July 21, 2010
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“Around the world governments are policing speech in the market to arrest instances in which therapeutic claims (claims of disease risk reduction, prevention, and treatment) are made for foods and food elements. None of those governments considers it necessary to prove the falsity of the claims before they suppress them. It is enough to justify censorship, under the domestic laws of each nation, to prove that the claims have been made. Truth is no defense. The consequences for the offenders are not simply civil, they are criminal. To make a claim that a product treats a disease and not secure government pre-approval for sale of the product as a drug (an enterprise that from beginning to end costs on average about $600 million or more) is universally a crime. Offenders can be sentenced to prison (indeed for terms that can be the equivalent of a life sentence) and products can be enjoined from sale, seized, and destroyed.” --Jonathan Emord 2010
Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Emord has written a new book entitled Global Censorship of Health Information - The Politics of Controlling Therapeutic Information to Protect State-Sponsored Drug Monopolies that should be required reading for anyone wanting to get the big picture on just how convoluted our health care regulatory system really is. A follow up to his earlier book, Rise of Tyranny - How Federal Agencies Abuse Power and Pose Risks to Your Life and Liberty, this new book focuses on the dirty underbelly of how regulations are being crafted to prevent informed self care. What is being blocked is critical information about how to use low-cost, natural substances found in our food supply. This book also covers the international scene where what goes on, particularly in the European Union and at the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius Commission will come to our shores to override our less-restrictive US law. This global blockade of information is, of course, designed to protect the government-promoted pharmaceutical drug monopoly.
Emord is uniquely qualified to write on the subject of food information censorship. He has not only routinely defeated the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on First Amendment grounds in a series of federal lawsuits over his 25 years of practicing constitutional and administrative law, he is also the only non-scientist ever invited to serve on the board of directors of the Certification Board of Nutrition Specialists, where he now serves as Vice Chair. I urge you to visit his website for more details about his body of work.
Readers familiar with Emord’s writings will not be disappointed. Global Censorship of Health Information exhibits the same passion for liberty the Framers of our Constitution had and that Emord is able to bring to life for his readers. He has filled this book with direct quotes from the Framer’s own writings so that there is no way even the most casual reader can misunderstand what the Framers had in mind. New readers to Emord’s passion for our country’s historical roots in liberty will be enthralled to see that they possessed common sense and trusted the general public to know how to deal with factual information without needing government “experts” to interpret things for them.
While the book is a veritable feast for people who love history and who appreciate the roots of our liberty as it pertains to the background behind the framing of our Constitution, Emord also shares his personal experiences when he began to challenge FDA’s refusal to recognize the First Amendment. Within the context of dealing with FDA restrictions of free speech as it applies to what purveyors of food substances are not allowed to say about their benefits, it seems other members of the legal profession warned him not to challenge the status quo. It is a rare thing, apparently, for lawyers to file lawsuits against government agencies for the purpose of restoring the limits of government clearly established by our Constitution.
The First Amendment –
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
James Madison, considered the father of the Constitution and often quoted by Emord, was very specific in his commitment to freedom of speech and the press. He believed strongly that without the freedom to express one’s opinion, liberty, itself, would be in jeopardy. Providing ample evidence, Emord shows that the Framers of the Constitution clearly intended to strip the federal government of ALL power over what people thought and spoke about.
Emord’s simple argument, every time he goes to court (and wins), is that the FDA and other government agencies do not have the constitutional power to silence speech in the public marketplace. There are no legal grounds by which to create a government-controlled limit to “commercial” speech, no grounds for the FDA and other agencies to claim the power to bar health claims before they are provided in the marketplace (“prior restraint” is how the FDA claims it can stop dissemination of information). Nor do they have any authority to punish anyone for making such claims after the fact.
Since Emord’s practice focuses largely on the industry that manufactures and supplies food and nutritional substances made from food, much of the book covers the convoluted and bizarre way his clients and the industry itself are being regulated (aka “jacked around”) by the FDA and other federal agencies, basically to protect the drug industry.
A great example of this outrage is about prune juice. Everybody’s grandmother knows that prune juice can help in the treatment of chronic constipation. However, in the “bizarro” world of FDA regulations, if a purveyor of prune juice informs potential prune juice buyers of this benefit, this magically transforms the juice into a drug that cannot be legally sold without prior approval from the government. The purveyor might also find himself facing stiff fines, possible jail time, removal of prune juice from the marketplace and other “punishments” for his effort.
Other aspects of the censorship of information is how “science” is used to defend the FDA’s stance that no claims can be made about these products without absolute scientific “proof.” In reality, “science” is an ever evolving assortment of investigations and findings from many sources whose views are often based on assumptions that differ from others in the field. Common sense or empirical evidence don’t count to the FDA, either. There is an old joke in the industry that if a group of FDA officials were locked up in a room for a week and forced to drink gallons of prune juice, the obvious results of consuming so much juice would not meet government standards of “proof.”
That the FDA acts as the watchdog to protect the drug industry from competition is at the core of the issue and until laws are enacted to restore recognition of the First Amendment as it applies to the marketplace, we will not see on a label of prune juice any mention of its specific benefits to bowel regularity.
While we here in the States still have access to a wide variety of food substances to supplement our diet, and these products often come in high dosage levels with no ill effect, Europeans are not so lucky. Over the years, the growth of the European Union has spawned a number of interlocking regulatory agencies which, in simple terms, have prompted many governments to remove these products from the marketplace.
Emord covers the history behind how to make a similar liberty and free speech argument in Europe for protection of dietary supplements and what is said about them. He provides specific information, with appropriate legal context, so that readers can see the extent to which global censorship of information is obviously based on agendas other than the public good.
