<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Health March 

I read about this earlier in another newsletter I get from VegSource. What a great idea! Y'all need to come to Arkansas, too! I'll join in if you do.

If you follow the link above, they start out with a few facts:

--In the past 20 years the U.S. has gone from first in the world for life expectancy to 19th in the world for women, and 29th for men (behind Slovenia).

--The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world, which the majority of its citizens cannot afford. We are the only country in the developed world, other than South Africa, which doesn't provide health care for all of its citizens.

--Chronic disease in the U.S. has an excessive impact on minorities and the poor, with rates of cancer, arthritis, coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension nearly double in African Americans than in the white population.

--Costly illnesses trigger about half of all personal bankruptcies, and most of those who go bankrupt because of medical problems have health insurance, according to findings from a Harvard University study released in February 2005.

--The U.S. Congress and President Bush recently signed legislation making it nearly impossible for individuals to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills.

Not very good so far, huh?

Well, it gets worse.

I won't quote the whole thing here, but I want to point out something very important here that they bring up.

Professor Marion Nestle PhD M.P.H. is Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. She managed the editorial production of the first, and as yet only, Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health in 1989.
In her book Food Politics, Nestle says that on her first day on the job, "I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat'...because the (meat producers, whose bottom line) might be affected by such advice would complain to their beneficiaries in Congress, and the report would never be published."
No subsequent Surgeon General's Report has appeared, even though Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring that one be issued every two years. Why? The answer, according to Nestle, is food politics. She points out that "saturated fat and trans-saturated fat raise risks for heart disease, and the principal sources of such fats in American diets are meat, dairy, cooking fats, and fried, fast, and processed foods." Any advice of federal policies that sought to decrease consumption of these foods would cause the sellers of these foods "to complain to their friends in Congress," who would in turn prevent the report from being released to the public.

So, what to do about this? Well, it just so turns out that they have a great idea that really appeals to me, being as I am a big fan of people power and all. They intend to "take it to the streets." Yep! They want to provide the information to people that has been denied to them by the government and demand that things change.

They plan to march in Mississippi all the way to Jackson, stopping along the way in all of the small towns and such, because
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is the fattest state in the Union; one-quarter of its population "is affected by childhood or adult-onset diabetes." Last year the CDC gave $1 million to help educate in Mississippi schools about health. It has given no such grants to any other state.

If necessary, they will take it to more streets in more states until Congress starts to listen to the people they are supposed to represent rather than to those who give them large campaign contributions. I think this is wonderful. It's time for people to get more involved and take back OUR country!

So, if you live in Mississippi, or really close, join them. If you want to take YOUR country back from the rich fat cat corporations currently running it (and many others around the world) then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Get off your butt and start fighting back.

Because the way things stand right now, if you are not part of the solution, than you are part of the problem.

This brings yet another favorite quote of mine I stole from a good friend's signature quote.

Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
-Elie Weisel

Keep up the good work! Only seven hours to go!
Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.
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