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— updated 2007-07-17

Herbalist Review, Issue 2007 #1: Health Freedom issues; Ron Paul, U.S. presidential candidacy

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.

Subtopics on this page…

Copyright ©2007 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.









Recent health freedom issues in the news

During this previous two months (2007 April-May) we've received a record number of emails and news alerts regarding legislative assaults on health freedom. Following are several articles that we feel summarize current developments:

Comments:

In early April of 2007, chemically tainted gluten from Chinese producers was discovered to have massively contaminated pet foods manufactured for sale in the U.S. and Canada; some of this contaminated pet food may have entered the human food chain after it was fed to pigs and chickens. The timing of this contamination scandal created an opportune moment for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation (S1082) that would significantly expand FDA powers. However, one might ask how American consumers will benefit by increasing the powers of an agency that has repeatedly acted as if its primary concern is protecting pharmaceutical company profits? If the FDA were truly concerned about American consumers' health, why have they refused to remove dangerous food additives and drugs like Aspartame from the market? To skeptical observers, the pet food contamination scandal provided a well-timed "9/11" event for the food industry: terror and death from pet food leading to draconian expansion of FDA powers. Americans are generally known to be devoted and emotionally attached to their pets -- what better way to shock them into relinquishing yet a bit more of their freedom of choice by holding their pets hostage?

Meanwhile, to heighten the intrigue and general confusion, Internet health activist groups unleashed a torrent of alarms over something called the "Guidance for Industry on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration". My conclusion after reading the entire document is that the document contained nothing new. Making claims that a health product will cure or mitigate a disease has always subjected the product to FDA regulation, and this has not changed. So while thousands of health activists were expressing outrage over a mere flea bite, vipers in Congress were waiting to strike with a far more deadly menace: S1082. Could the alarm over the aforementioned flea bite have served as a decoy for the subsequent viper strike? Too Macchiavellian for our Honorable Senators in the back pocket of the pharmaceutical industry? I doubt it.

During the past few months, I've received quite a few emails and phone calls from people wanting advice on what to do about these various threats to health freedom. Normally, I recommend that people send concise, well-composed letters or emails to their Congresspersons. Although the majority of Congress seems to be in the back pocket of the pharmaceutical industry, even cynical political hacks in Congressional offices know that voters must be appeased. I'm sure there's probably even a mathematical formula that weighs each dollar accepted from the pharmaceutical industry against a certain quantity of indignant letters and emails from voters. Apparently the indignant letters failed to weigh more than total pharmaceutical dollars this last round.

Recommendations regarding food and herb contamination problems

We at RMHI have been aware of the potential problem with Chinese food, herb, and drug exports for many decades. Consequently, we've had a long-standing policy of recommending that our students adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Purchase herbs supplies only from importers and distributors that check herb all lots for contamination by pesticides, heavy metals, adulterants, and incorrect species substitutions.
  • Purchase herbs that are certified organically grown if possible, especially tonic herbs that may be used for prolonged periods.
  • Avoid Chinese prepared medicines and use single whole herbs instead. The vast majority of incidents of contaminated foods and herbal products, both in the U.S. and in China, have affected processed products with multiple ingredients. (It is too easy for an unscrupulous manufacterer to slip adulterants into ground powders and pills, more difficult to tamper with a whole dried herb or food that has a characteristic fragrance and appearance.)
  • If you do wish to use or dispense prepared herbal formulas (powdered extracts and pills), use only products that are manufactured in the U.S. by a reputable company.

"Chinese" herbs include many common herbs, like dandelion, fennel, mint, rhubarb root, that grow wild or that can be cultivated in many areas of the world. While the Chinese have mastered the techniques of herb horticulture and any special processing methods that maximize potency and reduce toxicity, there is no reason why this knowledge cannot be replicated by growers and wildcrafters in other nations. The recent Chinese pet food scandals may speed up this process, encouraging the commercial cultivation of Chinese herbs around the world and the growing of organically certified herbs. Additionally, the Chinese system of herbology can be applied to the understanding of all herbs and foods; there is no reason why Chinese herbal methods need be limited only to herbs from China. (For an example of how Chinese herbal methods would be applied to understanding the clinical uses of Oregon grape root, common in the western U.S., see "TCM paradigm and western herbs: Oregon Grape root as example".)

Promoting health freedom -- advice

Returning to the issue of health freedom, because so many people have recently asked for my advice on what to do to protect their freedom of choice in health care, here is my current suggestion:

Consider supporting Ron Paul in his campaign for U.S. President

Below, I'll explain why.

