$150,000 Wardrobe for Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image

New York Times’ PATRICK HEALY and MICHAEL LUO reported on Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin and the $150,000 wardrobe the Republican Party purchased for her in September:

“Sarah Palin’s wardrobe joined the ranks of symbolic political excess on Wednesday, alongside John McCain’s multiple houses and John Edwards’s $400 haircut, as Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores.

Cable television, talk radio and even shows like “Access Hollywood” seemed gripped with sartorial fever after campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.

Advisers to Ms. Palin said on Wednesday that the purchases — which totaled about $150,000 and were classified as “campaign accessories” — were made on the fly after Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, was chosen as the Republican vice-presidential candidate on Aug. 29 and needed new clothes to match climates across the 50 states. They emphasized, too, that Ms. Palin did not spend time on the shopping, and that other people made the decision to buy such an array of clothes…..”

October 2008: More cute baby pics of the boy!

Sitting Tennessee Governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen visited our little town of Medina last week…

A sitting governor of Tennessee visited our tiny hamlet of Medina, TN, For the first time ever this past Friday.  The governor was in town to present a check to Medina City mayor, Vance Coleman:

The Jackson Sun described the event, here (click to read whole article) is an excerpt:

“MEDINA – The city of Medina could have two new recreation facilities built by October 2009, thanks to $460,000 in grant money.

Advertisement Gov. Phil Bredesen presented a check for the money Friday afternoon while standing in the grassy field of the future Medina Sports Complex, located next to Medina Middle School.

“This is something the community has a need for,” Bredesen said after the presentation. “This is also an opportunity to invest in smaller communities in the state.”

Medina received a $400,000 Local Park and Recreation Fund grant for development of the Medina Sports Complex, which includes land acquisition, ballfield development, a concession/restroom facility and parking. The city also received a $60,000 Recreation Trails Program grant for the Medina multi-use trail.

According to preliminary specs, the complex will have four baseball fields, two soccer fields and a playground.

Medina Mayor Vance Coleman said the complex has been in the planning stages for four years and that the city is thankful to receive the grants.

“The grants make it so that small cities like Medina can complete projects when they might not otherwise be able to,” Coleman said. “This is something we need to enhance the quality of life in Medina.”

Medina Alderman Terry Shelton added, “This project will give every citizen of Medina something to do, from the babies on up.”

Coleman said the specs for the project are awaiting approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division.

“Once it is approved, it will be put out for bids,” Coleman said. “We hope to have this completed by this time next year.”…”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE MEDINA, TN NEWS

I like this synopsys of Ecclesiastes, my favorite book of the Bible.

Ecclesiastes is my favorite book from the Old Testament, I like this explanation of Ecclesiastes from Wikipedia:(see whole article here.)

“…The work consists of personal or autobiographic matter, at times expressed in aphorisms and maxims illuminated in terse paragraphs with reflections on the meaning of life and the best way of life. The work emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently “vain”, “futile”, “empty”, “meaningless”, “temporary”, “transitory”, or “fleeting,” depending on translation, as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. While the author clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one’s wife and work, which are gifts from the hand of God.

According to Talmud however, the point of Qohelet is to state that all is futile under the sun. One should therefore ignore physical pleasures and put all one’s efforts towards that which is above the Sun. This is summed up in the second to last verse: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.”

Here, Read Ecclesiastes I for yourself: (New International Version, published, here, at Biblegateway.com)

Ecclesiastes 1

Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher, [a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

3 What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

11 There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is twisted cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I thought to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.”

Read this Susan Jacoby article: “The Worst Angels of our nature: Rage and Racism on the Campaign Trail

Susan Jacoby wrote the article below, published at http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/susan_jacoby/2008/10/the_worst_angels_of_our_nature.html:  (Definately worth a read…..)

“The Worst Angels Of Our Nature: Rage And Racism On The Campaign Trail

Like everyone else, I am worried about the economy and the financial panic I sense around me. But I am absolutely terrified–I tremble for my country–by the rage that has been expressed at Republican campaign rallies during the past two weeks. It is a rage that partakes of the worst forces in American history–xenophobia, racism, anti-intellectualism, religious fanaticism, envy, and utter contempt for truth and reason. Lest anyone suggest that this is a bipartisan phenomenon, I should point out that no one at Obama rallies is calling out for anyone to kill the other candidate. Worst of all is the behavior of Sarah Palin, a candidate for the second highest office in the land who stood on a platform, heard the cries of “treason” and “kill him” after her anti-Obama rant, and said absolutely nothing. She went on with her vile speech as if nothing had happened.

