OVER SURGERIES.

    Compared to the much smaller percentage of breast-cancer-surgery and vertebroplasty patients, I would think that your scientific and medical indignation and keen insight would be more perceptive to and more highly motivated to expose the grosser medical problem of surgery as a whole. As a man of science and medicine, which you claim you are, shouldn’t it be your responsibility then to write about the state of surgery whereby no country has set up a systematic program for evaluating new surgeries?

    Lack of strong oversight means doctors often have limited information about side effects, even from products and procedures used for years and especially the efficacy of many surgical procedures. One surgeon who complained says, “Device makers could sell us a piece of curtain and call it surgical mesh and we wouldn’t know the difference.”

    The fact that the FDA has no control over surgeries and that no country has set up a systematic program for evaluating surgeries = very poor regulation and lack of science-based evidence, which is, if I may borrow from your lexicon, “pure crank” and “woo” of the grandest order.

    As a person who “already [does] hold all medicine up to the same standard,” your criticisms seem oddly selective, i.e., you freely criticize all CAM as a whole, yet discuss but a specialty or two from the whole of surgery (which, again, lacks stringent regulation and clinical evidence). And we all know that in science, a selective viewpoint is nothing but bias…the antithesis of objectivity, a key requirement of science. As an objective man of science and true crusader of what is right for patients, you are required to critically analyze surgery as a whole, and not just a specialty or two…

    Cheers.

  28. Chris says:

    won4all, Dr. Gorski’s answer ended with this: Oh, and your comment is off-topic for this post; so I will not be answering you any more here, lest I allow the thread to by hijacked.

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