Ron Paul, U.S. presidential candidacy

Ron Paul is a former obstetrician currently in his 10th term as U.S. Congressman for the state of Texas. Though elected as a Republican, his philosophy has been distinctly libertarian. He believes that the federal government has usurped powers never granted to it by the Constitution and consistently votes "No" on any legislation that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, thus earning him the nickname "Dr. No" among some political circles. He has consistently supported health freedom issues, more so than any other Congressman. He regularly writes articles on a wide variety of topics, including matters of public health, economics, monetary issues, and Constitutional rights. Links to his articles on health freedom issues appear below:

For a collection of his articles on other topics, see the Congressman Ron Paul: Archives at LewRockwell.com, a libertarian commentary website.

Ron Paul has consistently opposed international trade treaties that would diminish American sovereignty and subject Americans to the whims of international governing bodies such as WTO, NAFTA, NAFTA, and GATT. Paul states, "We don't need government agreements to have free trade. We merely need to lower or eliminate taxes on the American people, without regard to what other nations do." Regarding CAFTA, WTO, and Codex Alimentaris: "Passage of CAFTA does not mean your supplements will be outlawed immediately, but it will mean that another international trade body will have a say over whether American supplement regulations meet international standards. And make no mistake about it, those international standards are moving steadily toward the Codex regime and its draconian restrictions on health freedom." (For more information on WTO, NAFTA, and Codex Alimentarius, see "Dangers of Codex, WTO and CAFTA" and "Issue of health freedom threatened by WTO / Codex".)

Ron Paul's position on other issues:

  • He has consistently voted against the Iraq war.
  • He has voted against the Patriot Act and related unconstitutional legislation.
  • He voted against regulating the Internet.
  • He has never voted to raise taxes and supports abolishing the unconstitutional IRS and the Federal Reserve system.
  • He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
  • He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
  • He has never taken a government-paid junket and has refused to accept a Congressional pension.
  • He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
  • He has never voted for federal restriction on gun ownership.
  • He has consistenty opposed international treaties such as NAFTA and CAFTA that erode American sovereignty.
  • He opposes the use of torture, insisting it is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights.
  • His consistent belief in the right to life includes opposition to the death penalty as well as to abortion and all forms of killing not done in self-defense.
  • He supports allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes and is in favor of allowing industrial hemp production.
  • He supports alternative sentencing as an alternative to mandatory minimum prison terms for non-violent crimes.

See

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Ron_Paul.htm

and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul

for a more detailed summary of his position on a range of issues.

Corporate lobbyists don't even bother to approach him, as they have learned it is a waste of their time. The vast majority of his campaign contributions are small donations from private individuals.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of his campaign is that in spite of attempts by the mainstream media (television, newspapers, magazines) to ignore him, he has become one of the hottest topics on the Internet. A broad spectrum of libertarians, conservative republicans, democrats, and constitutional rights activists support him. From the perspective of the Establishment press, his greatest sin is that he is willing to say what many Americans believe but are fearful of discussing. There has been a firestorm of protest by Internet users over blatantly biased reporting by media polls regarding who really won the recent televised debates among the Republican presidential candidates. Following are several articles reporting that Ron Paul won these debates by a large margin, in spite of media spin to the contrary, and in spite of debate questions calculated to portray him negatively:

Following are websites with general backround and biographical information on Ron Paul:

Following are official websites for Ron Paul:

What you can do

The Ron Paul campaign may evolve to become the first major test of the Internet as a political tool to empower individuals vs. the Establishment-controlled media. The rules of politics are changing. Large amounts of money no longer guarantee access to political power. Grass-roots networking and organizing have become crucial. If you would like to help put Ron Paul in the White House, here are some suggested guidelines and strategies:

  • Inform your friends, neighbors, and family, and encourage them to spread the word. Not everyone is a regular Internet user; make a special effort to reach those who may be receiving most of their news from biased print media and television. (Several of my older friends who get most of their news from newspapers and television report that they have not seen or heard his name mentioned once in these sources.)
  • Consider donating or volunteering your support to the Ron Paul 2008 campaign: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/
  • When you spot distortions of the truth about Ron Paul on mainstream websites (ABC, MSN, etc.), in print media, and on television programs, phone or email them to demand a correction! Thousands of insistent Internet users have already forced major websites to include Ron Paul in poll results and news stories.
  • Register as a Republican and vote in the Republican primary. (I know, some of you may need to hold your nose. I consider myself neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but the sad fact is that the two-party system is rigged against third party candidates, which is why Ron Paul is running as a Republican rather than as a Libertarian.)

Dr. Paul's campaign promises to stimulate genuine discussion of people's concerns, instead of the tiresome platitudes and flagrant lies we hear every four years. Consider that if he does somehow make it to the White House, he will be in a position to exercise his reputation as "Dr. No" to veto any unconstitutional legislation, including legislation that would increase the power of the FDA and international treaties that erode American sovereignty (think CAFTA, WTO, Codex Alimentarius).