John McCain has belatedly realized that his campaign has unleashed forces that it cannot control; perhaps he came to that realization when he was booed at his own rallies for contradicting supporters who called Obama an “Arab” and a “traitor.” Pundits on the left and right (and Barack Obama himself) always preface their acknowledgments of McCain’s effort to calm the waters with an obligatory “to his credit.” Talk about unearned credit. McCain picked the rabble-rousing Palin as his running mate, and he picked her because she appealed to the far-right Republican base. Her speeches, with their accusation that Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists,” followed by attempts to link Sixties’ radicals with the 9//11 bombers, leading logically to audience’s conclusion that Obama himself may be a terrorist, were certainly cleared by the Rovian McCain campaign strategists. That McCain is now recognizing that he may be inheriting the wind says nothing creditable about him. The least we can expect from respectable candidates is that they decry calls for murder and accusations of treason. You don’t deserve a gold star for doing that.

I am afraid, as others are afraid and reluctant to say so, that some unhinged Joe or Jane Six-Pack will pick up a gun and act on the passions aroused at these rallies. How can anyone who came of age in the sixties–whose youth was punctuated by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy, not be afraid? The ignorant and bellicose governor of Alaska badly needs a history lesson. Most of us demon liberals weren’t pallin’ around with terrorists during the sixties; what we were doing, too many times in our young lives, was mourning the loss of leaders who did try to speak to the better angels of the American nature.

The trouble begins with the notion that there is some special wisdom in the virtuous, uneducated Joe Six-Packs of this nation. I met my very own Joe-Six Pack (that’s what he called himself) a few weeks ago, and if he exemplifies the purported wisdom of ordinary Americans, we are in trouble that cannot be measured by any decline in the stock market. I wound up at the same table with Joe, the owner of a Polish delicatessen, in a packed bar as we waited in the Milwaukee airport for a delayed flight to New York. After volunteering the information that he was flying to New York for his niece’s wedding in Brooklyn, Joe said he wasn’t looking forward to the event because his niece was marrying a native New Yorker and they were “moving into some kind of hippie loft under some bridge.”

Then Joe started talking about the economy. He didn’t blame Wall Street nearly as much as he blamed ordinary Americans who, pursuing the dream of becoming homeowners, had obtained subprime mortgages with no down payment. “These people knew they couldn’t afford to pay back those loans,” he said, “and they didn’t give a damn because they hadn’t had to put down any of their own money. So they’re losing nothing when they get kicked out. No money down, and they’ve been getting free rent for as long as they’ve lived in the house.”

How, I asked, did Joe figure that people had been getting “free rent,” since most of them had been making mortgage payments–at increasing interest rates–for years. Wasn’t it possible that many of the homeowners facing foreclosure had simply not understood what it would mean for their monthly payments if the rate on the mortgages went up by, say, 5 percent? Wasn’t it possible that they thought they could make their payments when they signed the mortgages but subsequently lost their jobs? Or that someone in the family got sick and piled up medical bills that lend to bankruptcy?

“Don’t you believe it,” said Joe, whose face literally turned purple with rage. “So maybe they made payments for a while, but they were a lot lower than rent payments would be. That’s always the excuse with these people, that they’ve been unlucky, that they’re poor little victims.”

“These people.” I wanted to ask who “they” were and what separated them from “us,” but I didn’t have to. He exploded again. “You have a whole group of people who don’t really want to earn what they have. These bad home loans, they’re like special treatment for blacks who want to get into the best universities. You want it, you don’t have to work for it, the government will give it to you.” As soon as I boarded the plane, I took notes detailing everything about this conversation.

I hope that this Joe Six-Pack was just one Joe Six-Pack, and that there are many other blue-collar Americans who do not share such views, reeking of class and racial resentment and absent any awareness of the ways in which unexpected blows of fate can derail the honest efforts and hopes of hard-working people. We will, I suppose find out on Nov. 4. The fate of our nation rests on the hope that a majority of Americans are not as uneducated and angry as my Joe Six-Pack. I do know that a real leader ought to challenge such ignorance, wherever it exists, instead of praising is as an example of down-home American values. Any politician who provides fuel for the worst sort of American fire, or remains silent in the face of bigotry and threats of violence, is a disgrace to this country.

