Beyond progressive malpractice.

Author:Cummins, Ronnie
Position:Taking Down Big Pharma - Viewpoint essay

Progressive Malpractice (noun), ignoring the fundamental economic and political roots of a crisis; taking a single-issue, band-aid approach in hopes of gaining mainstream support.

Libertarian Narcissism (noun), promoting individual solutions for collective problems; believing that market pressure alone can bring out-of-control corporations under control; ignoring the plight of the poor; pretending major problems can be solved without serious grassroots organizing and goverament reform.

Welcome to Sicko Nation: Swimming in a toxic soup of 100,000 synthetic chemicals--carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, immune suppressors, excitotoxins ... Worn down by corporate junk food, tainted consumer products, air and water pollution, incessant advertising, infectious disease, synthetic drugs, cigarette smoke, and alcohol. Zapped 24/7 with electromagnetic radiation. Stressed out by poverty and economic insecurity, fear of crime, rampant consumer-ism, and a murderous work pace. A growing corps of Americans is chronically sick and dispirited.

Aiding and abetting this massive assault, main stream medical practitioners, the corporate media, and elected public officials ignore or cover up the toxic roots of Sicko Nation. Money-grubbing politicians offer band-aid solutions, and then proceed to collect their rewards in the form of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations). Big Pharma spends more on lobbying--$855 million between 1998 and 2006--than any other industry in the United States, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In addition Big Pharma feeds the insatiable appetite of the mainstream media, spending more than $70 billion dollars a year on advertising. Last but not least, US doctors make more money than any other medical practitioners in the world, though they typically pay a steep price in terms of a 70-hour workweek, skyrocketing malpractice insurance, and indentured servitude to HMOs and giant hospitals. The Emperor of ill health has no clothes, but very few of our so-called leaders are talking seriously about what to do about it.

American consumers and employers will spend over two trillion dollars this year on health insurance, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical bills, yet we will remain--mentally and physically--among the unhealthiest people on Earth. Forty-eight percent of US men and 38% of women can now look forward to getting cancer. Eight percent of our children suffer from serious food allergies, 17% are diagnosed with learning or behavior disabilities, and a third of low-income preschool kids are already overweight or obese. Heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, cancer, and obesity are spiraling out of control among all sectors of the population.

The fundamental causes of most of our chronic health problems are not genetic or inherited, but...

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