LesterLand

16 Oct

There is a political gridlock going on this week on Capitol Hill. One might argue it has been going on for some time. Lawrence Lessig uses a Lesterland analogy to explain how our political officials are elected, while Dylan Radigan fights to get big money out of politics. One thing is very clear : neither party is working to support the average American. They are paid by the largest financial backers in the country, those with the largest financial backing, and the Corporations that hold an ever increasing amount of cash.


The objective of the political figures today is to raise enough cash to get re-elected and to leave office with a much greater personal wealth than they entered office with. The objective is to achieve a bipartisan status quo.

“…they will say that gumming up the works is not part of the problem, it’s part of the solution.”

It is interesting that there is always bipartisan support when it comes to the war on terror, restrictions on civil liberties, and the continuous surveillance of US citizens by the NSA. But when it comes to running the government and developing policies that move the country forward, there can be no agreements.

Antibiotics in the Food Supply

14 Oct

The Centers for Disease Control in the US Came out this year and confirmed that the proliferation of antibiotics in our food supply is creating dangerous bacteria. Those bacteria are outliving the drugs used to treat them.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.”

“In addition, almost 250,000 people who are hospitalized or require hospitalization get Clostridium difficile each year, an infection usually related to antibiotic use. C. difficile causes deadly diarrhea and kills at least 14,000 people each year.”


The effect that the overuse of antibiotics has on our health is reflected in the gut bacteria resident in each of us. In fact, it’s estimated that the human gut contains 100 trillion bacteria, or 10 times as many bacteria as cells in the human body. These antibiotics and the Bt toxins from genetically modified corn, affect the resident gut flora causing health problems. Bt is used to attack the digestive system of insects and is part of the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods, as over half of the corn in the US contains Bt toxin.

As pointed out before on this site, treatment to replace the gut bacteria in patients with C. difficile has been found to be quite effective although unappetizing.

You can reduce the impact of the antibiotics and Bt toxic affects by buying organic products and supporting the labeling of products that are genetically modified in the stores.

Three Researchers Say Avoid Sugar

11 Oct

In the world that we live in, sugar is ubiquitous. To completely eliminate consumption of sugar in all its forms is nearly impossible. For that simple reason alone, avoiding the foods that are known to have a basis in sugar is all that more important.


A few experts in the field have studied the effects of sugar on our health and have come to some amazing conclusions. They are expressed in the following ways:

Robert Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, which is one of the best medical schools in the country. In 2009, Robert gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” and followed it up with the YouTube video. The video is a 90-minute discussion of the nuances of fructose biochemistry and human physiology. The New York Times posed the question : “Is Sugar Toxic?” based upon the research in 2011.

    “If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years.”

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award. He wrote about the correlation of dementia to blood sugar levels in a Huffington Posts article : “You Can Prevent Alzheimer’s“.

    “They (The Lancet) reported that in diabetics …… , the risk of becoming demented was increased an astounding 37 fold.”

Peter Attia, M.D. from Stanford University spent 10 years following a diet where he consumed 80 percent of his calories from fat. He continuously monitored his metabolic markers, such as blood sugar levels, percent body fat, blood pressure, lipid levels and others and experienced improvement in every measure of health. An MRI confirmed that he had lost not only subcutaneous fat but also visceral fat, which is the type most detrimental. His use of this ketogenic diet where the body is trained to burn fat instead of carbohydrates has also been associated with the treatment for cancer.

The conclusions reached from these doctors is that for a healthy diet, you should reduce your carbohydrates immediately (sugar), and eat more fat (healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.

A reduction in the consumption of sugar (carbohydrates) should not be replaced with the use of Aspartame. Reducing carbohydrates may also lead to some amazing improvements like increasing your endurance, increasing your mental acuity, getting off your blood pressure and diabetes medicine or simply reducing your chances of getting dementia or diabetes.

To your health!

Option List

9 Oct

Happy Trading!

The Options List for Today

The Equity List for Today

The Superset List for Today

Edward Bernays Lives On Today

8 Oct

Edward Bernays, known as “The Father of Public Relations” was the Vienna born nephew of Sigmund Freud. He perfected The Psychology of Authority by manipulating the leaders of organizations and governments “to influence the group which they sway“.


His work is attributed to the success of :

  1. Promoting the idea that America’s war efforts (WW I) were
    Making the World “Safe for Democracy”
  2. Developing the market for cigarettes to women though the use of the “Torches of Freedom” campaign.
  3. Providing tools for the German propaganda programs of WWII through his books, used by Joseph Goebbels : “Crystallizing Public Opinion” (1923) and
    “Propaganda” (1928)
  4. Overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954 by framing Jacobo Arbenz as a communist who threatened the security of the Western Hemisphere.

Even though his influences can be seen today in advertising on television, it is interesting that in his later years, he was a public opponent of smoking, and campaigned to require licensing of public relations practitioners.

Edward Bernays died March 9th, 1995 at the age of 103.

Educational videos on Edward Bernays :

The Century of the Self (Pulled from YouTube recently…)

        Introduction to “The Century of the Self” on YouTube

        Link to the full versions on Vimeo (3.45 hours long)

    “Edward Bernays and the Art of Public Manipulation” (8.5 minutes long, available on YouTube)

Cost of Pharmaceutical Drugs in the US

4 Oct

As pointed out on this site before, a couple of the reasons drugs are so expensive in the US are:

  1. Advertising on television for pharmaceutical drugs is only allowed in the US and New Zealand. The success of the advertising campaigns can be represented by the simple fact that drug companies spend 19 times more money on advertising than they do on research.
  2. There is an arrangement that seems a bit complicated, where drug companies can pay generic manufacturers to delay the release of a generic version that would reduce the cost, so that all of the companies involved can share in the increased cost. This process can be challenged in court, but it must be done on a case by case basis per the Supreme Court.

Solvay Pharmaceutical agreed to pay them $31 million to $42 million annually through 2015 (to generic manufacturers), at which point they could enter the market with generic versions…”


U.S. Drug Prices 3- to 6-Fold Greater Than Other Countries

In addition to these costs, there is a push to prescribe “specialty drugs” to commercially insured patients. The costs of some of these drugs can be staggering if you look at Gattex or Soliris.

Marketing of drugs in the US during 2012 meant that, on average, each American filled an average of 12 prescriptions. Considering that only 60% of Americans take a prescription drug in any given year, it would mean that the people getting prescriptions are getting much more than 12 per year. These customers are the target market for drug advertising, and as you might think, close to 100% of the “seniors” are on prescription medicine.

Herbert Stein’s Law

3 Oct

The father of Ben Stein, Herbert Stein, wrote that “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”.


If we look at the distribution of wealth in the US, Stein’s Law is at work. Stein’s law could be used as a way to describe why the “American’s Are Not Getting Fatter” as well, or why Detroit went bust.

And, as the Federal government begins to address raising the National Debt limit in the next couple of weeks, it is very much consistent with Stein’s Law that “it’s not really a ceiling if you continue to raise it.”

What is more important to the average Joe, is what’s going to happen to the stock market, and the economy. As the “U.S. Stock Market Moves Further Away From Reality“, below is a chart of the stock market (SPY) over the last 20 years. It looks like another top could be forming.


If Stein’s Law is working on the debt ceiling, it may be working on the stock market as well.