Please e-mail On Faith if you’d like to receive an email notification when On Faith sends out a new question.”

Christians in India facing violent persecution, “convert or flee” demolition of homes by Hindu majority.

The following is an excerp from an interesting article in today’s New York Times: (click here to read whole, original article.)

BOREPANGA, India — The family of Solomon Digal was summoned by neighbors to what serves as a public square in front of the village tea shop.

They were ordered to get on their knees and bow before the portrait of a Hindu preacher. They were told to turn over their Bibles, hymnals and the two brightly colored calendar images of Christ that hung on their wall. Then, Mr. Digal, 45, a Christian since childhood, was forced to watch his Hindu neighbors set the items on fire.

“ ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ”

India, the world’s most populous democracy and officially a secular nation, is today haunted by a stark assault on one of its fundamental freedoms. Here in eastern Orissa State, riven by six weeks of religious clashes, Christian families like the Digals say they are being forced to abandon their faith in exchange for their safety.

The forced conversions come amid widening attacks on Christians here and in at least five other states across the country, as India prepares for national elections next spring.

The clash of faiths has cut a wide swath of panic and destruction through these once quiet hamlets fed by paddy fields and jackfruit trees. Here in Kandhamal, the district that has seen the greatest violence, more than 30 people have been killed, 3,000 homes burned and over 130 churches destroyed, including the tin-roofed Baptist prayer hall where the Digals worshiped. Today it is a heap of rubble on an empty field, where cows blithely graze.

Across this ghastly terrain lie the singed remains of mud-and-thatch homes. Christian-owned businesses have been systematically attacked. Orange flags (orange is the sacred color of Hinduism) flutter triumphantly above the rooftops of houses and storefronts.

India is no stranger to religious violence between Christians, who make up about 2 percent of the population, and India’s Hindu-majority of 1.1 billion people. But this most recent spasm is the most intense in years….”

Big Pharma, Eli Lilly Old Z-magazine Online article, great read about reality in America: “Lilly, Zyprexa, & the Bush Family The diseasing of our malaise.”

The following was originally published in Z magazine Online, May 2004 Volume 17 Number 5:

“Big Pharma

Eli Lilly, Zyprexa, & the Bush Family
The diseasing of our malaise

By Bruce Levine


More than one journalist has uncovered corrupt connections between the Bush Family, psychiatry, and Eli Lilly & Company, the giant pharmaceutical corporation. While previous Lillygates have been more colorful, Lilly’s soaking state Medicaid programs with Zyprexa—its blockbuster, antipsychotic drug—may pack the greatest financial wallop. Worldwide in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $4.28 billion, accounting for slightly more than one-third of Lilly’s total sales. In the United States in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $2.63 billion, 70 percent of that attributable to government agencies, mostly Medicaid.

Historically, the exposure of any single Lilly machination—though sometimes disrupting it—has not weakened the Bush-psychiatry-Lilly relationship. In the last decade, some of the more widely reported Eli Lilly intrigues include:

  • Influencing the Homeland Security Act to protect itself from lawsuits
  • Accessing confidential patient records for a Prozac sample mailing
  • Rigging the Wesbecker Prozac-violence trial

A sample of those who have been on the Eli Lilly payroll includes:

  • Former President George Herbert Walker Bush (one-time member of the Eli Lilly board of directors)
  • Former CEO of Enron, Ken Lay (one-time member of the Eli Lilly board of directors)
  • George W. Bush’s former director of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels (a former Eli Lilly vice president)
  • George W. Bush’s Homeland Security Advisory Council member, Sidney Taurel (current CEO of Eli Lilly)
  • The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (a recipient of Eli Lilly funding)

In 2002, British and Japanese regulatory agencies warned that Zyprexa may be linked to diabetes, but even after the FDA issued a similar warning in 2003, Lilly’s Zyprexa train was not derailed, as Zyprexa posted a 16 percent gain over 2002. The growth of Zyprexa has become especially vital to Lilly because Prozac—Lilly’s best-known product, which once annually grossed over $2 billion—having lost its patent protection, continues its rapid decline, down to $645.1 million in 2003.

