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In a recent post, “Why do you believe what you believe” we said:
“Why do you know the sun causes skin cancer? You know it because years ago you read it in, or heard it from, a trusted source. Then you read and heard it often again, and the repetition caused you to believe it more and more until you know it.
The combination of “trusted source” and “repetition” inserts belief into our minds, and once there, it may be difficult to dislodge — unless we are exposed to a more trusted source plus repetition.
As you know, consuming saturated fat and cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, while sugar does not. You have heard this from many trusted sources and it has been repeated endlessly in all forms of communication.
ScienceNews Magazine, October 15, 2016, Sugar industry sought to sugarcoat causes of heart disease
Payments revealed to authors of influential 1967 report touting fat and cholesterol as problems, by LAURA BEIL
Using records unearthed from library storage vaults, researchers recently revealed that the sugar industry paid nutrition experts from Harvard University to downplay studies linking sugar and heart disease.
Although the incident happened in the 1960s, it appears to have helped redirect the scientific narrative for decades.
Harvard University — what could be a more trusted source than Harvard University?
Note however, that Harvard University does not conduct research, nor does Harvard University verify the findings of research.
Research is done by people, employees of Harvard, and being employees of Harvard gives those researchers no special insight or virtue.
Yet the mere association with the name “Harvard,” implies intelligence and academic trustworthiness.
The documents show that the Sugar Research Foundation paid professors who wrote a two-part review in 1967 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That report was highly skeptical of the evidence linking sugar to cardiovascular problems but accepting of the role of fat.
The now-deceased professors’ overall conclusion left “no doubt” that reducing the risk of heart disease was a matter of reducing saturated fat and cholesterol, according to researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, who published their report online September 12 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Now, we have the University of California, San Francisco, another trusted source, impugning the trusted Harvard results.
The sugar industry helped deflect the way the research was developing,” says study coauthor Cristin Kearns, a dentist at UCSF’s Institute for Health Policy Studies.
The belief in sugar’s innocence, and the sugar industry’s profit motive, were so powerful, it took a dentist, not a cardiologist to uncover apparently biased results from what ostensibly was a heart study.
Following the publication of the Harvard report, fat and cholesterol went on to hijack the scientific agenda for decades, and even led to a craze of low-fat foods that often added sugar.
It was only in 2015 that dietary guidelines finally made a strong statement to limit sugar. Researchers writing this year in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases note that current studies estimate that diets high in added sugars carry a three times higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
(The Sugar Association says in a statement on its website that “the last several decades of research have concluded that sugar does not have a unique role in heart disease.”)
Is this an example of deception with a true statement?
Yes, unfortunately, the last several decades of research did absolve sugar from blame, and what does “unique role in heart disease” really mean? If sugar causes heart disease, is that a “unique role”?
The Sugar Association’s statement acknowledged the secret deal occurred, but pointed out that “when the studies in question were published, funding disclosures and transparency standards were not the norm they are today.”
Translation: The research lied, but back then, we didn’t have to reveal the lie. So, it’s O.K.
Journals now require all authors to list conflicts of interest, especially funding from a source has a vested interest in the outcome.
While a modern researcher could not take corporate money, even for speaking fees, without disclosure, the influences may be more subtle, he says. “We’re not talking about making up data, but perhaps influencing how a research question is framed.”
Revealing the source of funding doesn’t eliminate bias. And, though one reasonably may conclude that a high percentage of private funding comes from sources with an ax to grind, that doesn’t necessarily mean the research results are misleading.
But, such funding leads to the question: “What happens to results that disagree with the benefactor’s purpose?
If several, slightly different pieces of research show that sugar has an adverse effect on heart health, and one shows it doesn’t, what happens to all the negative research?
Andy Bellatti, cofounder and strategic director of Dietitians for Professional Integrity says that researchers don’t necessarily want to be cozy with industry, but sometimes turn to commercial sources because non-biased research money is lacking.
“The reason the food industry is able to do this is because there is such little public funding for nutrition and disease.”
Here is yet another example, among hundreds, of how cuts in federal deficit spending hurt America, though often benefitting big business.
And what does the need for an organization titled, “Dietitians for Professional Integrity” tell you about today’s food research?
The scientific community should not reject industry money wholesale, says John Sievenpiper, a physician and nutrition researcher at the University of Toronto.
He believes that any scientist who takes industry money should adhere to an even higher standard of openness, including releasing study protocols ahead of time so reviewers can make sure the research question was not changed midstream to favor a certain conclusion.
- For many years, your belief in “benign sugar” was created by “trusted sources” and repetition.
- As with privately owned banks, the profit motive encourages unethical behavior. Corporations do not fund research out of generosity. They consider research to be part of their marketing efforts. Negative results often are twisted or hidden.
- Researchers, whether employed by Harvard University, the University of California, a private organization, or working alone, all can be swayed, consciously or not, to tilt their interpretations in favor of the money supply.
- Cuts in federally funded Research & Development grants are misguided if the primary purpose is to “save the federal government money” or to “make government smaller” (a huge, often unacknowledged disadvantage of libertarianism).
- While the federal government has political motives, it does not have a profit motive, and that alone helps make it a more trusted source for food & drug research than is private industry.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the rich and the rest.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
•Those, who do not understand the differences between