While what goes on in Europe and elsewhere may not seem to have anything to do with what happens here in the States, the emergence of the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) looms large over how these products may or may not be legally available worldwide in the future. Codex, was created like all UN agencies to “harmonize” policies and laws regarding international matters. It is supposed to develop a compendium of standardized “voluntary” “guidelines” on food and food substances. However, when inevitable trade disputes arise in the future and end up in the court created by the WTO, these “guidelines” will be morphed into actual law to resolve the dispute.
Problem is, regulations in most of the 27 states in the European Union (EU) are based on the idea that nutritional supplements are highly toxic and should be strictly regulated as dangerous drugs. (The U.S. regulates them as food and presumed safe.) EU regulators insist that before anything is allowed on the market at all, it must have been proven safe and effective by its own standards. What has been allowed on the market is often in such low dosages that Americans consider them laughable, if not downright useless. Higher dosages that Americans know are where the value of consumption lies, are restricted to prescription drug status. Nonetheless, deliberations at Codex to “harmonize” “guidelines” that are basically incompatible with American law are being drafted right now. That the 27 states of the EU represent 27 countries at Codex meetings and the 50 states of the USA represent one country is also an indicator of the problem. Consequently, final rules are being based on politics, where the needs of the consumer are totally disregarded.
In the face of this kind of indefensible bureaucracy, the question I always go back to is to ask what the human cost is due to all this government-sponsored censorship and monopoly.
Back in 2005, Carolyn Dean, MD ND, and I wrote an article entitled, The Cost of a Stroke is Highway Robbery.
We knew that each year, 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke. If they do not die on the spot, nearly 25% of them will die in a year from lack of appropriate treatment. Those 1.2 million Americans who have survived strokes now report serious disabilities that affect daily living.
In our article, we described how our friend, Dan Haley, a fellow author committed to telling the truth about the longstanding suppression of information about natural health products and services, suffered a stroke.
At that time, according to Newsweek, the annual cost of stroke in America in 2004 was $54 BILLION. The break down was as follows:
Hospitals: $13.7 billion
Nursing homes: $12.8 billion
Physicians and other professionals: $2.7 billion
Home health care: $2.7 billion
Drugs and other medical products: $1.1 billion
Our friend, Dan, a former New York State Assemblyman, whose stroke paralyzed his entire left side, went to a doctor who treated him with a common food substance (magnesium), several other nutritional supplements and oxygen (via a hyperbaric chamber – an old technology any doctor’s office could afford to have on hand). One week later, our friend Dan walked out of the doctor’s office restored to health. Total cost: $1,000 plus travel and hotel lodging.
Similarly, we reported that former Congressman Berkely Bedell testified before Congress providing two examples of his personal experiences in the world of natural health and the use of substances the public denied the right to know about. For his case of Lyme’s Disease, Bedell spent $26,000 on prescription drugs that failed. Then he spent $500 on collostrum from a dairy cow that had been nominally processed, that cured him. He also testified that after $10,000 worth of surgery for prostate cancer that had also failed, he was successfully treated with a natural product costing $600.
Emord provides the following rundown of information backed by credible scientific evidence that are banned in most countries including the U.S.
• Folic acid may reduce the risk of neural tube defects. (FDA permits this claim.)
• Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic Acid may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
• Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of sudden death heart attack.
• SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) may help reduce the symptoms of depression, osteoarthritis, pruritis and elevated serum bilirubin levels associated with liver disease and cholestatis of pregnancy.
• Calcium, strontium, and Vitamin D may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and may lessen its progression.
• Chromium Picolinate may help lower elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance, helping to treat Type II diabetes.
• Co-enzyme Q-10 may improve cardiac function in those suffering from cardio myopathy.
• Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
• Pre and pro-biotics may improve gastrointestinal and immune system function, reducing the incidence of colds and flu.
For me the answer is simple. If we ever expect to provide top flight health care without bankrupting whole countries, at the same time restore the rights and liberties of people, we must break the silence about the safe, low-cost products that can heal us and stop protecting the drug industry and other monopoly interests.
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Emord’s final chapter is entitled, “The Way Back to Liberty.” In it, he outlines what needs to be done to bring sanity and common sense to the regulation of these safe, low-cost and beneficial products.
Global Censorship of Health Information provides us with all the justification and ammunition we need to restore our unalienable right to take care of our own bodies. The question is, “Do we care enough about ourselves and our families to take action?.” If the answer is “yes”, we have a real fight on our hands.
© 2010 - Elissa Meininger - All Rights Reserved
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Elissa Meininger became a noted health policy historian as well as a political activist after almost dying from years of mercury poisoning caused by mercury leaching from the "silver" dental amalgam fillings in her teeth. Bedridden and unable to carry on a coherent conversation, (and unable to obtain a diagnosis from any of the MDs she had consulted), she turned to a traditional naturopath who had no difficulty recognizing and explaining the source of the large array of chronic problems from which she had suffered most of her life. This diagnosis saved her life, but even today, such consultation remains illegal in many states.
Committed to reforming the medical system, Elissa embarked over 20 years ago on an array of projects geared to bringing enlightened medical treatment to the American people, including providing prepared statements for various U.S. Congressional and White House Commission hearings on health freedom legislation and policy, and testifying numerous times before the Oklahoma state legislature.
She is the former Vice President of Friends of Freedom International and co-columnist, with Carolyn Dean, MD/ND, of many articles posted on the NewsWithViews.com.
Currently, Elissa's health freedom political commentary can be heard on the natural health radio show SuperHealth, broadcast twice weekly on FoxSportsRadio 1340 AM in Oklahoma City and on the internet.