At the same time regulatory agencies were warning of Zyprexa’s possible linkage to diabetes, Lilly’s second most lucrative product line was its diabetes treatment drugs (including Actos, Humulin, and Humalog), which collectively grossed $2.51 billion in 2003. Lilly’s profits on diabetes drugs and the possible linkage between diabetes and Zyprexa is not, however, the most recent Lillygate that Gardiner Harris broke about Zyprexa in the New York Times on December 18, 2003.

Zyprexa costs approximately twice as much as similar drugs and Harris reported that state Medicaid programs—going in the red in part because of Zyprexa— are attempting to exclude it in favor of similar, less expensive drugs. Harris focused on the Kentucky Medicaid program, which had a $230 million deficit in 2002, with Zyprexa being its single largest drug expense at $36 million. When Kentucky’s Medicaid program attempted to exclude it from its list of preferred medications, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) fought back. The nonprofit NAMI—ostensibly a consumer organization—bused protesters to hearings, placed full-page ads in newspapers, and sent faxes to state officials. What NAMI did not say at the time was that the buses, ads, and faxes were paid for by Eli Lilly.

Ken Silverstein, in Mother Jones in 1999, reported that NAMI took $11.7 million from drug companies over a three and a half year period from 1996 through 1999, with the largest donor being Eli Lilly, which provided $2.87 million. Eli Lilly’s funding also included loaning NAMI a Lilly executive, who worked at NAMI headquarters, but whose salary was paid for by Lilly. Though NAMI’s linkage to Lilly is a scandal to psychiatric survivors—whose journal MindFreedom published copies of Big Pharma checks to NAMI—the story didn’t have the widespread shock value that would elevate it to Lillygate status.

In 2002, Eli Lilly flexed its muscles at the highest level of the U.S. government in an audacious Lillygate. The event was the signing of the Homeland Security Act, praised by President George W. Bush as a “heroic action” that demonstrated “the resolve of this great nation to defend our freedom, our security and our way of life.” Soon after the Act was signed, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert discovered what had been slipped into the Act at the last minute and on November 25, 2002, he wrote, “Buried in this massive bill, snuck into it in the dark of night by persons unknown…was a provision that—incredibly—will protect Eli Lilly and a few other big pharmaceutical outfits from lawsuits by parents who believe their children were harmed by thimerosal.”

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury and is used by Eli Lilly and others in vaccines. In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service urged vaccine makers to stop using mercury-based preservatives. In 2001 the Institute of Medicine concluded that the link between autism and thimerosal was “biologically plausible.” By 2002, thim- erosal lawsuits against Eli Lilly were progressing through the courts. The punchline of this Lillygate is that, in June 2002, President George W. Bush had appointed Eli Lilly’s CEO, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on his Homeland Security Advisory Council. Ultimately, even some Republican senators became embarrassed by this Lillygate and, by early 2003, moderate Republicans and Democrats agreed to repeal this particular provision in the Homeland Security Act.

In early 2003, “60 Minutes II” aired a segment on Lillygate and Prozac. With Prozac’s patent having run out, Eli Lilly began marketing a new drug, Prozac Weekly. Lilly sales representatives in Florida gained access to “confidential” patient information records and, unsolicited, mailed out free samples of Prozac Weekly. How did Eli Lilly get its hands on these medical records? Regulations proposed under Clinton and later implemented under Bush contained a provision that gave health-care providers the right to sell a person’s confidential medical information to marketing firms and drug companies. Despite many protests against this proposal, President Bush told Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to allow the new rules to go into effect.

Perhps the most cinematic of all Lillygates culminated in 1997. The story began in 1989 when Joseph Wesbecker—one month after he began taking Prozac—opened fire with his AK-47 at his former place of employment, killing 8 and wounding 12 before taking his own life. British journalist John Cornwell covered the Louisville, Kentucky trial for the London Sunday Times Magazine, ultimately writing a book about it. Cornwell’s The Power to Harm (1996) is not only about a disgruntled employee becoming violent after taking Prozac, but is also about Eli Lilly’s power to corrupt the judicial system.

Victims of Joseph Wesbecker sued Eli Lilly, claiming that Prozac had pushed Wesbecker over the edge. The trial took place in 1994, but received scant attention as the public was transfixed by the O.J. Simpson spectacle. While Eli Lilly had been settling many Prozac violence cases behind closed doors (more than 150 Prozac lawsuits had been filed by the end of 1994), it was looking for a showcase trial that it could win. Although a 1991 FDA “blue ribbon panel” investigating the association between Prozac and violence had voted not to require Prozac to have a violence warning label, by 1994 word was getting around that five of the nine FDA panel doctors had ties to Big Pharma—two of them serving as lead investigators for Lilly-funded Prozac studies. Thus, with the FDA panel now known to be tainted, Lilly believed that Wesbecker’s history was such that Prozac would not be seen as the cause of his mayhem.

A crucial component of the victims’ attorneys’ strategy was for the jury to hear about Eli Lilly’s history of reckless disregard. Victims’ attorneys especially wanted the jury to hear about Lilly’s anti- inflamatory drug Oraflex, introduced in 1982 but taken off the market three months later. A U.S. Justice Department investigation linked Oraflex to the deaths of more than 100 patients and concluded that Lilly had misled the FDA. Lilly was charged with 25 counts related to mislabeling side effects and pled guilty—but in 1985, the Reagan-Bush Justice Department saw fit to fine them a mere $25,000.

In the Wesbecker trial, Lilly attorneys argued that the Oraflex information would be prejudicial and Judge John Potter initially agreed that the jury shouldn’t hear it. However, when Lilly attorneys used witnesses to make a case for Eli Lilly’s superb system of collecting and analyzing side effects, Judge Potter said that Lilly had opened the door to evidence to the contrary and ruled that the Oraflex information would now be permitted. To Judge Potter’s amazement, victims’ attorneys never presented the Oraflex evidence and Eli Lilly won the case. Later, it was discovered that—in a manipulation Cornwell described as “unprecedented in any Western court”—Eli Lilly cut a secret deal with victims’ attorneys to pay them and their clients not to introduce the Oraflex evidence. However, Judge Potter smelled a rat and fought for an investigation. In 1997, Eli Lilly quietly agreed to the verdict being changed from a Lilly victory to “dismissed as settled.”

Looking back further to 1992, Alexander Cockburn, in both the Nation and the New Statesman, was one of the first to connect the dots between the Bush family and Eli Lilly. After George Herbert Walker Bush left his CIA director post in 1977 and before becoming vice president under Ronald Reagan in 1980, he was on Eli Lilly’s board of directors. As vice president, Bush failed to disclose his Lilly stock and lobbied hard on behalf of Big Pharma—especially Eli Lilly. For example, Bush sought special tax breaks from the IRS for Lilly and other pharmaceutical corporations that were manufacturing in Puerto Rico.

Cockburn also reported on Mitch Daniels, then a vice president at Eli Lilly, who in 1991 co-chaired a fundraiser that collected $600,000 for the Bush-Quayle campaign. This is the same Mitch Daniels who in 2001 became George W. Bush’s Director of Management and Budget. In June 2003, soon after Daniels departed from that job, he ran for governor of Indiana (home to Eli Lilly headquarters). In a piece in the Washington Post called “Delusional on the Deficit,” Senator Ernest Hollings wrote, “When Daniels left two weeks ago to run for governor of Indiana, he told the Post that the government is ‘fiscally in fine shape.’ Good grief! During his 29-month tenure, he turned a so-called $5.6 trillion, 10-year budget surplus into a $4 trillion deficit—a mere $10 trillion downswing in just two years. If this is good fiscal policy, thank heavens Daniels is gone.”

There is one Eli Lilly piece of history so bizarre that if told to many psychiatrists, one just might get diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and medicated with Zyrprexa. Former State Department officer John Marks in The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control, The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences (1979)—along with the Washington Post (1985) and the New York Times (1988)—reported an amazing story about the CIA and psychiatry. A lead player was psychiatrist D. Ewen Cameron, president of the American Psychiatric Association in 1953. Cameron was curious to discover more powerful ways to break down patient resistance. Using electroshock, LSD, and sensory deprivation, he was able to produce severe delirium. Patients often lost their sense of identity, forgetting their own names and even how to eat. The CIA, eager to learn more about Cameron’s brainwashing techniques, funded him under a project code-named MKULTRA. According to Marks, Cameron was part of a small army of the CIA’s LSD-experimenting psychiatrists. Where did the CIA get its LSD? Marks reports that the CIA had been previously supplied by the Swiss pharmaceutical corporation Sandoz, but was uncomfortable relying on a foreign company and so, in 1953, the CIA asked Eli Lilly to make them up a batch of LSD, which Lilly subsequently donated to the CIA.

The most important story about Eli Lilly is that Lilly’s two current blockbuster psychiatric drugs—Zyprexa and Prozac—are, in scientific terms, of little value. It is also about how Lilly and the rest of Big Pharma have corrupted psychiatry, resulting in the increasing medicalization of unhappiness. This diseasing of our malaise has diverted us from examining the social sources for our unhappiness—and implementing societal solutions.

Much of the scientific community now acknowledges that the advantage of Prozac and Prozac-like drugs over a sugar-pill placebo is slight—or as Prevention and Treatment in 2002 defined it, “clinically negligible.” When Prozac is compared to an active placebo (one with side effects), then Prozac is shown to have, in scientific terms, zero value. Moreover, many doctors and researchers now warn us about the dangers of Prozac. Psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen’s Prozac Backlash (2000) documented “neurological disorders including disfiguring facial and whole body tics indicating potential brain damage…agitation, muscle spasms, and parkinsonism,” and he stated that debilitating withdrawal occurs in 50 percent of patients who abruptly come off Prozac and Prozac-like drugs.

Just as Prozac and other SSRI drugs are no longer seen by many scientists as an improvement in safety and effectiveness over the previous class of antidepressants, psychiatry’s highly touted Zyprexa (and other “atypical antipsychotics”) turns out to be no great advance over the older problematic anti-ps ychotics such as Haldol. Journalist Robert Whitaker, in Mad in America (2002), details how Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa research was biased against the inexpensive Haldol and how claims of improved safety of Zyprexa are difficult to justify. Whitaker reports that in drug trials used by FDA reviewers, 22 percent of Zyprexa patients had “serious” adverse effects as compared to 18 percent of the Haldol patients.

The United States and other nations that have bought psychiatry’s and Big Pharma’s explanations and treatments turn out to have worse results with those diagnosed as psychotic than those nations who are less enthusiastic about drugs and who care more about community. In 1992, the World Health Organization (WHO), in a repeat of earlier findings, found that so-called underdeveloped nations, which emphasize community support rather than medications, have better results with those diagnosed as psychotic than nations, which stress drug treatments. In nations such as the United States, where 61 percent of those diagnosed as psychotic were maintained on antipsychotic medications, only 37 percent had full remission. While in India, Nigeria, and Colombia, where only 16 percent of patients diagnosed as psychotic were maintained on antipsychotic medications, approximately 63 percent of patients had full remission.

While scientists are not certain about the reasons for these WHO findings, two possible explanations are: (1) psychiatric drugs, even for the most disturbed among us, are not the greatest long-term solution; (2) community support, crucial to our mental health, does not lend itself to commercialization. Thus, in areas such as mental health, radically commercialized societies such as the United States are backward societies.

Though some mental health professionals insist that atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa are a great advance, I’ve met few Zyprexa users who agree. A few years ago, a well-read man with a professorial manner in his early 60s, diagnosed by several other doctors as paranoid schizophrenic, came to see me. He had, at various times, taken several types of antipsychotic drugs and told me, laughing loudly between each sentence, “I’m crazy on drugs and crazy off drugs. Haldol helped me sleep and Zyprexa helped me sleep, but I hated the Haldol and when I was on Zyprexa, I couldn’t take a shit for three weeks. Now I don’t take any drugs and I can’t sleep and I am a big pain-in-the ass, but I can remember better what I read.” A few weeks later he told me, “It’s all friendly fascism. Yes, friendly fascism. Was it you who told me—or was it I who told you—that fascism is about the complete integration of industry and government under a centralized authority? Friendly fascism, right? I suppose I say ‘friendly fascism’ too much, but you’re not Ashcroft and neither am I, right? Don’t you agree that it’s all friendly fascism?” Then he flashed a giant smile and said one more time, “Friendly fascism, right, Bruce?”


Bruce E. Levine, PhD, is a psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations and a World Gone Crazy (New York-London: Continuum, 2003). “
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